Sunday, February 19, 2017

Adults-only Mac and Cheese

You won't believe, until you try it, that a dish with just four ingredients and this easy to make can taste so rich and full bodied!
  • 1 1/4 cups of elbow macaroni (it cooks fast and holds thin sauce better)
  • 2 oz. plain goat cheese (1/2 of a small log, or crumbled. It'll be melted, so who cares?)
  • 4 oz. of a dry, crisp white wine, like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Unoaked Chardonnay
  • 16 medium, peeled shrimp, cut into quarters
While boiling the macaroni to desired firmness, melt the goat cheese in the wine in a small saucepan. Cook long enough to boil off the alcohol. When pasta is finished, pour it into a large bowl and thoroughly mix in the shrimp. Distribute contents to 2-4 serving bowls and add sauce. Eat with a spoon, as the thin sauce collects at the bottom.

That one time Dick Cavett walked off his own show but returned when audience chanted 'We Want Dick!'

There were warning rumblings from the Nebraska talk show host that he had had enough, like "This is the reason I didn't join a fraternity." His unruly guests, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes and Ben Gazzara denied it when Cavett asked if they were all smashed.
     Just before the host finally took a hike from his own set, he announced: "You've seen three guys fall down, right? Wanna see something else?"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bill Maher calls Milo Yiannopoulos an 'impish British fag'; Larry Wilmore twice tells him to go fuck himself

Milo Whachamacallit*, a professional insult-comic troller and alt-right dahlink now banned from Twitter, confronted the panel on Bill Maher and was told to fuck off, or variations thereof (bottom video) twice by Larry Wilmore and once by ex-spook Malcolm Nance, who replaced Intercept cofounder Jeremy Scahill, who refused to appear on Maher's show with Milos.
     We think Maher was being overly diplomatic when he referred to Milo as an "impish British fag (top video.)
We can't spell Yiannopoulos. Is it OK if we call him Tallulah Lunkhead?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump's looming trade war could wreck the one bright spot in U.S. balance of payments: ag exports

Photo: StevanBaird via Flickr
Politico has a very illuminating piece on how Trump's looming trade war could claim as collateral damage the one bright spot in America's balance of trade: the huge trade surplus that farmers have been running since the 1960s. Last year it was $16 billion, and this year it is expected to be $21.5 billion. Contrast that with the $86 billion balance of trade deficit in manufactured goods.

The Trump administration has come out of the gate seemingly gearing up for a trade war -- withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatening to pull out of NAFTA and rattling relations with Mexican President Peña Nieto with talk of paying for a wall along the southern border by imposing taxes on imports. The goal is to restore U.S. manufacturing jobs in languishing industries like steel, and help the Rust Belt factory workers who turned out to vote Trump. But farmers and ranchers have a lot to lose, and they’re are starting to worry their entire industry will be collateral damage in Trump’s trade experiment.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sorry, pedophiles. This Man Boy Scouts video probably isn't what you were expecting

The server ate Betsy Devos's homework!

It's Betsy Devos's first miracle! And it started when George Takei tweeted to his 2 moolsillion plus followers that her Dept. of Education removed web pages (She works fast, doesn't she?) that contained information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Many cherry-picking, for-profit charter schools hate the pesky law that costs them a lot of money, especially when informed parents insist on accommodations for special needs kids).

After that, tweet was retweeted FOURTEEN THOUSAND TIMES. and after THAT, people noticed that the information had MAGICALLY REAPPEARED somewhere else with a different web address — and a WRITTEN EXCUSE! (Click graphic below to enlarge it enough to read Devos's alibi, highlighted in yellow.

Friday, February 10, 2017

More Nebraskans identify as LGBT than in any surrounding state except one

Gallup's operations center, in Omaha.
Gallup's newest national LGBT survey, and why the polling giant thinks the percentage of people who self-identify as LGBT is increasing, here.

