Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nebraska gay households: 2010 Census snapshots compiled by UCLA's Williams Institute

2010 US Census figures via the Williams Institute
Geez, sometimes we at AKSARBENT don't have to look further for post fodder than to check the damn news feed reader at the right side of our own blog!
     Pam's House Blend did a post on the latest batch of 2010 Census snapshots of gay households compiled by UCLA's Williams Institute and Nebraska is on the list.
     Since the Williams Institute apparently doesn't have enough money to label the counties on its maps, AKSARBENT has included a Nebraska map with identified counties. You'll have to compare.
     The authors of these reports are Gary J. Gates, PhD, the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law and Abigail M. Cooke, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at UCLA, affiliated with the California Center for Population Research.
     71% of same-sex couples in Nebraska tracked by the 2010 Census are female, 29% are male. Statewide, 22% of gay couples are raising kids.
     Interestingly, Kearney has a greater percentage of same sex households than either Bellevue or Grand Island. In fact, it's #3 in the state, behind Omaha and Lincoln.

Missouri River flooding:
another levee fails; 200 ft. breach near Percival, IA



Bing Maps
Percival is an unincorporated town 16 miles northwest of Hamburg, where a levee was breached June 13th. Most people in the affected area have already evacuated; Interstate 29 was already closed from exit 24 (near Bartlett, Iowa) to Rock Port, Missouri.

Keith Olbermann runs into 'musical faggot' Dan Savage at Book of Mormon performance, interviews him



Clarification: No, boys and girls, Keith did not refer to Dan as a musical faggot. Dan did.

(Via towleroad; see blog list)

Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus: gays are 'barbarians' who need to be 'disciplined'; his 'Christian Counseling' clinic took over $160K in government funds



(Via Right Wing Watch)

Marcus Bachmann's dubious activities have not gone unnoticed. Via Dan Savage's blog:
A national magazine reporter is looking for people who have been treated by Marcus Bachmann, the husband of Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn). Marcus has allegedly performed reparative therapy to “cure homosexuals in Minnesota. If you have suffered at the hands of this quack or feel he has “helped” you, please contact me ASAP at wbesen@truthwinsout.org.
Marcus Bachmann's "Christian Counseling" clinic has received more than $160,000 in state and federal money.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DC Human Rights Campaign store mildly trashed; Vandals' trenchant press release may do more damage

The attackers' press release:

    ROWDY QUEERS TRASH AND GLAMDALIZE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN GIFT SHOP IN WASHINGTON, DC ON THE 42nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE STONEWALL RIOTS

    (In the wee hours of June 29, 2011) –

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gift shop in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC is a god awful monstrosity. We were in there yesterday and between wiping our genitals on the clothing and discovering that the snow globes wouldn’t properly fit up our bums, we got to thinking:

    “This place would look great with a bit of shattered glass and splattered paint.”

    So we strapped on our riot chaps, poured pink paint into light bulbs, grabbed hammers, and went party party party! all over that tacky testament to the transformation of radical queer liberation into consumer junk.

    We’ve got good reason. This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

    On the night of June 28, 1969, New York City’s Public Morals Squad did a routine raid of an East Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Everything was going fine until, in the midst of the standard genital check that police forced on draq queens, a lesbian beaned a cop straight in the head with a ripped-up parking meter. And so queer liberation was born.

    The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking–all of it happily indiscriminate–and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we’ve forgotten our riotous roots.

    Gay Pride, for example, wasn’t always a suburban county fair with less fanny packs and lined with banks and politicians. The first Pride was the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day march, a celebration of the riots the year before (and to this day, Pride festivals the world over are celebrated in June).

    But we’ve been snorting ritalin and drinking whiskey all night and this manifesto tomfoolery is wearing us down so let’s bring it home, shall we?

    Why, you’re asking, did we specifically target the HRC, a massive national gay rights non-profit as opposed to vomiting urine on Rick Santorum or something equally fun?

    Put simply, they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.

    The HRC rakes in something approaching 50 million dollars a year in revenue–their executive director, Joe Salmonellamayonaisemanese pulls in a salary of several hundred grand. What have we gotten out of this bloated carcass? Not a thing worth mentioning and every now and then, they eagerly sell trans people up the river. Seriously, this is an organization that hordes money and does nothing useful. It’s a sad, sick dinosaur.

    Meanwhile, in Washington, DC violence against the LGBT community is on the rise; DC’s only LGBT center is forced to go hat in hand to real estate developers and beg for space, only to face eviction a few years down the road; We lack a homeless shelter for queer youth and services for our community are the victims of budget cuts. Can you think of something better to do with a few million dollars?

    (Did you know that 50 million dollars can buy about 300 thousand pounds of glitter?)

    Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland’s Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe’s Zombie Bones, stop saying “It Gets Better” and hoping for a miracle from up on high. We don’t expect you to riot (although we swear you’ll love it once you get going!) but it’s time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.

    Sincerely,

    THE RIGHT HONORABLE WICKED STEPMOTHERS’ TRAVELING, DRINKING AND DEBATING SOCIETY AND MEN’S AUXILIARYl

13 Senate Democrats — and no Republicans — collaborate on It Gets Better video; appearances by Blumenthal, Brown, Cantwell, Coons, Durbin, Feinstein, Franken, Gillibrand, Schumer, Shaheen, Udall, Whitehouse and Wyden

Photo of Southwest pilot James Fritzen Taylor published, with apology; some employees incensed by his choice of word 'tolerant'

Captain James Fritzen Taylor
KRPC in Houston reports on the apology just released by the Southwest pilot whose homophobic, sexist and ageist rant tied up an air traffic control channel in Texas and was widely mocked by everyone from radio disc jockeys to Conan O'Brien. Some coworkers aren't unhappy with Taylor's use of the word 'tolerant' in his apology, which they evidently consider arrogant or condescending.

