Sunday, July 23, 2017

Podcast: Texas' Anti-Trans Bill; Star Trek Discovery; New Jersey's Support For Trans Students

Listen in as I discuss this week’s LGBTQ headlines including:

• The Texas Legislature is on its way to approving an anti-transgender “bathroom” bill

• Rhode Island becomes the 9th state to ban harmful “ex-gay therapy”

• New Jersey passes required guidance for trans students

Star Trek Discovery will feature its first gay romantic couple

• We may soon find out if Academy Award winner Moonlight opened the door for more mainstream success for queer-themed cinema

All that and more on this episode of The Randy Report.

For past episodes, or to subscribe to the podcast for free, click here.

And, by the way, please feel free to share The Randy Report podcast with friends. It's a great way to catch up on the week's LGBT political, pop culture and entertainment headlines in about 15 minutes :)

UK Eases Rules On Blood Donations By Gay & Bisexual Men

(image via Flickr)

Restrictions on blood donations by gay men in the United Kingdom have been eased again.

In 1981, the government placed an outright ban on all blood donations by gay men as a response to the AIDS epidemic.

That policy was relaxed to allow gay men to donate blood IF they practiced sexual abstinence for 12 months.

Now, gay and bisexual men will be able to donate if they refrain from having sex for three months.

The changes in policy are directly related to the improved testing which detects HIV, syphilis or hepatitis.

Here in the U.S., gay and bisexual men have been able to donate blood since 2015 if they abstain from sex for a year. Prior to 2015, there was an outright ban in place since 1992.


Joe Santagato: Idiots Of The Internet Part 13

I'm in the mood for some hilarious Mr. Joe Sanatagato today. I realized this morning I haven't shared any Joe in some time.

For those who don't know, Joe is an uber-popular vlogger on YouTube with over 2 million subscribers and over 278 million views.

Direct from his parents' basement, Joe rails against the idiocy of the internet.

He's also an LGBTQ ally, and he's definitely on the hottie side of things #EasyOnTheEyes.

You can find more videos of Joe's that I've shared before at this link.

Happy Sunday, folks. Enjoy.

New White House Comm Director Denies Russian Interference In 2016 Election

The new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, sat down for a lengthy chat on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper this morning.

Started out very polite, but Scaramucci quickly became combative, which is certainly going to please his boss.

At one point, Scaramucci offered the opinion of an anonymous person on Russia. When pushed by Tapper, the new comm director admitted that it was President Trump.

Via Raw Story:

CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday called out newly-appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci for continuing to deny Russia’s interference in the U.S. election. On Sunday’s State of the Union program, Tapper asked Scaramucci if President Donald Trump was prepared to sign a sanctions bill against Russia.

“There’s a lot of misinformation,” Scaramucci said, dismissing the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies. “Somebody said to me the other day — I don’t want to say who — if the Russian actually hacked the this situation and spilled out those emails, you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them. Meaning that they’re super confident in their deception skills and hacking.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Tapper interrupted. “I don’t know who this anonymous person is.” “How about it’s the president, Jake,” Scaramucci revealed. “He called me from Air Force One and basically said to me, ‘This is — maybe they did it, maybe they didn’t do it.’”

Props to Jake Tapper for trying to keep Scaramucci on topic.

A few other points gleaned from Mr. Scaramucci's appearance:

• We now know he likes to remind folks he went to Harvard Law School.

• He hasn't met a superlative, in regard to Trump, he doesn't like.

• He really loves to say he "loves" the president. He loves to say it a lot.

• He enjoys dropping lines like, "The president called me from Air Force One."

• Scaramucci says once he has his security clearance, he'll "take a look" at the intelligence and decide for himself if he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

It's clear to see why Trump would like a guy like Scaramucci. He constantly praises his boss; he's much more smooth than Sean Spicer; he's a middle-class guy who created his own success - a narrative Trump would love to believe about himself; and he looks like what Trump probably thinks he sees when he looks in the mirror.