SD GOP killed ethics measure approved by voters; prevented them from passing it again

In November, South Dakota voters approved an anti-corruption referendum, Measure 22, intended to limit the influence of campaign cash and interloping lobbyists. The South Dakota GOP overturned the law with an "emergency clause."
     Voters won't be able to resurrect the referendum.
     Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) claimed the initiative was the work of out of state "scam artists" and that voters were "hoodwinked."
     Pender, Nebraska Native Drey Samuelson, who was instrumental in the advancement of Measure 22, served as former senator Tim Johnson’s (D) chief of staff for 28 years and co-founded, the group that pushed the measure locally with backing from a Massachusetts organization,
     More from the Washington Post:
[State Rep. Larry] Rhoden said lawmakers are considering replacement ethics legislation and added there was no rush to do something: “We are pretty squeaky clean, and I can say that with a great deal of pride in South Dakota; the ethics among the people that serve the state in the legislature, I would call impeccable.”
    The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity recently ranked South Dakota 47th in the nation for accountability, largely because of its lax lobbying laws. “Little to none of [state legislative and lobbyist interaction] is reported to the public in any detail,” the report said.
     The state has been wracked by two major ethics scandals in the past two years: Investigations into misuse of the federal green card program for wealthy immigrant investors and the theft by a private company of more than $1 million of federal grant money to help Native Americans get ready for college.
     As a grim aside, people implicated in both scandals either committed suicide or murder or both.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bachmann's antigay IA campaign dir. headed to prison; lawyer says he'll 'take it like a man'

On January 17th, after sentencing, Defense attorney F. Montgomery Brown told reporters Sorenson wouldn't appeal the ruling. "He'll take it like a man." Brown said. Two weeks later, Sorensen notified the court he was appealing his sentence to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
     Sorenson got up to 15 months in a federal slammer for violation of federal election law and obstruction of justice; he had copped a plea, ratting out Ron Paul operatives who secretly and illegally funneled $73,000 his way to persuade him to quit Michele Bachmann's campaign and join theirs.)
     U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt called the former Republican lawmaker's crimes "the definition of political corruption. Sorenson's family begged to disagree:
...members of Sorenson's family became visibly upset and angry. "Are you happy now?" one of his sisters said to reporters in the courtroom when Pratt made his ruling. Two women who identified themselves as Sorenson's daughters shouted obscenities at journalists waiting outside the building to speak with their father, and one attempted to block a television camera with her body as Sorenson exited.
     We've posted about Sorenson before, here and here:

Sens. Sasse, Fischer, Grassley cosponsor Joni Ernst's bill to defund ALL Planned Parenthood's services;

From Mother Jones:
...The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal funds from being used for most abortions, but this legislation would bar low-income women who rely on Medicaid and Title X funding for subsidized care from obtaining other women's health care services at Planned Parenthood...
     The bill text explains that other entities, including "state and county health departments, community health centers, [and] hospitals," will be able to fill women's health care needs, including contraception, STI testing, and cervical and breast cancer screening. Many health experts say other health providers would not be able to absorb Planned Parenthood's patients. An analysis conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, which publishes research on reproductive health, found that in two-thirds of the counties that have a Planned Parenthood center, these centers serve at least half of the women seeking publicly funded contraceptive care. In one-fifth of those counties, Planned Parenthood is the only provider offering subsidized contraceptive care.
     "If passed, these bills will cause a national health care crisis, leaving millions with nowhere to go for basic care," said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement...
Here are all the cosponsors, so far:
Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]
Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX]
Sen. Blunt, Roy [R-MO]
Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC]
Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY]
Sen. Lankford, James [R-OK]
Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
Sen. Daines, Steve [R-MT]
Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND]
Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK]
Sen. Sasse, Ben [R-NE]
Sen. Fischer, Deb [R-NE]
Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID]
Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]
Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT]
Sen. Risch, James E. [R-ID]
Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]
Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]
Sen. Corker, Bob [R-TN]
Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]

An ugly accident outside the library near midnight in downtown Omaha

Doh! The library book drop box! We totally forgot to return two borrowed books after shooting our shaky-cam video.

