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NCAA Says Anti-LGBT Discrimination Could Cost Houston, Indianapolis Future Sporting Events



Upcoming Final Fours Won’t Be Moved, But Future Bids Will Be Impacted

The NCAA has indicated it will reconsider host cities for future sporting events based on whether they have laws protecting LGBT people against discrimination.

Those cities include Indianapolis, which is set to host the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2021. This week, Indiana legislators introduced an anti-discrimination bill with exemptions so broad that Lambda Legal has called it a “road map for discrimination against LGBT people.”

The Indy Star notes that the Final Four pumped $71 million into the local economy when it was held in Indianapolis this year. 

“We’ll continue to review current events in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites, such as Indianapolis,” Bob Williams, NCAA senior vice president for communications, wrote in a statement to the newspaper Nov. 12.

The NCAA, officially the National Collegiate Athletic Association, regulates athletes in over 1200 colleges and institutions for most college sports. Based in Indianapolis, it is responsible for over 450,000 student athletes and took in nearly $1 billion in revenue last year.

After voters in Houston repealed an equal rights ordinance this month, some called on the NCAA to move the 2016 Final Four out of the city. However, the NCAA has said it has no plans to do so. 

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president for the Final Four, told The Indy Star it will remain in Houston because “it takes years to plan and implement this world-class event.” Likewise, the 2016 Women’s Final Four will remain in Indianapolis. 

The newspaper notes that four of the next five NCAA Men’s Final Fours are scheduled to be held in states that don’t have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, raising questions about how much lead time is needed to move an event. But the NCAA hasn’t divulged those details. 

“There are many factors in a thorough bid process that the NCAA considers when determining what cities will host the Final Four, including but not limited to local, city and state laws and ordinances,” Williams said in his statement to the newspaper. 

Along with the NFL keeping the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston, the NCAA’s decision not to move the Final Four has led anti-LGBT groups to suggest economic arguments in support of the city’s equal rights ordinance were nothing but a straw man. In fact, one anti-LGBT activist is attempting to flip the equation, launching a petition calling on the Republican Party of Texas to move its 2016 convention out of Dallas, based on the city’s recent decision to strengthen transgender protections. The Texas GOP reportedly has no plans to move the convention, even though many Democrats in Dallas likely would cheer such a decision.

RELATED: Indiana GOP Introduces Nondiscrimination Bill LGBT Group Calls ‘Road Map For Discrimination’

Of course, even if anti-LGBT groups’ straw man allegation had merit, it would amount to the pot calling the kettle black, given that opponents of the Houston ordinance built their entire campaign around the fear-mongering lie that it would lead to men entering women’s restrooms to prey on victims. But the reality is that both Houston and Indiana have undeniably taken major hits when it comes to their national image, and that’s likely to have long-term economic consequences. 

Jessica Shortall, who manages a coalition of Texas businesses that support LGBT inclusion, told The Texas Tribune that business fallout over discriminatory laws is frequently subtle and not quantifiable. 

“On a broader scale, there’s a talent issue to think about,” Shortall said. “Especially when we’re looking at millennials, the brand of a place is something that people who care about attracting talent to a state or region think about.”

After the Indiana Legislature passed an anti-LGBT religious freedom law earlier this year, the NCAA said that even though it kept the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis, the controversy was “a big deal” that “could lead to significant changes in the NCAA’s relationship with Indianapolis and the state of Indiana …”

The statement was part of an overwhelming backlash from the business community that ultimately prompted the Indiana Legislature to amend the law to include LGBT protections. Similarly, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed an anti-LGBT law in 2014 after the NFL began exploring the possibility of moving the 2015 Super Bowl. 

Although more than 60 businesses endorsed Houston’s equal rights ordinance, the NCAA and NFL were largely silent in the leadup to the Nov. 3 vote. Even if it would have been logistically impossible to move the 2016 Final Four or the 2017 Super Bowl, the NCAA and NFL dropped the ball by not speaking out forcefully and publicly in support of the ordinance. 

In that sense, the NCAA’s recent statements to The Indy Star may be too little, too late for Houston, but perhaps not for Indiana, which typically hosts the Men’s Final Four every five years. 

Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally, touched on the critical role sports have played in civil rights movements. 

“The most impactful moments in history are the ones when social issues and sports intersected,” Taylor told the newspaper. “When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the playing field. The black power salute at the 1968 Olympics. Those are the moments that change a country.”


Image by WFIU Public Radio/Scott Witzke/WTIU via Flickr and a CC license 

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Suggests July 4 Mass Shooting Was a False Flag ‘Designed to Persuade’ GOP to Support Gun Control



U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has promoted several very different responses over the past few hours to the July 4 mass shooting that left seven people dead, scores injured, and a two-year-old boy orphaned.

The Republican from Georgia went from promoting the right wing’s latest talking points, that antidepressants are to blame for the massacre, and demanding to see the alleged shooter’s medical records, to claiming it “sounds like” a false flag operation, “designed to persuade Republicans to go along with” gun control.

“Now, here’s what I have to say,” Greene declared on her podcast. “I mean, two shootings on July 4, one in a rich white neighborhood and the other at a fireworks display.”

(There were 218 shootings on July 4, according to information from the Gun Violence Archive.)

“Almost sounds like it’s designed to persuade Republicans to go along with more gun control,” she announced, strongly suggesting false flag operations. Police have offered no indication anyone except the alleged shooter planned the Independence Day massacre, and have said he spent weeks doing so.

“I mean, after all, remember we didn’t see that happen at all the Pride parades in the month of June,” she lamented angrily, ignoring all the right-wing violence at Pride celebrations this year.