Here's the full segment. I encourage you to watch.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Video Of The Day

New "Justice League" Trailer Unveiled At ComicCon

Oh. Mah. Gawd.

ComicCon got the first look at the new trailer for the upcoming Justice League movie due in theaters November 17.


Trailer: Netflix/Marvel's "The Defenders"

Netflix and Marvel unveiled a second trailer for the upcoming series, The Defenders, this week at ComicCon.


The series features a team of super-heroes (each already has their own show on Netflix) who come together to defend New York City.

The Avengers, they're not.

Daredevil (played by the hunky Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) become a "team of outcasts" to fight a common enemy: The Hand.


"With the Avengers, there’s a pride about who they are, they’re very chest-out, gung-ho, and that’s very cool to watch," says Daredevil actor, Charlie Cox. "To make this work on TV, with these street-level heroes, we have to go the opposite way. We go to a place of shame, and a place of loneliness for these guys. We’re trying to find moments where Matt is essentially learning not just what these guys can and cannot do but how they deal with the same pain he deals with on a daily basis. How do they not feel like they’re freaks of nature and outcasts of society?"

Here's the official synopsis:

Blind ninja. Smart-ass detective. Bulletproof ex-con. Kung Fu billionaire. Marvel’s The Defenders centers on four outsider heroes that have to put aside their personal issues and come together when a villainous sect threatens to destroy New York City as we know it. The Netflix original series launches globally on August 18, 2017.

AND - Sigourney Weaver is a total bad-ass villain as "Alexandra."

Watch the new trailer below.

New White House Comm Director Has A Liberal Past

Anthony Scaramucci

Newly installed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has a liberal background, and he's quickly deleting as much of his progressive side as he can on Twitter.

Scaramucci says he's deleting the tweets because they represent old views that he has now "evolved" from, and the tweets shouldn't be a "distraction."

It turns out the new comm director is pro-marriage equality, pro-gun control, pro-choice and believes in climate change. Oh, during the 2016 presidential campaign, he tweeted that "walls don't work. Never have never will."

Scaramucci is around 52 years old. I find it hard to believe views he held at 47 would have changed that much.

Of course, this is the internet where everything is forever.

Here's a small selection of what folks have found.

Instahunk Round-Up

Alex Abramov & bf know how to weekend (via Instagram)

Some Saturday morning eye-candy featuring Alex Abramov, Ricky Martin, Gus Kenworthy, Chef Franco Noriega, and more.

Happy Weekend, kids!

A post shared by Franco Noriega (@franconorhal) on

A post shared by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

A post shared by Anton Hysen (@antonhysen) on

A post shared by Milan Christopher (@milanchristopher) on

Trump To Spend 3 Weeks Vacationing At His New Jersey Golf Club

Just this past Wednesday, President Trump told Republican Senators that health care reform is so important, "We have to stay here. We shouldn't leave town, and we should hammer this out and get it done."

Well, "we" somehow didn't include the Trumpster himself.

News outlets are now reporting Trump plans to spend a whopping 3 weeks in Bedminster, New Jersey, beginning August 3rd.

Trump will be staying at his golf resort there (more money for his business, don't you know) after "slaving" for six months as president.

Today was his 41st day at a golf course as president. Just saying...

Of course, some of you might remember this from the 2016 campaign:

And then, there are the tweets condemning President Obama every time he played golf over 8 years. Here's just a sample:

#hypocrisy #liar

Friday, July 21, 2017

Music Video: Hercules & Love Affair "Omnion"

Set against a journey of seemingly endless staircases, the music video for the title track of Hercules & Love Affair's upcoming album Omnion is described by the directors as "a story of rebirth. Perspective play, scale, and negative space is used to reflect the complexity of identity."

Frontman Andy Butler calls the title track, which features Sharon Van Etten, “an appeal to the divine for help and healing.”

The video is visually stunning in the director's use of color, light, and shadowy texture.

I wrote about the band's first music video for the album, "Controller," here.

The album is set to be released on September 1st.

For tour dates and more on Hercules & Love Affair, head over to the official website here.

