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Exclusive: Famous Writer Del Shores Endorses Obama. ‘I’ve Got His Back.’

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In our exclusive interview, Del Shores, of “Sordid Lives” and “Queer as Folk” fame, tells guest author Jeremy Stubbs he’s endorsing President Obama: “I’ve got his back.”

Del Shores is a busy man. His latest movie, “Blues for Willadean,” has been screening in L.A. and takes on the serious subject of spousal abuse and violence while still providing some of his well known southern comedy. It stars the always engaging Beth Grant, Dale Dickey of “True Blood,” and Octavia Spencer in the first movie following her Academy Award winning performance in “The Help.”

I could feel over the phone his excitement about the screening as he spoke with me about the recent attempts in Texas to block his famous play “Sordid Lives” from going into production. Despite a warm welcome from fans — since 1987 — of his plays, movies, and his production of such shows as “Queer as Folk,” Shores’ work still gets met with strong resistance in places like the Deep South. Has it ever stopped the refreshingly outspoken Del Shores? Not for one second.

READ: Art Imitates Life In A Small Texas Town’s Fight Against ‘Sordid Lives’

“You know what I think?,” he says as we jump right into what felt like a conversation you might have with a neighbor or friend. “That play is about love and acceptance. These people have just refused to enlighten themselves over the years, hiding behind a few scriptures to feel their own hatred. They try to call it offensive or complain because it has the f-word or whatever, but what they are doing is hiding behind their own homophobia.”

“I would like all those people that tried to block the show to come out to the Wimberley Players for the preview so we can have a civil conversation about censorship,” Shores continued. “I’d especially like to talk to the ones that made all those comments and have never even read the play,” he tells me in his message to the very vocal minority who threatened to pull funding from the Wimberly Players playhouse. “If they won’t do that, and they to come out to picket, then bring a camera. I am the son of a Southern Baptist preacher and I will go toe-to-toe with them on scripture. There are gay people in anti-gay states like Texas and North Carolina, where they voted hate into their constitution, that need to know that there are others fighting on their behalf.”

Mr. Shores is also scheduled to appear at nearby Texas State University to speak with playwriting students, LGBT groups on campus, and perform sections of his one man shows on November 8. The show will be followed by a meet and greet and will be hosted by the university’s Honors College, where an LGBT studies program has just begun earlier this year.

Del Shores’ work often includes such subjects as religion, family, and LGBT issues. It all pours onto the page at once after the characters have brewed in his mind like he mentions they are now for his next play, already titled, “This Side of Crazy.”

“I always tell people I’m just this side of crazy,” he jokes. “I just don’t tell them which side I’m on.”

Del Shores is a native of Texas, a well-known Republican stronghold in the upcoming election, and he will be in the state on election night. “I feel good about it,” he tells me. “I was talking to a relative lately who said Obama hasn’t been able to get us out of this debt and fix our problems. There’s something lost when it comes to these people’s expectations. It’s going to take longer, and in my opinion there is one big elephant in the room that hasn’t gone away. His name is George W. Bush.”

“As you might assume, I’m for Obama,” Shores tells me. “What he said about marriage equality was just fantastic. I’ve got his back.”

“I do get political in Naked. Sordid. Reality, also,” he continues. “I talk about Newt Gingrich and Victoria Jackson. The audiences have really been responding to her and the part about Kirk Cameron. They are some of the biggest hypocrites and haters towards the gay community.”

In addition to politics, Shores’ most recent show discusses his divorce, being single again, and his real Aunt Sissy, who is a favorite of his characters among his fans. Sharing how he is looking forward to performing at Texas State University he tells me, “I love playing the South. It’s like group therapy. I start off with one twisted story that no one has been able to top yet. It really is my hope audiences will walk away laughing and forgetting about everything else for a while. If they also walk away thinking just a little bit, then that’s an added bonus.”

Before hanging up we shared the last of many laughs throughout our conversation. It was a bit of laughter through tears after we both got choked up when he allowed me to share with him a cherished memory, from a summer in Alabama at age fourteen, of watching his first movie with my late grandmother. It was the same kind of heartfelt moment we see often in his shows and movies. It indicated to me that when we watch his work we are truly seeing his heart, his humanity, and that he is very much enjoying his true to life characters right along with us.

“Blues for Willadean” premieres at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA this weekend.

Images of Del Shores by Bryan Putnam (top) and Alan Mercer (center).

 

Guest author Jeremy Stubbs credits his parents for his twisted sense of humor. He currently lives just outside of Austin, Texas with his wonderful partner and their pesky cat. When he’s not working to pay the bills he is photographing and writing about the world around him.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Thinly-Veiled Incitement to Violence and Overt Racism’: Trump’s Truth Social Post Sparks Outrage

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Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” but on Friday night took his social media approach to his Truth Social website.

Trump accused Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of having a “death wish” after a government shutdown was averted.

“Must immediately seek help and advise (sic) from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” he said of Elaine Chao, who served in his cabinet for four years as Secretary of Transportation.

Trump’s post generated outrage online.

“Nothing to see here,” conservative lawyer George Conway tweeted. “Just a former president of the United States seeking to incite violence against the minority leader of the United States Senate and launching a racist verbal attack on the leader’s wife.”

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu wrote, “Donald Trump using blatant racist tactics in his desperate attacks on McConnell by trying to ridicule Asian American former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s name calling her ‘Coco Chow’ — [McConnell] and [GOP] should call him out and reject his racist hate — will they do it?”

“Hardly shocking that Trump would threaten Mitch McConnell by capitalizing the words ‘death wish’ — dog whistle invitation to Trump’s extremist supporters — same Trump who believed his own VP Pence deserved to be lynched by the angry Jan. 6 mob Trump incited to violence,” Wu added.

Janai Nelson, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, wrote, “I double dare all major media outlets to call this what it is: thinly-veiled incitement to violence and overt racism.”

Podcaster Fred Wellman said, “Elaine Chao was Trump’s Secretary of Transportation for 4 years and he just called her the ridiculously racist nickname ‘Coco Chow.’ Yes…you are a racist if you still support this broken *sshole.”

Jonah Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, wrote, “Look, I think the gross bigotry, stupidity, dishonesty, and demagoguery of this is obvious on so many levels and I’m embarrassed for the country. But, because no one else will, I feel I have to point out he also misspelled advice.”

 

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News

Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after military service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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'PRIORITIES'

Red states are lining up to stop Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Six red states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina — are suing the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

The Biden administration based its plan on a 2003 law. According to the Justice Department, the law, initially meant to help military members, says that Biden can reduce or erase student loan debts during times of national emergency.

The red states’ lawsuit, filed Thursday in Missouri, said that Biden’s plan was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The lawsuit adds that, since Biden recently declared the COVID-19 pandemic as over, he can’t use it as a justification for his wide-scale debt relief plan, ABC News reported.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said of her state’s lawsuit. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”

The states argued that Biden’s plan inflicted a “number of ongoing financial harms” to student loan providers and also “will ultimately disrupt revenue to state coffers.” They also argued that Biden’s plan violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a law regulating how federal agencies ensure that presidential policies are well-reasoned and explained, the aforementioned publication reported.

Despite these claims, the White House has said it will continue with its plan, confident it can survive a court challenge.

“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests, and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January.”

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