Saturday, February 28, 2015

RT: Putin 'immediately informed' of death of rival Boris Nemtsov, shot 4 times on Red Square Bridge

Immediately informed of Nemtsov's death or immediately informed that the deed was done? Inquiring minds want to know. Here's the White House statement:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Aaron Schock gets the Jon Stewart treatment and we're surprised it took this long

A snippet:
Instagram message to Schock:
My congressman is like a thousand years old and never does stuff like this. You're the coolest!
A mocking Stewart speaking like a Valley Girl:
All my congressman does is pass legislation, govern and, like, wear shirts. He's so lame!
 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In '05 Deb Fischer voted to make Nebraskans hostages of slow, costly Internet service. Obama changed that

Last month, right wing extremist Sen. Deb Fischer called Obama's FCC Net Neutrality lobbying  "a new federal takeover of state laws governing broadband and the Internet," one of her more ridiculous lies.
     In doing so, she sided once again with Wall St. and against Main St. Nebraska businesses and consumers telling yet another whooper to spin her corporate sellout.
     The FCC made two significant rulings Thursday: one, treating Internet Service Providers as common carriers, will go a long way toward insuring Net Neutrality.
     Predictably the three Democrats on the FCC Board voted to protect Net Neutrality and the two Republicans did not. Interestingly, not all ISPs are opposed to Net Neutrality. Sprint and T-Mobile, for example, are not lobbying against it like AT&T and Verizon.
     The FCC's other important decision today slapped down laws in two states restricting broadband services by municipalities. Nebraska is one of 19 other states that do that, because in  2005 the Nebraska Unicameral rolled over for ISPs wanting to ban any municipal competition to their substandard offerings, passing what we here at AKSARBENT like to call the Lousy ISP Protection Act (actually LB645).
     Here's who voted for it (you're welcome):

     
     The class will note Deb Fischer's "Yes" vote (when she was in the Unicameral) to kill off options for rural communities whose private internet service is so bad that they might want to build their own. Several cities have done that, a prospect that scares substandard, greedy ISPs to death. (Broadband can be very profitable: telecom analyst Craig Moffett points out that margins are north of 97%!)
     In his visit (video below) to Cedar Falls, Iowa, President Obama cited cities like Cedar Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Lafayette, Louisiana which built their own broadband services — and which now offer their residents bandwidth "nearly 100 times faster than the national average and deliver it at an affordable price." (When Lafayette Utilities System announced its intention to build a municipal broadband network, it faced three years of court battles with two private, incumbent Internet providers of inferior speed, costing Layfayette $4 million, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.)


(At 8:33, above): Right now, about 45 million Americans cannot purchase next-generation broadband... And by the way, only 1/2 of rural Americans can log on at that superfast rate. And if folks do have good, fast Internet, chances are they only have one provider to pick from... What happens when there's no competition? You're stuck on hold, you're watching the  loading icon spin. You're waiting... and waiting... and waiting... and meanwhile, you're wondering why your rates keep getting jacked up when the service doesn't seem to improve...
     In too many places across America, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors. Today, in 19 states, we've got laws on the books that stamp out competition, that make it really difficult for communities to provide their own broadband the way you guys are. In some states it is virtually impossible to create a community network like the one that you've got here in Cedar Falls. So today I'm saying, we're going to change that. Enough's enough. We're going to change that so every community can do the smart things you guys are doing... I believe that a community has the right to make its own choice and to provide its own broadband if it wants to.
     ...The facts speak for themselves: competition works – when it is allowed to. Throughout the country where we have seen competitive broadband providers come in to a market, prices have gone down and broadband speeds have gone up. No wonder incumbent broadband providers want to legislate rather than innovate.
     ...Removing restrictions on community broadband can expand high-speed Internet access in underserved areas, spurring economic growth and improvements in government services, while enhancing competition.
Here are some informative links about the sorry state of broadband in much of the U.S.A. and what can be done to improve the situation
     Telecom industry groups such as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association have argued that municipal networks are risky investments that could drive cities into debt. These firms and their trade groups have donated millions of dollars to state and federal politicians on both sides of the aisle.
     Besides contributions, the cable lobby has directly submitted legislation to restrict municipal broadband networks and taken fledgling networks to court. Last year, according to a report by Ars Technica, the Kansas Legislature squashed a bill to limit municipal broadband networks that was drafted and submitted by the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association.

