Seattle Space Needle Pride, And Prejudice, 2011
The gay pride flag flew atop the Seattle Space Needle for a second time this year, benefitting four charities and the entire community. But not without some prejudice. Guest author and local Seattle activist Stuart Wilber explains.
Pride weekend in Seattle has come and gone. The privately-owned Space Needle Corporation (SNC) reversed its long-standing policy (with the exception of the Stars and Stripes and flags of marketing partners, they have a policy of flying flags once) and flew the Rainbow Flag for a second time after a petition from Josh Castle (photo) garnered almost 10,000 signatures. And now, a month afterwards, over 2700 people from around the world have signed my Thank You â€œPetitionâ€ directed to SNCâ€™s principals, and signatures and comments are still rolling in at the rate of more than a hundred a week.
READ:Â Gay Pride: Embroiled In Flag Flap Space Needle Finds Charitable Solution
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the off-again on-again flag-raising and the $50,000 fund-raising challenge issued by the SNC. Boycotts were threatened and protests were proposed, and comments on Facebook ranged from â€œDonâ€™t hold our flag hostage!â€ to â€œWhat a great opportunity!â€ Complaints were made about the causes selected and even about the fundraising tool used to process contributions. Questions were raised about who receives the tax deductions and whether other organizations like sports teams had to â€˜payâ€™ to have their flags raised.
So I called Mary Baracalla, VP Brand Management, The Space Needle, LLC, to ask why the challenge for this particular flag raising. She explained that SNC typically uses flag raising and other events like Walking the Rim and Painting the Top of the Needle for charitable causes, many anonymously and without publicity. One of the more notable challenges raised over $160,000 for Habitat for Humanity to build houses after Hurricane Katrina. And she further explained that in addition to contributing the initial $5000 of challenge, SNC paid for all costs associated with the fundraising tool so the causes received 100% of monies donated. The contributors took the tax write-offs, not SNC.
This time, over $52,000 was raised for the four causes. Three of the causes chosen focused on LGBT youth:Â Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholarship Program,Â It Gets Better for The Trevor Project, andÂ Mary’s Place, a lesbian and transgender-inclusive homeless shelter for women and children. The fourth was Lambda Legal. The money will be divided equally between the four organizations. Mary BaracallaÂ explained that many of the letters received by SNC talked about growing up in a non-inclusive society and the lack of equality under the law and that was why these particular causes were chosen.
When it appeared that the Rainbow Flag was not going to be raised again, George Bakan, publisher of the Seattle Gay News,Â proposed blanketing the city with rainbow flags. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and Healeo, a local business, purchased and distributed several hundred flags. And Seattle Gay NewsÂ reported that local resident John Cavanaugh personally walked the streets and delivered almost 200 over a three day period.
Dear Fag loving Healeo owner,
You and any other business taking those flags will pay a dear price. God himself will judge you however I will hurt your life before he can.
Healeo will now be tormented through review sites and I will do what it takes to get you shutdown through the city of Seattle. I can get around Yelp filters and same with google. You will have so many bad reviews nobody will ever come.
I will give you until Saturday to remove any Fag flags from your store and then will commence taking you down.
God hates fags and he hates you.
Justin Brotman, a straight ally, proprietor of Healeo, said when he received this letter, â€œI got spooked and went silent to protect the business which was a mistake. I should have stood up and promoted it even harder.â€ And after some consideration, he did just that — and posted on Facebook, â€œI just bought another box of flags to redeem myself for not standing up, so come and get them.â€
Michael, or whatever his real name, made good on his threat. Yelp promptly removed his two negative postings about Healeo. Justin has promised to distribute even more flags again next year. And with a lot of perseverance and some gentle persuasion, I think the flag will again fly atop the Space Needle.
Stuart Wilber is a Seattle activist who skipped classes in high school to watch the McCarthy-Army Hearings. Having seen it get better and worse and better again over the years, he continues to hope he will experience full federal equality in his lifetime. At the time of this writing, 2,780 had signed theÂ Space Needle Thank You Letter. You could help bring that number to 3,000.