Queer Film: "Beach Rats"

I'll be curious to see if Barry Jenkins' Oscar winning Moonlight might open the door for more queer-themed indie films.

The film I have in mind right now is Eliza Hittman's new flick, Beach Rats, which just dropped a full-length trailer.


On the outskirts of Brooklyn, Frankie, an aimless teenager, suffocates under the oppressive glare cast by his family and a toxic group of delinquent friends.

Struggling with his own identity, Frankie begins to scour hookup sites for older men. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he begins meeting men at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman.

As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences.

Eliza Hittman won at Sundance for her direction this year; and the film also won at the Montclair Film Festival and the Independent Film Festival of Boston.

Critics have called the film a powerful character study that is as visually stunning as it is evocative.

The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the flick thusly:

The film brews a potent cocktail of bristling male aggression and inarticulate sexual longing mixed with fear, as Frankie's burgeoning identity becomes irreconcilably distant from his native habitat. That makes for a tense and unsettling final section, with a conclusion that leaves Frankie reeling at an ambiguous crossroads.

English actor Dickinson stands to make a significant leap on the casting radar with his work here, playing a character floating through his impulsive sexual exploration, seemingly in total denial that any of it involves conscious choices. It's a characterization that might easily have read as weak, unfeeling, even remote, and yet despite the refusal of both actor and filmmaker to signal Frankie's vulnerability, his lost quality keeps us in a melancholy grip.

In select theaters August 25th. Watch the trailer below.

White House Comm Director Anthony Scaramucci In 2015: Trump Is "A Hack" & "Anti-American"

Newly installed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has nothing but love for Donald Trump today. Witness the many times he said so at the press podium this afternoon.

But back in 2015, Scaramucci supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for president and called Trump "a hack" and "anti-American" on Fox Business News.

Take a trip on the way-back machine below:

But, here's Scaramucci today. As Judd Legum points out, this is why Trump picked this guy. #PraisePraiseNothingButPraise

Tweet Of The Day

News Round-Up: July 21, 2017

Nyle DiMarco via Instagram

Some news items you may have missed:

America's Next Top Model/Dancing with the Stars champ Nyle DiMarco asks, "Will you be my beach?"

• Researchers are looking at a two-step "shock and kill" approach to cure HIV with a cancer drug that appears to bring dormant virus cells out of hiding.

• Donald Trump apparently thinks health care premiums cost about $15 a month. #seriously

• Allentown becomes the 3rd city in Pennsylvania to ban so-called "ex-gay" conversion therapy torture.

• Donald Trump says he enjoyed sitting next to the First Lady of Japan even though she doesn't know english. Or does she? She sure seems to know english here.

• Head into the weekend with some 80s color and light from Harper Starling's "Disco Mirror Dream:"

The Daily Show Presents "Sean Spicer's Greatest Hits"

Sean Spicer during White House press briefing
Wow, that was fast.

Take a look at this compilation by The Daily Show of former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicers "greatest hits" following his resignation today.

The clips include his assertions that Trump's inauguration had the largest number of viewers, and that Hitler never used chemical weapons.

For his part, Spicer tweeted out this after his resignation:

Sean Spicer Resigns As White House Press Secretary

Sean Spicer

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has resigned from his position in the Trump administration over the hiring of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

From the New York Times:
Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

Mr. Trump made the appointment over the objection of Mr. Priebus, who thought Mr. Scaramucci lacked the requisite organizational or political experience. But the president believed Mr. Scaramucci, a ferocious defender of Mr. Trump’s on cable television, was best equipped to play the same role in-house, and he offered him a role with far-reaching powers independent of Mr. Priebus’s.

Mr. Spicer flatly rejected the president’s offer of a position subordinate to Mr. Scaramucci, according to two administration officials familiar with the exchange.

The appointment of Mr. Scaramucci, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s earliest campaign supporters, was backed by the president’s daughter Ivanka, his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the officials said.

Also from The Daily Beast:

Spicer was not the only one opposed to Scaramucci’s hiring. His deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was as well. So, too, was chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon, who vocally opposed Trump’s decision, two senior Trump administration officials told The Daily Beast.