The idiot senator from Oklahoma throws a snowball in the Senate to disprove global warming

From the land of Sally Kerns and the new home of Anita Bryant comes James Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — another cruel joke that the GOP has played on America.
     Oh, excuse us: we meant to say the venal senator from Oklahoma, who now has a beautiful color enlargement of his grandchildren printed at taxpayer expense.

They're already changing marriage applications in Lincoln from Bride and Groom to Applicant 1 and Applicant 2

Evidently some people don't have much faith in the powers of persuasion of our esteemed and thoroughly anti-gay marriage Attorney General, Doug Peterson.
     The Omaha World-Herald is reporting that about 50 clergy in the state have already listed themselves on a roster of those willing to marry gay couples which is at this website.


A new beehive so revolutionary it was crowdfunded in FIVE minutes

Australian father and son, Stuart and Cedar Anderson, have invented a new hive for Beekeepers that allows them to simply open a tap to collect honey, a significant improvement over traditional methods:
"Harvesting your honey used to be a real labor of love. You had to protect yourself from stings, fire up a smoker to sedate the bees, crack the hive open, lift heavy boxes, pull out the frames — trying not to squash bees — brush them off or use a leaf blower, transfer the frames to processing shed, hack the wax capping off, filter the honey and clean up all the mess. Then the frames have to go back to the hive again. Now you don't need to do any of that."
     Well, at least not every time.
     The Anderson's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, started earlier this week, reached its $70,000 goal in FIVE MINUTES and is now over $3,000,000. Here's a more detailed explanation of their invention.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meet the Peoria donor who collected $17,000 in political funds and your taxes to fly Aaron Schock around in a private plane

From the Chicago Tribune:
     The group said Schock's office and political funds paid nearly $17,000 to Lobair LLC between 2012 and 2014. Quoting media accounts, the group said Lobair is not a commercial charter service and had one plane owned by Mike Miller of Mike Miller Auto Park in Peoria.
     Miller, a Schock donor, could not be reached for comment.
From YouTube:


Physics girl explains why mirrors 'reverse' images vertically but not horizontally

Turns out mirrors don't reverse anything on the x or y axis, but on the z axis.

Nebraska's biggest paper adds a gay dad occasional poster to momaha blog

Nickolas Kramer got Iowa-married to spouse Jason Cadek in 2013 and have adopted a daughter, Alice. They are plaintiffs to the same-sex marriage suit brought by the ACLU.
     Nebraska's Attorney General, Don Peterson, with the blessing of Governor Pete Ricketts, is spending whatever it takes of your taxes to fight gay marriage every step of the way in Nebraska, even though it is already legal in 37 states and will soon be in every state surrounding Nebraska.
     Kramer's first blog post in the World-Herald made us well up with disgust with Peterson all over again:
     ...Now, imagine that the state you live in doesn't recognize your marriage, or your legal ties to your child. Pretend that the state you live in makes it difficult to get family health insurance, makes you carry an armload of papers to take your child to the doctor, makes you draft durable power-of-attorney documents every six months, excludes your child and spouse for social security and spousal benefits. As a same-sex family, these are just a few of the challenges we face every day.
     ...Because of the laws in Nebraska, my family is at a clear disadvantage. I am the only legal parent of our daughter. Since our marriage is not recognized, we are forbid from completing a second-parent adoption. In the eyes of the law, my husband is a stranger to his daughter. He is unable to make medical decisions, unless he is carrying power-of-attorney papers. We are unable to receive marriage related tax-breaks – don’t even get me started on how complicated it is to file taxes. We may not be able to receive spousal social security or surviving spouse retirement benefits. Without proof of power of attorney, we are unable to make medical decisions for each other in an emergency. The funny thing about all of these issues is that they could be solved with one strike of the judge's gavel.

