Sunday, August 31, 2014

European prime minister to wed: 'He asked me and I said yes'

No it wasn't the gay prime minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo, it was the other gay European prime minister, Xavier Bettel, from Luxembourg.

Bettel and his partner, architect Gauthier Destenay, probably will tie the knot sometime soon. "He asked me, and I said yes," the 41-year-old prime minister said with an impish grin. "I can't give you the date, because it's not official yet."

     In other European gay politician news, gay Berlin Mayor Mayor Klaus Wowereit said he will resign in December, mainly over criticism of delays and massive cost overruns of that city's new airport.
     Gay Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë stepped down in April, and his socialist protege, Anne Hidalgo was elected Paris' first female mayor.
     Delanoë was stabbed on October 5, 2002 during the Nuit Blanche, a night of festivities in Paris, while mingling with the public. His assailant was a Muslim immigrant, Azedine Berkane, who reportedly told police that "he hated politicians, the Socialist Party, and homosexuals." Speaking to Le Monde, one of his neighbors said, "He was a bit like us. We're all homophobic here because it's not natural." Before being taken to hospital, Delanoë ordered that the festivities continue. Delanoë's wound was not life-threatening and he left the hospital after about two weeks.
    


British tabloid headline of the day

Story here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

People for the American Way is handing out Ditch Mitch masks at today's annual Louisville Zombie Walk


ESPN is sorry for obsessing over Michael Sam's showers but is too late to avoid Jon Stewart's snark

This is absolutely, positively not suitable for work.

Agreement holding City of Omaha harmless expired days before OPD killed COPS crew member Bryce Dion

KETV dug up and published the agreement. The officer-involved fatal shooting happened August 26th, 2014. The three month agreement exempting the city from liability from deaths occurring from Langley Productions ride-alongs was signed May 22, 2014 and expired after three months.





Rachel Maddow cleverly implies former Iowa state senator took $25,000 bribe but doesn't tell her viewers that the check was never cashed

Yesterday, Rachel Maddow focused some needed attention on Jesse Benton, in charge of the Ron Paul campaign while it was paying Michele Bachmann's Iowa campaign director, Kent Sorenson, $73,000 to switch sides. The Machiavellian Benton now works for Mitch McConnell (of course!)
     But then Maddow's narrative took a strange detour: instead of zeroing in on the $73,000 in payments which got Sorensen indicted when he lied about them, Maddow flashed an image of a $25,000 check given to him in the bathroom of an Altoona, IA restaurant by Ron Paul's Deputy campaign manager in December of 2011. Said Maddow:
...This was when Kent Sorenson was telling NBC news that he NEVER TOOK A DIME from the Ron Paul campaign for his endorsement. He said that literally while standing next to the guy from the Ron Paul campaign who just two days earlier had handed him a check for $25,000 for his endorsement.
     One thing was verrrry interesting about Maddow's report: she never named the $25,000 "bagman" (now also employed by Mitch McConnell) though she flashed a picture of him standing next to Sorenson.
     Perhaps that is because of another very interesting fact reported by the Des Moines Register this week in its reportage about the 566-page report on Sorenson by an independent investigator working on behalf of the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee:
It also found that Sorenson received a $25,000 check from a senior official in Paul's presidential campaign, which he did not cash, and $73,000 in wire transfers.
      WTF? Why would Rachel Maddow extravagantly play up a $25,000 political bribe to Kent Sorenson and then FAIL TO TELL HER VIEWERS THAT HE NEVER CASHED THE CHECK?
     Here's Maddow's report:


What Wendy's Asst. Mgr. saw: witness recounts killing of COPS sound mixer Bryce Dion by Omaha PD

KETV is Omaha's leading television new operation for good reason. In the video below, reporter Dave Roberts explains exactly where the robber, police and the COPS cameraman and soundman were during Tuesday's killings of Bryce Dion and Cortez Washington by police during the robbery of a Wendy's at 43rd & Dodge Tuesday night. No other reports AKSARBENT has seen have explained the event with as much clarity and that includes the press conference given by Police Chief Todd Schmaderer.



     Cortez Washington's sister-in-law told KETV that the police account of their confusion over Washington's air gun was bogus. She fired a pellet gun and asked "Does that sound like a real gun to you.?"
     In his press conference (see excerpts below) Chief Schmaderer insisted that Washington's pellet gun "looked and sounded" (emphasis added) like the real thing. We're not saying that cops should wait until after someone pulls the trigger of a realistic-looking pistol pointed at them to decide if the bad news is fake, but neither do we buy Chief Schmaderer's assertion that pellet guns sound like real ones. Incidentally, some of the rounds penetrated a tanning salon a block east of Wendy's, across the street and a parking lot. Customers and staff were in the tanning business at the time. KETV did a story about that too.




