Saturday, March 28, 2015

Video: thousands protest new state freedom-to-discriminate law in Indianapolis

Some businesses in Indiana have banned Gov. Mike Pence from the premises — they're furious about his ridiculous assertion that the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act he supported and signed isn't at all about discriminating against LGBTs and that it is just like the federal RFRA (It isn't; click here to see why.) Here's a list of every Indiana State Representative and Senator who voted to pass the RFRA.

Here is every Indiana state senator and representative who voted for new freedom to discriminate law

Today's anti-RFRA rally in Indianapolis
Click each graphic to enlarge if you need to. At today's Indianapolis anti-RFRA rally (right) there was a booth to register voters.

Not a single Indiana House Democrat voted for the RFRA, according to alternative weekly Nuvo, whose tally is below:

Lloyd Arnold, R – Leavenworth
Michael Aylesworth, R – Hebron
Ron Bacon, R – Boonville
Jim Baird, R – Greencastle
Robert Behning, R – Indianapolis
Bruce Borders, R – Jasonville
Brian Bosma, R - Indianapolis
Mike Braun, R – Jasper
Dr. Tim Brown, R – Crawfordsvile
Woody Burton, R – Whiteland
Martin Carbaugh, R – Fort Wayne
Bob Cherry, R – Greenfield
Tony Cook, R – Cicero
Casey Cox, R – Fort Wayne
Wes Culver, R- Goshen
Steve Davisson, R – Salem
Tom Dermody, R – LaPorte
Dale DeVon, R – Granger
Bill Fine, R – Munster
Bill Friend, R – Macy
Dave Frizzell, R – Indianapolis
Randy Frye, R – Greensburg
Douglas Gutwein, R – Francesville
Dick Hamm, R – Richmond
Tim Harman, R – Bremen
Bob Heaton, R – Terre Haute
Christopher Judy, R – Fort Wayne
Mike Karickoff, R – Kokomo
Eric Koch, R – Bedford
Kathy Krieg Richardson, R – Noblesville
Don Lehe, R – Brookston
Dan Leonard, R – Huntington
Jim Lucas, R – Seymour
Kevin Mahan, R – Hartford City
Peggy Mayfield, R – Martinsville
Jud McMillin, R – Brookville
Wendy McNamara, R – Mount Vernon
Douglas Miller, R – Elkhart
Bob Morris, R – Fort Wayne
Alan Morrison, R – Terre Haute
Sharon Negele, R – Attica
Curt Nisly, R – Goshen
David Ober, R – Albion
Julie Olthoff, R – Crown Point
John Price, R – Greenwood
Rhonda Rhoads, R – Corydon
Donna Schaibley, R – Carmel
Hal Slager, R – Schererville
Ben Smaltz, R – Auburn
Milo Smith, R – Columbus
Ed Soliday, R – Valparaiso
Mike Speedy, R – Indianapolis
Greg Steuerwald, R – Avon
Holli Sullivan, R – Evansville
Jeff Thompson, R – Lizton
Jerry Torr, R – Carmel
Randy Truitt, R – West Lafayette
Matt Ubelhor, R – Bloomfield
Heath VanNatter, R – Kokomo
Thomas Washburne, R – Vincennes
Tim Wesco, R – Osceola
Denny Zent, R – Angola
Cindy Ziemke, R – Batesville

     Five Republican and 26 Democrat representatives voted against SB 101. There were six representatives (three Democrats and three Republicans) who either were not in attendance for the vote or chose to abstain.
     And Mike Pence made it a law.

Some Indiana firms have banned Gov. Pence from their premises

ALSO: Here's a list of every Indiana State Representative and Senator who voted to pass the RFRA.

They're furious about his ridiculous assertion that the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act he supported and signed isn't at all about discriminating against LGBTs and that it is just like the federal RFRA (It isn't; click here to see why.)

