By Johnny Trlica

OPINION: In the summer of 1973 I fell in love with a man—Senator Sam Ervin. My mother and I watched in reverence as he chaired the Senate Select Committee to investigate the Watergate scandals. His folksy ways and determination to unveil the truth was admired and respected by people on both sides of the aisle. Being 77 at the time, he became a real-life folk hero.

He opened the televised hearings on May 17, 1973, by stating that the committee’s purpose was to “ probe into assertions that the very system has been subverted.” He charged that if those accusations were true, Watergate was a conspiracy to “ steal from Americans their most precious heritage, the right to vote in a free election.”

More than once Sen. Ervin would begin questioning a witness with, “ Now I’m just an old country lawyer.” That usually meant he had “ the goods” on the person seated before him. The hearings led by Sen. Ervin revealed so many offences by President Richard “ I am not a crook” Nixon that he would resign a year later.

Impeaching or removing the President from office was not the goal of the hearings. As Sen. Ervin said, “ It is more important that the American people get the truth than a few people go to jail.”

With so many parallels from 1973 to what’ s going on in Washington today, we could use another Sam Ervin. We need a hero.

Here are a few of the stories we’ ve been following at HoustonRainbowHerald.com.

End of the road

FBI Director James Comey and FOX News’ Bill O’ Reilly were not only people losing their jobs this month. Television networks have begun handing out pink slips—most notably, 2 Broke Girlswill not be returning for a seventh season at CBS, reports HollywoodReporter.com. Despite strong ratings, the gay-friendly show was axed.

Not so surprising was The Real O’Neals biting the dust. The Dan Savage-produced sitcom about a teenage boy coming out to his Catholic family and school had been floundering in the ratings since it premiered last season.

Scandal will end in 2018, after its seventh season. The official announcement from ABC is expected this week that the Kerry Washington political thriller has run its course. Also at ABC, Last Man Standing has been cancelled.

Richard Simmons reemerges

As it turns out, Richard Simmons is alive and well. The television fitness guru, who has been out of the limelight for several years, filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer, reports GayStarNews.com.

The Enquirer last year ran a story featuring Simmons with the headline, “ He’ s Now A Woman” who wants to be called Fiona and wants to be “ the next Caitlyn Jenner.” The Sweating to the Oldies creator took offense and denied the story; thus, the lawsuit.

Progress in the suburbs

Are Houston’ s progressive ideations rubbing off on the suburbs? It may have started last November when Hillary Clinton carried Fort Bend County and now an 18-year-old high school student has won a seat on the Pearland ISD school board. The Houston Chronicle reported Mike Floyd upset six-year-incumbent Rusty DeBorde in an election on May 6.

“ Much of Floyd’ s platform focused on making Pearland ISD’ s school board more transparent by live-streaming meetings and scheduling public-comment periods after traditional work hours. He also staked out a strong position on transgender issues, insisting that such students be able to use the restroom of their gender identify. That put him at odds with Superintendent John Kelly, who has been outspoken in arguing that students use the restroom that corresponds to their birth certificates,” wrote the Chronicle.

Grindr hookups gone awry

Before inviting a hookup to your home, ask yourself, “ Is it worth the risk?” Grindr app users in the Dallas suburbs of Plano, Frisco, and Aubrey must be asking themselves that after being assaulted in their homes after invited over for a hookup, according to the WashingtonPost.com.

Four men were indicted by a federal grand jury with hate crime charges after allegedly using Grindr to target victims they intended to rob in a multicity criminal scheme. The men, ranging in age from 18 to 21, face charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, carjacking and possession of a firearm.

On Grindr, the men would pretend to be gay and arrange to meet. Once inside they would assault their “ dates,” restrain the victims with tape and make “ derogatory statements” about their sexual orientation. During each home invasion, the men carried a gun.

Jeanne Rubin, president of the North Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, told CBS Dallas she was relieved the grand jury took the crimes seriously. “ You can be scared as a homeowner if your neighbor is robbed,” she said, “ but it’ s different if you feel like you’ re being targeted for some reason, and in this case a whole community can feel like they’ re targeted.”

Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty

Mark your calendars and grab your tickets, if you haven’ t already done so. Janet Jackson has announced a 56-city tour that visits Toyota Center on September 9, reports the HoustonChronicle.com.

Jackson’ s State of the World Tour will be her first Houston show since a 2011 date at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Prior to that her last Bayou City performance was the infamous “ wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl.

For the latest LGBTQ news and current events in 2017, click on HoustonRainbowHerald.com. Johnny Trlica is the editor of the HoustonRainbowHerald.com, the Bayou City’s only daily LGBT internet newspaper. Contact him at jtrlica@houstonrainbowherald.com.