Thursday, September 14, 2017

In Downsizing, Alexander Payne's first film since Nebraska, Matt Damon shrinks himself to 5"

Alexander Payne already has two Oscars (for his part in writing The Descendants, and Sideways) but we predict Downsizing will be his biggest box office hit. It's Sci-Fi, but fun and co-opts the current zeitgeist about the effect of global warming (Harvey and Irma) and what can be done about it, albeit in an outlandish way.
     Payne's crowd-pleasing feature opened the Venice Film Festival and Variety's valentine to the movie called it Honey I Shrunk The Kids for adults.
Damon's Omaha home in Downsizing
was this duplex at 4631 Douglas St.
     Downsizing is the fifth Payne feature to be at least partially filmed in Nebraska and the fourth to be filmed in his hometown, Omaha. Citizen Ruth, Election, and About Schmidt were mostly filmed here. 2013's Nebraska was nominated for 6 Oscars, but won none and only pulled in about $17 million at the box office. It was filmed in Allen, Battle Creek, Elgin, Hooper, Lincoln, Lyons, Madison, Norfolk, Osmond, Pierce, Plainview, Stanton, and Tilden but not Omaha.
     AKSARBENT's favorite Payne film remains About Schmidt, which we think has the best performance Jack Nicholson has ever committed to film.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Junk science in Stanford's artificial intelligence gayface study that Newsweek, The Guardian,
The Economist
and Big Gay missed

Not very well, it can't, Newsweek. Take a class in statistics.
Stanford is about to publish an idiotic artificial intelligence gayface study that claims AI can identify people's sexual orientation by their photographs. (We didn't know Stanford's Graduate School of Business was so well-versed in sociological studies, did you?)
     GLAAD and HRC are, of course, apoplectic and have Issued A Press Release through Drew Anderson, GLAAD's "Rapid Response" czar.
     The press release ripped the study for being irresponsible, for being white-centric, for ignoring bi's, for getting pictures from dating sites, for not being peer reviewed, and blah blah blah.
     The Stanford Biz School Boy Wizards struck back, accusing HRC and GLADD of issuing a press release containing "poorly researched opinions of non-scientists" and of being irresponsible themselves ("I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.") They also said their study was peer-reviewed though they didn't say by whom.
     We think the study is crap, although Newsweek, The Guardian and The Economist, among others, completely fell for it.
     Why do we think the study is crap? Because AKSARBENT published a post back in March about research on "gaydar" by the very smart University of Wisconsin at Madison Department of Psychology, that's why.
     The U. of WI busted, once and for all, ALL studies which test gaydar (we include robot gaydar) by using using test populations that are 1/2 gay and 1/2 straight.
     Guess what! The Stanford Study was a paired study!

     You'd think GLAAD and HRC would have grabbed on to this fundamental methodology flaw like junkyard dogs, but they completely missed it, as they were undoubtedly planning the menus for their next celebrity fundraising banquets.
     According to the U of WI Department of Psychology, the problem is this: since only 3-8% of the population is gay, any study which shows people (or, presumably, computers) two pictures and says pick the gay one, is bullshit. What a gaydar study (and we can't imagine anything less worth studying) should do is to show someone, or some thing, 100 people (or voices or whatever) and tell them to pick out the 3-8 gay wads.
     After all, even flipping a coin gives you a success rate of 50% if there are only 2 choices.
     William Cox, Assistant Scientist, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, (Go Badgers!) wrote the article about debunking the myth of gaydar (and poorly designed gaydar studies), with help from two other Wisconsin psych profs and a graduate student in psychology (Alyssa Bischmann) from THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA! (Yay! Go Big Red!) We excerpt:
     But as we’ve been able to show in two recent papers, all of these previous studies fall prey to a mathematical error that, when corrected, actually leads to the opposite conclusion: Most of the time, gaydar will be highly inaccurate.
     How can this be, if people in these studies are accurate at rates significantly higher than 50 percent?
      There’s a problem in the basic premise of these studies: Namely, having a pool of people in which 50 percent of the targets are gay. In the real world, only around 3 to 8 percent of adults identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
     What does this mean for interpreting the 60 percent accuracy rate? Think about what the 60 percent accuracy means for the straight targets in these studies. If people have 60 percent accuracy in identifying who is straight, it means that 40 percent of the time, straight people are incorrectly categorized. In a world where 95 percent of people are straight, 60 percent accuracy means that for every 100 people, there will be 38 straight people incorrectly assumed to be gay, but only three gay people correctly categorized.
     Therefore, the 60 percent accuracy in the lab studies translates to 93 percent inaccuracy for identifying who is gay in the real world (38 / [38 + 3] = 92.7 percent). Even when people seem gay – and set off all the alarms on your gaydar – it’s far more likely that they’re straight. More straight people will seem to be gay than there are actual gay people in total.
     Guess what AKSARBENT did, kids? We applied the above example to the Stanford AI research and found a real world inaccuracy rate of 71% and 68% in spotting gay women. The Stanford study used photos of 35,000 people. We assumed 17,500 (half) were women, but a variance wouldn't change the inaccuracy percentage. We also chose 5% (between 3-8%) as the real world percentage of gay women. We didn't take into account bisexuals, but then, neither did the Stanford Business School tabulators. We're not statisticians, so let us know if our arithmetic is off, but really, it's pretty simple.
      As for men, you can do that exercise yourself, Dear Reader. Click the table below to enlarge.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

