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Nebraska Lawmaker Calls Out Republicans for Hating Trans People More Than They Love Their Families

Megan Hunt, who has been leading a weeks-long filibuster in Nebraska, called it as it is.

A demonstrator walks down the sidewalk carrying a transgender pride flag
Eric Thayer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the Nebraska state legislature prepares for a final debate on a bill that would ban both gender-affirming care and abortion, one Democratic senator called out her Republicans for their blatant bigotry.

Senator Megan Hunt has helped lead the charge on a marathon filibuster to block anti-trans legislation during the entire legislative session. Her son is trans, making the issue particularly personal. Republicans have rallied to push this latest bill through, including Senator Ray Aguilar, who is recovering from two knee surgeries, and Senator Lou Ann Linehan, who said she had to miss her grandchild’s preschool graduation for the initial vote.

“I’m asking you to love your family more than you hate mine,” Hunt said. “If your family wants you home to recover from surgery, maybe you should do that. If you want to go see your grandson graduate from preschool, you should do that.”

“We don’t need you here.”

Elon Said Twitter Users Can Post Two-Hour Videos, So Someone Immediately Shared the Entire Shrek 3 Movie

New CEO shift going well *thumbs up*

Altan Gocher/DeFodi Images/Getty Images

On Thursday, Elon Musk announced that Twitter Blue subscribers now have the ability to upload two-hour videos—eight gigabytes worth of content—into their tweets. And one of the top replies showed yet another of many potential legal entanglements Musk faces because of his mismanagement of Twitter.

While this user’s viral post has since been disabled “in response to a report by the copyright owner,” scores of other accounts are continuing to post full-length films on their Twitter accounts. A scroll through the replies to Musk’s announcement of yet another ill-thought-out benefit of his money-losing Twitter Blue regime shows numerous users posting high-quality videos of copyrighted movies.

The episode follows Musk’s announcement of a new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, whose appointment was ostensibly meant to symbolize a serious pursuit to appease and attract advertisers. That pursuit was somewhat deflated after a scratch beneath the surface showed how much Yaccarino seems to appreciate conspiratorial and far-right content.

And a bunch of accounts committing copyright violations left and right—amid a decimated content and standards team—probably doesn’t help Twitter one bit.

Mark Your Calendars for the Next Big Trump Indictment

The Georgia prosecutor investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election has signaled when in the summer new charges will likely come.

Donlad Trump wears a MAGA hat on a golf field
Robert Perry/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in efforts to pay hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who he was alleged to have an affair with. He has been found civilly liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll. And now, the twice-impeached former president is looking down the barrel of another set of criminal charges to come as soon as early August.

The New York Times reports that the Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election has announced that most of her staff will be working remotely during the first three weeks of August. She has also asked judges in an Atlanta courthouse not to schedule trials for a portion of that time, as she looks to finally bring charges in the investigation.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis sent out the requests and plans in a letter addressed to 21 county officials, including the chief county judge and county sheriff, the Times reports.

“Thank you for your consideration and assistance in keeping the Fulton County Judicial Complex safe during this time,” Willis wrote, making explicit what the remote work policy and requests were related to. She has already asked local law enforcement and the FBI to help with security in and around the courthouse as well.

Though the Times doesn’t say this, it’s possible the Georgia indictment won’t come until August, in order to give special counsel Jack Smith the space to bring his own charges against Trump first. As a reminder, Smith is also investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as his mishandling of classified documents.

The investigation into whether Trump and company interfered with the 2020 election in Georgia has been ongoing for over two years. A special grand jury that heard evidence in the case for some seven months has recommended indictments of more than a dozen individuals—and Trump is highly suspected to be among the recommended culprits.

Willis’s security concerns are in direct response to Trump’s own attacks on the slate of investigations being led all over the country into his and his allies’ conduct. He and the right have viciously attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Stormy Daniels, E. Jean Carroll, and those in the Georgia investigation as well. In Willis’s letter to the FBI last year, she noted that Trump had called the investigators “vicious, horrible people” at a rally and encouraged protests in cities where he was being investigated.