According to three senior officials with knowledge of the situation, they and other top aides worried that the Scaramucci hiring would perpetuate the notion of “amateur hour” in the West Wing. White House officials who opposed Scaramucci’s planned rise in Trump’s ranks have referred to the incoming new addition as a “joke” and as a Trump-world “hanger-on” who isn’t qualified for the job and is unprepared to handle the near-constant communications crisis dogging President Trump, senior White House aides noted.

June 23 was the last time Spicer handled an on-camera daily briefing.

CBS News' Major Garrett reports that Spicer's exit raises questions about the security of Priebus' job.

Germany's President Signs Marriage Equality Into Law

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has signed into law legislation making same-sex marriage legal in the most populous state in the European Union.

The German Parliament approved the legislation on June 30th and the new law will come into force October 1.

However, that's if the state of Bavaria doesn't file a challenge with Germany's Constitutional Court. Bavaria's Minister President Horst Seehofer is reportedly considering such action.

Stay tuned.

Just Because...

(via kenneth-in-the-212)

Randy Rainbow Trolls Trump Jr. With "The Room Where It Happened" Parody

Just in time for Friday! Randy Rainbow delivers again with this uber-clever parody of the Hamilton tune, "The Room Where It Happened."

So many Russians in the room where it happened...

Watch below. #brilliant

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#TBT: Olivia Newton-John "Help Me To Heal"

For a bit of #ThrowBackThursday, I'm thinking of my girl, Olivia Newton-John.

Her brilliant 2006 album, Grace and Gratitude, was a touchstone for my cancer journey back in 2009.

She re-released the album, dubbed Grace and Gratitude Renewed, in 2010 with added tracks, including a contribution from Grammy winner David Darling.

When she re-released the album in 2010, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard New Age chart - a new frontier for her.

I was clear of my cancer at the time, and Olivia asked me to direct a charity concert of the album. I was, of course, honored.

The new iteration of G&G featured a new song, "Help Me To Heal." There wasn't a music video for the album, but her team gave me raw footage from the original recording sessions in Toronto, Ontario, inviting me to create.

What you see below became the "official" music video for the song. How cool is that?

The album is easily a highlight of her already golden career. Not necessarily a "new age" release, it's relaxing, revitalizing and helps people "breathe" after day-to-day pressures. I think it's quite fantastic.

As many know, Olivia is currently facing a recurrence of her breast cancer from 1992.

I hear she is doing very well with her current treatment, and I look forward to seeing her back onstage next month.

#F*ckCancer #TeamONJ

Trump's NY Times Comments Were A Surprise To Many In White House

Apparently, Team Trump didn't realize the president was sitting down with the New York Times for such an in-depth interview.

Quel surprise...

Via Politico:

Trump did not consult before the interview with his lawyers, who weren’t aware that he was going to be talking about the investigation extensively, according to a person close to the legal team. He didn’t prepare answers with top aides, some of whom were unaware he had been in such a lengthy interview with The New York Times.

While the chat was scheduled, it went longer than they expected and was far more wide-ranging, one official said. “It was Trump saying what he thought,” this person said. “It’s what he does every day on Twitter.”

Afterward, some in his circle didn’t learn about the full extent of his comments until they were posted online, an adviser said.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort Asks To Hire More Foreign Employees

I'm sorry, but this should really make all Americans who are concerned about jobs in the U.S. mad.

According to The Hill, Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has asked the federal government to be allowed to hire 70 foreign employees.

And I'm not talking high-end, high-training jobs.

We're talking cooks, housekeepers and servers.

The jobs would begin on Oct. 1 and end in May 2018, according to the filings. Those positions would take advantage of the H-2B visa program, which allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nations to the country for temporary, nonagricultural work.

The Trump National Golf Course in Jupiter, Fla., also filed a request to hire temporary foreign workers as cooks for the same period of time.