Full text of Capt. James Taylor's apology:
 
June 28, 2011

To All Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants and all Employees:

Because of the impact of my comments, I wanted to communicate with you directly.

Please accept my most sincere apology for the inappropriate and disrespectful remarks I made in March with an open microphone. I deeply regret the derogatory remarks I made and the hurt I have caused—I take full responsibility for those comments.

It was truly insensitive of me and I would like all of you to know that from now on, I will show nothing but the utmost respect during my interactions with all employees.

In addition, I would like to extend a special apology to all Flight Attendants, and especially those of Houston. I hope you will allow me to maintain a working relationship with all of you that will provide me the opportunity to extend an individual, personal apology to each one of you whenever we fly together.

Please know that this event has forever changed me and I hope that others can learn from my mistake.

I have learned a much-needed lesson to be more sensitive of others and I hope you will see me as a more tolerant and considerate person.

I am proud to be employed by Southwest Airlines and I am committed to representing our Company, and its employees in the most professional way possible.

With My Sincere Regards,

Captain James Taylor

Lady Gaga and her dancers at VMAJ after the Gay Marriage Bill was passed in New York

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patti LaBelle countersues ex-West Point Cadet beaten by her bodyguards in Houston



John Raley, attorney for Richard King, characterized the allegations in LaBelle's countersuit as "the same false story they told the police."

After the altercation at Terminal C, Bush Intercontinental Airport, on March 11, Labelle posed for pictures with two Houston cops next to what appear to be puddles of Richard King's blood.

Nebraska nuclear reactor flooding: Rachel Maddow tells you what Omaha television stations aren't



Two years ago the Nuclear Regulatory Commission discovered that (due to a miscalculation) Ft. Calhoun's flooding preparation was inadequate, and forced the plant's operator, OPPD (Omaha Public Power District) to get with the program and make necessary upgrades, without which the current situation would be much, much worse.

The plant was built in 1973, which means that OPPD had about 37 years to discover the miscalculation and make necessary corrections, but evidently did nothing until the NRC forced it to get cracking in 2009.

Today, the New York Times characterized the long road ahead for Ft. Calhoun's problems.

Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch, June 27, 2011



We did it! New York Marriages can start in less than a month. That success gives us new leverage in the 44 states that have yet to enact marriage equality. We also won victories this week in Wisconsin and Maryland, but gay couples in Illinois are just discovered a dangerous new civil unions loophole. And phony anti-gay polls could skew voting in Minnesota.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Face The Nation: Bob Schieffer asks Michele Bachmann if homosexuality is a choice

Below, Michele Bachmann tells Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that she simultaneously supports state's rights in respect of gay marriage and supports a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in all states.



Below is an excerpt of the transcript published by CBS News' Face The Nation of Rep. Bachmann's appearance on that show, as seen below.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we’re back now with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Congresswoman, Friday night, New York became the largest state yet to legalize same-sex marriage. I wonder what you think that portends for the rest of the country. I know you were a strong opponent--
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN (overlapping): Mm-Hm.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --of same sex marriage when you were back in Minnesota--hadn’t said much about it lately. What do you-- what do you think this means?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, I stand for the proposition that marriage is between a man and a woman. I think that Minnesota, for instance, this year just about a month ago or so, passed that the legislative level, the constitutional amendment to allow the people to decide what the definition of marriage will be so that ballot question will be on the ballot in 2012. The people of New York came to a different conclusion. I think what we know is that ultimately you have all the various laws in the various states. There will be a conflict. If someone from Pennsylvania or from New York, for instance, moves to a state where marriage is between a man and a woman, will these marriages be recognized? Ultimately, it will go to the courts. As President of the United States, I will only nominate judges who are not act-- activist judges, who are not legislating from the bench. And so I think that’s why it’s going to be very important to have this--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Would-- would that be a litmus test for you, someone who was for same-sex marriage?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: I want people who are for the Constitution. That’s my litmus test. I want judges who are committed to the fidelity of the Constitution--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): So--
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: --and not acting outside the bounds of Article III.9
BOB SCHIEFFER: So a person who may have been on the record as saying he favored same-sex marriage, you wouldn’t disqualify that person for nominating them to the Supreme Court?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: My primary test will be the Constitution. They need to be a strong constitutionalist and recognize that just as the justices should not act outside the-- of the bounds, neither should the Congress--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): I-- I--
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: --neither should the President.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I have to say I don’t think you answered the question but I’ll go on.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, no if you-- if you want to go further, we will.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, are you saying you would not nominate someone to the court who favored same-sex marriage?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: I know what my view is.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: I-- I know what my view is on marriage. And, of course, I would-- I would find the best, most highly-qualified justice that there is because it’s a very important--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Do you--
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: --position.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHELE BACHMANN: You know, I-- I firmly believe that people need to make their own decisions about that. But I am running for the presidency of the United States. I am not running to be anyone’s judge. And that’s-- that’s where I’m coming from in this race.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gay Marriage in New York: How changing attitudes, a determined governor, steely leadership and some very rich Republicans made it happen

Once again the New York Times proves why it is America's greatest newspaper by painting a full portrait of the intricate and almost military cooperation by Republicans, Democrats, gay organizations, consultants, pollsters and — most of all — Governor Cuomo to defeat the religious opposition. You may think you know what happened, but you probably don't if you haven't read this superb account.
...But unbeknown to all but a few people, Mr. Kruger desperately wanted to change his vote. The issue, it turned out, was tearing apart his household.
     The gay nephew of the woman he lives with, Dorothy Turano, was so furious at Mr. Kruger for opposing same-sex marriage two years ago that he had cut off contact with both of them, devastating Ms. Turano. “I don’t need this,” Mr. Kruger told Senator John L. Sampson of Brooklyn, the Democratic majority leader. “It has gotten personal now...”
     The story of how same-sex marriage became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed.
     But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition...