Billy Eichner shows Conan how to use Grindr

Conan's preliminary Grindr ID, RichGinger, was quickly discarded in favor of Frecklefucker. We refuse to believe that Billy Eichner is actually gay, however.


IL Rep. Schock hires lawyers, PR firm; won't say who paid for luxe London trip while he skipped Congress

Politico is covering the gathering storm over not-gay Peoria, IL GOP Rep. Aaron Schock's unusual travel expenses, suspiciously high sale of his home to a GOP booster / Caterpillar executive and receipt of free decorating services to turn his office into a cheap replica of Downton Abbey's Red Room, though Schock denies ever seeing an episode of the hit show aired by PBS.
     Rep. Aaron Schock has hired two prominent Washington defense attorneys and a public relations firm to respond to the swirling controversy and a potential ethics probe over how he has financed his lavish lifestyle.
     ...POLITICO has repeatedly sought information regarding Schock’s trip in June 2011 to London. He stayed at Claridge’s, a five-star hotel where the least expensive rooms currently cost $500 per night. He also was scheduled to visit the city’s posh clothing stores and dined at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, according to the documents.      ... Schock’s office would not say whether he paid for it. If he personally covered the cost of the trip, Schock would not be required to disclose it.
     ...House rules require the Ethics Committee to sign off on any trip paid for by a private source, including charities such as the Prince of Wales Foundation, or a donor. The Prince of Wales Foundation has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
.     ..Schock has attended the Royal Ascot, a world-famous steeplechase, followed by drinks with then-U.S. Ambassador to England Louis Susman and his wife. He also was slated to visit Moss Bros. on Regent Street, one of the most famous men’s clothing stores in Europe, according to his schedule.      Schock also participated in a Patron Dinner at the posh members-only club Annabel’s and was invited to formal dinners at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
     Schock missed two days of votes during the trip.
     BillMoyers.com is also taking note of Schock's escapades. There, Michael Winship ripped Schock apart over the Downton Abbey Red Room makeover of his office:
     You’ve heard about how his interior decorator pal, proprietor of a company called Euro Trash, redecorated Schock’s new Capitol Hill office in high “Downton Abbey” style – which is more than somewhat ironic because, as Josh Israel at ThinkProgress pointed out, “Schock has repeatedly voted against federal funding for public broadcasting, voting to defund National Public Radio and for a Paul Ryan budget that zeroed out all funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” But even more important, Schock’s expensive tastes and how he spends money to make money for his party tells a sad story of the state of Congress and campaign fundraising.
     ...In truth, Schock’s office looks more like a cut-rate version of the infamous Red Room in 50 Shades of Grey than the height of inherited, entitled elegance.
     ...Come to think of it, Schock’ new office decor puts us more in mind of a bordello, if it was decorated by Pee Wee Herman. Which might be the more apt metaphor for Congress these days. Although the transfer of cash isn’t supposed to take place on the premises, members are doing very well with their outcall services, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. As Ken Silverstein recently wrote at The Intercept, we now have “a political consensus that churns out business-friendly policies no matter which party is in power…

Michael Sam punks idiot TMZ reporter at LAX as BF Vito giggles in background

Sam tossed out a Game of Thrones reference and when it went over the reporter's head, he ran with it. The best part is watching his boyfriend Vito trying — and failing — to keep a straight face.

