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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
June 14, 2023

Southern Baptists Vote to Keep Out Churches With Female Pastors

Ruth GrahamElizabeth Dias
By Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias
Ruth Graham reported from Dallas. Elizabeth Dias reported from New Orleans.

June 14, 2023
Updated 3:57 p.m. ET
Southern Baptists finalized the expulsion of two churches with female pastors on Wednesday, after a dramatic clash at their annual convention over moves by an ultraconservative wing on multiple fronts to reverse what it sees as a liberal drift.

The ousted congregations are the Saddleback Church in Southern California, one of the denomination’s largest, and the Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. They were expelled in February, but were given the opportunity to appeal the decision at the church’s annual meeting in New Orleans, which ends Wednesday.

Impassioned appeals by the two churches’ leaders were resoundingly rejected by the more than 10,000 delegates. The results, announced Wednesday, were not close. More than 90 percent of the delegates voted in favor of Fern Creek’s expulsion, and almost as many voted to confirm the removal of Saddleback, which was founded by the prominent preacher and author Rick Warren. Delegates also affirmed the expulsion of a church in Florida that the denomination said had failed to cooperate in a sexual abuse investigation.

The convention is scheduled to vote later Wednesday on a proposal to amend its constitution to more clearly and strictly ban women from leadership roles.

( Just a reminder, it is in fact 2023. )

June 13, 2023

Illinois becomes first state to ban book bans

Governor J.B. Pritzker compared the new law to Illinois' past firsts, such as being the first state in the union to ratify the 13th Amendment outlawing chattel slavery.

DAVE BYRNES / June 12, 2023

CHICAGO (CN) — Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a state law prohibiting book bans on Monday afternoon, making Illinois the first state in the union to adopt such a measure.

"Book bans are about censorship. Marginalizing people; marginalizing ideas and facts," Pritzker said in a prepared speech prior to signing the bill at Chicago's Harold Washington Library, amid the Chicago Public Library system's 150th anniversary celebrations. "Regimes ban books, not democracies."

Pritzker also compared signing the law to other times in history when Illinois was the first state to adopt progressive legislation, specifically when it was first to ratify the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on Feb. 1, 1865, and first to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote on June 10, 1919.

"Here in Illinois we don't hide from the truth, we embrace it. All of it," Pritzker said, adding that he wanted his own children to learn the truth of U.S. history, "warts and all."

( How awesome is that, huh? )

June 13, 2023

Metal sale leads to arrest of Indiana man on Capitol riot charges

William Lance Wilkerson was identified in part thanks to security photos from a Bloomington scrapyard

Author: Jordan Fischer
Published: 3:59 PM EDT June 12, 2023

WASHINGTON — An Indiana man now charged with misdemeanors for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was identified in part thanks to his sale of metals to a scrapyard. William Lance Wilkerson was arrested last week in Mitchell, Indiana, on four misdemeanor counts for allegedly unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

According to charging documents unsealed in federal court in D.C. on Monday, Wilkerson can be seen in surveillance footage entering the building through the Senate Wing doors at approximately 3:24 p.m. – a little more than half an hour after the second breach of that entrance. Investigators say Wilkerson then made his way to the Crypt before leaving the building approximately five minutes later. While inside, Wilkerson was captured both on surveillance video and, as shown by images included in charging documents, a live video being broadcast by right-wing streamer Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet that has helped investigators identify numerous defendants. Gionet was sentenced in January to 60 days in prison after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Although Wilkerson is visible in Gionet’s stream, it was surveillance video taken at a scrapyard in Bloomington, Indiana, that resulted in his arrest. Under Indiana law, valuable metal dealers must verify a driver’s license when receiving scrap metals. According to charging documents, Wilkerson visited JB Salvage Inc. at least four times – including at least one time in December 2020 in which he wore the same green jacket he was wearing on Jan. 6. Wilkerson was then positively identified to the FBI by an acquaintance of several years.

Investigators also found Wilkerson’s Facebook account, where he had posted photos of himself at the Capitol on Jan. 6 along with comments indicating his presence. In one post on Jan. 7, 2021, Wilkerson wrote, “Real patriots did infiltrate the capitol. I watched it happen. The media is all lies unless they were there.”


( The "real" patriots one by one are still being arrested and charged....and another and another one.)

June 13, 2023

Republicans are counting on people not to read the Trump indictment

Donald Trump’s critics want people to read the special counsel’s indictment. Trump’s supporters do not. This is part of a striking larger pattern.

June 12, 2023, 1:19 PM EDT
By Steve Benen

Scrutinizing the Republicans who scrambled to defend Donald Trump in wake of his latest indictment, a New York Times analysis noted, “Few if any of them bothered to wait to read the indictment.”

This is demonstrably true. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy slammed the indictment as a “grave injustice” nearly a full day before the California Republican had any idea what it said. Similarly, Sen. Ted Cruz told his podcast listeners, “This indictment is garbage,” long before it was unsealed. The Texan — a Harvard Law school graduate and a former state solicitor general — was condemning a legal document he had not read and knew effectively nothing about.

There were, however, other conservatives who preferred a more literate approach. John Bolton, who served as Trump’s White House national security advisor, wrote on Twitter, “All American voters should read the full text of the Trump indictment, and then consult their own consciences.”