IA antigay activist Bob Vander Plaats, anti-gay marriage group under investigation by feds

From the Sunlight Foundation:
     The Federal Election Commission is asking former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and an anti-gay marriage organization to tell the agency why it should not investigate an allegation that they violated campaign finance limits during the last election.
      The complaint, brought by Fred Karger, a gay rights activist who ran a quixotic campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, accuses Santorum of coordinating with the National Organization for Marriage to pay $1 million to Vander Plaats to endorse him, with the money eventually going for ads backing Santorum. That would be a violation of campaign finance law.
     Below: Vander Plaats and NOM (National Organization for Marriage) in an unsuccessful smear campaign to unseat Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

Nebraska's Sen. Deb trolled by Michigan's Sen. Debbie

Chances are slight that the Tom Cotton's gang of 47 (including Sen. Deb Fischer and Sen. Ben Sasse) will have their stationery allowance cut off, but AKSARBENT can dream, can't it?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Disney-owned ABC does charming story of uncle who bolstered niece's confidence by accompanying her to Cinderella in princess drag

If there's a way to illustrate crap news (in this case a viral reddit) by promoting a Disney movie, ABC will find it and milk it.

An important message from the Indiana Board of Terrible People

How sad that Indiana, which was in the forefront of fact-based inquiry into sexual behavior (via Dr. Kinsey) decades ago, has fallen so far.Via Queerty:

Going viral today: Airbus instructional video of how its cockpit doors lock

Nothing, it seems, is more difficult than devising security procedures which cover every base.

Chicago Tribune: the shame of Indiana's new 'religious freedom law'

Rex Huppke, of the Chicago Tribune, has three criteria for determining that Indiana's religious freedom law might be a bad statute. We liked #2:
If you speak out proudly about the importance of your law and it garners national attention, and then you decide to sign that law in a private ceremony with no media coverage, it might be a bad law.
Judging from Indiana Governor Mike Pense's deceptive defense of the law whose passage he just supported, we would probably never buy a used vehicle — or any other hard goods or ideology — from him. Huppke took strong exception to Gov. Pence dragging Illinois into his rationalization
     Gov. Mike Pence noted that 19 states, including Illinois, have Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. The implication was clearly: “Hey, our neighbor Illinois has a law like this and nobody looks at that state as intolerant.”
     He neglected to point out the important fact that Illinois also has a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Indiana has no such law.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Comment of the day on Phil Robertson's predatory, fear-mongering and violent atheist fable

Commenter Sam Ganci cut through the crap of Phil Robertson's moralistic finger-wagging via a simplistic, self-serving parable disrespecting atheists, with this:

Empathy is the basis for morality, not an arbitrary set of rules handed an invisible, undetectable entity. Our ability to understand the impact of our behavior is the thing that separates us from animals. If Phil [Robertson] needs constant supervision from a god to keep from raping/killing, he has the moral understanding of an animal. My dog can refrain from stealing food if I'm watching. Phil has reduced human morality to a fear of punishment. As a father and husband in a non-believing family, I shudder at the thought of how many American evangelicals agree with this.

Dry drunk Phil Robertson's old man sanctimony has a nasty, violent provenance but Robertson blames that history on Satan and a permissive 60s culture — not himself — insisting that outside forces were responsible for the eight years of liquor and substance abuse in his 20s during which he savagely beat a bar owner and his wife over a rent dispute, sending them to the hospital and forcing his wife and small sons to fend for themselves while he hid in the woods of a neighboring state from the Louisiana State Patrol for four months.
     After repeatedly kicking his wife and kids out of the house, Robertson finally straightened up.
     Nowadays, the only people Robertson assaults are LGBTs, with cherry-picked biblical clobber phrases from the Apostle Paul.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wonkette's take on Daily Caller, the 'national news' outlet so enamored of Nebraska Watchdog's Ernie Chambers exposé

Chronicling by chapter and verse Chambers' rhetorical excess about cops (which he has been saying since, like, 1966) and then watching it bounce around the right-wing echo chamber isn't remotely a scoop, and criticizing fellow reporters for not bothering to transcribe Chamber's latest fusillade isn't very meaningful either.
     You can report on the Unicameral or you can report on Chambers' wretched excess but who can adequately cover both? We'd rather see Unicameral reporters ignore Chambers' sideshow antics in favor of more reportage of legislative proceedings in general, as Dana Winter herself is prone to do on her better days.
     For Pete's sake, if she continues to roll around in this ditch, she's no better than a jammies-clad blogger... Us, for example. We expect better from our betters — real reporters — even while recognizing that some of them have to supply their right-wing paymasters with this kind of drivel occasionally.
     Go read Wonkette's take on the Daily Caller for an alternative take on what some people think about the "national news" outlet that takes Chambers' flights of fancy seriously. Via Winter:
     None of the reporters at the legislative hearing reported on Chambers’ comments, but KFOR Radio and Nebraska Watchdog did this week, prompting a flurry of national coverage. Nebraska lawmakers are accustomed to Chambers’ vitriolic speeches, and rarely call him out, perhaps because he often retaliates by targeting them and their bills. But on Wednesday, McCoy took the unusual step of confronting Chambers.
     “It’s appalling, and I’ve had enough,” McCoy said.
     He said he first heard about Chambers’ remarks on Wednesday, when the story went viral.
     “This is the first time in my time I’m going to stand up and take on Senator Chambers for something he said,” off the floor, McCoy said Wednesday morning, noting the story made national news – from FOX News to the National Review to the Daily Caller – and calling on Chambers to apologize to police and military officers who defend the U.S.
In June 2012, Nebraska Watchdog's parent, the Franklin Center, teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to host the first annual Breitbart Awards dinner.