(Via Queerty)

Here's 'The Great' Bill O'Reilly on Fox and Friends telling a stone cold lie — busted by a phone call recording of O'Reilly himself

At the time he supposedly knocked on a Florida door, only to hear a CIA informant inside blow his brains out, O'Reilly was actually 1200 miles away, in Dallas. There are actual recordings of O'Reilly telling Gaeton Fonzi, a congressional investigator, that he planned to fly to Florida to report on the suicide:
     “Gaeton,” the caller says. “Bill O’Reilly.” Fonzi shares some details of the story, and O’Reilly tells him his travel plans. “I’m coming down there tomorrow,” he says. “I’m coming to Florida.”
     Fonzi tells him to get in contact when he arrives.
     “I’m going to take a night flight if I can,” O’Reilly says, “but I may have to go tomorrow morning.”
      O’Reilly’s utterances prove that he was not knocking on George Mohrenschildt’s doorstep as he now melodramatically claims.


Fare attacked gay Alaska cabbie with claw hammer, then robbed him, then took a nap, then claimed driver tried to rape him

Via Melissa Green of BentAlaska, who reported on the efforts of Fairbanks cabbies and the LGBT community to to raise funds for a cab driver savagely beaten by a robber, come the following details of the appalling attack, from the Fairbanks News Miner:
     Robert Charles Evans, 21 ... called a cab company in the early hours Thursday morning, calling for a particular cab driver, who was identified only by his initials in charging documents.
     The cab driver told Fairbanks police that Evans, sitting in the front seat, asked for a ride to the McGrath Road area but soon began to rub his leg and propositioned the driver for sex.
     The cab driver declined the invitation while driving but drove to his Front Street home about 5 a.m. where he and Evans had sex for more than an hour, documents stated
     Eventually, Evans told the man to close his eyes and began to reach for something, according to court documents
     At that point, everything “went bright,” and he felt Evans hit him in the head multiple times, according to charging documents.
     “He did hit me, I counted approximately eight times, with a hammer, using the claw side of the hammer,” the victim told Magistrate Nikole Schick at arraignments Friday afternoon.
     ...Evans admitted to police he beat the man and struck him with a hammer, but he claimed the cab driver was trying to rape him, according to charging documents...
     There's a lot more here...

GOP threat to slash Homeland Security funding?
Well, at least the party's good for something

It was a GOP president — Bush The Problem Child — who created the vast Homeland Security popup Bureaucracy in the first place.
     The bloated agency with the Naziesque name showers military hardware and cellphone spying equipment on local cops like Monte Hall gave away prizes on Let's Make a Deal, makes terrorist suspects out of birdwatchers if they happen to be snapping pictures of mutant Yellow Breasted Sapsuckers anywhere near Three Mile Island, and now protects Der Fatherland from sledding tots on Capitol Hill.
     The GOP created Homeland Security and its insane budget and the GOP can take it away (or sensibly reduce said funding) for all we care.
     Just don't give the money to the NSA or the CIA, please.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Downton Abbey: footman Thomas moves in on Andy

Looks like Evil Gay Footman Thomas, after rescuing Andy from the gambling hall debt with which the execrable Mrs. Denker saddled him, is about to tick off another item on his agenda.

American Family Assoc., a SPLC-designated hate group, publishes NE 'Anti-Christian Bigotry' map: on it, GLSEN, Lincoln & Omaha Atheists, Americans United

Right Wing Watch reports that the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi has published a national map of groups it has unilaterally convicted of being guilty of "Anti-Christian Bigotry."
     The Southern Poverty Law Center has long classified the AFA itself as an antigay hate group (SPLC has its own hate map of Nebraska.)
     On AFA's hit list are Lincoln and Omaha Atheists, GLSEN (an antibullying, it-gets-better LGBT support group) and the apparently somnolent Nebraska Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
     Sadly, Agnostic, pro-gay rights AKSARBENT did not make the cut. We're bummed, but neither did One Iowa. We eagerly await next year's American Family Association list with hope and optimism.
     Below, a Rachel Maddow piece about the American Family Association.