This was an injury accident, but that doesn't completely explain why these two drivers did not exchange insurance cards...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Senators Grassley (IA) and Fischer (NE) bravely speak out on Trump's ban on Muslims from countries in which he has no hotels

This is from a spreadsheet on the stance of every senator on Trump's legal attack on immigrants, the link to which was tweeted by Will and Grace star Debra Messing. Thanks Deb Messing! Thanks for nothing, Deb Fischer

In Omaha, determination, resentment at Trump and a cowardly GOP over immigration

Today's protest, with maybe a couple hundred, had mostly dissipated by the time AKSARBENT arrived, but we snapped one picture emblematic of the simmering anger, indignation and empathy felt by so many toward Trump and his cowardly mute GOP enablers. (Locally, that would be you, Senator Fischer (@SenatorFischer), Representatives Adrian Smith (@RepAdrianSmith) and DonBacon (@RepDonBacon), and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (@Jean_Stothert)

Fred Karger goes after LDS tax exemptions in new ad

Before Comcast agreed to carry the ad, Karger had to change the line which asserted that the Mormon Church has over a trillion bucks in assets. Below is the unedited version of the ad, which has yet to appear. The Mormon Church stopped disclosing complete financial information in the U.S. in 1959.
     In the 70s, a friend of AKSARBENT worked in the stock transfer office of PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) in San Francisco during an offering made to stockholders. He told us that the ledger card bundle/s with records of LDS holdings in the utility were so thick that the rubber bands kept breaking. Each ledger card held 20 entries on each side and each LDS entry was 100 shares.
     In 2004, the Mormon church owned about 270,000 acres of Nebraska, in five Sandhills counties, second only to the ranch holdings of communications magnate Ted Turner.
     Britain's Daily Mail, a tabloid not particularly renowned for its accuracy, asserts that the church pulls in 76 billion a year.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bill Maher sums up Trump's first week in office

It's day seven of the war on facts! I asked Siri to give me the news and she said "Are you sitting down?"

ICYMI: Triump, the insult comic dog at Trump's inauguration

This is the funniest skit that puppet has ever emceed. Do not watch this while eating; you'll choke to death but die happy.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Best Camera award at 2017 Consumer Electronics Show wasn't snagged by Nikon or Canon

AKSARBENT wasn't a bit surprised by the winner: the just-announced Panasonic Lumix GH5, latest incarnation of what has become a cult among electronic moviemakers, starting with the eminently hackable GH2. First looks from the reviewers here and here. The thing shoots broadcast quality 4:2:2 video internally, which is a big deal. It also has 5-axis image stabilization built in, so who needs a Steadicam, huh?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Throwback Thursday: When Mary Tyler Moore told David Letterman a dirty joke about her TV costar

America's television sweetheart died Wednesday at 80. She was almost as much fun as is Julie Andrews (who once put a "Mary Poppins is a junkie" bumper sticker on her car.) In the clip below she explains why she would never be seen in a Rob Reiner film (6:36 mark) and then got her friend and costar, Dick Van Dyke, good by telling a wickedly funny (and outrageously false) story about him. (7:55 mark).

WOWT running fraudulent ad about nonexistant GOP plan to replace Obamacare

(Via the Washington Post)
"Imagine a new path forward,” a narrator says over images of happy families and smiling doctors, not to mention Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “Health insurance that provides more choices and better care at lower costs, a system that puts patients and doctors in charge, that provides peace of mind to people with preexisting conditions, and paves the way for new cures by eliminating senseless regulations.
    House Republicans have a plan to get there without disrupting existing coverage, giving your family the health care it deserves.
     House Republicans haven't advanced any such plan, but the ad is running in Omaha on WOWT targeting new GOP Rep. Don Bacon. It's also running (till the end of January) in the districts of GOP Reps. Rod Blum (Iowa), Mike Coffman (Colo.), Barbara Comstock (Va.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Will Hurd (Texas), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Steve Stivers (Ohio), Mac Thornberry (Texas), Patrick J. Tiberi (Ohio), David Valadao (Calif.) and Greg Walden (Ore.)
     The million-dollar compaign comes from The American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) group affiliated with the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC and run by key GOP establishment figures, according to the Washington Post.
      The TV ad promotes a website,
     Go there, and you'll see a video of the same broadcast TV ad, followed by this:
House Republicans have a plan to get there
Our Congress is fighting for us: lowering costs, providing more control and more choices to pick a plan that meets our needs, not a plan that Washington mandates.
     Alongside the above, a form to collect details about you (your name, email address, and zip code) as well as a button labeled "I'm in."
      What you won't see is a single detail about the famously nonexistant GOP substitute for Obamacare.