Peter Falk dies at 83, reportedly of Alzheimer Disease

The classically-trained, Depression Baby actor, born in 1927, lost an eye to cancer at age 3. Baby Boomers knew him as television detective Lt. Columbo, whose rumpled trenchcoat's disappearance is much discussed among memorabilia collectors. Gen Xers know him as Fred Savage's grandfather in The Princess Bride. Falk died June 23rd in Beverly Hills.

Columbo's first name (from Wikipedia):

When Columbo is explicitly asked if he has a first name in season 4 episode By Dawn's Early Light, he just dispassionately answers back that he does, but the only person who uses it is his wife. In the season 12 episode Undercover, Columbo is asked once again what his first name is, to which he emphatically answers, "Lieutenant," a sentiment echoed by actor Peter Falk and creators Richard Levinson and William Link.
Columbo's warrant card and badge with the name Frank Columbo in the episode "Dead Weight". The website of the LAPD has a description of the LAPD badge.
However, in the 1971 episode "Dead Weight", when Columbo introduces himself to General Hollister the audience is shown a brief close-up of Columbo's badge and warrant card, complete with signature, which appears to read "Frank Columbo". The same ID badge and warrant card is seen in numerous other episodes, and the signature "Frank Columbo" is clearly visible in the season 5 episode "A Matter of Honor".

Universal Studios, in the box set of seasons 1–4 under their Playback label, included a picture of Columbo's police badge on the back of the box, with signature "Frank Columbo" and the name "Lt Frank Columbo" in type. This appears to be a different badge from the one seen in "Dead Weight", with a different signature.

The "Philip Columbo" myth

Several sources cite the lieutenant's name as "Philip Columbo", variously claiming that the name was either in the original script for Prescription: Murder, or that it was visible on his police badge. For instance: a rumor that Columbo's first name is actually "Peter" has been denied by the star: "if he has a name at all," says Falk, "it is 'Philip,' which was the name used in the original story, Prescription: Murder."[15] Peugeot ran an advertising campaign that mentioned "Lt Philip Columbo" as the most famous driver of the Peugeot 403 convertible.
The name "Philip Columbo," was, in fact, invented by Fred L. Worth, in whose book, The Trivia Encyclopedia, the fictitious entry about Columbo's first name was actually a "copyright trap" – a deliberately false statement intended to reveal subsequent copyright infringement.[16] Ultimately, however, Worth's ploy was not successful. In 1984, he filed a $300 million lawsuit against the distributors of the board game, Trivial Pursuit, claiming that they had sourced their questions from his book, even to the point of reproducing typographical errors contained in the book. Worth's suit revolved around the use of the name, "Philip Columbo", included in a game-question about Lt Columbo. The makers of Trivial Pursuit did not deny that they sourced material from Worth's book, but argued there was nothing improper about using the book, as one of a number of other references, in the process of building game-questions. The judge agreed, ruling in favor of Trivial Pursuit, and the case was thrown out.[16]

Conan O'Brien does take-off on Southwest Pilot's homophobic, sexist rant

While AKSARBENT patiently waits for the Internet to deliver pictures of Captain James Fritzen Taylor of Argyle, Texas (north of Ft. Worth), the married, 46-year-old Southwest Airlines pilot/dirtbag whose sexist/homophobic/philandering rant tied up an important air controller frequency, we'll have to settle for this entertaining mockery, courtesy of Team Coco. Comments?

Omaha Pride 2011: promotion and festival grounds after Saturday's parade

Sunday Noon will bring mimosas and pancakes, which for AKSARBENT is problematic, as we hate ourselves a mimosa, a drink in which the Champagne ruins the orange juice and vice versa. As for pancakes, well, we shan't employ any analogies beyond coals-to-Newcastle/jelly-donuts-to-Maggie-Gallagher. AKSARBENT saw the hottest friggin' shirtless dude Saturday after(!) we took our little video below. Unfortunately, he was being, um, detained in front of Flixx. C'est la vie...

How was your gay day weekend? Comment below.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marriage Equality Vote in New York: Compare and contrast — Daily News, New York Times, New York Post

The owner of the New York Post and Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, has apparently shot himself in the foot in letting his ideology show by shoving the most important event in New York to page two. Newspaper kiosks all over New York City are out of the Times and the Daily News but plenty of copies of the Post appear to be available. How other New York newspapers covered the event...


New York State Senate passes marriage equality law, 33-29

Empire State Building lit for Gay Pride
weekend, 2011. Nicholas Jackson at The Atlantic
recalls the last time the Empire State Building
shone like a rainbow at night: the passing of The
Grateful Dead's
Jerry Garcia in 1995 at age 53.
On Friday, the New York State Senate passed a marriage equality law, 33-29 which Governor Cuomo will sign as soon as he gets it. When it takes effect after 30 days, New York will become the sixth US state to permit same sex marriage. Because the population of New York State is greater than that of the other five put together, the number of US citizens who live in a state allowing same sex marriage will more than double.

Exemptions granted to religions are contained, according to Think Progress' Igor Volsky, in a companion bill introduced in the New York Assembly, which must approve said exemptions or the Senate bill — already approved by the assembly last week — is void.
    “[N]otwithstanding any state, local or municipal law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or other provision of law to the contrary, a religious entity as defined under the education law or section two of the religious corporations law, or a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state, or a not-for-profit corporation operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious corporation, or any employee thereof, being managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious corporation, benevolent order, or a not-for-profit corporation as described in this subdivision, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any such refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state or local government action to penalize, withhold benefits, or discriminate against such religious corporation, benevolent order, a not-for-profit explanation.”
The roll call breakdown of the vote is here.

The increasingly desperate National Organization for Marriage, which lobbied furiously against the bill and paid for hundreds of thousands of robocalls placed throughout New York State, published a sham poll days before Friday's vote and trumpeted last minute adoption distortions to scare voters into pressuring senators to vote against marriage equality.