Excerpts from KETV's transcript of Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer's Wednesday press conference. We corrected a couple of obvious typos, like "Wednesday" for "Wendy's"

WHILE DOCUMENTING THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT RESPONSE TO THE ROBBERY, 38-YEAR-OLD "COPS" PRODUCTION CREW MEMBER MR. BRYCE DION WAS KILLED BY GUNFIRE IN THE INCIDENT...

MULTIPLE GUNSHOTS WERE FIRED INSIDE OF THE WENDY'S RESTAURANT. THREE INDIVIDUALS INSIDE WENDY'S WITNESSED MR. WASHINGTON HOLDING HANDGUN AND DISCHARGED HAPPENED GUN DIRECTLY DETECTIVE CUNNINGHAM AND OFFICER RILEY. THE WITNESSES DESCRIBED HEARING THE SUSPECTS HANDGUN SLIDE RECOIL WITH THE SHOTS. THE FIRST TWO AUDIBLE SHOTS WERE FROM MR. WASHINGTON'S HANDGUN ACCORDING TO THE WITNESSES. MR. WASHINGTON WAS INJURED BY TO FLEE OUT EAST DOORS WHERE HE COLLAPSED IN PARKING LOT. MR. WASHINGTON WAS PLACED IN INTO HANDCUFFS AT THAT TIME OFFICERS RECOVERED A HANDGUN FROM MR. WASHINGTON. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT MR. WASHINGTON'S HANDGUN IS AN AIR SOFT PISTOL THAT FIRES PLASTIC PELLET BULLETS. AIR SOFT PISTOL LOOKS AND FUNCTIONS LIKE AN ACTUAL FIREARM. THERE ARE PHOTOS TO MY IMMEDIATE LEFT. MR. DION WAS ALSO INJURED BY A SINGLE GUNSHOT AND COLLAPSED MR. WASHINGTON AND MR. DION WERE BOTH TRANSPORTED TO UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER WHERE THEY WERE PRONOUNCED DEAD SHORTLY THERE AFTER...

WE ARE STRIVING FOR UNPRECEDENTED TRANSPARENCY...

...BASED ON OUR VIEWING OF FOOTAGE THE OFFICERS HAD NO CHOICE OTHER THAN TO RESPOND IN WHICH THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY DID. MR. DION PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR HIS SERVICE TO PROVIDE THE FOOTAGE OF THE REAL LIFE DANGERS THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS FACE ON A DAILY BASIS TO TELEVISION VIEWERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

CHANNEL 7: WAS IT CROSS FIRE OR SAME DIRECTION?
WHEN THE OFFICERS ENTERED FROM THE EAST, THE DETECTIVE AND OFFICER BROOKS RILEY THEY ENTERED THE CAMERA MAN FOLLOWED. THE CAMERA MAN AND AUDIO PERSON, THEY TRAVEL IN TANDEM. OKAY. THEY TRAVEL IN TANDEM. AS THEY ENTERED, IT BECAME A CHAOTIC SCENE. CAMERA MAN MADE HIS WAY INTO THE EATING AREA AND WAS ABLE TO GET DOWN AND HOLD THE CAMERA UP. BRYCE, BRYCE DION, GOT STUCK ENTERED. WHEN THEY ENCOUNTERED THE SUSPECT AND THE GUNFIRE ENSUED, AND IT'S A VERY DRAMATIC VIDEO, WHEN GUNFIRE ENSUED AT SOME POINT MR. WASHINGTON STARTED EXITING HIS WAY OUT AS YOU CAN SEE IN THAT BOTTOM PICTURE THERE. HE'S ON HIS WAY OUT. THE OFFICERS ARE RETURNING FIRE. BRYCE IS IN THAT VESTIBULE AND GETS STRUCK BY A ROUND. 

MR. BECKER DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? YES, SIR WAS THERE EXCESSIVE FORCE THE REPORT WAS OVER 30 SHOTS HAD BEEN FIRED IS THAT EXCESSIVE FORCE I HAD SOMEONE COMMENT THEY WERE WONDERING IF THE POLICE WERE ACTUALLY SHOWING OFF FOR THE CAMERAS.
ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. THEY WERE NOT SHOWING OFF FOR THE CAMERAS. LIKE I SAID I PERSONALLY VIEWED VIEWED IT. DOUGLAS COUNTY ATTORNEY VIEWED THIS. THIS WAS VERY HARROWING SITUATION. IT WAS THREE OFFICERS INVOLVED. TAKE A LOOK AT THE STILL PHOTOS. I'M GOING TO TELL YOU THAT FIRST TWO SHOTS THAT YOU, THEY SOUNDED LIKE A GUN. AND IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHICH ONE REAL FROM THIS GUN I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN. THE SHOTS WERE FROM AIR SOFT GUN AND SOUNDED REAL? YES THEY DID. VERY MUCH DID. ANY CRITICISM IS UNMERITED.