1971: Dick Cavett asks Kirk Douglas, "Are you as big as you want to be?"

As guests went, Kirk Douglas was maybe a five, but Cavett was hilarious, starting with a good monologue. Early in the interview, Douglas snapped AKSARBENT's attention to attention with a promising anecdote about picking up a hitchhiking sailor, which, regrettably, did not have the kind of happy ending we like to hear about.
     Later, Douglas got Cavett to take off his tie and loosen his collar, unleashing the host's inner exhibitionist and causing him to unbutton his shirt to his stomach; he went no further as it became evident that Douglas would not go further, even when Cavett playfully accused Douglas of being afraid of exposing another dimple.
     Douglas's beard hid his chin, but only accentuated his cheek-bones, and the star never looked hotter than when he flashed carnivorous smiles and eye glints to the camera.
     The business about "Are you as big as you want to be?" was about Douglas's height (5'11'') and the relative presence of actors in life versus on the screen. Cavett was trolling, of course and Douglas bit with a take of mock horror.

Cavett's 1971 monologue:
     Dick introduced himself as Kirk Douglas, then claimed he elicited heavy squinting or heavy *something* in the balcony. Then he admitted that he wasn't Kirk Douglas because how could there be a talk show host named Douglas? (Mike; google it kids.)
     He noted that Sterling Moss, the racing driver, had his license suspended over a traffic violation, which he claimed was like someone taking Van Cliburn's piano, or Bob Rosengarden's (his bandleader) frisbee.
     He related that New York's Commissioner of Public Health had declared all beaches safe; it was the ocean that was polluted.
     He added that New York's lifeguards were not currently on strike, but told the audience that if they started to drown and a lifeguard swam up to rescue them and asked if they supported labor or management, that they should know what to say.
     He also told a sexist joke about how one of his secretaries was quitting because she was made to feel like a dummy and that she said her notice would be effective the end of June or the first of July, whichever came first.
     Sexist joke #2 was his note that the PlayTex company had hired a PR firm to oppose the no-bra look. Cavett suggested a slogan: "Support our girls at the front."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Jane Raybould kicks off Senate campaign at family store that viciously mocked LGBTs 40 years ago

