Another blog question

I think I asked this question before but I can not find the post to see the comments.  Sorry I am buried with things I need to do, you should see my white board there is very little white space left.   

My question is about the paragraphs and my changing their colors to make them stand out.    I started that because the old theme was so pale it was hard for me to read.   I see this done on other blogs and I like the look, so I do it for most posts.   What do you think, does the colors make it easier to read or harder?   Should I continue to do it or just leave the quoted parts the color they are?  This time I will remember to check this for comments.   Thanks.   Hugs

After atheist’s invocation, FL officials let Christian give replacement prayer

I keep hearing how oppressed and discriminated against Christians are.  How they are not allowed in government, how same sex marriage laws have destroyed families, the right of Christians to worship as they please, and now deny Christians their rights.     They are the most oppressed majority in the country according to their leaders that send out missives that always end with a send money beg.      So that Christians in red states keep doing this and getting away with making sure everyone knows only their Christian religion counts in the that state.    Hugs 

This is “discriminatory, unconstitutional, and a slap in the face,” said an atheist group to the Lake County commissioners
After atheist's invocation, FL officials let Christian give replacement prayer | Atheist Joseph Richardson delivers an invocation during the Lake County Board of County Commissioners meeting on December 6, 2022
Atheist Joseph Richardson delivers an invocation during the Lake County Board of County Commissioners meeting on December 6, 2022 (screenshot via Lake County)
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On Tuesday, atheist Joseph Richardson of the Central Florida Freethought Community was slated to deliver an invocation during a meeting of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners in Florida. He gave an excellent speech, thanking the commissioners and staffers for their hard work and urging everyone to keep their “hearts and minds open.”

Perfectly fine. Completely non-offensive.

But then, moments after Richardson was done, Fred Schneider from the local Public Works Department was invited to give a second invocation. A replacement invocation. A Christian invocation. Because, apparently, the secular one didn’t count.

Schneider only spoke for 30 seconds, but he referenced “Father God in Heaven,” Jesus, blessings, and prayer, making it obvious that Christianity would be explicitly included in the meeting.

Maybe the most damning thing Schneider said was the admission right up front: “I was just asked a few minutes ago if I would lead in the prayer…”

That suggests his invocation wasn’t planned in advance; it was put on the agenda at the last second by Lake County officials as if to correct the mistake of letting an atheist speak. That doesn’t happen when a Christian gives an invocation. It doesn’t even happen when a religious non-Christian speaks. This is nothing more than an insult to all non-Christians in the community, implying that their inspirational messages don’t count.

It’s not even the first time this sort of thing has happened to Richardson specifically!

In 2019, when he gave an invocation in the city of Ocoee, FL, the mayor appeared to apologize on behalf of the city afterwards.

In 2017, when Richardson gave an invocation in Eustis, FL, his comments were followed by a second religious invocation from then-Commissioner Anthony Sabatini.

In 2015, when Richardson gave an invocation in Apopka, FL, the mayor waited until the end of the meeting (after Richardson had left the building) to ask a Christian pastor to give a second invocation. He even said to the pastor, “Since we were kind of uncovered at the start of the meeting, can you cover us with a benediction as we leave tonight?”

These government officials believe Christianity is a necessary ingredient in their meetings. It’s illegal, yet it happens all too frequently.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has now sent a letter to the commissioners in Lake County, calling their actions “discriminatory, unconstitutional, and a slap in the face to all of Lake County’s non-Christian citizens.”

We write to ask that the Board ensure that all future invocation givers are treated with respect and that the discriminatory conduct exhibited at the December 6th meeting does not occur again in the future. If the Board cannot treat invocation speakers equally, the practice of having an invocation needs to be eliminated entirely.

The Establishment Clause thus requires that a nonbeliever who delivers the invocation be treated the same as someone who delivers a Christian prayer. When the board asks for a Christian prayer to “correct” a prayer or invocation that was not Christian, the board engages in a practice that discriminates against minority faiths.

That’s not even a threat. It’s simply asking the Board to treat invocation speakers with respect, and if they’re unable to do that, then they can just get rid of the invocations altogether. There are easy solutions to this problem. It’s appalling that no one in a position of authority during that meeting spoke up to call out the blatant bigotry.