...FRANKIE. THIS WAS A FRIENDLY FIRE SITUATION. IT WAS AN OFFICER'S ROUND THAT STRUCK MR. DION. OKAY. LIKE I SAID EARLIER, MR. WASHINGTON'S GUN WAS AN AIR SOFT GUN. WHILE IT LOOKED AND SOUNDED AND IS SLIDE SLID LIKE IT WAS REAL, IT WAS A PELLET GUN. OKAY.

YOU MENTIONED THE OFFICERS WENT IN BECAUSE THEY FELT THEY NEEDED TO RESCUE SOMEONE YEAH. IT WAS OUR UNDERSTANDING MAYBE AN EMPLOYEE HAD A GUN BEING HELD TO HER HEAD AT THAT MOMENT. AND IS THAT STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR OFFICERS TO ENTER ROBBERY? WE ARE STILL LOOKING INTO THE INFORMATION THAT AN EMPLOYEE HAD A GUN TO THEIR HEAD. OKAY. THAT'S GOING, THOSE POINTS WILL REALLY COME OUT WITH DEEPER INTERVIEWS. OUR PROTOCOL IS PRESERVATION OF LIFE FIRST AND FOREMOST. THERE ARE TIMES IN WHICH WE CAN WAIT AND THERE ARE TIMES IN WHICH WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION. WHEN THESE OFFICERSE ARRIVED, AGAIN, THERE WAS PEOPLE IN THE PARKING LOT THAT CAME THROUGH THE DRIVE-THROUGH. MOTIONING OFFICERS THAT SOMETHING WAS GOING ON IN THERE. OFFICERS DIDN'T HAVE THE LUXURY OF DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT THEY WERE TRAINED TO DO AND I WILL SAY COURAGEOUSLY ENTERED WITH THE PREMISE OF SAVING LIVES. THAT WAS THEIR PREMISE. OKAY. THEY DON'T KNOW IF AN EMPLOYEE OF WENDY'S WAS GETTING HURT OR PATRON OF WENDY'S WAS GETTING HURT.

HOW MANY SHOTS WERE FIRED? I'VE HEARD I'VE SEEN REPORTS AS MANY AS 30 SHOTS WERE FIRED. THERE WERE MULTIPLE SHOTS FIRED. THERE WERE THREE OFFICERS INVOLVED. OKAY. MULTIPLE SHOTS FIRED. THE EXACT NUMBER I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE AT THIS POINT IN TIME BECAUSE IT IS SUBJECT TO A GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION.

...CHIEF, WERE THE OFFICERS IN THE CHAOTIC SITUATION AT THE WENDY'S AWARE BRYCE WAS TRAPPED IN VESTIBULE?

I DON'T SEE HOW THEY COULD HAVE BEEN. I DON'T KNOW. WE'RE GOING TO TALK TO THEM. I DON'T WANT TO SPEAK OUT OF BUT WHEN MR. WASHINGTON STARTED EXITING POINTING HIS WEAPON AS HIS WAY OUT, IT FORCED THE OFFICERS TO CONTINUE THEIR GUNFIRE. AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT NOBODY WANTED BRYCE TO GET HURT. NOBODY WANTED ANYBODY TO GET HURT. POLICE WORK IS VERY DANGEROUS.

CHIEF, WE KNEW THAT YOUR INTENTIONS WERE WELL WHEN YOU INVITED THE SHOW TO COME HERE. BUT NOW THIS INCIDENT HAS HIT NATIONAL NEWS AND IT HAS BEEN TRENDING ALL DAY. HOW DO YOU FEEL OUR CITY IS PERCEIVED NOW BECAUSE OF THIS? LOOK THE CITY OF OMAHA IS A TREMENDOUS CITY. THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT IS LAST YEAR THERE WERE 42 HOMICIDES IN THIS CITY. THERE'S ONLY 17. OKAY. YOU PUT THAT UP AGAINST A LOT OF CITIES IT'S A VERY NICE CITY. AND IT'S PROFESSIONAL LAW RELATION AND PARTNERSHIPS IN THE COMMUNITY THAT GOT US TO THIS POINT, THIS IS AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT. BE ANYTHING VIEWED OTHER THAN THAT. AND AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED DURING POLICE WORK THAT TAKES ON VERY DANGEROUS ELEMENTS. AND I WILL BE OUT IF NEED BE TO DEFEND HOW GREAT THIS CITY IS. THANK YOU.