SCOTUS' DADT approach to heightened scrutiny in gay discrimination cases

JURIST Guest Columnist Eric Berger, of the University of Nebraska College of Law,  ponders how, not if, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down prohibitions on gay marriage:
Precedent forms less of an obstacle to this approach than one might think. Scholars disagree about whether Romer held that laws targeting gays and lesbians receive only rational basis review or alternatively, found that the Colorado amendment failed rational basis and therefore would have failed any level of scrutiny. Either way the common wisdom is that the court did not apply deferential rationality review but rather "rational basis with bite." In invaliding section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor abstained from articulating a tier of scrutiny but also seemed to apply searching review. Heightened scrutiny is not what the court says in these cases, but it may be what it does.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz launches presidential run at university whose dean has published screeds by death-to-homosexuals activists three times

Ted Cruz announced his bid for the presidency of the U.S. at a mandatory-attendance assembly at Virginia's Liberty University, founded by sexist, antigay and dead "apartheid-supporting bigot" Jerry Falwell. The institution has few women leaders  
     Via JoeMyGod (link added by AKSARBENT):
For the third time in four months, Christian leader Matt Barber has published  a guest column from an advocate of the death penalty for homosexuality. 
     In 2010, Liberty University got almost half a billion dollars in federal financial aid ($25,000,000 more than the government gave to NPR.) according to Alex Parene at Salon.
     The massive sum was thanks to the growth of Liberty's online program, which enrolled 52,000 students last year. The school is the largest recipient of Pell grant money in the state of Virginia.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sean Penn: 'Homosexuality through musical hypnosis.'
Andy Richter: 'That's how they get you.'

Penn commuted to S.F. from Marin while filming Milk and had a morning routine to get into his gay character.

SXSW: a miniskirted, Bill 'Murray-achi' does a sidesaddle dismount to greet Jimmy Kimmel

He usually tools around Austin in jeans, a t-shirt and a golf cart, but this was special.

How a Brit tabloid sells a budget story to its readers

Awesome! Maybe the New York Times, which once rejected a courtesy photo from William F. Buckley to accompany a profile because it showed him shirtless on his sailboat, is only the world's second best newspaper.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Matt Baume does Aaron Schock

Schock retired hours after Politico reported the latest blowup about his finance irregularities: claiming (for reimbursement worth at least $50,000) double the miles on a Chevy Yukon that the SUV had on the odometer when Schock sold it.

Microsoft ends development of Internet Explorer,
its second communications program

Explorer will be supplanted by a totally new browser in Windows 10, although it will ship with the operating system for compatibility. Microsoft's first communications program was Access, such a dismal failure that the company was able to recycle the name as a database product without confusing its customers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A grim interview with Aaron Schock's father

We were going to be snarky but this is sad on so many levels. Ugh. How many rungs of denial are there on this ladder? Via Politico


Sir Elton spotted with D&G bag; Did he surrender to jack-booted D&G models and Glenn Beck?

Beck must have retrieved his biggest trowel for his latest load, casting antiChrist Elton John against St. Stefano of the jack-booted Milan male models (the really terrifying part of the D&G video below starts at 8:53).
     Interestingly, Elton John was photographed entering an L.A. recording studio with a D&G bag a day after swearing off the brand. Either he's already capitulated or he's up to something...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MO GOP gubernatorial race so nasty, one candidate shoots himself in head, dies

This wasn't even a general election fracas — just what Republicans do to each other. Tough party.