GOP Rep Cries During Speech Against Marriage Bill – JMG

These people want the authority to deny rights to others they don’t like based on the nebulous idea of their religion.   No one says they cannot worship as they want, but we are saying if they want to have a business serving the public they need to serve the entire public.  They want the right to say my god hates … so I can not only hate them but deny them services also, which civil rights laws were passed to prevent.  No one says they have to open businesses that deal with marriage, or that they have to open public businesses.   This is being pushed by the very idea that some people don’t have a right to services sold to others in the community.   This is simply a way to expand their religion / religious authority into the daily public life of the country.   They want to expand their religious authority into all aspects of peoples lives.    Hugs

“This hollow amendment provides no tangible protections for religious schools. No protections for faith-based adoption or foster care agencies. No protections for Christian businesses who contract with the government.

“And no protections for civil servants that justly believe marriage is between a man and a woman. The bill’s implications: submit to our ideology or be silenced.

“This is yet another step toward the Democrats’ goal of dismantling the traditional family, silencing voices of faith and permanently undoing our country’s God-woven foundation.

“This is the Democrats’ priority.” – GOP Rep. Vicki Hartzler, sobbing as she objected ahead of today’s final vote on the marriage bill.

Hartzler ran for the US Senate this year, finishing 23 points behind Missouri AG Eric Schmitt in the GOP primary. Schmitt then won the general election.

RELATED: Rep. Vicky Hartzler is one of the most vicious opponents of LGBT rights in the US House, which is saying something. She appeared on JMG in 2019 when she hosted ex-gay torture advocates in her office next door to Rep. Ted Lieu, who had just introduced a bill to ban the practice. That same year she publicly pressured Amazon to resume selling books by the now-dead Joseph Nicolosi, the so-called father of ex-gay torture. Before being elected to Congress, Hartzler headed the Missouri Coalition to Protect Marriage, which in 2004 backed the successful campaign to install a statewide constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Hartzler has compared same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia. In 2020, she was among the 146 GOP House reps who voted to overturn the presidential election.

Houndentenor • an hour ago

“My entire identity is wrapped up in being shitty to lgbt people! What will I do if you take that away from me?”

ErnestMc Houndentenor • an hour ago

Fortunately, voters took it away from her. This is her last teary hurrah in Congress.

John T Houndentenor • an hour ago

If gay marriage is legal, how will God know I’m a better person than you?!

BeccaM Houndentenor • an hour ago

Free speech means she’s free to be shitty to LGBTQ folks all she wants. She’s just pissed off that federal and state governments can’t be required to be shitty at a systematic and institutional level. Even though having to get married in a different state would absolutely be a burden on same-sex couples and a pretty blatant violation of equal protection. Which this corrupt SCOTUS could well tie itself into knots to allow anyway.

Houndentenor BeccaM • 16 minutes ago

The issue that keeps coming up is that Catholic (and other religious) adoption agencies are being forced to treat all people fairly even if their interpretation of their religious teaching allows for bigotry. They could be bigots without state and federal funds but they don’t want that. They want the money. Religious are exempt except when taking federal (and in the rare cases of totally blue states, state) money. That’s the issue.

But no, they lie and claim that the government is going to force churches to marry gay couples which is a lie and they know it’s a lie. Lies are all they have because the truth is that they are bigoted monsters.

Bob OZ BeccaM • 43 minutes ago

YES ! Another example of them feeling oppressed when others get the same rights as them.

tbj5 • an hour ago

“submit to our ideology or be silenced,” she sobbed, demanding that everyone else submit to *her* ideology.

evanedwards • an hour ago

When can I be protected from straight marriages?

Paula evanedwards • an hour ago

Right! Those marriages frequently end in divorces, breed unwanted children that get physically and mentally abused, and domestic violence.

Paula • an hour ago

Fuck off, Vicky. That was fake. It doesn’t affect you. Nothing has changed from yesterday. You are still allowed to hate, you just can’t do anything about it.

Mark Andrzejczak • an hour ago • edited

Cry more, snowflake. Why does a school need “protection” against recognizing a state-licensed marriage? Oh, right, it doesn’t; it’s just a poorly assembled and irrational smokescreen to cover for discrimination. Say what you mean: Your miserable life is so wretched that only oppressing and mistreating those whom you see as your “inferiors” makes you feel any better about it.

J.Martindale • an hour ago

There is absolutely no change enacted in this legislation with regard to religion. The only significance of this bill is, if Obergefell gets revoked:

1. The Defense of Marriage act is defunct.

2. People in states with laws prohibiting marriage equality will have to be inconvenienced and will need to go out of state to marry.