The editorial board of National Review, which I nearly always disagree with, added on Saturday:
It is impossible to read the indictment against Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case and not be appalled at the way he handled classified documents as an ex-president, and responded to the attempt by federal authorities to reclaim them.

June 12, 2023

DOJ seeks 14 years for Jan.6 rioter called Trump 'dad,' drove stun gun into Michael Fanone's neck

Daniel "D.J." Rodriguez wrote in a letter to the former officer he assaulted that he wished he was smarter. The feds say his actions amount to terrorism.

June 12, 2023, 1:22 PM EDT
By Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are seeking 14 years in federal prison for a violent Jan. 6 rioter who his lawyers say "idolized" Donald Trump and thought of the former president as the "father figure" he never had.

Daniel "D.J. " Rodriquez pleaded guilty in February, admitting that he battled law enforcement officers on the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and tased former D.C. Metropolitan Police officer Mike Fanone in the neck before storming the building and smashing out a window. The government, in a sentencing memo filed late Friday, sought 168 months in federal prison along with restitution in the amount of $98,927, saying that Rodriguez's crimes were acts of terrorism that deserve an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines. Judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Rodriguez on June 21.

Rodriguez, his defense attorneys wrote in a separate sentencing memo, "struggled to find a place where he felt he truly belonged" and "found a cause that gave his life meaning" when he became a part of the "Make America Great Again" movement in California. Rodriguez saw Trump as "the father figure and leader Mr. Rodriguez never had in his life," with his attorneys writing that he "trusted Trump blindly and admired Trump so much" that he referred to Trump as "dad" in messages he sent to a "PATRIOTS 45 MAGA Gang" group on Telegram.

( The judges are not giving the sentences many prosecutors want, in this case I hope he gets the full 14 years. )

June 12, 2023

Anti-trans bills and political climates are taking a significant mental health toll on trans....

Anti-trans bills and political climates are taking a significant mental health toll on trans and nonbinary people – even during Pride

Published: June 12, 2023 8.26am EDT

Pride month is a time of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, with parades and events that bring people together in joyful moments of connection. In 2023, as the LGBTQ+ community is facing unprecedented legislative attacks, I am especially reminded of the history of protest and activism that is inherently a part of Pride and its origins.

There have been almost 500 bills proposed this legislative cycle seeking to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people and their access to essential resources like medical care, nearly 12 times as many as there were in 2018. Many of these bills target transgender and nonbinary people, particularly youth access to gender-affirming medical care, falsely claiming that they are protecting children from abuse.

I am a psychologist, researcher and director of Trans-ilience, a community-engaged research team studying how stigma and oppression influence mental health for trans and nonbinary communities. We also study how trans and nonbinary people stay resilient in the face of such challenges. Whether or not these bills pass, the research is clear that the political climate itself can have significant negative effects on the lives of trans and nonbinary people, especially on their mental health and well-being.


( Easier for the GOP to make up a boogeyman scheme than actually invest in education policy and combating poverty that runs rampant in Republican controlled states. )

June 9, 2023

The party of pollution, disease and death: When Republicans tell you who they are, believe them

In the name of imaginary freedom, Republicans are willing to let many people die. In fact, they're proud of it



In its current session, the U.S. Supreme Court weakened the federal government's authority to enforce the Clean Water Act.

The mainstream media have been assiduous in explaining to us that the case involved knotty issues of constitutional limits to regulatory authority, the extent to which Congress may delegate powers to agencies, Fifth Amendment takings and so forth. A more daring analysis might have suggested that the decision demonstrated that the Republican-led court, reflecting the GOP's traditional hatred of regulation, was attempting to dismantle what Steve Bannon called "the administrative state." But even that fails to convey the true significance of the ruling.

Descriptions like those given above are the means by which conventional media accounts of our politics normalize the abnormal and pretend everyone is operating in good faith, if perhaps acting from principles we may not agree with. So let's try to describe the court's decision in plain English.

The Supreme Court, acting as the judicial arm of the Republican Party, weakened the Clean Water Act because it wants polluted water.


( This issue aside, today is an historic day, a former POTUS is indicted on federal charges, and more likely to come. I am hopeful for the US political system because with accountability the next demagogue may not believe it is worth the trouble to run for president. )

June 7, 2023

Air quality live updates: New York City has the worst air in the world as smoke from Canadian

Air quality live updates: New York City has the worst air in the world as smoke from Canadian wildfires rolls in

NYC ranked first among major cities for the worst air quality worldwide today, according to IQAir, a Swiss air monitoring company.

Updated June 7, 2023, 3:42 PM EDT
By NBC News
The smoke from ferocious Canadian wildfires cast a sickly pall over much of the eastern United States today, worsening air quality for millions of people.

About 98 million people in parts of 18 states from New Hampshire to South Carolina were under air quality alerts this morning for both wildfire smoke and ozone.


( Be careful out there, it is not good. )

June 6, 2023

Human Rights Campaign declares state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people

Erin Doherty

The Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for LGBTQ+ people living in the U.S., the first time the organization has made such a warning in its 40-year history.

The big picture: The historic declaration comes in response to an "unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year," HRC said in a press release.

Already this year, more than 75 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community have been signed into law, per HRC.
HRC also released a guidebook, which includes a summary of state laws and various resources, including a guide for LGBTQ+ travelers and ways to advocate against laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community.


( 2023 and here we still are. )

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