Among the tactics: a false whispering campaign that Tom Schweich was (gasp!) Jewish. This apparently works in Missouri to dry up funding from Christers.
     (Schweich may not have realized that there are plenty of wealthy, right-wing Jews willing to fund stooges for Israel (like the ones funding Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel, which showered Tom Cotton's campaign with $1 million as he went down to the wire against Democrat Mark Pryor in Arkansas last fall.)
     And then there are all those like-minded domestic groups similar to the one responsible for the video below, that front for Israel in the U.S.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Dolce and Gabbana have now stitched together a victim narrative on instagram; commenters aren't buying it

Click above graphic to enlarge

#BoycottDolceandGabbana today became the top-trending hashtag in America. The designers are attempting to change the conversation from their attack on gay parents and IVF children to a discussion of an alleged attack on their freedom of speech and now insist that critics are disrespecting their personal opinions which they claim were never meant to criticize anyone else's choices.
In an interview with Panorama, an Italian fashion magazine, the couple was quoted: "The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow; there are things that should not be changed."
     Below: presumably rented baby models in a D&G advertisement years before D&G ripped "rented uterus" scenarios engaged in by gay male couples attempting to start their own biological families. Below that, a male couple depicted as raising a kid poses for a D&G advertisement. In 2006, Stefano Gabbana told the Daily Mail, "I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How Barney Frank got back at a GA pol for years of Senate homophobia

Politico's long excerpt from Barney Frank's new autobiography, Frank; a life in politics from the Great Society to same sex marriage, is fascinating.
     Included is how Frank placated both of the gay journalists from the Boston Globe vying to break his self-outing, how he threatened a nuclear outing of GOP closet cases if Lee Atwater didn't stop his dirty tricks whispering campaign against Rep. Tom Foley, and how he decided that two prominent Democrats were fueling a whisper campaign against House majority leader Tom Foley.
     But here's the part in which Frank paid Sen. Sam Nunn back for years of homophobic actions in the Senate:
     ...There is a postscript to the fight over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that I promised Clinton I’d keep secret. But I now feel free to reveal it because Clinton himself brought it up in a conversation with Taylor Branch that would be published with Clinton’s consent in Branch’s book The Clinton Tapes. Branch, whose work on Martin Luther King Jr. is brilliant journalism that I wish every activist would read, is a strong admirer of Sam Nunn and apparently asked Clinton why he had not appointed Nunn to a major national security post in his second term. Nunn had in fact hoped to become secretary of state. Clinton replied that it was my fault, referring to a memo I had sent him.
     I am delighted to plead guilty as charged. After the 1996 election, one of Clinton’s top aides called to warn me that the president was on the verge of making Nunn secretary of state. I started to complain, and the response I got was, “Don’t complain to me. I agree with you, but I haven’t been able to stop it and that’s why I am calling you.”
     I immediately composed a memo to Clinton in which I said that Nunn had a consistent record of homophobia. He had fired two men from his staff because they were “security risks” back at a time when the anti-gay order was still in effect. He had vigorously led the fight against allowing us to serve in the military, and in 1996 when Ted Kennedy cleverly forced a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate, Nunn was one of only five Democrats to vote against us.
     In other words, I wrote to Clinton, Nunn has been one of the most effective and dedicated opponents of fair treatment for LGBT people. I have defended you, I went on, against those who have unfairly, in my judgment, accused you of selling us out on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell issue. But if you appoint this man, who has done so much to harm us, to the most prestigious position you have to give, you will do more to validate those criticisms than I could do to rebut them. I passionately told Clinton that he should not do this to those of us who had been his strongest supporters.
     I must acknowledge that I got some personal satisfaction from apparently frustrating Nunn’s aspiration to be secretary of state. But I also thought that something crucial was at stake: Being a leading opponent of fair treatment for LGBT people should be considered a disqualification for high honor within the Democratic Party. No comparable opponent of fair treatment for African-Americans, women or any other group would have been considered for such a post. I am proud that I helped establish the principle that we should receive equal consideration.

SNL repeats one of its most brilliant sketches, ever

It takes a lot of brass to try to demolish the legacy of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in one of cinema's most beloved scenes by skewering it with a feminist twist, but SNL's victory was total thanks to a genius script, the incomparable Kate McKinnon ( who got EVERY laugh in the piece) and J.K. Simmons, who, evidently, was just around to feed her setup lines.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Omaha Film Festival

The 10th annual Omaha Film Festival ends tomorrow.
     Tonight, on the Short Film Block #8 (Nebraska) schedule is Derek Davidson's Just Another Tuesday.
     Here's the entire schedule and links to buy tickets.