CHIEF TMZ HAS RELEASED AUDIO OF THE POLICE CALL. UH-HUH. THAT OR WAS THAT LANGLEY PRODUCTIONS YOU KNOW I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY GOT IT I BELIEVE IT CAME FROM A WEBSITE. OKAY. WEBSITE ONLINE I THINK PEOPLE FROM POLICE SCANNERS.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Michele Bachmann's Iowa Campaign Director, ex-state senator Kent Sorenson, now facing 25 years in the pen

ALSO: COPS' 38-year-old bachelor sound engineer killed in a hail of bullets by Omaha PD while on ride-along to Wendy's stickup by man with pellet gun
 Jason Noble and William Petroski of The Des Moines Register report that Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures to the FEC and one count of obstruction of justice and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first count and 20 years in prison and another $250,000 fine for the second.
     The case involves Sorenson's attempt to hide a payment of $73,000 to induce him to defect from Michele Bachmann's campaign to the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul, days before the Iowa Caucuses preceding the 2012 federal elections.
     A statement of facts which accompanyied Sorenson's plea agreement reveals that he secretly negotiated with the Ron Paul presidential campaign for months before joining it and received $73,000.

Highlights of Sorenson's curriculum vitae:
  • High school dropout; Iowa House Republican website lied about it  
  • Declared bankruptcy
  • Didn't pay IRS
  • Busted for his role in delivering illegal drugs  
  • Defaulted on Geo (!) car payments  
  • Charged with domestic abuse assault
AND he let his daughter take the fall for his bankruptcy in a letter circulated by Iowa Republicans.

LA Times: COPS production company did not have union contract covering crew member Bryce Dion, sound engineer shot to death by Omaha Police

Dion
Bryce Dion, the 38-year-old COPS sound engineer shot dead by Omaha police responding to a Wendy's robbery worked for Langley Productions, the owner of the COPS reality show, and was not covered by a union contract because the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees did not have a contract covering COPS crew members. The union has raised concerns before about unsafe working conditions on nonunion reality shows.
    ...Many injuries go unreported because crew members sign non-disclosure agreements and fear being blacklisted if they file lawsuits. Record-keeping is further muddled by the fact that many of the shows are nonunion, and workers are often classified as independent contractors.
     ...Kevin Boyle, a Los Angeles attorney representing the family of a consultant for a Discovery Channel show who was killed in a helicopter crash in Acton last year, said the Omaha incident “epitomizes part of the problem with these reality TV shows. Clearly there is a reason historically entertainment has been provided by actors and stuntmen in a safe setting. It’s absolutely ludicrous to have people following police around wearing bulletproof vests who aren’t part of the crime-fighting team.”



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Omaha police kill COPS soundman Bryce Dion while firing 30+ rounds at man robbing Wendy's with air gun

Update: The cops who killed Bryce Dion had a union contract but he didn't.

Many police departments will have nothing to do with COPS, a long-running, low-rent reality show featuring repetitive exploitation of petty criminals who look good shirtless and are willing to trade television humiliation for bail money.
     The Lincoln Police Department has never allowed the show to do ride-alongs and until this summer, neither had Omaha's police.
     That changed in June, when COPS was given a green light to tape in Omaha.
     AKSARBENT saw the 2-person TV crew at a gas station in its neighborhood (which is full of primo Cops bait: good-looking, half-dressed miscreants either awaiting trial or just out on parole.)
AKSARBENT counted about 12 bullet holes in three windows.
The World-Herald said more than 30 shots were fired by police.
     Last night, during a ride-along, a robbery in progress was spotted at the Wendy's near 42nd & Dodge. The Omaha World-Herald said more than 30 bullets were fired, killing both the alleged robber (32-year-old Cortez Washington, who wielded a realistic looking, but not sounding, AirSoft gun) and the COPS sound man, Bryce Dion, who was wearing a bulletproof vest. Both were pronounced dead at the University of Nebraska Medical Center which is blocks away. AKSARBENT saw about 12 bullet holes in three Wendy's windows this afternoon.
Above right: Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has promised a "full and transparent" investigation. Stothert, who carries a purse-sized Glock, was affectionately portrayed by right-wing Omaha radio station KFAB as a modern Calamity Jane. Above left: Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, who was quoted by the Omaha World-Herald last June when he approved COPS ride-alongs: "I am proud of the department and want the professionalism of our officers on display for the city and world to see." At today's press conference Schmaderer said he would not have allowed “Cops” to record video with his officers had he been able to anticipate the tragedy. 
Bryce Dion was 38, single and from the Boston
area. Picture: Langley Productions
     In today's press conference, Schmaderer identified the officers who fired as 10-year veteran officer Darren Cunningham, 37; 4-year veteran officer Brooks Riley, 35; and 4-year veteran officer Jason Willhelm, 39. The chief's opening statement did not reveal that Dion was shot by Omaha Police; Schmaderer did not disclose the information until pressed by a reporter.
     Said Langley Productions: “We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy and our main concern is helping his family in any way we can. Bryce Dion was a long-term member of the COPS team and a very talented and dedicated person. We mourn his passing. An investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with local authorities.”