Trump is 0–2 in just the most recent investigations he has faced. And given how much paper trail has already been exposed showing Trump and his allies’ widespread efforts to overturn the election, it is not unlikely that the Georgia investigation will present insurmountable charges once again.

People Close to Dianne Feinstein Are Joking That She’ll Resign When She’s Dead

Apparently, the California senator has been battling inflammation of the brain and facial paralysis too.

Senator Dianne Feinstein close-up (she looks ill)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Apparently, Dianne Feinstein forgot she had encephalitis—inflammation of the brain. Either that, or the California senator (or her surrogates) have been lying about the degree of health issues she has been dealing with.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Feinstein has been dealing with more complications than shingles alone. The virus spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance problems and facial paralysis, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on encephalitis. Both conditions were not publicly disclosed.

When asked about the nondisclosed conditions, Feinstein claimed she did not have encephalitis, that it “really has never been diagnosed,” and that it “was really a bad flu.”

The utter bleakness of it all cannot be overstated. “People close to her joke privately that perhaps when Ms. Feinstein is dead, she will start to consider resigning,” the Times wrote.

Feinstein has already been feared to be fighting several cognitive and physical health issues; the new reports affirm the nature of those fears. Encephalitis can impact people’s memory and language function and incur sleeping or mood disorders, spells of confusion, headaches, and difficulties walking.

Since the revelation, a Feinstein spokesperson has said the encephalitis “resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March” but that the senator “continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome.”

The Times reports follows a discouraging episode on Tuesday, in which the senator seemed to have forgotten she has not been in the Senate for over two months.

“No, I haven’t been gone,” Feinstein said. “You should follow the—I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working,” she continued.

A reporter followed up, asking if she meant she had been working from home.

“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” she insisted. “Please. You either know or don’t know.”

Sincerely, this is heartbreaking to watch. Feinstein surely has her own agency, but it is abjectly cruel if anyone is forcing or encouraging her to stay in her role. If Feinstein indeed insists of her own accord on staying, may we pray she comes to her senses on how her absence has debilitated the machinations of government and how her insistence on working debilitates the rest of her own livelihood.

Ron DeSantis’s Drag Ban Is Already Killing Pride Events in Florida

Pride in Florida this year will look very different.

Sean Drakes/Getty Images
Celebrated drag personality and Palace ambassador Tiffany Fantasia co-hosts the fifteenth annual Miami Beach Pride Parade in April.

Ron DeSantis’s war on queer people has already wrecked multiple Pride celebrations this year.

The group that organizes Pride festivals in Tampa, Florida, announced Thursday it will cancel one of its annual events in light of the newly signed law that effectively bans drag performances.

The law, which DeSantis signed Wednesday, prohibits government entities and employees from issuing permits to organizations that may hold “adult live performances” in the presence of minors. Anyone that does can be charged with a misdemeanor. The law is so vaguely worded, and the punishment so high, that at least one Pride Parade was canceled before the measure was even signed.

The new law would also ban businesses from allowing minors to attend an “adult live performance,” which is defined as a show performed in front of a live audience that “depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities … lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.” Any business that breaks this law will face a fine of up to $10,000 and could lose its license.

“It is with deep sorrow and sadness that the TAMPA PRIDE BOARD has had to CANCEL PRIDE ON THE RIVER this Fall. The law the governor signed into effect against LGBTQ+ Community yesterday is sickening,” Tampa Pride said on Facebook. Pride on the River is a festival that takes place every fall and features a boat parade, drag brunches, and kid-oriented activities such as balloon animals and face painting.

We are all sick for our LGBTQ+ Community,” Tampa Pride said. “Put on your thinking caps Floridians..... We have to come together for our lives.”

Screenshot via Facebook

Florida Republican lawmakers have made a point of aggressively targeting LGBTQ people since the start of the year. DeSantis signed a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills on Wednesday—the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia—including a measure that lets the state take trans children away from their families if they are receiving gender-affirming care. The effects of these cruel measures are already being seen, as some LGBTQ people clearly no longer feel safe expressing themselves in public.

