Mayor who promotes his city’s ‘progressive leadership’ blocks taxpayer funds over library’s ‘homosexual materials’
Last March, Ridgeland, Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee spent time reading books to students at a local elementary school in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ Read Across America Week.
In September Mayor McGee signed a proclamation promoting Constitution Week, celebrating the 234th anniversary of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
Mayor McGee, who says his city of Ridgeland "attracts new businesses and new residents because of its vibrant businesses, progressive leadership, excellent schools and welcoming neighborhoods," this week is refusing to release $110,000 in already appropriated funds to the local library because it has "homosexual materials" that he claims violate his Christian beliefs.
McGee "told me that the library can serve whoever we wanted, but that he only serves the great Lord above," Tonja Johnson, executive director for the Madison County Library System told the Mississippi Free Press.
The counsel for the library board, Bob Sanders, was asked at a Tuesday meeting of the Ridgeland Library's board if the mayor has legal authority to block the funds.
“Uh, no.” Sanders responded.
Mississippi Free Press reporter Nick Judin adds that "the mayor’s action may well violate basic constitutional rights, based on earlier court cases on the subject of LGBTQ book bans, including Sund v. City of Wichita Falls."
On Twitter, Judin adds more details:
"...we encourage compassion and acceptance; we create a dialogue with the world as it is - as it could be - and invite children to continue that dialogue themselves." pic.twitter.com/HypoCiujPE
— Nick Judin (@nickjudin) January 26, 2022
Tonja Johnson had a similar message: "It’s important to understand that LGBTQ+ books and materials are not just for the LGBT but for all of us: whether we can see ourselves reflected in those materials or so that we can develop understanding, empathy and respect for others." pic.twitter.com/72MjE1sBm0
— Nick Judin (@nickjudin) January 26, 2022
Judin also offers this plea: "if you are sharing this story to make a point about Mississippi, I encourage you to remember that Mississippi is not just Gene McGee. Mississippi is also Tonja Johnson and the library board who voted unanimously to ignore his demands."
No word yet on if the funds will be released.
Trump's Lou Dobbs interview goes off the rails as he rants about his publisher struggling to find leather for his new book
Donald Trump painted a bleak picture of America while calling into a podcast hosted by former Fox Business personality Lou Dobbs on Wednesday.
Trump spent much of the interview complaining about the 2020 election, pushing debunked conspiracy theories much as Trump and Dobbs did with the birtherism smear against Barack Obama a decade earlier. The two also discussed the economy.
"Well, nobody even heard the term supply chain," Trump falsely claimed.
"We didn't sit around talking about supply chain. Now, that's all of a sudden, that's all — the two words people are using most because you can't get anything," he argued.
"You look at big grocery stores, big chains, they have empty shelves, sixty, seventy percent of their shelves are empty in some cases," he claimed. "In some cases, more than that. They can't get food, they can't get clothing."
Trump then told a story of how his publisher could not obtain animal skins for his books.
"I just did a book — which is very successful, they sold 240,000 copies and we just ordered another 240,000, I guess, or more," Trump said. "And the publisher — the printer, who is one of the biggest in the country, I think he said he has eight plants, he said, well we have one problem, we can't get paper, we can't get ink."
"Oh my gosh," Dobbs interjected.
"We can't get glue," Trump continued. "And we can't get leather, for the covers. He said, 'I've been doing this for forty years, I've never had a problem getting anything."
Trump appeared to be referring to Our Journey Together, a hardcover picture book featuring over 300 photographs of his time in office that was released in December and has sold out. It is billed as "President Donald J. Trump's first official book since leaving the White House."
The publisher quotes Trump, Jr. as describing the book as "truly, one of a kind," but does not list a leather-bound version of the book, which sells for $74.99. The publisher claims the book will be delivered in February if ordered now.
The United States believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains poised to use force against Ukraine by mid-February despite a pressure campaign to stop him, a top diplomat said Wednesday.
"I have no idea whether he's made the ultimate decision, but we certainly see every indication that he is going to use military force sometime perhaps (between) now and the middle of February," Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told a forum.
Sherman, who met with her Russian counterpart earlier this month in Vienna in an attempt to warn Moscow against invading its neighbor, said that Putin's planning may be affected by the Winter Games in Beijing, which the United States and several allies are boycotting due to human rights concerns.
"We all are aware that the Beijing Olympics begin on February 4, the opening ceremony, and President Putin expects to be there," Sherman told the Yalta European Strategy forum.
"I think that probably President Xi Jinping would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine, so that may affect his timing and his thinking."
Sherman said that the United States was "pushing for diplomacy" but also "preparing for the worst."
She reiterated that "even one Russian troop further invading Ukraine is a very serious matter" -- a continued message from Washington after President Joe Biden raised eyebrows by speaking of a different European response to a "minor" incursion.
But she said the United States was "preparing for all kinds of scenarios," from a "full-on invasion" to "hybrid attacks or subversion or sabotage or coercion."
Any invasion "has tremendous consequences for Ukraine and Europe, but also sends a message to the entire world that other autocrats can act with such impunity and go past long-held international principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity and an ability of a country to choose its own alliances."
Russia late last year amassed tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine, where a pro-Moscow insurgency has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.
Russia, while denying plans for an invasion, has demanded concessions from the United States including a guarantee that Ukraine will never enter NATO.
© 2022 AFP