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Iowa Teabagger Senate candidate and Agenda 21 fruitcake, Joni Ernst, earns coveted Donald Trump endorsement

Joni Ernst takes seriously Agenda 21, a nutbag, Glenn Beck, right-wing conspiracy theory that is also taken seriously by several of Nebraska's worst state senators. 






Donald Trump vs. Reality: Emmy version

AKSARBENT has to confess (just between us) that we also thought Seth Meyer's hosting ranged mostly from merely unfunny to starkly lame and, yes, awkward, but we'll put it down to poor writing.
     We like Meyer's show, especially as compared to the aggresively dumb offerings of Jimmy Fallon, a gifted mimic and not much more.



Indiana's solicitor general has a very rough day in court defending laws against gay marriage

Thomas M. Fisher, Soliciter General of Indiana
Professional anti-gay activists would have you believe that unelected, "handpicked, liberal activist judges" are trampling on the will of the people in respect of marriage equality for LGBTs.
     The reality, of course, is that judges are increasingly weary of the specious arguments of homophobes and of state solicitor generals tasked with defending homophobic legislation.
     Nowhere was that fed-up attitude more in evidence today than at the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of appeals where Judges Posner, Williams and Hamilton gave the Solicitor General of Indiana a very rough time. How rough? Listen here.
(H/T: JoeMyGod)

Outsports' Cyd Zeigler mocks ESPN's Josina Anderson for sensationalizing Michael-Sams-in-shower trope

One gets the impression after seeing Anderson's breathless report that Michael Sams isn't the only Ram rolling his eyes over this.





Google-funded solar plant is igniting 30 birds per hour in midair

NBC reports:
     Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year reported an average of one "streamer" every two minutes.They’re urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version until the extent of the deaths is assessed...
     BrightSource’s partners are NRG Solar of Carlsbad, California, and Google. The $2.2 billion plant, which launched in February, is at Ivanpah Dry Lake near the California-Nevada border. More than 300,000 mirrors reflect solar rays onto three boiler towers up to 40 stories high. Water inside is heated to produce steam, which turns turbines that generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes. The new plant would have towers up to 75 stories high.

Family Research Council to celebrate musical paean to alcoholic Greek author of homoerotic poems

The Family Research Council et al. are putting on a 200th anniversary celebration of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. (H/T JoeMyGod) Here's what their promotion says:


Together we will learn the forgotten story... behind our National Anthem. Join us on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 7:00pm EST, 6:00pm CST, 7:00pm MST, 6:00pm PST. Participants will be challenged not only by the story behind the Star Spangled Banner, but also by Tony Perkins, Rick Scarborough, Pastor Mark Harris and other Christian leaders during the 90 minute event webcast live from First Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Below is what they will certainly omit from their "forgotten story," because after all, Christer education can only go so far.

    Sung, the U.S. national anthem is known as The Star-Spangled Banner, because Francis Scott Key rewrote the lyrics to the popular colonial-era tavern song, Anacreon in Heaven.
     Any paean to Anacreon (575 to 485 BC) is a glorification of a poet notorious for his objectification of young males, who "wrote many poems on homosexual themes, celebrating the charms of boys or young men." To whit:
"Boy with the virginal face," he writes, "I pursue you but you heed me not. You do not know you are the charioteer of my heart."
     Anacreon was the last Greek to be included in the canonical list of nine lyric poets. According to Pausanias, Anacreon's statue on the Acropolis of Athens depicts him as drunk.
     From the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Anacreon:
From his erotic verse there survive striking images of beloved young men: the peaceful character of Megistes, the eyes of Cleobulus, the blond locks of the Thracian Smerdies.