(Photo â€“ Joe Mirabella)
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Trump Desperate to Keep Any Possible Criminal Evidence From Supreme Court: Legal Expert
Donald Trump’s decision to allow one of his lawyers to speak before a grand jury on Friday morning, instead of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, may have been made out of fear of what the justices on the nation’s highest court might see if they reviewed the case.
According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, under normal circumstances, the former president would have dragged out a legal fight over attorney-client privilege that would have kept attorney Evan Corcoran from testifying under oath about Trump’s possession of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort that led to the FBI showing up with a warrant.
As Rubin notes, the fact that Trump let Corcoran testify over three hours raised eyebrows.
“For one, yes, it is indeed unusual, if not unheard of, for a lawyer to be litigating against a party one day and then testifying under court-ordered examination by that same party the next one,” she wrote before suggesting Trump and his legal team were looking at the long game when he might need the predominantly conservative Supreme Court to lend him a helping hand.
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Writing, “Trump has made clear he believes this Supreme Court — controlled by conservative justices, three of whom he appointed — owes him one,” she added, “My hunch is that Trump’s team let Corcoran’s testimony happen because of what’s likely involved in any request to pause, much less, review a crime-fraud-related ruling: the evidence.”
“Put another way, if Trump had petitioned the Supreme Court to stay Corcoran’s testimony and document production, the justices would have seen some, if not all, of what Judge Howell and the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit have already reviewed: proof that Trump misled Corcoran and engaged in criminal conduct,” she elaborated.
Rubin went on to note that Trump would likely appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, writing, “And for someone whose one last hope, if he is ultimately charged or tried by any of the multiple entities now investigating him, is that same Supreme Court, letting the justices see evidence of his alleged crimes now would be a bridge too far.”
“Trump can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court yet,” she suggested.
You can read more here.
No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?
Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.
Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.
NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.
Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.
“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.
“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.
“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”
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Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.
Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.
Let’s fill this venue with empty seats.https://t.co/3tGSfan5iw
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) March 24, 2023
“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”
“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses
Countless GOP lawmakers over the years have professed ignorance over Donald Trump’s tweets as reporters ask them to respond, often claiming they hadn’t read them, but House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan took that performance to a whole new level Friday afternoon.
NBC News senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur asked the Ohio Republican congressman to weigh in on Trump’s social media post threatening “potential death & destruction” if he gets indicted.
“Jordan said he hasn’t seen Trump’s post,” Kapur said via Twitter. “When I showed [it] to him on my phone, he said he can’t read well without his glasses.”
“He added he’s reviewing DA Bragg’s letter,” Kapur added.
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Jordan, who didn’t need glasses to appear on Fox Business just two days ago (photo) is getting blowback.
VICE News Deputy DC Bureau Chief Todd Zwillich explained the progression.
“The stages of ignoring incitement,” he tweeted. “2016: I don’t respond to tweets —> 2018: I havent seen the tweet —-> 2023: I literally can’t see the tweet.”
“Utter cowardice,” declared former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh. “Not at all the @Jim_Jordan I knew & served with in Congress 10 yrs ago. Or…maybe it is.”
“The sheer dishonesty and cowardice of these people,” lamented MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, echoing Walsh’s remarks.
Government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics said the “extent to which Trump’s backers in Congress are going to not condemn [his] calls for violence are ludicrous.”
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Some tied Jordan’s inability to see the post to his apparent inability to see or remember all the Ohio State wrestlers who say they complained to Jordan when he was their assistant coach, about being sexually harassed or assaulted by the team doctor. To this day despite numerous reports and people publicly coming forward, Jordan denied it ever happened.
“Apparently, Jim Jordan is unable to see wrestlers being sexually abused or Donald Trump social media posts,” attorney and Republican turned Democrat Ron Filipkowski tweeted.
“Well, @Jim_Jordan has shown before that he has trouble seeing threats right in front of his nose, so this checks out,” tweeted historian Kevin M. Kruse.
But Jordan’s Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee may have served up the best response: “Why do you need your glasses to condemn violence @Jim_Jordan?”
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