The requests came as the White House celebrates what it has designated "Made in America Week," highlighting American-made products and re-upping the administration's emphasis on bringing jobs back to the U.S.

Employers must establish that there are not enough American workers able or willing to fill the temporary positions in order to qualify for H-2B classification.

The cook positions at both Mar-a-Lago and the golf course pay $13.34 per hour, according to the filings. The server jobs pay $11.88 per hour, while the housekeeping positions pay $10.33 per hour.

As a presidential candidate and in his first six months in office, Trump touted the importance of U.S. manufacturing and labor and savaged international trade agreements, saying they have killed American jobs.

It is impossible to believe that there are not 70 people in the Palm Beach area who couldn't (or wouldn't) fill jobs for servers or housekeepers.

How this fits into Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" theme makes no sense.

Trump spent the 2016 campaign railing against lost American jobs. He can personally hire 70 Americans right now.


O.J. Simpson Granted Parole After Nine Years In Prison

Former NFL star O. J. Simpson, in prison for nine years since being convicted stealing sports memorabilia in Las Vegas, has been granted parole.

He will be released from prison no sooner than October 1st.

From the New York Times:

O. J. Simpson, the former football hero and actor whose good-guy image vanished when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, will go free after serving nine years in a Nevada prison on charges stemming from an armed robbery, a state parole board ruled on Thursday.

Mr. Simpson, who turned 70 this month, went before the board as a man convicted of taking a group of accomplices, two of them armed with guns, to a cheap Las Vegas hotel room in 2007 to take hundreds of items from a sports memorabilia dealer. But it is the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which he was acquitted after the most-watched trial in history, that have cast the longer, darker shadow over his life and reputation.

After his conviction in 2008, a judge sentenced Mr. Simpson nine to 33 years in state prison, meaning that he becomes eligible for parole for the first time on Oct. 1. Based on his age and the fact that he has been a model prisoner, the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners granted his release the first time it was considered, rather than denying parole and making him wait years for another chance.

Special Counsel Expanding Investigation Into Trump's Business Transactions

President Trump told the New York Times yesterday that it would be improper for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to expand his current investigation into the Trump's business dealings, but that's exactly what Mueller is now doing.

Via Bloomberg:

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, however, making the boundaries fuzzy.

Texas Association Of Business Announces 7 Figure Media Buy To Oppose Proposed "Bathroom Bill"

As the Texas legislature begins debating an anti-transgender "bathroom bill" during a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott, Jeff Moseley, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, announces a seven-figure media buy to oppose the hideous bill.

Via press release:

“Today the Texas Association of Business is announcing a seven-figure media buy in opposition to the unnecessary bathroom bill.

"For more than 95 years, TAB has been on the front lines of every issue that impacts Texas businesses; and today we represent more than 2,000,000 employees and $6 Billion in business.

"What affects business in Texas affects ALL Texans: it affects our schools, our roads, our state budget, and our quality of life. When businesses succeed, Texas communities and families succeed.

"The bathroom bill distracts from the real challenges we face and would result in terrible economic consequences—on talent, on tourism, on investment, on growth, and on small businesses. That’s why TAB and the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition are investing heavily in this effort and remain steadfastly opposed to this unnecessary legislation.”

YouTube Sensation Greyson Chance: "I Am Happy, I Am Here For You, And I Am Proud Of Who I Am"

You'll recall the young Mr. Greyson Chance, whose performance at his 6th-grade talent show ended up on YouTube and garnering over 59 million views.

Of course, that's the same Greyson Chance who Ellen DeGeneres invited onto her TV show and summarily signed him at the age of 12 as the first artist on her new recording label eleveneleven.

Fast forward to today, as a 19-year-old Chance has come out via an expressive and very well-written Facebook post:

The decision to write this came after I received a message from a brave individual. Such message inspired me to shed light on an aspect of my private life which I have kept distant from my career in music.

I came to fully recognize that I was gay when I was sixteen. I decided not to publicize my sexuality largely due to a matter of privacy, as I was still trying to find comfort and confidence within my own skin. Further, I always found conversations regarding music, politics, art, books – and the greatness of Nas’ catalog – to be far more interesting than what type of guy I was into. This is still true today.