And Now With All Thy Pencil's Truth

And now with all thy pencil's truth,
Portray Bathyllus, lovely youth!
Let his hair, in lapses bright,
Fall like streaming rays of light;
And there the raven's die confuse
With the yellow sunbeam's hues.
Let not the braid, with artful twine,
The flowing of his locks confine;
But loosen every golden ring,
To float upon the breeze's wing.
Beneath the front of polish'd glow,
Front, as fair as mountain-snow,
And guileless as the dews of dawn,
Let the majestic brows be drawn,
Of ebon dies, enrich'd by gold,
Such as the scaly snakes unfold.
Mingle in his jetty glances,
Power that awes, and love that trances;
Steal from Venus bland desire,
Steal from Mars the look of fire,
Blend them in such expression here,
That we by turns may hope and fear!
Now from the sunny apple seek
The velvet down that spreads his cheek;
And there let Beauty's rosy ray
In flying blushes richly play;
Blushes, of that celestial flame
Which lights the cheek of virgin shame.
Then for his lips, that ripely gem
But let thy mind imagine them!
Paint, where the ruby cell uncloses,
Persuasion sleeping upon roses;
And give his lip that speaking air,
As if a word was hovering there!
His neck of ivory splendour trace,
Moulded with soft but manly grace;
Fair as the neck of Paphia's boy,
Where Paphia's arms have hung in joy.
Give him the winged Hermes' hand,
With which he waves his snaky wand;
Let Bacchus then the breast supply,
And Leda's son the sinewy thigh.
But oh! suffuse his limbs of fire
With all that glow of young desire,
Which kindles, when the wishful sigh
Steals from the heart, unconscious why.
Thy pencil, though divinely bright,
Is envious of the eye's delight,
Or its enamour'd touch would show
His shoulder, fair as sunless snow,
Which now in veiling shadow lies,
Remov'd from all but Fancy's eyes.
Now, for his feet-but hold-forbear
I see a godlike portrait there;
So like Bathyllus! -sure there's none
So like Bathyllus but the Sun!
Oh! let this pictur'd god be mine,
And keep the boy for Samos' shrine;
Phoebus shall then Bathyllus be,
Bathyllus then the deity!
                                   — Anacreon

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Catholic Cardinal who called U.S. Ambassador a 'faggot' also called Papal Ambassador/accused child molester a 'great friend'; Dominicans want the Vatican to extradite Wesolowski




The New York Times has just published an article by Laurie Goodstein entitled For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad. The piece examines yet another Papal pedophile scandal, this  time in the Dominican Republic. The blog Blabbeando has covered this in detail.
     Former Papal Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, has been defrocked and will face criminal charges in the Vatican, but Dominicans are unhappy that the Vatican secretly recalled him last year without informing Dominican authorities and then claimed diplomatic immunity for him.
     ...Mr. Wesolowski began sending a young Dominican church deacon to procure children for him, law enforcement authorities in the Dominican Republic say.
     The deacon, Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, was arrested by the police on June 24, 2013, accused of solicitation of minors and taken to jail. But no one came to bail him out, and the deacon sent an anguished letter dated July 2 to Mr. Wesolowski, to be delivered to him by hand at his office.
       ...“Hopefully you will consider asking for God to help you to walk away from this evil disease of continuing to sexually abuse innocent children,” the letter said, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times from a Dominican Justice Ministry official.
     The deacon sent copies of the letter to Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, the head of the church in the Dominican Republic, and to a Dominican bishop, Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez. The cardinal then carried the evidence to the Vatican, where he met directly with Pope Francis, according to interviews with the Dominican authorities. On Aug. 21 last year, Mr. Wesolowski was secretly recalled to Rome. Six days later, the cardinal called the papal nuncio “a great friend and promoter of peace.” Neither the cardinal, nor other church officials, reported the allegations to the local authorities, Dominican officials say.
     ...“This is the most terrible case that I have ever seen,” said [D.A.] Reynoso. “He [Wesolowski]was abusing kids who were living in extreme poverty, in exchange for pills for a boy’s illness. It’s very perverse.”
     ...The case has reverberated in Poland, where prosecutors have sought to extradite Mr. Wesolowski, who holds both Vatican and Polish citizenship.
     Poland has indicted another Polish priest, the Rev. Wojciech Gil, who fled the Dominican Republic last year amid allegations that he abused altar boys in his rural parish. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that Father Gil and Mr. Wesolowski spent time with young boys at the nuncio’s beach house.
     There are indications from Rome that the pope himself is concerned about the Wesolowski case...
Read the full story at the New York Times, here.
(H/T @Str8grandmother) 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Attempts by Lee Terry (R-NE) and Steve King (R-IA) to block inquiry into Israel's execution of a 19-year-old unarmed US citizen; Who do they really represent?