Monday, January 23, 2017

More video from Women's March on Omaha

Looks like Trump enablers like Mayor Jean Stothert and Senator Deb Fischer have a party problem, doesn't it?
     Memo to KETV, Omaha's "news leader": when a $500 Canon camcorder takes better night video than the uncharacteristically lousy footage you aired of the march, you have a technology problem. (KETV's video of the march was so bad the station evidently didn't post any of it on YouTube or its website, even though it was the biggest news of the day in Omaha. KETV's video, taken during the day, is uniformly excellent; the station needs to figure out how to get better night video.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Omaha Live! shows you how to stop other drivers from texting while driving

Omaha Live! has posted other useful videos here.

(Yes, we used "useful" with irony. This is satire. Do not do it this. Geez.)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump misogyny provokes thousands of Omahans to march: 'We need a leader, not a dirty tweeter!'

AKSARBENT recorded the ENTIRETY of today's Women's March on Omaha as it snaked through the Old Market.
     If you marched, you're probably in the video. We hope to have the whole thing up by midnight or so. If not, check back tomorrow Tuesday (but not early!)
     UPDATE: Even though the complete video isn't up yet, we posted another, better excerpt than the one below, here.
     Our estimate of the crowd was (conservatively) between 6720 and 9580. We arrived at that seat-of-the-pants reckoning by noting that as the marchers turned north on Howard onto 11th, they were funneled into the comparatively narrow space between reconstruction of the M's building and one of the Old Market's big circular planters on the east side of 11th, accommodating about 10 people abreast, more or less. The crowd's density was surprisingly uniform, and we guessed 2-3 seconds, on average, for each group of 10 to turn onto 11th, depending on the speed of the crowd, which waxed and waned. We counted the seconds in the video in which people were actually exiting the video frame and used that for our rough calculation.

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Obamas to stay in Palm Springs at home of gay friends

Michelle and Barrack will stay at Ichpa Mayapan, the 3-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 8-acre, 11,000 sq. ft. Palm Springs retreat of WH decorator Michael S. Smith and his partner, James Costos, the U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra and a former HBO honcho who has raised a lot of money for Obama. They bought the Mayan fantasia, built in 1970, as a "maintenance-deferred" property for a weekend retreat. At the top is the listing video; at right a view of what it looks like now.
     The property also includes a corral, a 2-bedroom, 2-bath guest house and housing for eight vehicles.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Keith Olberman calls "bullshit" on NE Sen. Sasse's plea for John Lewis to attend Trump coronation

"Bullshit! If you think, Senator, that handing over this country to the puppet of Vladmir Putin should be celebrated and should be a peaceful transfer of power, you are not only not loyal to this country but you know nothing about John Lewis. If you think Senator, that we will let you or anybody else normalize the transfer of power to a racist, seemingly psychotic Russian plant, perhaps you should look again at how heroes like John Lewis responded the last time the white supremacists of this country insisted this was about power and that we must all accept its use, and its misuse, peacefully."

Watch the articulate and persuasive Dem rebuttal to NE GOP governor's state of the state address

No more backward signs, Jane! If necessary use title frames inserted into the video or subtitles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Omaha's most active twitter account busts Mayor Stothert's spin on ice storm communications meltdown

Mean Streets Omaha (@MeanStreetsOMA) wasn't fooled by Jean Stothert's blatantly false disinformation about the consequences of outsourcing to an out-of-state answering service calls to Public Works requesting salt or sand to trouble spots during Sunday/Monday's ice storm. (@MeanStreetsOMA now has more than 90,000 followers.)