Sens. Fischer, Sasse unconcerned about outrage to their attempt to sabotage nuclear agreement with Iran

The menacing letter they signed, almost certainly a violation of the Logan Act, was written by Sen. Tom Cotton, and threatened the integrity of nearly 4,000 executive agreements signed since the begining of the Carter administration alone.
     It falsely attempted to persuade the government of Iran that the United States is not bound by executive agreements and implied that President Obama's successor could revoke any agreement signed by the United States with Iran.
     Secretary of State Kerry said their recklessness undermined U.S. foreign policy, was legally incorrect, and "ignored more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy."
     Iran's foreign minister, a professor of international law with advanced degrees from three U.S. universities, said this:

     Sen. Deb Fischer dismissed criticism of her action as "partisan noise."
     Sen. Ben Sasse adopted a mien of incredulity, passing off his attempt at diplomatic meddling as merely "a letter that says we have a Constitution." He then went further, telling the World-Herald:
     It's breathtaking to me that anybody can think a letter that says we have a Constitution is surprising."
     Pressed as to his reason for signing the letter, Sasse said that shouldn't be the issue...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

UNL Chancellor: honor society tackling not hazing because football players get tackled

On Monday, the Daily Nebraskan published a story by Chris Bowling (a really good student reporter) wondering whether the University of Nebraska's oldest honor society, Innocents, was getting away with hazing, after an uploading to YouTube of a tackling ceremony (above) by UNL Innocents. Such an incident last year resulted in the examination of an inductee for a possible concussion, which was ruled out.
    The Innocents' induction certainly seems to fit the description of hazing, as defined in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Code of Conduct:
“Any activity by an organization or by a member of an organization in which a member, prospective member, pledge or associate of the organization is subjected to acts which cause harm or create the risk of harm to the physical or mental health of the member, prospective member, or pledge.”
But there's a loophole, noted by Bowling:
     Members have a defense against allegations of hazing. They say inductees don’t have to be tackled if they don’t want to.
     The Innocents is upfront on its membership application that inductees may opt out of the ceremony. But Peter Bock, a former Innocents member and UNL alumnus, said this hardly ever happens because no one wants to be the person who disrupts the tradition.
DN: An excerpt from the minutes for the Innocents Society meeting following the tackling incident.
     Today, the DN published another piece by Bowling, containing the university's response to his initial article:
     UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman pointed to article III, section eight of the code in an email defending the tradition...
     In accordance with the particular guideline, which outlines acceptable practices for initiation rituals, the Innocents’ tackling ceremony doesn’t require exertion, deprivation or embarrassment over a sustained period of time, Perlman said. Nor does it damage anyone’s reputation.
[Says the star of a series of stupid YouTube videos, as seen at the bottom of this post—AKSARBENT]
     But Perlman, an honorary Innocents member, didn’t explain how the tackling falls beyond the reach of the code of conduct’s definition of hazing. The definition is outlined in article III section seven: “any activity by which a person intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health or safety of an individual for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership with any student organization.”

     ...Perlman said stretching the definition of hazing runs the risk of criminalizing innocuous behaviors.

     “If tackling by Innocents as a condition of membership is prohibited, then what about (the) tackling drill to make the football team?” Perlman said.
Below: Perlman in a cult of personality NU promotional video:

Politico: Peoria, IL Rep. Aaron Schock disguised plane trip cost as software purchase

Left: Keith Siilats
Politico reports that Rep. Schock's reported $3,425 purchase of software from Bytelogics was really part of a $13,000 payment for air travel to Illinois for official events and to a Chicago Bears football game on a plane belonging to Keith Siilats, the chief technology officer of Bytelogics.
     “This is for a flight,” Siilats said in a brief interview Monday. Asked if he has ever sold Schock software, Siilats said, “No, I never sold him software.”
     Under federal law, “knowing and willful” violations of election statutes — including reporting violations — can result in criminal charges. That could include failing to report an expense or disbursement properly, or repeated violations of regulations covering such actions.
     ...Schock reimbursed the government roughly $10,000 for that flight. The additional $3,425, which Schock labeled as a software purchase, came out of the Schock Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account.

Here's wet-behind-the-ears Sen. Marco Rubio trying to put Sec'y of State Kerry on trial. Pathetic

In respect of the rash letter signed by Rubio and other GOP senators (seven refused to sign) Kerry had this to say, via Politico.
“This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy,” Kerry said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “This risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to with the United States.”