Jeremy Hooper, of GoodAsYou, clearly in an, ahem, celebratory mood, playfully defaced with colorful graffiti digital copies of rather glum press releases from the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Don Lapre finally arrested



Infomercial hustler Don Lapre got busted Thursday in Tempe, Arizona after less than 24 hours on the run for not showing up for his arraignment on charges of "conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering" in connection with apparently bilking over 200,000 people of $50+ million in close-to-worthless internet-based vitamin sales schemes.

NYT rips gulf between Albany's public same-sex marriage debate outside Capitol — and the furtive one within

Today's New York Times editorial about the contentious same-sex marriage negotiations going on behind closed doors in Albany, New York wonders if proponents are compromising too much and why so much secrecy is being imposed. Aksarbent thinks the answer to the first question explains the riddle posed by the second.
...Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, said on Thursday that he had seen revised language for the governor’s marriage-equality bill and that it was “acceptable.” But he refused to share it with the public.

The issue — apparently — has been how far Republicans could push same-sex marriage advocates for special exceptions. The big question became whether nonprofit groups affiliated with religious institutions can bar ceremonies or wedding parties on their property because the couple are of the same gender. Mr. Cuomo’s bill handled the balance between religious freedom and the freedom against discrimination just right. No one needed to change it, and especially not furtively.

Missouri River flooding: Army Corps of Engineers manager answers the question on everyone's mind: 'You saw the snow, why didn't you release more?'

2011 USDA photo of Missouri River flooding
UPDATE: Even Rachel Maddow and the New York Times are starting to worry about Ft. Calhoun... Video of the torrent of water now being released every second at Gavins Point Dam...

Matt Bunk, publisher and editor of the Great Plains Examiner, conducted the first post-flooding, one-on-one interview with Jody Farhat, the Army Corps of Engineers' chief water manager for the Missouri River reservoir system, who said her agency was bound by federal regulations to make sure water levels were high enough during the spring to supply a range of needs.
If we were only managing for flood control it would be easy. We would just drain the reservoirs,” Farhat told the Great Plains Examiner on Friday. “But there are many interests that want us to hold water for all the things the water supplies … and Congress doesn’t give us a bye on any of them. Regardless of whether it’s a high-water year or low-water year, we are supposed to provide water for all of the authorized purposes.
     The way Farhat explains it, the flood that has displaced thousands of homeowners along the river this year was the result of a wild rainy season and strict requirements to do things by the book. The master manual that guides the Corps of Engineers’ water-management decisions requires special considerations for flood control, navigation, water supply, water quality, hydropower, irrigation, recreation and fish and wildlife. The document, last updated in 2004, is intended to help the Corps of Engineers balance all of those sometimes-conflicting objectives.
     The problem is the book didn’t account for the possibility of record-shattering amounts of rain in May. It also didn’t account for estimates that showed higher-than-average snowpack in the mountains to the northwest. So, neither did the Corps of Engineers’ water managers – until it was too late.
(Via The Reader)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fun couple: Ruben Diaz and Brian Brown

Steven Thrasher, of The Village Voice, interviewed New York State Representative Ruben Diaz (pictured above with National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown) whom he has identified as possibly "the most famous senator in the state not convicted of assaulting his girlfriend."
Your own granddaughter wrote --
I don't know what my granddaughter wrote!
All right, let me ask you about this. You believe marriage is between one man and one woman, yes?
Yes [Laughs.]. So? Why are you asking me this? You know that, you know what I believe. Why are you calling me? Marriage is between a man and a woman.
But you yourself have been married twice, and are divorced.
Yes. So?
So do you believe it is alright to be divorced?
No. Divorce is wrong. Gay marriage is wrong.
You think you are wrong, then?
When I got divorced, I was wrong, yes. Why are you asking me this?
But you believe that gay marriage is wrong and divorce is wrong, but that you should be allowed to get divorced and remarried, and gay people shouldn't be able to marry at all.
When I got divorced, it was wrong, but marriage is between a man and a woman.
So is being divorced OK with your religion?
No, it is not OK. Gay marriage is still wrong. This is what I believe.
(Via Joe.My.God; see bloglist, lower right)

Flight Attendants Union still unhappy with Southwest's handling of pilot who broadcast sexist, ageist, and homophobic comments



Here is the public statement from Transportation Workers Union 556 President Thom McDaniel regarding insults and slurs broadcast over Air Traffic Control:
Flight attendants at Southwest Airlines are deeply disappointed and angered by the insensitive, and unprofessional comments demeaning flight attendants that were broadcast by a Southwest pilot over frequencies used by the FAA for air traffic control on March 25, 2011, revealed just yesterday.

Southwest’s flight attendants are highly respected by our customers for their skill, professionalism and customer service and expect that same respect from co-workers. We do important work and should not be demeaned by pilots, managers or anyone.

We also are dismayed by the response from Southwest Airlines’ management. The official response from Southwest’s spokespeople and leaders has only added ‘insult to injury.’ Calling this broadcast a ‘private conversation’ cannot dismiss this incident.

Our Union is rooted in fighting for the rights and protections of working people, including forging the battles to end the prohibition of married women, pregnant women and men from serving as flight attendants and we will not go backward by accepting the behavior and speech of this pilot or any other employee. We are calling on Southwest Airlines to address this problem throughout our company, not as an isolated incident, but as a mandate that our workplace will be free from discrimination of all forms as a condition of continued employment.

We have instructed our attorneys today to investigate the possibility of filing an EEOC charge with the federal government. We hope not to have to go that route, and instead, we are counting on Southwest Airlines to remedy this injustice. Bigotry in the workplace is bad business and unacceptable behavior on the ground and at 30,000 feet.