In June of 1977, Miami voters, led by singer and former Miss Oklahoma Anita Bryant, repealed the city's gay antidiscrimination ordinance, prompting a nationwide boycott of Florida citrus and Bryant's subsequent dismissal as the Florida Citrus Commission's commercial spokesman.
     At the time, Senate candidate Jane Raybould's father owned Russ's Market, at 17th & Washington in Lincoln, which was then called B&R IGA. That's where, tomorrow, she will kick off her Senate campaign to unseat Deb Fischer. (The "R" in B&R stands for Russ.)
     AKSARBENT lived in Lincoln then, and was appalled at the Raybould store's nasty, publicly-displayed signage ridiculing gay people with the crudest possible stereotypes.
     In fact, we were so disgusted that we took the photo below with our Minolta SRT-202 on Tri-X film and never shopped at a B&R store again. (The photo may have been taken in the early months of 1978 when sales on grapefruit would have been in fuller swing, as was Bryant's antigay traveling Jihaad, which went on the road to other cities.)
     Jane Raybould would have been about 18 or 19 at the time and perhaps already working in the family business. Hope she didn't draw the sign herself.
Separated at birth? 2018 NE Senate candidates Deb Fischer (left) and Jane Raybould.
      Regardless, we hope the family's attitudes toward LGBTs have evolved since then, as, according to its website, B&R Stores now owns
...18 stores located in seven cities across Nebraska and Iowa and employs more than 2,000 people, nearly 1,000 of which are employee owners. B&R Stores, Inc., is committed to being an active partner with each of the communities it serves in an effort to enhance the lives of both its customers and employees.
     Perhaps, during Saturday's kickoff, Jane Raybould will be good enough to produce a printed employment application for her family's grocery chain, so that Nebraska's 50,000 LGBTs can see, in black and white, what her family business's policy is now, in respect of hiring LGBTs.
     B&R's online application (retrieved yesterday) contained no information whatsoever regarding its discrimination policy.

Above: B&R IGA's grapefruit sale signage packed nearly every gay stereotype you can think of into one nasty caricature. Pompadour? Check. Platform shoes? Check. Ridiculous nails? Check. Earring? Check. Puffy, ruffled lace sleeves? Check. Plus, a pig's nose.
     And in case all that didn't sufficiently impart the Raybould family's demeaning message, the "fruit" part of grapefruit was underlined twice.
     When are homophobic enterprises going to realize that minorities never forget gratuitous attacks — even after 40 years?
     By the way, kids: 1978 wasn't really the dark ages in respect of the gay civil rights movement. We remember that guests on the Tonight Show then, regularly trashed Anita Bryant's bigotry, as did SNL. Guess the Raybould family business didn't get the memo.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Photos: Yesterday's Omaha USATriathlon sprint

A lot of Omaha Church Ladies weren't in church Sunday morning... Click on photos to enlarge. If you reuse these pics for publication, credit @AKSARBENT unless the photo already has a credit.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Photos: 2017 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Yesterday, the triathalon was held in Carter Lake, Iowa, (currently on the Nebraska side of the Missouri pending any further changes in course of that waterway.).
     Today, the organization's mini-triathalon, the sprint, was held. Photos of that are in a separate post.
     Here are a few AKSARBENT pictures taken Saturday:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

It's communist Russia-China solidarity, ok? No homo!

Unleashed to twitter by @dubsteppenwolf, who is a fine researcher...

AKSARBENT humbly suggests a solution to Nebraska's state flag problem

Today the New York Times looked at efforts to replace Nebraska's flag, so lackluster that it flew for several days outside the state Capitol in Lincoln upside down (while the Unicameral was in session) before anyone noticed. Like many state flags, it has a terrible design:
     Mr. Hartvigsen’s organization suggests principles for successful flag design: simple concepts, a distinct look, bold colors and no words.
     Nebraska’s banner violates nearly all of them.
     “It’s a flag that would be easy to fly upside down with nobody noticing,” Mr. Hartvigsen said.
     Redesigning state logos is fraught with danger:
Last year, a new license plate design was tweaked after critics said it was historically inaccurate and sexually suggestive.
     AKSARBENT covered that imbroglio here and OmahaLive! mocked it twice:

     Nebraska's flag, created in 1925, is simply the state seal superimposed on a blue banner, and therein lies the problem.
     You can't have an improved state flag without an improved state seal!
      AKSARBENT sensibly suggests a state seal that is more like one of the following, although our ideal state flag would feature two baked cowboys bathing in a stock tank from which a cow and horse were drinking, with a whooping crane perched on the cow, and a windmill pump in the background on one side with a wind turbine on the other (old and new, get it?) and the Nebraska state Capitol in the background, tilting slightly to the right like on that painting which used to hang in P.O. Pears in Lincoln.