“But as soon as we hit MAGA month, as soon as we hit the month that we’re all celebrating – loving our country,” she said, implying Democrats don’t love America and don’t celebrate Independence Day, “we have shootings on July 4. I mean, that’s a, you know, that would sound like a conspiracy theory, right? Of course. But what’s the definition of a right-wing conspiracy theory? Well, by the way, it’s the news that’s just six-months early.”

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Antidepressants, Pot, and Women to Blame for Horrific July 4 Mass Shooting According to Tucker Carlson



Barely hours after authorities announced charges against the 21-year-old police believe shot and killed seven people and wounded scores of others at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, Tucker Carlson explained to his Fox News audience why Robert Crimo allegedly committed mass murder: women, marijuana, and antidepressants, along with a life filled with pornography, video games, and social media.

Experts disagree.

Carlson said Crimo seems “like a nutcase,” but he “he didn’t stand out, maybe because there’s a lot of young men in America who suddenly look and act a lot like this guy.”

“That’s not an attack, it’s just true,” Carlson insisted, as Media Matters reports. “Like Crimo, they inhabit a solitary fantasy world of social media, porn, and video games. They are high on government-endorsed weed. ‘Smoke some more! It’s good for you,'” he mocked.

“They’re numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors,'” Carlson claimed, apparently referring to antidepressants, also known as SSRIs. School counselors, unless they are also MDs, cannot prescribe SSRIs.

(SSRIs are prescribed for “depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, migraine (prophylaxis), and other conditions.”)

RELATED: Highland Park Shooting Deaths Include Both Parents of Two Year Old Found at Scene of July 4th Massacre

Then Carlson arrived at the root of what he determined drives these young men, presumably these young men who kill.

Carlson, who has been labeled a “white nationalist,” and a “white supremacist,” neglected to mention the young men who are pulling the trigger at mass shootings are almost always white.

Instead, he says, “they are angry.”


Because, Carlson declares, “the authorities in their lives — mostly women — never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege. ‘You’re male! You’re privileged.’ Imagine that. Try to imagine an unhealthier, unhappier life than that. So, a lot of young men in America are going nuts. Are you surprised?”

Meanwhile, very little is known about the shooter. It is not known if he’s taking antidepressants, using pot, has a mother who attacks him for his privilege, or uses porn. But Carlson and others at Fox News are suggesting to viewers they know why he flooded more than 70 rounds into an Independence Day parade.

There have been 320 mass shootings in America this year – and we’re only on day 187.

The nation has suffered 22,583 deaths from guns just this year alone. That’s 120 deaths on average every day.

Despite those numbers, the vast, vast majority of people taking antidepressants, or using pot or porn, are not pulling the trigger in a mass shooting.

Carlson points to no statistics to show women “never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege.”

In fact, he offers up no statistics, no proof at all of any of his claims.

Same with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who blames the mass shooting on pot.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene quickly dredged up the “psychiatric drugs” allegation less than 24 hours after the shooting started.

“What drugs and/or psychiatric drugs was he on for his mind to be ruined in alternate reality games that caused him to commit a mass shooting? His parents know. The police know. School, arrest, hospital records? The public DESERVES to know.,” she tweeted.

Dr. Sherry Pagoto is a licensed clinical psychologist, social media researcher, professor at the University of Connecticut, and Director of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media. She’s also the former president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

And she’s pushing back against the SSRI blame game.

“Psychologist here,” writes Dr. Pagoto. “Yep. And far more women take SSRIs than men and yet women never commit mass shootings. The SSRI hypothesis has absolutely no scientific support. Quite the contrary, SSRIs save lives.”

In 2019 Politifact looked at the “dubious claim that psychiatric drugs fuel mass shootings?” The fact-checking group talked with six medical experts, with one explaining “that in her view there is no evidence that psychiatric medicine is linked to mass shootings.”

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Christian Right Facing ‘Credibility’ Issues — Just as They Try to Force Their Will on Everyone Else: Analyst



On Tuesday, writing for MSNBC’s ReidOutBlog, Ja’han Jones outlined how the Christian Right is facing renewed moral scrutiny and a crisis of “credibility” — at exactly the moment they have captured the Supreme Court and have begun striking down rights and protections they have long declared to be counter to moral society.

Specifically, he argued, the latest rash of sex abuse allegations against conservative Christian institutions puts their moral authority on the line.

The Catholic Church has long faced criticism for overlooking and shielding priests accused of molesting children — but now, noted Jones, other denominations are coming under scrutiny for similar alleged misconduct.

“First, there’s the scandal still unfolding at Agapè Boarding School, a Christian facility for young men in Missouri that’s facing a slew of child abuse allegations. Agapè pitches guardians on its ability to ‘biblically teach your child the importance of submission to authority and the joys of being an obedient law-abiding citizen,'” wrote Jones. “The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been investigating Agapè for systemic child abuse for more than a year now. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported new details about several students who have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused and beaten by workers at the school.”

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘Striking’ how close Georgia election investigation is getting to Trump: legal expert

“That alleged culture of abuse sounds similar to the one victims say was fostered by the Southern Baptist Convention, an ultraconservative denomination of Christian nationalists,” wrote Jones. “In May, church leaders released a report showing hundreds of pastors and church workers have been accused of sexual abuse. The SBC, which is in ideological lockstep with the conservative movement, has since released the names of pastors it says were accused between 2000 and 2019. When the news dropped, SBC President Ed Litton said in a statement there ‘are not adequate words to express my sorrow at the things revealed in this report,’ and that Southern Baptists ‘must resolve to change our culture and implement desperately needed reforms.'”

All of this, he noted, comes as many right-wing Christian organizations are claiming that their hate speech and discrimination against LGBTQ people is in the name of “defending children.” And this is “an impossible sell when the worlds they operate appear even more broken than the one they want to ‘fix.'”

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