We seriously doubt that Frank Sinatra would have approved this Super Bowl ad

But if Hollywood legends are any guide, the endowment reference was probably more true of Sinatra than Tom Brady.


(Via Queerty)

Sen. Ben Sasse must not realize there's a web site that saves his deleted tweets

Politwoops watches for deleted tweets from politicians and retweets any that are vanquished. Below is an inconvenient truth about Sasse — his claim that a trademarked NU character, Herbie Husker, had joined Team Sasse. Four days after Sasse posted the tweet, it simply disappeared — after users started criticizing him for politically exploiting the University's mascot. Poof! All gone!




Oscar-winning Citizen Four director is on Orwellian secret U.S. watch list; has been stopped at border 40 times


This Eurovision entry kicks it

JoeMyGod says 16 songs have been picked to date. This is the only one AKSARBENT really likes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chris Hayes: OH STOP IT GLENN GREENWALD YOU HUMORLESS SCOLD!

Glen Greenwald gave a post-Oscar interview to an unusually playful Chris Hayes after the Best Documentary win of Citizen Four, about the revelations of illegal and sweeping NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens, effectively hidden from Congress.
     At the end of his show, Hayes cheerfully bragged to Rachel Maddow how proud he was to have asked Greenwald who he wore to the Oscars. (Answer: Ralph Lifshitz Lauren, because American Airlines lost his tux.)

Greenwald on Buzzfeed's headline exaggeration of his annoyance at Neil Patrick Harris' "treason' joke:
"I hadn't heard the joke. I actually went off stage and people told me about it. I almost tweeted something light-hearted about it and decided it was just too inconsequential even to tweet about. I mean this is like a sitcom actor who had literally just been parading around in his underwear just moments before...
Later a Buzzfeed reporter pressed Greenwald again.
"I said, 'You're going to get me in trouble. I'm trying not to say anything about it... Since you asked, even though it was just a joke, I thought it was pretty irresponsible and stupid,' since Edward Snowden wasn't even charged with treason, let alone convicted of it. It's a pretty serious thing to accuse someone of that in front of a billion people."
Greenwald on the strange ambiance of the Academy Awards:
Greenwald: It's this disgusting ritual of extraordinary opulence and extravagance...
Hayes: OH STOP IT GLENN GREENWALD YOU HUMORLESS SCOLD!
Greenwald: It is. At the same time, it was very surreal. You know, we began the report thinking that our source was going to prison, we were being threatened by the government, and so to be standing there in that setting and have that be one of the outcomes of what we did was definitely very bizarre. 

Former CBS correspondent responds to Bill O'Reilly's "Room Service Eric" slam

Eric Engberg says he did cover the Falklands demonstration in Buenos Aires, and that O'Reilly is nuts.



Astounding results of Omaha World-Herald's poll on gay marriage

This is quite astonishing, although the revelation is probably not that 90% of the readers of Nebraska's biggest paper support gay marriage but that people who read the Omaha World-Herald's content off dead trees don't vote in online polls. The screen cap below was made shortly before 3 p.m. today.


Marriage News Watch: Dubious, desperate actions to stall, stop marriage equality

Nebraska's AG is on board with this approach. We wonder how much he's spending to appeal and delay progress on marriage equality here in Nebraska. The other day he argued that a temporary injunction to stop Nebraska's gay marriage ban would cause "chaos" in the state. Below the Matt Baume video are extended pieces from KMTV and KETV (resourcefully sleuthed by Joe Jervis at JoeMyGod) following last Thursday's U.S. District Court hearing on the ACLU's Nebraska suit to get rid of the state's DOMA law.







More gay trolling from Omaha Live!

Season two kicked off with a not-very-funny excursion into the ditch of discomfited exploration of "bro" (a word we hate) insinuations. No homo, except in every subtextual implication. Meh. Subtle as a brick.