Donald Trump is still driving his golf cart on the greens

The last time evidence of Trump's lack of golf etiquette surfaced on social media, it was in the form of a twitter video showing him driving his cart off a green. His idiotically indulgent supporters excused their buffoon with variations of "It's his course, he can do what he wants."
     Um, no. Not when he's charging members hefty club dues and guests similarly hefty greens fees and they expect not to have to put past turf tire tracks.

Inspector Clouseau, Walmart is on line 3

The picture is not photoshopped, as what it depicts in Walmart's Evansville, Indiana store has already brought a twitter apology from the big box chain. We think it's a brilliant inside job by a PR saboteur who is way smarter than you would expect most Walmart employees to be.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

IA GOP hits Dem with nasty anti-trans ads, then loses by 10 points in House district Trump won by 22

In a Southeast Iowa special House election to replace Curt Hanson, who died in office, the IA GOP targeted  Democratic veterinarian Phil Miller of Fairfield with nasty attack ads scapegoating transgender kids.
     Result: Miller beat Republican farmer Travis Harri, of Davis County, by ten points (55-45%), in a swing district that Donald Trump won in November by 22 points.

     From Iowa Starting Line:
     Republicans ran an intensely negative campaign on TV, attacking Miller for his vote on the Fairfield School Board to keep a policy on transgender bathrooms in place. The ordeal was a huge local controversy in Fairfield for most of 2016, and Republicans whipped up the anti-transgender sentiment despite a recent transgender teen’s suicide in June.
     ...Miller won a massive victory in Jefferson County, where the controversy burned the hottest, racking up a margin far larger than Hanson’s there in 2009.

The results by county:

Miller Harris
Jefferson 2,792 1,200
Davis 617 1,093
Van Buren 612 1,031

4,021 3,324

Omaha accident of the week: Ferrari 458

A 2015 Ferrari 458 cost $298,000 new, although the one pictured in this post is undoubtedly worth considerably less than that due to wear and, especially, tear. A neighbor says the driver also has a black-on-black Lamborghini, so apparently he is not without wheels.

What Glen Campbell said when Frank Sinatra called him a fag guitarist

Here's how Campbell recalled their first meeting at Sinatra's Strangers in the Night session

     Despite this, Campbell thought Sinatra was friendly; when they were playing golf at a Bob Hope Classic, Old Blue Eyes offered to let Campbell stay at one of the houses he wasn't currently using.
     Campbell liked session playing better than being a star:

     Here's Campbell talking to the booth during his session work on the Beach Boys hit, Dance, Dance, Dance:

     And if the above didn't impress you with Campbell's guitar wizardry, try this:

Friday, August 4, 2017

That Luvs gay dads haircut ad

Protor and Gamble does it again. What do they care? Fundamentalists already hate the company.(Via Queerty.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Reviewer: Lumix GH5 autofocus is like a Tesla autopilot that drives you off a cliff

"This camera has more than autofocus problems. It has ADD."
(Unless you have 20 minutes, skip to 9:49 in the video below.)

The GH5 is a fabulous camera, (this from a Nikon and Sony owner) and the autofocus problem can probably be fixed with a software update. Panasonic is well aware of the problem.

Here's a workaround until Panasonic remedies the situation:

IphoneDo reluctantly sent his GH5 back and bought a Sony a6500, which he even more hilariously reviewed below:

NU has designed a free, prosthetic, 3d-printed hand for kids who need one. 52,000 downloads.
Cost to print: about $50

From KIOS's
    A group of researchers from four University of Nebraska campuses has received a two-year grant to collaborate on the Next Generation 3D printer prostheses for children.
     ...The grant’s lead investigator, Dr. Jorge Zuniga, an assistant professor of biomechanics at UNO, says up to 58% of children missing a hand or upper limb are not fitted for a prosthetic device, or they get one and reject it.
     In response to this need, Zuniga developed the Cyborg Beast, an open-source 3D prosthetic hand, which can be constructed for about $50.00 and has been downloaded over 52,000 times.
     ...These devices are made out of plastic, so they are very light. So they don’t require -- like a prosthetic arm -- doesn’t require a harness. We figured out if you make a device that they can put on themselves, they will be more likely to use it.”
     Zuniga says one of the goals for this grant is to develop electronic, switch-activated versions of their prostheses...