Nebraska congressman Lee Terry and Iowa congressman Steve King cosponsored HR 5501, a house bill that, among other things, directed the United States to "oppose any investigation by the United Nations (U.N.) into the flotilla incident (involving the May 2010 Israeli interception of ships carrying supplies to Gaza.)"
     The measure failed, but not for lack of trying by Terry and King. King and Terry are enthusiastic supporters of continued foreign aid to Israel, which now totals at least $100-$114 billion since 1973, but the total cost of US support to Israel in recent decades may be as high as 1.6 trillion dollars. according to Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. That's twice the cost of the US war in Vietnam.
US citizen Furkan Dogan, shot multiple times
in the head after being repeatedly kicked
 while lying on deck bleeding from previous
gunshots from Israeli Self Defense forces.
Terry and King voted to block a UN
investigation of Dogan's death.
     Israel's illegal raid resulted in the execution of an unarmed 19-year-old US citizen, Furkan Dogan who was videotaping the incursion, in international waters, on a humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza.  Al Jazeera, the Arab news network, reported the UN fact-finding mission's report on the incident:
"The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence."
     The report also rejected Israel's stance that its forces acted in self-defence when they raided the flotilla, arguing that even those who did not attempt to stop Israeli soldiers from boarding the aid ships "received injuries, including fatal injuries."
     "The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution."
     Israel insisted that it acted in line with international law, arguing that it had the right to retaliate against ships attempting to breach its blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip.
     However, the panel said that since Gaza was suffering from a humanitarian crisis on the day of the deadly raid, for this reason alone, Israel's blockade is unlawful and cannot be sustained in law.
     Israel, which confiscated video cameras and footage on board the ship in order to make a propaganda film justifying its action, called the report "biased."
     According to the report, Dogan was filming with a small video camera when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot.
     The report says Dogan, born in Troy, New York and living in Turkey, had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in the face.



YouTube description: Video broadcast by Turkey's Cihan News Agency appears to show two Israeli soldiers on board the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010, kicking and then shooting one of the activists. The broadcaster identifies the victim as Furkan Dogan, a nineteen year old Turkish young man who was also a US citizen. An autopsy has already revealed that Dogan was shot five times from less that 45cm in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.

Here's the classiest Lauren Bacall tribute AKSARBENT has seen yet


GOP Congressman and serial exhibitionist
Aaron Schock finally soaks his head


State of Nebraska gives Omaha a liquor license for city shooting range

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert owns a
purse-size Glock 26 and a concealed-carry
permit, but doesn't pack heat at City Hall
because the City-County Bldg. doesn't
allow weapons.
Before the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission unanimously approved a liquor license for the recently and expensively renovated Harry A. Koch Trap & Skeet Range, it did express some concerns about alcoholic beverages being served at a city-owned facility where shotguns are discharged,  (Hey, you didn't think people in GOP Gov. Heineman's administration were stupid pushovers for reckless requests by the administrations of cities with GOP mayors, did you?) 
     Anyway, the liquor commission's tough questions  were smoothly allayed by Steven Slater of Mayor Stothert's administration, who assured the prudent killjoys that "Alcoholic beverages will only be served and allowed to be consumed after patrons have completed any target shooting at the range or [if] they are not target shooting"
     And how will the City of Omaha do that? Software! A computer program will track who has purchased beer and prevent them from shooting, said Slater in an email.
     Well OK! Security software, that 21st Century miracle that keeps your debit cards safe from hackers at Target and other companies, will keep drunks away from the shotguns at Omaha's shooting range!
     Incidentally, in case you thought that Nebraskans were only mad about football, you should know that competitive shooting is actually the state's fastest growing school sport, according to Omaha Parks and Recreation Director Brook Bench, who said more than 500 Omaha area high school students now shoot competitively.
     In fact, Slater, who is the "contractual services coordinator" for the project, said “High schools got us going. They wanted a place to shoot and that got the ball rolling.”
     And now high school teenagers can blast shotguns in a beautiful new venue that serves alcohol! Pull! Bottoms up!

Dan Page, St. Louis cop who pushed CNN anchor Don Lemon, is suspended after CNN airs parts of his interesting YouTube 'Oathkeepers' speech

Memo to dumb cops with a racist, homophobic and sexist Internet backstory: Don't pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel and don't interfere with a gay, black news anchor for an international TV news operation when he's on the air. You will live to regret it.
     Officer Dan Page tried throwing his weight around, specifically on Don Lemon, during unrest in Ferguson, MO, which the CNN anchor was trying to cover, but apparently Page didn't see what was coming next: a CNN report on his own wingnut speech to a Missouri chapter of the far right organization Oathkeepers. Oops, said the cracker from the show-me state after CNN showed the world what he was really all about.
     Oathkeepers is a bunch of mostly cop/military types which is so deeply creepy that the Southern Poverty Law Center researched the group for a special report here.
     Although Officer Page ain't personally an Oathkeeper member hisself, he apparently likes to get members of said outfit cranked up with his very own crank trifecta of anti-homo, anti-Obama, and anti-broad oratory.