Fox News' Sean Hannity resmears Kevin Jennings, former head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools



ThinkProgress has summarized Hannity's attack, including the use of Tony Perkins of the SPLC-listed hate group, The Family Research Council, to accuse Jennings of somehow spreading homosexuality.

Media Matters thoroughly debunked Hannity’s claims here and here.

Toronto Mayor under withering criticism after announcing he'll skip million-person gay day parade

Toronto Gay Pride 2010. Photo: Nouspique, Flickr

The Huffington Post reports that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, already seen as condescending to his city's gay inhabitants, is being sharply criticized by two newspapers after announcing that he would skip Toronto’s Pride parade in favor of a weekend at the cottage.

Marcus Gee, of The Globe, called the decision "petty, stubborn and mean."

Royson James of the Toronto Star wrote the following:
“We thought someone would have reminded Mayor Ford that despite his own personal or religious views, despite his unease around gay people, despite his natural or cultivated antipathy towards such Torontonians, he had to do the mayor thing — the grip and grin, the bringing of greetings on behalf of the people of Toronto We thought wrong.”

Missouri River flooding: concerns rise over two Nebraska nuclear power plants



ABC's piece starts with a report on the evacuation of thousands of Minot, South Dakota residents. Flooding there is from the Red River system which does not drain into the Missouri. Information in the clip about Nebraska's two besieged nuclear plants begins at the 3 minute mark. On Tuesday, the web site of Omaha's KETV got one million hits, mainly from people looking for the latest updates on rising water levels. The Gavins Point Dam, upriver from Omaha, is now releasing the equivalent of a football field of water to a depth of four feet — 160,000 gallons — per second into the Missouri. In West Council Bluffs, Iowa, which faces Omaha across the Missouri River, some residents have resorted to three sump pumps to keep ahead of water seeping into their basements.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Albany: No vote on same sex marriage
until at least Thursday

The quotes of David Tyree, NOM spokesbigot, mediocre ex-wide receiver and weed dealer, whose social science credentials are a Superbowl ring, are analysed on the View

Estates of gay couple to endow richest prizes in American letters; Donald Windham—Sandy M. Campbell prizes will award 7-9 $150K grants annually

Windham (l), Campbell, 1955. Photo: Carl Van Vechten
Yale University will administer the awards, which dwarf the purses of the Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Awards, each worth $10,000.

Mr. Windham, who did not attend college, specifically requested that writers with no academic affiliation be considered.

The New York Times dutifully noted the surprise of their friends at the size of Mr. Windham's and Mr. Campbell's endowments:
Mr. Windham and Sandy Campbell, his companion of 45 years, were a well-known couple in New York’s gay literary circles who lived so unostentatiously that it surprised their friends that Mr. Windham left a bequest sufficient to generate a million dollars in prize money every year.
(NYT via Band of Thebes; see bloglist, lower right)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Matthew Morrison: his life before Glee... sort of...
well, actually not

College World Series fans sent scrambling
by sirens, shelf cloud

Video of CWS fans running for cover at TD Ameritrade Park Monday when Florida's defeat of Vanderbilt was interrupted in the bottom of the sixth inning by tornado sirens, a shelf cloud over the stadium, high winds and heavy rain.

202-643-1958 — Mormon front group, National Organization for Marriage, continues to blanket New York with robocalls

NOM was organized by the Mormon officials and members to fight gay marriage in California and elsewhere. It has thumbed its nose at campaign disclosure laws in Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Washington State all states which have sued or investigated NOM or in which NOM is suing or playing fast and loose with campaign disclosure laws because it doesn't want the public to know where it gets millions of dollars. NOM's chairman, Maggie Gallagher, has a history of unethical behavior which was covered by the Washington Post.

Here's video of Brian Brown, NOM's Catholic hood ornament, deflecting hard-nosed questions about NOM's finances in Washington, DC. Skip to 3:20 to get beyond his grandstanding.

Outgoing US Ambassador blasts Afghan president


"I must tell you that I find occasional comments from some of your leaders hurtful and inappropriate," Eikenberry said Sunday. "When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse and our generous aid programs are being dismissed as totally ineffective and the source of all corruption, our pride is offended and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on...
     Mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers, spouses of soldiers who have lost arms and legs, children of those who have lost their lives in this country," Eikenberry said. "They ask themselves about the meaning of their loved ones' sacrifices...
     When Americans who are serving in your country at great cost in terms of our lives and treasures, when they hear themselves compared with occupiers and told that they are only here to advance their own narrow interests and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people, my people in turn are filled with confusion and they grow weary of our effort here."

NPR: 'Obama's Awkward Dance on Gay Marriage'

NPR notes that when, on Thursday, Barack Obama heads to Manhattan, he will be the first sitting president to have a LGBT fundraiser. It will be against a backdrop of a ferocious fight in Albany about whether to legalize gay marriage in New York State.
Mr. Obama's supporters say he has done more for gay rights than any President in US history. But John Aravosis, who edits the liberal website Americablog, argues that history is the wrong yardstick.
     "The point is, how much of a civil rights hero you are is determined by the times you live in," says Aravosis.
     "If you defended the rights of African-Americans to swim in your pool in the 1950s, you'd be a huge visionary and we'd give you a huge attaboy for that," Aravosis says. By 1970, the same views would hardly be noteworthy even though they would be ahead of every previous generation.

Portland drains reservoir of 8 million gallons of treated water after 21-year-old, captured on video, drains bladder in wee hours of the morning



Portland, Oregon has spent about $35,000 to drain a reservoir of treated water after one Joshua Seater, 21, was caught urinating in the water at 1:30 in the morning last Wednesday.

Did "Yuck Factor" trump science?

Although Portland Health Officials disagreed on the need to drain the water, David Shaff, of the Portland Water Bureau, said, "I think what you have to deal with here is the 'yuck' factor," he said.