Twitter verdict on "sublime" green Ram 1500 truck

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New gay feature Call Me By Your Name getting stellar reviews

Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name is getting buzz and reviews as enthusiastic before its release as last year's Best Picture, Moonlight, did before its release. The film wowed viewers at Sundance last winter. Professional critics whose reviews have been posted on Rotten Tomatoes have been rhapsodic. The film is adapted from André Aciman's acclaimed 2007 novel. From USA Today:
     ...The '80s-set drama chronicles the passionate, secret romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) —  son of a celebrated professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) — and 24-year-old scholar Oliver (Armie Hammer), who comes to study Greco-Roman culture and live with Elio's family for the summer.
Call Me is the final chapter of Guadagnino's so-called "Desire" trilogy, after 2009's Oscar-nominated I Am Love and last year's A Bigger Splash (both of which starred Tilda Swinton).

Bonus: LA-based comedian Brian Jordan Alvarez, whose web series, The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo was as hilarious as it was well-acted, finally got his feature, Everything is Free made. Trailer below.

50 employees of WI firm agree to chip implants by employer

Maybe they should read the American Veterinary Medical Association's survey of alleged links between cancer and RFID chips in pets.

R.I.P. Costco cofounder and Chairman Jeff Brotman

In Nebraska, not everyone is enthralled with Costco.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Omaha Police Dept. helicopter cop warns "foreign" car owners to buy American, then admits he drives a VW

After unambiguously admitting that OPD profiles drivers of foreign cars (How dumb is that, ACLU?) the cop backpedaled and said it was all satire and irony.
     Coulda fooled us.
     Also, Officer Friendly actually drives a VW himself. Hope it's a model made in Chattanooga...
     Recently the Omaha Police Department found itself in hot water for raising $5,000 for a Catholic High School by letting it raffle off a ride in the police helicopter, a stunt that didn't sit well with Common Cause.
     AKSARBENT, for its part, has some advice, too. Don't go on ridealongs with the Omaha Police Department if you know what's good for you. 

Millions of "foreign" cars sold by Honda, Nissan, VW and Toyota are built in U.S. factories and plenty of "American" cars are not made in this country.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Two clever videos, from Apple and Alan

The World-Herald visits Glur's Tavern, oldest continuously-run U.S. bar west of the Missouri,
and its tiara-wearing buck

Supposedly, no western bar has been serving drinks longer than Glur's Tavern in Columbus, named after its second owner and open since 1876.
     Sarah Baker Hansen, wife of fellow World-Herald writer Matthew Hansen, profiled the place. There's a video at the link above, too.
     By means of comparison, the legendary cowboy bar, The Mint, in Sheridan, Wyoming, only dates back to 1907. And the Mint doesn't have a stuffed buck wearing a tiara, although it is the bar that inspired Annie Prouxl to write her short story, Brokeback Mountain.

Nebraska Lottery:
8th in administrative costs, 27th in payouts

According to 2015 U.S. Census figures (the latest available) Nebraska ranks eighth in administrative costs among the 43 states which run lotteries : 12% of players' money ($18 million).
     In payouts, Nebraska was 27th, paying out 63% of player's money (nearly 150 million) in prizes (almost $95 million.)
     Jill Marshall was acting Nebraska Lottery Director during 2015. Brian Rockey was appointed Director as of July 1, 2016 after having worked for International Game Technology (IGT, formerly known as GTECH), the primary contractor for the Nebraska Lottery.
     Although Nebraska, unlike neighboring Kansas, does not allow prizes to be claimed "anonymously" (meaning the lottery will not release the winner's name), they can be claimed by a trust or LLC designed to hide the identity of the beneficiary. This happened in 2014.
     The rule: 602.03 A prize claim shall be entered in the name of an individual person or legal entity. If the prize claimed exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) the person or entity shall also furnish a tax identification number, a social security number for individuals and a federal employer identification number (FEIN) for all other persons.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cockeyed: The Onion hilariously reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming

After AKSARBENT saw the first Spider-Man, we couldn't figure out why, after outfitting Toby Maguire with a spandex suit, the film's producers then squandered tens of millions more on special effects.  But we probably weren't the target demographic for the film.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Voter Supression: Top NE Republicans mute on law broken by Trump Commission seeking NE voter data