So you have made the lives of LGBT people more difficult, bitch. Enjoy the fruits of your homophobia, c*nt.

Houndentenor J.Martindale • an hour ago

Actually it safeguards their protections if Obergefell and Windsor are overturned (which I expect soon).

Here’s the issue: they want that sweet government money but don’t want to follow secular rules to get it. They can discriminate all they want if they raise their own money. But now. They want tax dollars from the very people they will discriminate against. And this doesn’t just affect lgbt people. One of the religious adoption agencies recently turned away a Jewish couple. They are bigots and they want OUR tax dollars to pay for their bigotry. They aren’t charities. They are faux government agencies. Cut them off!

What, me worry? • an hour ago

I don’t think that religious groups should be running ANY kind of public service, like hospitals and adoption agencies.

Houndentenor What, me worry? • an hour ago

They can run them all they want. They just shouldn’t be getting any money from the government, including medicare and medicaid, unless they agree to abide by nondiscrimination rules.

Gustav2 • an hour ago • edited

You are not asked to bless the wedding if you are a provider of wedding services. You are not asked to officiate, you are not asked to attend the ceremony and are certainly not asked to dance at the reception.

Now if you are a social service provider receiving tax dollars, you need to take care of citizens WHO ARE PAYING YOU.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Justice Department asks judge to hold Trump team in contempt over Mar-a-Lago case

Justice Department asks judge to hold Trump team in contempt over Mar-a-Lago case
The request came after months of mounting frustration from the Justice Department with the former president’s lawyers.

Read in The Washington Post:

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Best Wishes and Hugs,Scottie

DUBUNKING Right-Wing Anti-Trans Myths

The right-wing is dominating the discourse on trans rights and they’re doing it in the worst way possible. They are going after parents and medical professionals who try to help trans kids. But the facts and statistics are not on their side.

As more in North Carolina regain power, investigators probe domestic terrorism and threats against power infrastructure across the US

A growing number of reported threats to power infrastructure are under investigation following attacks on substations in the South and on the West Coast as electricity becomes a more critical need in winter.

Even before the gun assaults Saturday in Moore County, North Carolina, wiped out power for days to thousands, at least five electricity substations in Oregon and Washington had been attacked in November, according to energy companies.

And now, the FBI is involved after reports of shots fired Wednesday near a power station in Ridgeway, South Carolina, a Duke Energy spokesperson told CNN. No outages or known property damage was reported at the Wateree Hydro Station, spokesperson Jeff Brooks said.

While no motive or suspect behind the North Carolina attacks has been identified, investigators are zeroing in on two possible threads centered on extremist behavior: writings by extremists on online forums encouraging attacks on critical infrastructure and a series of recent disruptions of LGBTQ+ events across the nation by domestic extremists, law enforcement sources told CNN.

Though investigators have no evidence connecting the Moore County outage to a drag event that began there around when the lights went out, the timing and context of armed confrontations around similar LBGTQ+ events across the country are being considered, the sources told CNN. The outage ended the Moore County drag show after audience members lit the stage with phone flashlights, Sandhills PRIDE has said.

The FBI had warned of reports of threats to electricity infrastructure by people espousing racially or ethnically motivated extremist ideology “to create civil disorder and inspire further violence,” the agency said in a November 22 bulletin sent to private industry.

Beyond this month’s incidents in South Carolina and North Carolina, where lights flickered back on Wednesday:

• In Oregon, a substation in Clackamas was damaged in a “deliberate physical attack” over the Thanksgiving holiday, a Bonneville Power Administration spokesperson told CNN. “BPA operators discovered a cut perimeter fence and damaged equipment inside,” the spokesperson said, adding the company is working with the FBI on the incident.

• In Washington state, “two incidents occur(ed) in late November at two different substations,” Puget Sound Energy spokesperson told CNN. “Both incidents are currently under investigation by the FBI,” it said, adding, “We are aware of recent threats on power systems across the country and take these very seriously.”

And two Cowlitz County Public Utility District substations were vandalized in mid-November in the Woodland area, agency spokesperson Alice Dietz told The Seattle Times. “At this time, we do not have any further comment … Our facilities have since been repaired,” Dietz told the Times. CNN has reached out to the FBI’s office in Seattle for comment.

Workers with Randolph Electric Membership Corporation work Tuesday to repair the Eastwood Substation in West End, North Carolina.

