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$50 Million Convention Threatens To Leave Indiana If Governor Signs ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

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The longest-running gaming convention in the world, which brings in $50 million annually to Indiana is threatening to move in response to an anti-gay bill awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Since 1968, Gen Con has been bringing gaming lovers together. The convention, now worth an estimated $50 million in revenue, boasts attracting over 56,000 attendees last year to its current home in Indianapolis, Indiana, where it has resided since 2003. But CEO and owner Adrian Swartout is willing to move Gen Con if Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence signs SB 101, a controversial anti-gay “religious freedom” bill that is sitting on his desk.

“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” Swartout wrote in a letter to the Governor. “We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.”

“Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” she warned.

SB 101 could allow anyone, including businesses, to discriminate against LGBT people, merely by claiming their deeply hed religious beliefs would be compromised if they did not.

Governor Pence has said he is “looking forward” to signing the bill, despite even admitting it is unnecessary.

But Gen Con is not the only big name opposed to the pro-discrimination legislation.

“In recent days, several personalities, including Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee, first openly gay pro athlete Jason Collins and “Star Trek” actor George Takei, have spoken out against the bill,” the Huffington Post reports.

Screen_Shot_2015-03-25_at_8.36.45_AM.jpg 

Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ tourism bureau, also has voiced opposition, even before the bill was passed.

“Our concern is that there could be a misperception with this bill that doesn’t paint a picture of being a warm, welcoming, hospitable place,” Chris Gahl, VP of marketing and communication for Visit Indy said. “It doesn’t align with the brand that is Indianapolis, and for that matter, Indiana. Because it could impact our ability to win convention business down the road — and keep convention business — we raised our hand and said we do have a concern.”

The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), also based in Indianapolis, said it is “examining the details of this bill,” and added “the NCAA national office is committed to an inclusive environment.”

Also on the list criticizing the legislation are Salesforce.com, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, and Eli Lilly and Co.

 

Image by Carlos A Smith via Flickr and a CC license
Hat tip: IndyStar

 

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Watch: Texas Republican Opposes Any New Gun Legislation Because We’re Going to ‘Convict’ and ‘Punish’ the Shooters

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A Texas Republican state lawmaker said just one day after 19 elementary school students were shot and killed he opposes any new gun legislation for two reasons: the U.S. Constitution, and under existing laws prosecutors should just “convict” the shooters.

“What we want to know is what your solution is,” CNN host Alisyn Camerota told Rep. James White, who happens to be a former school teacher.

“We’ve all seen how quickly and creatively Texas—your local legislature—can act when it wants to, say, protect the unborn embryo,” Camerota added, referring to Texas’ vigilante abortion ban, as The Daily Beast reported. “Why not act with that alacrity to protect living, breathing 10-year-olds in this school behind me?”

“We have this thing called the Constitution,” White replied, even though the Texas abortion ban, under current law, violates at least the spirit of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and many other Republicans, and like the NRA, White then defended his desire to pass no legislation to help reduce gun violence by declaring the problem is actually one of mental health.

He said, “these young men, for some reason, they have some very disturbed emotional state.”

There is no evidence, according to Gov. Abbott, that this shooter had any documented mental health issues.

White then decided to propose utilizing existing law to reduce gun violence.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “we’re going to look at the people who do these acts, we’re going to convict them, and we’re going to punish them.”

Appearing flabbergasted, Camerota replied, “You can’t convict him, sir.”

“Sir you can’t convict him. He was killed. He was killed, along with 19 children in the school behind me.”

Watch:

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Duggar Gets 12 Years in Jail After Prosecutor Tells Judge He Has a ‘Violent Sexual Interest in Children’

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Josh Duggar, the former “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star who was found guilty on horrific child pornography charges in December was sentenced by a federal judge Wednesday to serve 151 months – more than 12 years – in prison.