While this message is most definitely overdue, I encourage anyone who is navigating their sexuality to devote as much time as they need to the process of finding self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love. Hell, for me, it took years to write this message. Nevertheless, I figured now was the time to let a few more friends know that I am happy, I am here for you, and I am proud of who I am.


Here's the spectacular video that started it all for Greyson. The clip now has over 59 million views. What an incredible talent at such a young age.

Congrats, Greyson, on living life loud and proud!

President Trump Throws AG Jeff Sessions Under The Bus

In what can only be described as "stunning," President Trump told the New York Times that had he known Attorney General Jeff Sessions would recuse himself on all matters pertaining to Russia, he would have never fired him. Trump says the decision to recuse was "very unfair to the president."

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Trump also draws a red line in the sand saying Robert Mueller should not look into his family's financial records, again raising the question, "What's he hiding?"

It's interesting how much Trump bashes the NY Times but then sits down with them for these lengthy interviews. It's like he wants their approval so very badly.

Listen to the president below then head over to the New York Times for the wide-ranging interview.

UPDATE - AG Sessions told reporters today, “We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate."

News Round-Up: July 20, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Brazilian model and personal trainer Rodiney Santiago (above) moved from Hump Day right to the weekend. #woof #morewine

• As Republicans in the Texas legislature begin a special session with hopes of passing an anti-transgender "bathroom bill," a new poll shows 53% of Texans oppose such laws.

• Richard Grenell, homocon and former spokesman for the United States at the UN, is Donald Trump's pick as Ambassador to Germany. Grenell is Trump's first openly LGBT ambassador nominee.

• Gee, how did this small little-known company get a seat at the White House Technology table? Hint: Jared Kushner

• You might be surprised to find out I'm actually an introvert. Not shy, but definitely an introvert. Check out these spot on illustrations that really demonstrate how an introverts mind works. It might surprise you :)

• Teen Wolf star Ryan Kelley shows fans what a "full moon" really looks like.

• Fitness model Ignacio PΓ©rez Rey is feeling the summer time vibes :)

A post shared by Ignacio PΓ©rez Rey (@igperey) on

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Trumps Cover PEOPLE Magazine: "The Trump Family - Secrets & Lies"

And check out that brutal headline: “The Trump Family – Secrets & Lies – Donald Trump taught his children to fight dirty and win, no matter what the cost. How the ruthless family culture has shaped Don Jr., his siblings-and-the presidency.”

Poor Eric, the third favorite, doesn't even make the cover.

You can read part of the article here.

Trump Jr., Paul Manafort & Jared Kushner To Testify Before Senate Committees

Don Trump Jr. (L), Paul Manafort (C), Jared Kushner (R)
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will testify in an open hearing under oath on July 26.

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 24, but in a closed door session.

Why is Kushner's testimony happening under wraps as opposed to Junior and Manafort?

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN, “There has been an enormous amount that has been said publicly but it’s not under oath, which means that people are free to omit matters or lie with relative impunity."

CBO: Repeal Of Obamacare Would Result In 32 Million Fewer Americans With Health Insurance

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has scored the "Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring up to a vote next week and the news is not good.

According to the CBO, the legislation would lead to 32 million fewer people with health coverage over the next 10 years.

From the Huffington Post:

This isn’t the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the measure to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shelved Monday because it lacked enough support to pass ― and that President Donald Trump and some Republican senators are trying to revive.

Instead, McConnell said he plans to bring up legislation bluntly entitled the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, which is based on a bill Congress passed in 2015 and that President Barack Obama vetoed last year.

Both the House-passed American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act sought to erect new health insurance systems and new, less generous forms of financial assistance as well as eliminate many of the Affordable Care Act’s regulations and consumer protections.

The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, by contrast, would merely eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits for private insurance, funding for its Medicaid expansion, the individual mandate that most Americans obtain health coverage or face tax penalties, the mandate that large employers offer health benefits to workers, and the taxes on wealthy people and health care corporations.