"Do you want to drink pee? Most people are going to be pretty damn squeamish."

Dave Stone
Dave Stone, an assistant professor in toxicology at Oregon State University who specializes in chemical contaminants in water, noted that urine "is pretty sterile, chemically speaking."
"It's inappropriate behavior. But how many animals are doing that or birds?" he said. "I don't want to second-guess the city, but I can't think of anything chemically that would have me be concerned."

But Chris Wanner, director of operations for the Water Bureau, said he was worried -- though less about the urine than about unknown items thrown into the water by a group of five people who hung around Mount Tabor early Wednesday.

Even so, Portland's five open reservoirs are susceptible to dead rodents, birds or bird poop. Water quality is tested, but reservoirs aren't drained because of dead animals.

Idaho State Sen. John McGee arrested barefoot and napping in stolen truck; looking for 'promised land'



Sen. McGee left a golf course late Saturday night after drinking heavily, walked barefoot for miles, then attempted to drive a Ford Excursion he discovered with its keys in the ignition. He subsequently jack-knifed the SUV and its 20-foot trailer in the Muir Woods neighborhood, after which he crawled in the back seat and took a nap.

When awakened, McGee said he was "looking for the "promised land."He was arrested for grand theft and DUI.

In 2006, McGee was named Young Republican of the Year and Republican Legislator of the year. He has frequently been mentioned as a potential candidate for Idaho governor.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Keith Olbermann's Countdown returns... to Current TV

Matt Baume's Marriage News Watch, 6/20/11:
Bad week for antigay industry



Matt Baume:
"I've been doing some really cool work on marriage equality that's kept me so busy, I didn't even have time for a proper green screen this week. But try to ignore that, because a lot is happening right now.
     We're down to the last possible second for marriage in New York, there was a major victory in California, new challenges to the Defense of Marriage act, bad news in France, and good news in Lichtenstein."

Holland, Michigan nixes gay rights ordinance; affiliate of AFA hate group attacks pro-gay council members

Gary Glenn
Even though Holland Michigan's proposed expansion of its antidiscrimination ordinance to gay people include a huge loophole exempting religious organizations, their educational programs, and institutions that address housing, employment, education and other services, the proposal still failed, 5-4.

Despite that, Gary Glenn of The Campaign for Michigan Families, which is affiliated with the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association, a SPLC-designated hate group, wants to get rid of all the council members who vote for the proposal.

In a prepared statement which has become boiler­plate for the anti-gay for pay industry, Glenn said: "Given the serious threat these discriminatory gay rights ordinances have proven to pose to religious freedom in other communities, pro-family residents of Holland can't afford the risk that a single council member might be replaced or pressured to change his vote and allow such a dangerous policy to become law."

WBEN, Buffalo, runs same sex marriage poll,
tampers with results


WBEN, the right-wing Buffalo, New York, radio station, is running a biased "poll" about same sex marriage. Not only is the wording of the poll outrageously slanted, there is evidence that the station may have tampered with the results.
     Alan Bedenko took screencaps from WBEN's web site: at 10:36 the station's poll results showed 425 votes against gay marriage and 868 votes by people who were OK with gay marriage. Four minutes later both results had dropped; the antis to 367 and the pros to 281.
(Via Joe.My.God; see blog list, lower right)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why do conservatives run talk radio?

This was explored in detail by Sue Wilson here and it turns out that there are two overriding reasons:
The answer is policy-makers, with campaigns financed by those same corporations, changed two important rules. In 1987, then-President Reagan's FCC got rid of the Fairness Doctrine, which required that radio and TV provide a "reasonable opportunity to hear both sides of controversial issues." The Reagan administration thought the marketplace would provide its own balance.
     Then, in 1996, Congress allowed a few companies to own unlimited numbers of radio stations. Huge conglomerates bought the best and biggest stations, and purchased multiple stations within the same market. Then they blanketed more than 1,700 stations with conservative talk. Using their newly created economies of scale, they offered businesses special packages to advertise on stations they owned both locally and nationally.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Marriage News Watch, 6/13/11 and Gay USA, 6/13/11

This episode of Marriage News watch was made before US District Court Judge James Ware upheld Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to invalidate Prop 8, holding that Walker had no obligation to recuse himself on conflict of interest charges, which even Fox News found ridiculous.





We mark the 25th anniversary of the passage of the NYC lesbian and gay rights bill by screening a documentary, "Rights and Reactions: Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial" by the late Phil Zwickler and the very much alive Jane Lippman. We thank the Phil Zwickler Charitable and Memorial Foundation for kindly giving us permission to bring you this award-winning documentary. You can learn more about the Foundation and Phil Zwickler at: http://www.pzfoundation.org/ Ann and Andy will be back with all the latest news next week.

Was Weinergate instigated as right-wing payback for Anthony Weiner's investigation of Clarence Thomas' conflicts of interest?

That's the question Americablog is asking, as it publishes a timeline of Congressman Weiner's efforts to expose and make the Supreme Court Justice accountable for his double-amendment of financial disclosure forms. Or, as Americablog put it, "the lie that corrected the other lie."

Clarence Clemons, Springsteen's saxophonist, dies at 69 after June 12th stroke

Clarence "Big Man" Clemons, who played saxophone in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band for more than 40 years has died following a stroke June 12th and two subsequent brain surgeries.

Springsteen's statement:
Neil Preston
Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the oppurtunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.
During his 80s Born In The USA tour, Springsteen had a schtick in which he would take a run at Clemons from across the stage, drop to his knees, and slide into a big kiss, as seen in the picture above. AKSARBENT, from a 5th row seat, witnessed this perfectly-executed move and was amazed that neither man knocked his teeth out.