“Duggar has a deep-seated, pervasive, and violent sexual interest in children,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Roberts wrote in a sentencing memo, as Buzzfeed reported.

U.S. District Judge judge Timothy L. Brooks, appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, called Duggar’s crimes “the sickest of the sick,” US magazine noted.

Editor’s note: Caution – graphic descriptions follow.

“Authorities described Duggar, 34, as a ‘very savvy computer user’ who tried to cover his tracks as he downloaded ‘sadistic and masochistic abuse’ material in 2019,” Buzzfeed adds.

Among the more than 600 images and videos that prosecutors said he downloaded was footage of prepubescent girls being raped, whipped, threatened with knives, and held naked in a dog cage.

Another video showed the rape and torture of a toddler — footage so terrible that a Homeland Security Investigations agent said it was among the most horrific things he had been forced to watch in his career.

The 34-year old Arkansas-born Duggar, who was forced to resign as executive director of FRC Action, the political activist arm of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, spent nearly two years promoting his conservative and religious values as he was fawned over as a role model by the far-right, including FRC President Tony Perkins, and former Arkansas GOP governor Mike Huckabee.

“The former TLC personality has previously been involved in multiple scandals over the years,” US adds. “In May 2015, resurfaced court documents revealed that he molested five girls — four of which were related to him — between 2002 and 2003. He was 14 and 15 years old at the time. Sisters Jill Dillard (née Duggar) and Jessa Seewald (née Duggar)came forward one month later, revealing themselves to be two of their brother’s victims.”

Duggar has seven children with his wife Anna.

RELATED:

Josh Duggar Confessed to Molesting Multiple Minor Girls Close Family Friend Tells Jury Under Oath

Josh Duggar’s Attorneys Ask Court to Drop Child Porn Charges and Suppress Photos of His Hands Taken After Arrest

Federal Prosecutors: Josh Duggar Had Over 200 Obscene Images of Underaged Kids – Some of Children as Young as 5

 

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Watch: Video of Beto O’Rourke Confronting Texas GOP Governor and Lt. Gov. Goes Viral

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Democratic former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke approached the stage where top Texas Republicans were holding a press conference following Tuesday’s mass school shooting.

“This is on you,” O’Rourke told Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for re-election against O’Rourke. Abbott was blaming the shooting that left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead on a lack of mental health facilities in Texas, despite having rejected federal aid that would have expanded access in the Lone Star State.

“Sit down and don’t pull this stunt,” Senator Ted Cruz chastised.

But Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, arguably the most powerful person in the room, went ballistic.

“You’re out of line and an embarrassment,” Patrick told O’Rourke.

“You’re doing nothing,” O’Rourke said.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, on stage, loudly called O’Rourke “a sick son of a bitch.”

“He needs to get his ass out of here. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line. Sir, you are out of line,” the mayor said, as WFAA reported. “Please leave this auditorium. I cannot believe you are a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”

“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “This is totally predictable. You’re all doing nothing.”

“This is on you until you choose to do something about it,” O’Rourke added.

O’Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium by a security guard.

It was not Patrick’s first attack on O’Rourke. In 2019 he used an anti-LGBTQ slur on Fox News to go after the highly-popular Democrat, calling him “light in the loafers.” O’Rourke, as NBC News noted at the time, is heterosexual.

“He is so light in the loafers he floats off the ground at times,” Patrick told Fox’s Laura Ingraham, leading to an advertiser boycott.

After, O’Rourke told reporters the “only thing” Gov. Abbott did “was make it easier to carry a gun in public.”

“And he bragged about the fact that there would be no background check, no training, no vetting whatsoever. He talked about this was evil. The only thing evil is what he continues to do to the people of this state. He says this was unpredictable — it was totally predictable and I predict this will continue to happen when you continue to have a governor who will not stand up for the people of Texas.”

The video below has been viewed 1.2 million times in just over an hour. Other versions have also gone viral.

Watch the video from earlier Wednesday via CNN:

 

 

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