The result of those policies, the Congressional Budget Office projected in its report Wednesday, would be vastly more uninsured people and an unsustainable health insurance market.

Taking away financial assistance for private insurance and funding for states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would cause millions to lose coverage, including 17 million next year alone.

But the damage to the health care system would go deeper. Absent the individual mandate ― which encourages low-cost healthy people to enroll in coverage ― and the tax credits for insurance policies sold on the exchanges, insurers would be forced to increase premiums to cover the expense of treating those customers who are sick enough that they are motivated to buy coverage.

The CBO report also predicts premiums in the individual marketplace (which is how I buy my own health insurance) would double over the next 10 years.

Rhode Island Governor Signs "Ex-Gay Therapy" Ban Into Law

Excellent news from Rhode Island where Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law her state's recently passed bill which bans "ex-gay" therapy torture.

With a sweep of her pen, Raimondo makes Rhode Island the 10th state in the country plus Washington DC to outlaw the harmful practice.

Add to that mix several cities which have passed their own municipal bans, and we've got some progress happening on this important issue.

From the Human Rights Campaign:

“No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Legislature for protecting the state’s LGBTQ youth.”

Rhode Island is now the eleventh jurisdiction — and the fourth state so far this year — to enact these crucially important protections. Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Trump Takes A Swipe At Sen. Heller: "He Wants To Remain A Senator, Right?"

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada (L) next to President Trump

President Trump held a lunch with Republican Senators today where he said they should skip the planned August recess and remain in Washington until they pass a health care reform bill.

Just curious - will Trump stay in Washington as opposed to jetting off to one of his golf courses?

At the lunch, Trump took some not-so-veiled swipes at GOP senators who weren't on board the recent GOP health care bill. He took direct aim at Nevada Sen. Dean Heller who was seated right next to him.

Via the Daily Beast:

“The other night I was surprised when I heard a couple of my friends—my friends, they really were and are. They might not be very much longer, but that’s okay. I think I have to get them back,” he said to laughter in the room, at one point turning to Heller to say, “[You were] the one we were worried about. You weren’t there. You’re going to be.”

And then Trump added: “He wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?” The president continued, as Heller’s smile turned uncomfortable: “I think the people of your state—which I know very well—I think they’re going to appreciate it whenever you do.”

Trust and believe that it was no accident that Heller is seated right next to the president.

Heller, currently in his first term, is considered the most vulnerable Republican senator up for re-election next year as Hillary Clinton won Nevada handily in last year's presidential election.

Watch Trump needle Heller below.

Ellen DeGeneres Is The 2nd Highest Paid TV Entertainer

According to Forbes Magazine, Dr. Phil ranks at the top of TV entertainers in 2017.

Ok, who saw that coming?

The good news is out lesbian talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres is #2.

Take a look at the rest of the Top 10 via the AP.

Forbes stipulates that the earnings listed below includes income from TV appearance, endorsements, merchandising, non-TV performances and producing.

1. Dr. Phil McGraw, $79 million (talk-show host, personality, producer).

2. Ellen DeGeneres, $77 million (talk-show host, personality, producer).

3. Jerry Seinfeld, $69 million (comedian, sitcom star).

4. Gordon Ramsay, $60 million (personality, celebrity chef).

5. Ryan Seacrest, $58 million (personality, radio host, producer).

6. Louis C.K., $52 million (sitcom star, comedian, producer).

7. Judy Sheindlin, $47 million (courtroom-show host, personality).

8. Kim Kardashian West, $45.5 million (reality show star, personality).

9. Simon Cowell, $43.5 million (TV personality, producer).

10. Steve Harvey, $42.5 million (TV host, comedian).

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Donald Trump Jr. Is "Miserable" With His Dad in White House

Donald Trump Jr. reports that Donald Trump Jr., who is currently in the spotlight for his June 2016 meeting with a "Russian government attorney" who promised to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton at the height of the presidential campaign, is "miserable" having his father in the White House and can't wait for the four year term to end.