Article here
     So far, John Gale, Nebraska's lame duck Secretary of State, Nebraska's Attorney General, Doug Peterson and Gale's would-be successor, Bob Evnen, all Republicans, have been uniformly mute on the fact that Kris Kobach, the principal architect of voter suppression in the USA, apparently broke federal law in requesting details on every Nebraska registered voter (the same kind of data Russia tried to hack last year) on behalf of Donald Trump's so-called "Voter Integrity Commission" chaired by Mike Pence and run by Kobach.
     From The Hill:
     Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, information requests from agencies and other federal entities are supposed to first be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
     This 1980 law requires federal agencies to seek public input, including through a comment period, before a request for information. A 1995 amendment extended OIRA’s authority to include not only requests for information for the government, but also requests for information to the public.
     The law also requires that agencies justify their requests for public information, specify how it will be used and provide assurances that data will be protected. The law also obliges the agencies to estimate how many hours it will take entities to respond.
     It does not appear that the commission submitted its request to OIRA before sending a letter to states asking for voter information.
     Experts say the failure to do so would be significant, since states would be under no obligation to respond to requests that violate federal law.
     “If the commission gets heavy-handed with them, it seems to me that the states are within their right to say, 'No, we don’t have to respond because you didn’t go through [OIRA],'” said Susan Dudley, a former OIRA administrator who is now director of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University.
     The commission did not immediately respond to questions about whether it had submitted its request through OIRA.
     And that's not all. Yesterday, according to CNN, "The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called on the Justice Department to investigate whether Kobach violated the Hatch Act, a 1939 law intended to keep federal employees from directly supporting candidates, accusing him of using his role on the presidential commission to promote his campaign and solicit contributions."
     Kobach's voter supression machinations have resulted in four ACLU lawsuits, so far, and he has lost every one.
Blind, deaf and mute on vote suppression masquerading as "ballot integrity": GOP Secretary of State
candidate Bob Evnen, GOP Secretary of State John Gale and Attorney General Doug Peterson
     The Washington Post has reported that  "Kobach was fined $1,000 on Friday by a federal magistrate judge for “patently misleading representations” he made to the court about the contents of a document he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump."
     Six Nebraska state senators have written a letter to John Gale requesting that he reject the "request." They are Sens. Kate Bolz, Adam Morfeld, Matt Hansen and Anna Wishart of Lincoln; and Sens. Sara Howard and John McCollister of Omaha.
     Even though the Secretaries of State of 45 states have weighed in on Trump, Nebraska's GOP Secretary of State (John Gale) has said, nothing, the GOP candidate running to replace him (Bob Evnen) has been mute, and Nebraska's GOP Attorney General (Doug Peterson) is similarly paralyzed.
     Tweets about this issue have accused the office of Nebraska's Secretary of State of demanding names and phone numbers of callers before addressing (or, more specifically, not answering) their questions. We called, and found this to be true.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gay Nebraska TV weatherman gets fed up with a Facebook troll

KETV, the Omaha ABC affiliate with the highest rated newscasts, has its heavy weather lifting done by Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby, the subject of a minor personality cult led by @MeanStreetsOMA, which mostly tweets transcripts of police scanner calls, but sends out special tweets every time Bill Ramby rolls up his sleeves on air (meaning the weather is getting complicated.)
     Mean Streets has 113,000+ followers(!) (There's a big local audience for online gawking, folks.)
     But it wasn't Ramby who was getting the attention in the aftermath of yesterday's hailstorm, it was Meteorologist Matt Serwe, who has had it with a particular Facebook detractor and who tweeted out a screencap of said critic's FB mini-rants (at right.) That tweet got a lot of sympathetic replies.
     It turns out that the aggressively dissatisfied Mr. Kraci, of Schuyler, is not currently employed at Central Valley Ag.

     Schuyler, the seat of Colfax County, is about 67 miles from Omaha, has about 6,211 people, and is named after an amiable, but hapless former Vice President, Schuyler Colfax. As it happens, Serwe's boyfriend has family there, and has assured his other half that the natives are generally friendly.