“The laws recently signed by the autocratic [governor] are unclear and he wants to scare the LGBTQ+ Community,” Tampa Pride President Carrie West told The New Republic. He said the group still plans to have its annual Pride festival in March 2024 and will bring back Pride on the River next fall.

Florida is the second state to pass a law attacking drag performances, which have become a particular target for the right wing in recent years. In March, Tennessee became the first state to pass such a law, although the measure was blocked by a judge before it could go into effect on the grounds that it was overly broad and violated free speech rights.

Ron DiSaster Loses $1 Billion Disney Project Days Before 2024 Announcement

Congrats to Ron DeSantis and his dumb “war on woke”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis’s childish attacks on Disney have now led to his state losing out on a $1 billion project.

On Thursday, the company announced that it was pulling the plug on a massive office complex scheduled to be developed in Orlando. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the project would have hosted more than 2,000 jobs with an average salary of some $120,000, reports The New York Times.

Disney’s move follows a yearlong clash between the massive company and the Florida governor after DeSantis was miffed by Disney’s outward opposition to his notorious “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The project would have relocated over 1,000 employees to the new complex; The New York Times reports that while some employees were not eager to do so, Disney persisted due to a tax credit it would have received that would’ve had the company securing as much as $570 million over 20 years for the development.

The company still has $17 billion worth of development planned for Disney World over the next decade, which would create some 13,000 jobs. “I hope we’re able to,” Josh D’Amaro, Disney theme park and consumer products chairman said in a memo Thursday.

The foreboding tone matches that of Disney CEO Robert Iger in an earnings call last week: “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?” Iger’s question was a warning shot sent amid DeSantis’s escalating attacks against the company.

DeSantis has had a personal vendetta against Disney since the company dared criticize the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law last year.  Last week, he signed a bill to specifically subject Disney World’s monorail system to enhanced state inspections and regulations. DeSantis has also canceled Disney’s long-standing agreement with the state to self-govern its resort.

Incidentally, DeSantis is reportedly set to finally announce his bid for presidency next week. Not sure if one’s ideal runway to a bid involves dropping a $1 billion bag for your state, a series of robotic public appearances, getting in a race-to-the-bottom argument with your main opponent about who is worse on abortion, and having your endorsed mayoral candidate historically lose to a Democrat!

GOP “FBI Politicization” Hearing Features Witnesses Paid by Trump Adviser

Surprise, surprise, Republicans’ big investigation into the FBI is a sham.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Jim Jordan

Representative Jim Jordan admitted Thursday that two FBI whistleblowers testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee were paid by one of Donald Trump’s advisers.

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday on the alleged “weaponization” of the federal government. Republicans have charged that the FBI has unfairly targeted conservatives, pointing to things like the Trump-Russia investigation.

During the hearing, Democratic Representative Dan Goldman got two FBI whistleblowers to admit that they had been paid by Kash Patel, a former member of the Trump administration and a current Trump adviser.

When asked whether he thought that was appropriate, given this is allegedly a hearing on politicization, committee Chair Jordan implied that it was, shouting, “They got a family! How are they supposed to feed their family?”

One of those paid witnesses also refused to participate in the January 6 investigation, while another former FBI agent directly interfered in said investigation.

Republicans have launched multiple wild-goose chases of investigations since taking control of the House, wasting everyone’s time as the United States draws closer to defaulting on its debt. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer recently admitted that not only does he have no concrete proof of wrongdoing by President Joe Biden, but he also lost track of one of his main informants.

Democrats also called out Republicans for not following standard protocols regarding the whistleblowers. Judiciary ranking member Stacey Plaskett said Jordan had violated committee rules by not sharing the whistleblowers’ testimony ahead of the hearing, but Jordan brushed her off.