One cop who WAS a member of Oathkeepers (and may still be) is Don Kessler (below), who used to be the police chief of Gilberton, PA, until the town decided to terminate him after it suddenly and shockingly discovered his use of "borough-owned automatic attachments to the weapons in his now-infamous YouTube videos, tampering with a borough computer system before his initial suspension, misusing a borough discount card to buy tires for his personal Humvee, failing to turn over weapons to the borough and general dereliction of duty."


H/T: JoeMyGod

Friday, August 22, 2014

Willie Nelson - Neil Young concert to stop Keystone XL pipeline is already sold out

Etix says no more tickets remain for the benefit, described as follows on the reservation website:
Two music legends — Neil Young and Willie Nelson — will perform a benefit concert on Sept. 27 on a farm near Neligh, Nebraska that is on the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and also crosses the historic Ponca Tribe “Trail of Tears.” Proceeds from the “Harvest the Hope” concert will go to Bold Nebraska, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Cowboy & Indian Alliance, to fund the ongoing fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as a number of small, community-based clean energy projects on farms and tribal land. The afternoon concert will take place in a field on a farm owned by a family who are part of a strong collective of Nebraska landowners refusing to sell their land to TransCanada for the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. Also performing: Willie's son - Lukas Nelson, Native American hip-hop artist Frank Waln; and the "Stopping the Pipeline Rocks All-Stars." Children ages 7 and under do not need a ticket as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult.

2014 Emmy promotion short goes viral

In it, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul run a pawn shop to which Julia Louis-Drefus attempts to pawn her Seinfeld Emmy statuette. Don't miss the last line, delivered by Paul.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Want to solve more Jeopardy clues? Better bone up on the show's favorite state

Today's Jeopardy broadcast on WOWT featured another Nebraska category, which happens at least once a year, undoubtedly due to the fact that four of the show's top producers and writers form a sort of Cornhusker mafia.
     "They keep trying to slip in Nebraska clues that nobody else knows anything about," Trebek said, "like: 'Where did Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando's mother go to school?' "
     Alex, what is Omaha Central High School?
     That's the school executive producer Harry Friedman and senior producer Gary Johnson attended in the 1960s. Johnson also is the head writer -- and mostly to blame for all the Nebraska clues.
     Also from the state: associate segment producer Stewart Hoke and longtime writer Steve Tamerius.
     Nebraska has been named in at least 68 clues in recent years, and many others have had obvious ties to the state even though it was not named.
     "We know Nebraska, so we tend to write about it more than other states," Johnson said.
     ...Tamerius makes sure to get a Nebraska category on the show at least once a year. He also tries to mention his hometown of Fairbury in a clue, usually something about the historic Pony Express station near the Southeast Nebraska town.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chik-fil-A cow's head is missing; owner offers reward

This is something that our family is really attached to, the owner claimed to WOWT. Well, obviously not any longer.
     According to Forbes:
Chick-fil-A, the corporate parent, has been sued [as of 2007] at least 12 times since 1988 on charges of employment discrimination, according to records in U.S. District Courts. Aziz Latif, a former Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston, sued the company in 2002 after Latif, a Muslim, says he was fired a day after he didn’t participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program in 2000. The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.
Chik-fil-A leads the fast food industry with a per-store sales average of $3,157,900 compared to second-place McDonalds' $2,600,000. This is even more impressive when one considers that, unlike McDonalds, Chik-fil-A restaurants are not open on Sundays.
(Tipped by reader Karen)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Here's John Lennon in 1966 sarcastically telling L.A. reporters that Eleanor Rigby was a song about "two queers"



@2:56
Reporter: I'd like to direct this question toward Mssrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, Time Magazine put down pop music and they referred to "Day Tripper" as being about a prostitute and "Norwegian Wood" as being about a lesbian. Now I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it and what your feeling is about the Time Magazine criticism of the music that is being written today.
Paul McCartney: We just try to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all.

@5:02
Reporter: May I ask about the song "Eleanor Rigby?" What was the motivation or inspiration for that?
John Lennon: "Two queers."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

IA Rep. Steve King: no need to be concerned about racial profiling in Ferguson because protesters all have the same 'continental origin'


Unreleased Robin Williams film, Boulevard, is about a devoted husband confronting life on the down low

IMDB describes the film, Boulevard, screened last Spring at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, as: "A devoted husband in a marriage of convenience is forced to confront his secret life."
      When Williams passed, the film had yet to be picked up by a distributor.



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