Where the North Carolina investigation stands

Anti-government groups in the past two years began using online forums to urge followers to attack critical infrastructure, including the power grid. They have posted documents and even instructions outlining vulnerabilities and suggesting the use of high-powered rifles.

One 14-page guide obtained by CNN cited as an example the 2013 sniper attack on a high voltage substation at the edge of Silicon Valley that destroyed 17 transformers and cost Pacific Gas and Electric $15 million in repairs.

The caliber of the bullets in that California incident is different from those used in North Carolina, a law enforcement source told CNN.

But whoever attacked the North Carolina substations “knew exactly what they were doing,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields has said.

Investigators recovered around the damaged substations nearly two dozen shell casings from a high-powered rifle, law enforcement sources told CNN. While no rifle has been recovered, the ballistics may still offer critical evidence. And bullets pulled from a transformer station and brass shell casings found a short distance away are being examined, the sources said.

Duke Energy workers repair an electrical substation Tuesday in Mineral Springs near Pinehurst, North Carolina.

The casings can be entered into a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives database and matched to any other shell casings fired by the same gun at another crime scene, or to the gun itself if it’s found. The locations of the casings may also offer clues.

The sheriff on Wednesday asked the public to provide any surveillance footage from the areas that were hit and announced $75,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

Someone who lives near the West End substation heard around 20 gunshots in quick succession the night of the attack on the station, he told CNN affiliate WRAL. The power did not go out for about 30 minutes after that, he said.

“Me and my wife were just sitting on the couch just watching a movie and all of the sudden, about 8:45, about 20 shots fired off right across the street,” Spencer Matthews told WRAL.

The outages crippled the local economy and paralyzed daily life for more than 45,000 homes and businesses. And just because the electricity is back on doesn’t mean the pain is over.

Businesses “have lost a tremendous amount over the last few days,” Moore County Manager Wayne Vest said. The outages affected more than 600 food establishments, Moore County Health Director Matt Garner said

“We know our residents are going to end the day and go through the night in power and light and in safety. But there’s another element of our population is still suffering … and that’s our local merchants,” Pinehurst Mayor John Strickland said.

“If you’re dining out, if you’re only going to go out once, go out twice,” Vest said. “If you were going to shop and buy one package, buy two packages.”

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Lawmaker Explains Insane Reason Behind the Legislation

I keep telling people these don’t say gay and anti-trans bills do not have anything to do with “protecting kids from anything”, but are driven by hate and the desire to erase gays, lesbians, and trans people from society.  Using the same laws as Russia has.   This man admits it, openly.  This man is an old white Christian who refuses to understand that people are born gay or gender different.   They are not recruited, not bullied into it, not forced, you cannot convert them.   Think of it, if that were the case that straight kids could become gay or trans just because they really wanted to be abused or targeted more for bullying, all you straight people ask yourself if you had to choose being straight with attractions to the opposite gender / sex or did it just flow naturally.   These people like the guy above what to punish a group of society, a segment of the population for simply being born not straight or not identifying with the gender they were assigned at birth.  That is the crime these people want hidden, want other kids protected from, simply being existing as a gay kid or a trans kid.     Hugs

Senator Dennis Baxley

Tuesday morning, the Florida Senate passed the controversial SB1834. Formally known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, the proposed legislation is commonly called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.  The proposal passed with a vote of 22-17 along party lines with two Republicans, Senator Jeffrey Brandes and Senator Jennifer Bradley crossing the aisle. But in the debate, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Baxley, said the quiet part out loud and revealed his reasoning behind it all: to stop LGBTQ+ children from coming out.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill as it stands would bar any classroom discussion around gender identity or sexual orientation in grades K-3. It would also restrict conversation around those topics to what is developmentally and age-appropriate for grades 3 – 12. To be clear: schools are already in the business of determining what is developmentally and age-appropriate discussion and almost no topics are enshrined in state-wide statute in this way in Florida. While some have said this proposal is about sex ed or sexual acts, the actual text does not refer to sexual acts. When Brandes offered an amendment to change the legislation so that it would refer to all sexual acts, Republicans shut it down.

In debate, Baxley was questioned about the legislation. He was asked on the floor multiple times to provide examples of ongoing classroom instruction that showed a need for the bill, he could provide none. Instead, he spoke about the increasing number youth coming out as LGBTQ+. He said he discussed the matter with his son, who is a psychologist.