Plaskett slammed Republicans for giving Democrats next to no information and pushing conspiracy theories. “My colleagues on the far right are on a mission to attack, discredit, and ultimately dismantle the FBI,” she said. “This is ‘defund the police’ on steroids.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene Says Calling Her a White Supremacist Is the Same as Using the N-Word

Greene made the comment while lying about Jamaal Bowman, a Black congressman, and calling him “aggressive.”

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks at a podium
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene says calling her a white supremacist is “like calling a person of color the n-word.”

Greene—who has called for a “national divorce,” spread conspiracy theories about 9/11 and Jewish space lasers setting forest fires in California, and expressed support for fatal violence against Democrats—made the statement Thursday as she announced her intention to introduce articles of impeachment against Joe Biden.

The Georgia representative was taking issue with Representative Jamaal Bowman calling her a white supremacist, and instead claimed that Bowman was in fact inflicting violence upon her. She complained about Bowman yelling and calling her a white supremacist, which she takes “great offense to.”

“His physical mannerisms are aggressive,” Greene said about Bowman, a Black man with an opinion. “I feel threatened by him.

Beyond Greene’s outrageous claim that calling her a white supremacist is the same as calling a Black person the n-word, Greene’s characterization of Bowman was tainted with racist stereotypes that he’s a “scary Black man”—a characterization Bowman notes spans way beyond a “dog whistle,” into “bullhorn” territory:

Greene claimed Bowman led a mob around her, referring to when she was surrounded by people at the New York City courthouse, amid former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictment last month. But Greene’s  suggestion belied what was actually the case: counterprotesters not related to Bowman were having none of her defenses of Trump. Greene’s fears of a “mob,” of course, are all the more comical given her encouragement and defense of rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Greene also lied and claimed Bowman “shoved” Representative Thomas Massie, seemingly referring to Bowman’s confrontation of Massie, in the aftermath of the Nashville school shooting, about Republican inaction on guns. While both were passionate, Bowman did not shove Massie.

Greene’s concerns over a “shove,” of course, are all the more comical given that her own close colleague Clay Higgins just assaulted a protester less than 24 hours prior. And even on the count of verbal assaults, Greene famously accosted a survivor of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

In sum, Greene found a way to be incredibly racist, remarkably dishonest, and keen on reminding all of us how she and her colleagues are actually guilty of all the charges she leveled against Bowman.

Florida Traffic Sign Reads “Kill All Gays,” as State Completely Demolishes Queer Rights

Police noticed the sign the same day that Ron DeSantis signed multiple bills infringing on LGBTQ rights.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Downtown Orlando

A traffic sign in Florida was hacked to say “Kill All Gays,” the same day that Governor Ron DeSantis signed a raft of anti-LGBTQ measures into law.

Orlando police officers received reports about the sign Wednesday morning. They arrived just before 5:00 a.m. and found the sign in the city’s medical neighborhood.

Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for the rights group Equality Florida and a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, tweeted a photo of the sign. “This is what emboldened bigotry and extremism look like,” he said.

A city spokesperson told the local Fox channel that the original sign had been put out at the start of the week as part of preparations for an upcoming 5K race. It was removed Wednesday after it had been hacked to display the homophobic message. Orlando police are still trying to determine who is responsible.

In a cruel twist, Wednesday was the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. It was also the day that DeSantis signed multiple bills curbing LGBTQ rights into law. The new laws expand “Don’t Say Gay,” ban discussion of personal pronouns in schools, and prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender on any public property (including schools).

One of the bills will let the state take trans children away from families if they are receiving gender-affirming care, and another could cancel all future Pride celebrations in the state from taking place.

DeSantis, who is expected to officially announce his presidential campaign next week, has made clamping down on LGBTQ rights a major part of his platform. He also recently signed a bill defunding diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at all state universities.

“The homophobia and transphobia needs to stop,” tweeted Democratic state Representative Anna Eskamani, who represents the district Orlando is in. “The rhetoric is already bad, the policies dangerous—and all of it has and will translate into violence.”