18 Nebraska counties covered by Obama emergency disaster declaration issued today; FEMA now can provide assistance, coordinate flood relief efforts


The counties all abut either the Missouri (Boyd, Burt, Cass, Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Knox,  Nemaha, Otoe, Richardson, Sarpy, Thurston and Washington) or the Platte (Garden, Lincoln, Morrill, and Scotts Bluff.)

In Iowa, FEMA has also awarded $14.8 million in grants to Des Moines and Lake View, as well as the Corn Belt Power Cooperative, the Nishnabotna Valley Rural Rural Electric Cooperative, the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative and the Western Iowa Power Cooperative.

The grants stipulate that FEMA contribute 75 percent of the repair costs with the rest coming from state or local entities.

Maureen Dowd on 'Starchbishop' Timothy Dolan: 'Gay sera, sera'

While chronicling New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan's trenchant and pugnacious opposition to gay marriage in that state, the New York Times columnist reminded her readers that the Catholic Church still can't get beyond Gov. Cuomo's "living in sin" with Food Network star Sandra Lee — "public concubinage, as it's known in canon law — and that Vatican adviser Edward Peters has urged that Cuomo be denied communion until he ceases cohabiting.

Even though church leaders can't seem to do much about modern mores except wring their hands and publicly flounce, they aren't blind to what is happening to their religion and diminishing band of followers...
Dolan and other church leaders are worried about the exodus of young Catholics who no longer relate to the intolerances of church teaching. He dryly told The Times last year that when he sees long lines of young people on Fifth Avenue waiting to get into a house of worship, it’s at Abercrombie & Fitch, not St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

New York gay marriage religious exemptions: Cuomo, GOP in 'cordial, productive' negotiations; Gov. expects passage next week

The New York Times reports that Hudson Valley Republican Senator Stephen M. Saland, whose vote likely to be tie-breaking, is one of the lead negotiators.
Talks between Mr. Cuomo and Republican senators are said to focus on a relatively narrow issue. The legislation proposed by the governor includes exemptions for religious organizations and affiliated charities or nonprofit groups to protect them from litigation if they refuse to host or provide services for same-sex weddings...
    
The exemptions Senate Republicans are seeking are similar to those in the same-sex marriage law in New Hampshire, a model that Senate Republicans have studied. Same-sex marriage advocates appear willing to agree to language changes to make a deal.
     Ross D. Levi, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said: “The states that have passed either marriage or civil unions have a range from either nothing — Iowa and Massachusetts have no religious exemptions — to very, very extensive, and I think what the governor is working on is finding that balance. And I agree that it’s appropriate to find that balance.”

Lee Terry, stooge of Koch brothers and TransCanada



Bold Nebraska has more about Lee Terry's capitulation to petro pollution.

Britain's (!) Manchester Guardian has a story about a Congressional panel approving a bill to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline‎ which would force Obama to make a decision. (The photo illustrating the story is of a protester in Omaha.)

Historic UN vote on LGBT rights: text of resolution and which countries voted for and against it

AKSARBENT published President Obama's statement on the UN action here.

The text of the resolution:

United Nations 17-6-2011 SOGI Resolution

Amplify Your Voice published a breakdown of the vote:.

FOR: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Korea, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.

AGAINST: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uganda.

ABSTAINED: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia

ABSENT: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended from membership on the Council)

Cosponsors (including non-HRC Members):
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa (original sponsor), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, UK, USA, and Uruguay.

Ayman al-Zawahr, new Al-Queda CEO, once put a repeatedly raped teen on trial, then personally shot him in the head. Source: Bin Laden's son, Omar

Ayman al-Zawahr, left, with Osama Bin Laden in 1998
Via Towleroad (see blog list, below right) comes this reminder by the New York Times:
One dark tale from Mr. Zawahri’s past is recounted in “Growing Up Bin Laden,” a 2008 memoir by Bin   Laden’s son Omar bin Laden.
     He describes an episode in Afghanistan in the 1990s when a friend — a teenage boy — was raped by several men in the camp where they lived. The men snapped photos of the abuse and circulated them as a joke.
     Mr. Zawahri was incensed by the photo, believing that the young man was guilty of homosexual activity, Omar bin Laden wrote. Mr. Zawahri had the teenager put on trial and condemned to death.
     “My friend was dragged into a room with Zawahri, who shot him in the head,” he wrote. The episode was a factor, he said, in his decision to break with his father and leave Afghanistan.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sarah Palin 'documentary' Undefeated denied Field of Dreams venue for premiere

Field of Dreams movie site, Dyersville, Iowa. Photo: samuelalove, Flickr
Tuesday, ABC News' Sheila Marikar reported that Stephen K. Bannon, maker of the new campaign documentary about the former Alaska governor, "The Undefeated," confessed that he wanted to debut the film in Dyersville, Iowa's iconic baseball field.
"We tried to get the Field of Dreams but they just don't do these things," he told reporters after a Monday night screening in New York. Instead, he said the still-in-the-works premiere will happen in "a barn or a cornfield or a town square. It'll be the very Iowa-ness of the place."
Apparently, Bannon has spent so much time around Palin that he's beginning to talk like her.

Statement by the President on the UN Human Rights Councl Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Today, for the first time in history, the United Nations adopted a resolution dedicated to advancing the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. This marks a significant milestone in the long struggle for equality, and the beginning of a universal recognition that LGBT persons are endowed with the same inalienable rights -- and entitled to the same protections -- as all human beings.  The United States stands proudly with those nations that are standing up to intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia.  Advancing equality for LGBT persons should be the work of all peoples and all nations.  LGBT persons are entitled to equal treatment, equal protection, and the dignity that comes with being full members of our diverse societies.  As the United Nations begins to codify and enshrine the promise of equality for LGBT persons, the world becomes a safer, more respectful, and more humane place for all people.