Here's how Mayor Stothert tried to pull the wool over Omahans' eyes:

Here was@MeanStreetsOMA's response:

Here's what was really happening, behind the scenes:

Skid Row, NE: Sheridan Co. Commissioners back renewing licenses of 4 stores selling millions of
cans of beer to residents of dry SD reservation

From @JaneKleeb of BoldNebraska we learn that all three Sheridan County, NE Commissioners voted to recommend renewing liquor licenses of four stores which sell the equivalent of 3.5 million cans of beer per year in Whiteclay, NE, population, 12.
     South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is dry, is 24 miles away. After the hearing, Commissioner James Krotz (308 327-2110) thanked everyone for their civility. The other commissioners are Jack Andersen (308 762-1784) and Loren Paul (308 360-1397)
     From the Sheridan County Journal Star:
     “We have tribal laws and we do not allow alcohol. It is a dry reservation,” said Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Lakota County Schools school board and former tribal president. “We know what it does to our people. Yet right on the border of the state of Nebraska sells alcohol, which is tearing our people up.”
     ...Another testifier compared selling Native Americans beer to giving a suicidal neighbor a razor blade, noose or gun.
     ...Beyond the alcoholism occurring in Whiteclay and the Pine Ridge reservation, murders and prostitution also happen. Kim Greager of Rapid City, S.D. told the commissioners how people sell their bodies for five dollars to buy four cans of high octane beer. “If it was happening to white people, would you guys let this happen for so many decades?” asked Greager.
      From the Lincoln Journal-Star 
     To be sure, the tribe needs to and has tried to address alcoholism and related problems on the reservation, but arguing that prohibition in Whiteclay would not be a step forward toward a solution is reprehensible.
     In making their decision, the commissioners also ignored indisputable evidence that adequate law enforcement is absent in Whiteclay, where there has been a handful of unsolved deaths in recent years. Instead, they argued that county taxpayers shouldn’t be required to pick up the tab for more and better policing.
     ...The [Nebraska] Liquor Control Commission should do the right thing, what Sheridan County refused to do: Deny the licenses, shut down the stories and cut off the easy flow of alcohol onto the reservation.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

South Dakota: Rep. Lust kills bill prohibiting sexual contact with interns

Photo: South Dakota Public Broadcasting
The rationale: South Dakota's legislature, through Joint Rule 1A-4, already prohibits "sexual harrassment."
     The counter argument: Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) said that if the code of conduct can spell out sexual harassment, it can spell out sexual contact.
     From the Dakota Free Press:
Rep. Lust (R-Rapid City) moved to kill the sexual contact prohibition. Rep. Mike Stevens (R-18/Yankton) seconded. The roll call vote was 9–5 in favor of killing the proposal:
  • Aye: Curd, Frerichs, Haverly, Hawley, Langer, Lust, Maher, Novstrup, Stevens
  • Nay: Greenfield, Don Haggar, Mickelson, Peterson, Qualm

Unicameral Update: 1/11/2017 — new bills introduced

New bills would address vacant property registration, schoolbus seat belts, human trafficking and MotorVoter Registration

From Unicameral Update:

LB243, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz, which would require reporting of certain information concerning assaults that occur in state institutions;
LB251, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, which would redefine agricultural and horticultural land for revenue and taxation purposes;
LB256, sponsored by Albion Sen. Tom Briese, which would adopt the Vacant Property Registration Act;
LB267, sponsored by Elkhorn Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, which would change provisions relating to onsite vaccinations;
LB277, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, which would change population requirements for election precincts;
LB279, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann, which would require lap-shoulder belts on school buses as prescribed;
LB289, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, which would change provisions and penalties relating to pandering, human trafficking, labor trafficking and sex trafficking and prohibit solicitation of a trafficking victim;
LB290, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, which would provide for voter registration upon application for driver’s license, state identification card or certain benefits;
LB291, sponsored by O’Neill Sen. Tyson Larson, which would adopt the Special Economic Impact Zone Act; and
LB294, sponsored by Papillion Sen. Jim Smith, which would provide for a reciprocity agreement with a foreign country for mutual recognition of motor vehicle operator licenses.
A complete list of bills introduced thus far is available at New bills may be introduced for the first 10 legislative days, or until Jan. 18.