Long outshone by his sister—first at the Trump Organization and now in the White House, where she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have West Wing offices and White House titles—Don Jr. has had a harder time adapting to life after the election.

Most weekends, he escapes Trump Tower Manhattan to a rustic cabin upstate with his wife, Vanessa, and their five children. He’s a regular at the Riverside CafΓ© in Roscoe, New York, where the manager says Trump Jr. is “good people,” doesn’t seek attention, and “never has his hair slicked back like he does on TV.”

A friend of the Trump brothers tells PEOPLE they hate their role as First Sons: “Eric and Don, they never wanted this.”

Adds a source in their circle: “Don can’t do any deals, because he’ll be overly scrutinized. He just goes to work every day and is miserable.”

So are we, Junior, so are we...

Trump's Proposed Budget Would Cut 40% From Labor Department Job Training Programs

The Trump administration may be promoting "Made in America" week at the White House, but that theme doesn't quite jive with the budget proposed by the administration which, if passed, would cut 40% from federal job training programs.

Those programs are vital for helping train American workers for new jobs.

Watch the report below from MSNBC.

News Round-Up: July 19, 2017

With Grammy Award winner Richard Marx
Some news items you might have missed:

• File this under "Someone needs attention:" Donald Trump, all butt hurt from Senate Republicans' failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, has hastily scheduled a rally in Ohio next week so his followers can love all over him.

• GOP Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas jumped the subway tracks that connect Congress to avoid speaking to reporters after his announcement with fellow Senator Mike Lee torpedoed the Republican health care bill last night.

• A Brigham-Young professor was fired for writing a pro-LGBT post on her Facebook. #SRSLY

• Andrew Garfield has clarified his now-infamous "gay without the physical act" comment saying he was taken out of context. And he was.

• Dallas businessman Jeffery Payne, owner of the Dallas Eagle and a former Mr. International Leather, has announced he will run for governor challenging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's bid for re-election.

• I was down on the Las Vegas Strip yesterday interviewing the fab Richard Marx (above), who is about to begin his residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas in August. I attended a sneak peek of his show, "Satisfied: Only The Hits," later in the evening. A tiny bit of last night's showcase is posted below. Podcast interview coming up soon!

A post shared by Randy Slovacek (@randyslovacek) on

Trump: "Fake News" Reporting Of Secret Putin Chat Is "Sick"

Another morning, another Twitter rant from Donald Trump.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the president had an hour long previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit earlier this month.

According to reports, the impromptu discussion included only Putin, Putin's translator, and Trump. No one other staff from the U.S. was present.

The hourlong conversation in Hamburg, Germany, took place at a private dinner of the world leaders at a conference hall on the banks of the Elbe River during the Group of 20 economic summit meeting. It followed a more than two-hour formal meeting earlier in the day between the two presidents that included their foreign ministers and featured a fraught discussion about Moscow’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

In the earlier meeting, Mr. Trump questioned the Russian president about his role in the American elections, Mr. Putin denied his involvement, and the two men agreed to move beyond the dispute in the interest of finding common ground on other matters, including a limited cease-fire in Syria.

But the intimate dinner conversation, of which there is no official United States government record is the latest to raise eyebrows. Foreign leaders who witnessed it later commented privately on the oddity of an American president flaunting such a close rapport with his Russian counterpart.

John Kirby, a diplomatic military analyst, told CNN, "While smaller pull-aside meetings are common, it is strange that a pull-aside with someone like Putin -- especially Putin -- would not include at least another national security official and a translator."

But this morning Trump took to his Twitter account to admonish the media for reporting the meeting and described the "fake news" as "sick" and "dishonest."

While the Trumpster tweeted that the media characterized the dinner as "secret," that isn't what news outlets were reporting. The dinner itself, and Trump's attendance were well known.

What wasn't apparent was an hour long chat between the two world leaders. And with no American aide to take notes, no one knows what was discussed.

The first volatile tweet read, “Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is ‘sick.’ All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!”

That was followed by, “The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”

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