Video: Carl Siciliano talks about Tracy Morgan's apologetic visit to New York's Ali Forney center for LGBT homeless youth

College World Series sideshow:
ConAgra bronzes, uncans Chef Boyardee

Walmart has thousands of greeters and now ConAgra, the $12-billion-dollar-per-year food conglomerate, also has a greeter at its 10th & Farnam Omaha headquarters: Hector Boiardi, aka Chef Boyardee.

The 6-foot bronze statue was hidden in an oversized, replicated can of some Chef Boyardee product and freed at 10 a.m. today. (The can may have been fake, but the food described on the label certainly sounded real: 1500 Mg of salt and about 40% fat for two servings.)



During the College World Series the ConAgra front yard will pitch the firm's products amid big screen TVs showing CWS games.

The statue was sculpted by Omahan John Lajba, who also created the sculptured symbol of the College World Series, The Road to Omaha.

AKSARBENT would show it to you, but except for personal photographs, "the sculpture cannot otherwise be reproduced in any way, including by photograph, without CWS, Inc.'s prior written consent."

Two Omaha flatfoots were on hand to make sure no one rushed the ravioli. When the camera panned to them they both affected smiles at the very same instant. Do they teach this in cop school?

Rainbow Rowell, in her story yesterday about today's ceremony, revealed the only interesting thing about this:
Because the figure on the Chef Boyardee logo doesn't look exactly like Hector Boiardi, Lajba had to blend the real man with the brand icon to make sure the sculpture would be recognizable.
The only entertaining aspect of this dog-and-pony show were the special needs kids on whose behalf ConAgra was selling its stuff at the event.

After several iterations of the corporate video loop, when the increasingly aptly-named Hector Boiardi asked yet again, "Hello! May I come in?" the kids started yelling, "No!"

Dan Choi at Netroots in Minneapolis: How to return an Obama flyer to someone who isn't sure if they support marriage equality



Too bad the bad lieutenant doesn't take the same approach toward GOProud.

Flooding around Eppley Airfield, Omaha and elsewhere: airplane videos

This was taken yesterday during a landing at Omaha's Eppley Airfield, a couple miles from the site of the 2011 College World Series, which starts this weekend.



This is video of a Missouri River levee crumbling near Hamburg, Iowa, which is about 90 miles south of Omaha.



Just north of Eppley Airfield: a submerged I-29 in Iowa, between the Mormon Bridge and Crescent, during a landing in Omaha.

202-630-9908: Mormon front group, National Organization for Marriage, harassing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with robocalls to land and cell phones

NOM was organized by the Mormon officials and members to fight gay marriage in California and elsewhere. It has thumbed its nose at campaign disclosure laws in Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Washington State all states which have sued or investigated NOM or which NOM is suing or playing fast and loose with campaign disclosure laws because it doesn't want the public to know where it gets millions of dollars. NOM's chairman, Maggie Gallagher, has a history of unethical behavior which was covered by the Washington Post.

Here's video of Brian Brown, NOM's Catholic hood ornament, deflecting hard-nosed questions about NOM's finances in Washington, DC. Skip to 3:20 to get beyond his grandstanding.



Here are some comments AKSARBENT has received just in the last few days from New Yorkers:

6 Feedback:

Mel said...
This is weird - I just got a robocall from this number, and I'm in Texas.
Anonymous said...
I have 1 or 2 messages on my answering machine every single day from this number. But the message is about a survey wanting to know if I am registered to vote in NY. I am on the Do Not Call registry, but I think they may fall under the exempt.
Anonymous said...
I have gotten literally 15 calls from these despicable people - once a day at least for about two weeks. No matter how I answer the survey, they keep calling. It's harassment. Please do what I'm doing and call their phone # 609-688-0450 to leave a stern message that their harassment is not o.k.
Chris said...
I found out better information - call 202-457-8060 and ask to speak to Dave Monge, with the National Organization for Marriage. I called him and very sternly told him to take me off their call list or I will be calling my local law enforcement people, because it amounts to harassment. Bloggers everywhere please post this information - and call his # to get a real person on the phone, not a full answering machine that ignores you.
Anonymous said...
I've gotten two of these phone calls within the last hour....almost one every day for the last few weeks.....really sick of it.... Toni
Chris said...
Toni - I'm serious, call 202-457-8060 during normal business hours and ask to speak to David Monge, who will most likely be the one answering the phone. Explain to him why you're annoyed. If he gets enough of these calls from real people, this abusive behavior by the National Organization for Marriage (they have harassed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, landlines and cell phones alike, in the last few weeks in the run up to the vote on a gay marriage bill in this state) will stop.

Best Beach — Not

And that would be Maho, on the Dutch side of St. Maarten in the Caribbean.

devinpoolman, Flickr

p_snelling, Flickr

Rick Santorum's Gay Friend

Brad Dickson, who used to write jokes for Jay Leno and now has a newspaper column said this about Rick Santorum and "the gay guy" (because they're all interchangeable, you know) the other day:
CNN's Don Lemon asked Rick Santorum if he has any gay friends. Hey, judging by Santorum's standing in the polls, I think the question should be does he have any friends period.
     Santorum said that he just spent time with a gay friend a couple days before. Here's how it works — during the campaign, Santorum gets to hang out with the gay guy on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Newt Gingrich gets him on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Omaha, Eppley flooding evacuation map released on eve of College World Series; Missouri River still rising

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Update: Recent video from the air, of Eppley area flooding.

Today, the National Weather Service said the Missouri River level at Omaha was 33.3 feet, which is more than 4 feet above flood stage. Upriver dam releases mean that the Missouri will continue to rise. Yesterday the city of Omaha released two maps showing what might happen if levees are breached. One is an evacuation area, and it includes Eppley Airfield. The other shows a projection of how close water might come to the CWS venue, TD AmeriTrade Park at 13th and Cuming streets. Maybe Kevin Costner was right about saving Rosenblatt!


Omaha asks for and gets National Guard help

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