NE's GOP gov. fires State Patrol Supe 2 years after appointing him; 6 troopers placed on leave

In 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts had this to say about Brad Rice, his pick to head Nebraska's State Patrol:
“Bradley’s prior service in a variety of ranks within the Nebraska State Patrol’s chain of command will guide his leadership as Superintendent,” said Governor Ricketts. “I know his integrity will direct his decisions as he works with patrol members across the state to protect public safety.”
     During Rice's confirmation hearing, accusations of sexism and proselytizing were raised.
     As for the prayers, Hanlin said because the agency lacked space for meetings with all troop area staff members, the meetings often were held in a school gymnasium on the campus of a Norfolk church. Rice frequently began such meetings with a prayer, Hanlin added.
     Hanlin said he was aware a complaint had been filed by another trooper over the prayers. After the complaint, the troop area meetings were no longer held at the church property.
     Former Patrol Col. Tom Nesbitt, commander of the patrol from 1999 to 2005, said he recalled that a complaint had been filed against Rice. Based on his recollection, however, the complaint involved Rice putting religious information in the office mailboxes of patrol employees.
     Nesbitt said he assigned a major to investigate the issue, although he could not recall the outcome.
  Gov. Ricketts relieved Rice of his duties Friday:
     The initial findings of an internal review of State Patrol policies, procedures and leadership conduct suggested "interference in internal investigations at the highest level," the governor said.
     ...Ricketts said he met with Rice early Friday morning and "relieved him of his duties."
Six State Patrol officers were placed on administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation by State Human Resources Director Jason Jackson.
     ...Initial findings of the continuing investigation have been turned over to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office for further investigation, the governor said.
     The governor's investigation was probably prompted by the latest Nebraska State Patrol controversy, following the death of a convicted felon who tried to outrun a state trooper near Gordon.
     Shortly after the crash, trooper Tim Flick said thrice that he performed a TVI ("tactical vehicle intervention"), also known as bumping or ramming a suspect's vehicle.
     Then Flick's commander got involved:
     In an email and a memo, the trooper’s commander, Capt. Jamey Balthazor, who heads the Panhandle troop of the patrol, said Flick had told him in a roadside meeting a couple of hours after the crash that LaDeaux had caused it by steering into his cruiser.
     When Flick was asked by grand jurors why his story had changed, the trooper said he didn’t realize until later that he had not used a TVI.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Facebook CEO and his new, heavily tattooed friend Joe, wish world a Happy LGBTQ Pride from Nebraska

Zuckerberg with the awesomely tatted Joe Desanti
     Continuing his I'm-not-planning-to-run-for-office-I-just-like-to-hang-out-in-truckstops-in-rural-America tour, Mark Zuckerberg wished the world a happy Pride from Nebraska. The Facebook founder and CEO turned up in Stinson park in Aksarben Village. (Aksarben is Nebraska spelled backwards, and now you now why this quasi-gay Omaha blog is called AKSARBENT.)
     Facebook is building a huge data center, its ninth, in Papillion, an Omaha suburb. Yahoo is expanding its data center in LaVista, another Omaha suburb, and Google's $2.5 billion data center in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa is its largest in the world.
     We hope they're all tornado-proof, because last week a tornado hopscotched across Offutt AFB in Bellevue, another Omaha suburb, taking out two of the four "doomsday" converted 747 command planes that supposedly would direct America's response to a nuclear attack. But we digress...
     On Saturday, Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook page:
     Happy Pride from Omaha, Nebraska to everyone celebrating this weekend across the world!
     I'm at the Heartland Pride Festival. Until recently, the Nebraska constitution banned gay marriage. Omaha is more welcoming, but we still have a long way to go.
     Zuckerberg spent 10 minutes amiably chatting with Mayor Jean Stothert, who twice opposed Omaha's ordinance banning workplace discrimination against LGBTs while she was on the city council (see video below).
     Stothert also excluded legally married spouses of gay city employees from city benefits long after virtually every other jurisdiction in the metro area had stopped doing so, and in her recent reelection campaign she blatantly lied about housing discrimination against LGBTs, telling a television audience that adding housing to the city's LGBT antibias ordinance provisions was unnecessary because LGBTs are covered under federal law, when they aren't.


Saturday, June 24, 2017