Wisconsin Teacher to Be Fired After Complaining About “Rainbowland” Song Ban

A Wisconsin schoolteacher is being punished for trying to have her students sing a popular song by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus.

Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus, who sang “Rainbowland” together, perform onstage.

All the hurt and the hate going on here (It needs to stop here)

We are rainbows, me and you

Every color, every hue

Let’s shine through (through)

Together, we can

Start livin’ in a rainbowland

These are the lyrics that have prompted a Wisconsin school district superintendent to recommend a first-grade teacher be fired.

On Monday, Heyer Elementary first-grade teacher Melissa Tempel says, she was notified that Waukesha School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Sebert is recommending her termination, in retaliation for her complaining about the district’s decision to ban her students from singing Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s “Rainbowland,” a chart-leading song about hope, positivity, and love.

The escalation follows an ongoing drama that has left thousands of people across the nation scratching their heads.

In March, first graders were barred from singing “Rainbowland” at their spring concert. Tempel had been working with other teachers to prepare for the concert, and they had decided that “Rainbowland” would be a good addition to the set list. But administrators, including the school principal, barred the song’s inclusion. The opponents cited a district-wide policy on items “that may be considered political, controversial, or divisive.”

After Tempel tweeted about the ban, bringing mass public attention toward it, she was placed on administrative leave, with few details made available to the public.

“I am deeply concerned that Ms. Tempel was removed from her classroom for standing up for them and what she knows is right,” a parent from Tempel’s class said at the time.

Even State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly weighed in, sending a letter addressed directly to Waukesha Superintendent Sebert and the Waukesha School Board, saying she was “deeply troubled by the harm caused” by their actions, imploring them that “this damage is reversible. It is paramount that you change course now.”

Underly cited Waukesha’s own policies to argue what the administrators’ course of action should be. “The district can instead choose to foster inclusive environments where staff, students, and families are able to ‘identify important issues, explore fully and fairly all sides of an issue, weigh carefully the values and factors involved, and develop techniques for formulating and evaluating positions,’” she wrote, citing the very same policy that led to the song ban.

“You can choose to re-evaluate the decision to place a district employee on administrative leave and, instead, recognize that ‘acknowledging the rights of [the district’s] professional staff members as citizens in a democratic society is, in fact, in the best interests of the School District of Waukesha,’” Underly continued.

Yet it seems, instead of reflecting on whether they may have reacted too harshly, they decided to go even further and move to fire Tempel.

“I have missed my first graders every single day since I was removed from the classroom with no notice, no ability to provide plans and no ability to communicate with my first-grade families, Tempel said in a statement. “It will take me a long time to process how cruel the District’s actions were to those families and the chilling effect my termination will have on any other educators in the Waukesha community.”

The recommended firing follows a long-standing concern by parents and teachers about district administrators policing expression within the classroom. Waukesha’s Board Policy 2240, “Controversial Issues in the Classroom,” has set guidelines for when the district would “permit” a so-called “controversial issue” to be introduced in the classroom. Along with the innocent Cyrus and Parton song, the policy has also been applied to bar students, teachers, and even classroom walls from donning rainbow designs, because of their association with the LGBTQ community.

With regard to the song banning itself, Waukesha School Board President Dr. Kelly Piacsek and Superintendent Sebert previously insisted they did not “insert themselves into the song selection.” The pair has framed the decisions as ones made by Heyer Principal Mark Schneider and the school’s music teacher, insisting that they only reviewed and upheld decisions made by Heyer’s staff. Yet they interestingly took it upon themselves to explain the exact rationale of why the song was banned. They explained that the “subject matter addressed by the song’s lyrics” was not in line with the “the age and maturity level of the students.”

While Tempel has encouraged individuals not to call the district out of concern for taking time and resources away from students, she herself plans to pursue a First Amendment claim against the district. “I cannot allow others to be intimidated into silence. These are matters of public concern that the Waukesha Community has a right to know about and I stand by my decision to share the impact of Policy 2240 with the public. I will rest easy every night knowing that I did what was right for children.”