This excellent earlier piece was hilarious. Why? Because an undercurrent is funnier when a talented actor shows it without having it spelled out by a ham-fisted narration.



Here's another earlier piece with cheeky, good-natured tips of the hat to homoeroticism without any hetero condescension. We liked it.










Jon Oliver wonders why any judges are elected, with Alabama's Roy Moore exhibit A



We might add that judges should not be unelected either. There are better ways to get rid of addled or corrupt justices.


AMA's doubletalk about LGBT rights vs. its tolerance of rank bigotry

While reading yet another account of a bigoted doctor (Dr. Vesna Roi of  Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, Michigan) refusing care to LGBTs (in this case it was refusing care to the baby of a gay couple) we encountered this:
As it turns out, Roi has free choice too - the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it's incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.
     Evidently the AMA wants to be perceived as supportive of the right of LGBTs to public accommodation, while behind the scenes its tolerance of bigoted physicians is so indulgent that it seems to allow outrageous discrimination against even infant children by its most reprehensibly prejudiced practitioners.
     Hippocrates' little hypocrites.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nebraska Family Association mounts full-scale attack on LB586, bill to guarantee antibias job protections to LGBTs

NFA is also attacking LB648, a 2nd parent adoption bill because it would make things easier for gay couples whose children are legal strangers to at least one of their parents. Here are the radio attacks NFA is waging:

February 17: Joe Neuhaus — LB586
February 18: Joe Neuhaus — LB586
February 19: Joe Neuhaus — LB648

Of course they have a script:

“Hello, my name is [Full Name] and I am a [job title/occupation] with [employer/organization] in [city]. I am calling today as a constituent of Senator [Last Name] in opposition to LB586.
(Choose one or more of the following points)
  • In America, people should be free to live and work according to their beliefs.
  • Forcing Nebraskans to surrender their faith in order to keep their jobs or run a business is unconstitutional.
  • The government has no business telling Nebraskans how and when they can live out their faith.
  • LB586 demands that Nebraskans choose between two poison pills: comply and desert your faith, or resist and lose your job.
  • LB586 would allow unelected bureaucrats to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how faith may be lived out.
  • Similar Laws have been used across the country not as a shield against discrimination, but as a sword to punish business owners and people of faith.
I am asking Senator [Last Name] to vote no on LB586. How does Senator [Last Name] plan to vote on this important issue? Thank you for your time and for considering my request.”

AKSARBENT has a script too:

“Hello, my name is [Full Name] and I am a [job title/occupation] with [employer/organization] in [city]. I am calling today as a constituent of Senator [Last Name]. I would like you to introduce legislation terminating Christians, Muslims and other adherents of religion as a protected class in Nebraska statutes.
(Choose one or more of the following points)
  • In America, people should be free to live and work according to their non-beliefs.
  • Forcing Nebraskans to surrender their Atheist or Agnostic principles in order to keep their jobs or run a business is unconstitutional.
  • The government has no business telling Nebraskans how and when they can live out their non-beliefs.
  • Current law forcing Nebraska Atheists, Agnostics and LGBTs to hire pushy, evangelizing Christers makes them choose between two poison pills: comply and desert your non-belief in God and principles of discouraging discriminatory activism and hate speech in your business, or resist and face government sanctions.
  • Laws giving Christers special privileges allow unelected bureaucrats to dictate the behavior of nonbelievers and interfere with them following their consciences.
  • Similar Laws have been used across the country not as a shield against discrimination, but as a sword to Atheist and Agnostic business owners.
I am asking Senator [Last Name] to introduce legislation removing religion as a protected class with special privileges. How does Senator [Last Name] plan to act on this important issue? Thank you for your time and for considering my request.”


1959: Redcaps at Union Station in Omaha

Bob Fahey, at left, is now 86. Union Station became the Western Heritage Museum in 1975 and is now called the Durham Museum. Burlington Station, next door, will soon be the new home of KETV.



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