“Why is everybody now all about coming out when you are in school?” he said on the floor, according to The Advocate. “There really is a dynamic of concern about how much of this are genuine type of experiences and how many of them are just kids trying on different kinds of things they hear about and different kinds of identities and experimenting.

“That’s what kids do, you know. Maybe they’re in this club or they’re in that club or they’re onto this. And they’re trying on these different identities of life trying to see where they fit in. I said am I crazy or what? All of a sudden we’re having all these issues come up about this topic of their sexuality and gender. I don’t understand why that’s such a big wave right now.”

Baxley had earlier said that this legislation would not impact after-school clubs and organizations, only classroom instruction.

“Some of it is I’m sure cultural shift of what’s accepted and that kind of thing,” he continued. “But I know some of it is just the confusion kids go through, particularly when you go to middle school and high school.”

A version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill previously passed in the Florida House. The legislation has been the subject of protests and walk outs across the state from high school students. It now will now go to Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has previously indicated his support.


BUZZFEED NEWS: Drag Queens Are Fearing For Their Lives As Right-Wing Extremist Attacks Intensify

Drag Queens Are Fearing For Their Lives As Right-Wing Extremist Attacks Intensify
Weeks after five people were killed at a Colorado Springs gay bar, drag performers are weighing how to keep their community safe.

Read in BuzzFeed News:

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Sent from my iPad

Police refused to protect drag show from threats then high-fived Proud Boys who showed up to protest

When the police break the law, is there really any law?   These drag queen story hours are legal and safe, parents bring their kids because they want them to hear the stories read by the drag queens.   Yet the police stand by and let them be shut down by thugs threatening violence.  What next, will the police stand by while these thugs shut down Muslim worship services?  How about Jewish Bar Mitzvahs or Jewish schools?  At what point does enforcing white Christian views on the population become too much?   Hugs

Right-wing protestors show up to protest a canceled Drag Queen Story Hour
Right-wing protestors show up to protest a canceled Drag Queen Story HourPhoto: Screenshot

The Columbus, Ohio police chief defended an officer seen high-fiving a member of the violent white supremacist group Proud Boys during a protest of a drag show. The show was canceled over security concerns after organizers alleged local police refused to provide security for the event.

While the event was canceled, over 50 right-wing protesters dressed head to toe in combat gear and carrying massive weapons showed up, making the neighborhood look like a warzone.

After video of the cop getting chummy with a white supremacist surfaced on social media, Chief of Police Elaine Bryant told reporters that the whole thing was simply a misunderstanding.

“A video has been shown online that shows one of our dialogue team member high-fiving a member of the Proud Boys,” she said in a statement. “We understand how this looks and how this could make community members feel. However, this was not done to show solidarity, but an attempt to defuse a tense situation.”

She went on to brag that there were no arrests, violence, or use of force at the protest. Of course, since the event was canceled due to the threats of violence, it’s not surprising that there wasn’t violence. And with police officers high-fiving members of the paramilitary group, the lack of arrests or use of force isn’t exactly shocking. Many Proud Boys members are either former or current law enforcement officers.

The “Holi-Drag Storytime” event was supposed to take place this past weekend at the K-5 Red Oak Community School within the First Unitarian Church of Columbus, NBC News reported.

Speaking through tears on an empty stage amongst holiday decorations, including a rainbow Christmas tree, the school manager, Cheryl Ryan explained how the decision not to host the story hour came about.

“I’m here on this empty stage because in the end there was a disagreement about how this community should be best protected. There is a long documented history of law enforcement doing harm to the LGBTQ community among others that continues to this day… As even a cursory Google search will illustrate, it is no secret that extreme right-wing groups including the Proud Boys enjoy a cozy relationship with law enforcement.”

“When the Proud Boys stated they would show up to intimidate and harass and bully our attendees and organizers, we had to make a decision about how we were going to keep everyone safe.”

She said after a week of communication with the police department, she was told they could hire a special duty officer “who may or may not show up because they’re understaffed.”

Ryan said that police had assured journalists they were monitoring the situation, but in reality,  “The police had offered nothing and were not in touch with us.”

“Yet I received hundreds of emails, calls, and messages from folks in the community asking, ‘How can I help? What can I do? I’m ready to show up.’”

“I never heard this message from the city’s leadership and those whose job it is to protect us.”

“It turns out our biggest problem wasn’t the Proud Boys after all. I implore this community’s leaders to consider how this could have gone differently,” Ryan said.

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