Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monkee's Davy Jones, the group's only Brit, dead at 66 of heart attack in Florida; born in Manchester

Davy Jones died this morning of a heart attack in his Florida home.

He was born in Manchester, England, was married three times, and joined The Monkees in 1965. He, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith (whose mom invented what became Liquid Paper while a secretary at IBM) and Peter Tork became hugely popular and had three #1 hits: Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville and I'm a Believer.

Jones' Wikipedia entry notes: "On 9 February 1964, he appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones says of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that."

In the 60s The Beatles were known as the fab four and the Monkees were derisively called the pre-fab four. The group was cast for a Screen Gems television show bought by NBC and aired from September 1966 to March 1968.



Below: the I'm A Believer romp from the "Dance, Monkees, Dance" episode of their TV show.



More from Wikipedia:
The series was filmed by Screen Gems, and many of the same sets and props from The Three Stooges short films made by the studio were used on The Monkees: A pair of pajamas with a bunny design on the front that had been worn by Curly Howard in shorts such as Cactus Makes Perfect and In the Sweet Pie and Pie were the same ones worn by Peter Tork in various episodes such as "A Coffin Too Frequent" and "Monkee See, Monkee Die".
     To keep noise on the set down during filming, any of the four Monkees who was not needed in front of the cameras was locked into a converted meat locker. In DVD commentary, Tork noted that this had the added benefit of concealing any marijuana use that might be going on, although he admitted that he was the sole "serious 'head'" of the four of them. (In the 1980s, Tork gave up alcohol and marijuana use and has volunteered time to help people recovering from alcoholism.) In a studio outtake included in the 1990s re-release of Headquarters, Nesmith quips, before launching into "Nine Times Blue": "Only difference between me and Peter is I'm just stone legal."
Beatle George Harrison with Monkee Peter Tork at
Abbey Road studios, 1969. Photo: John McNab
     Due to the loosely scripted nature of the series, some episodes would come in too short for air. The producers decided to fill time with various "extras", including the Monkees' original screen tests and candid interviews with the group. The show also bucked the trend of using a laugh track, which was standard practice at the time. Most of the episodes from Season 2 did not contain canned laughter, which NBC later used as one of several reasons for cancelling the series.
     Dolenz said in a 2007 interview on the Roe Conn radio program that, while inspiration did come from the Beatles, the band's image was not meant to be a rip-off of them. He said that the Beatles were always depicted as superstars with legions of fans, whereas the Monkees were always depicted as unsigned and struggling to make a buck. This is reflected numerous times throughout the series, such as in the pilot where Mike Nesmith is seen throwing darts at a Beatles album sleeve, and in the episode "Find The Monkees (The Audition)" where the Monkees struggle to see a famous television producer who is looking for a rock act for use in commercial advertisements; in the episode "I Was A 99-Pound Weakling" Micky is tricked into signing onto a bogus weight-training program but objects by noting, "Where am I gonna get that kind of money? I'm an unemployed drummer." Also in a screen test, a Monkee asks what the Beatles have that they don't have. They sing "Thirteen million dollars!"

Angelina Jolie's right leg meme hits Star Wars, Blue Boy, Downton Abbey and somebody's kitty

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

KMTV reports on Nebraska Heritage Coalition news­paper ad, fight with Heartland Clergy for Inclusion over pending LGBT protection measure

Update: a reader tipped us that a nationally infamous death-to-gays preacher is on the Nebraska Heritage Coalition's roster. We checked. It's true.

On Sunday, the born-yesterday Nebraska Heritage Coalition ran a full-page black-and-white ad in the Omaha World-Herald (reputed to have cost about $10,000) which was probably a shot across the bow of an even larger church organization in favor of LGBT rights, Heartland Clergy for Inclusion.
     Charitably, the "Heritage" side said that ALL people (not just homos!) are "broken" and invited them to their churches (Don't forget your checkbooks, you broken — but we hope not broke — sad queers yearning to be free!)
     Sinners were firmly reminded that “We do not have the right to change God’s moral law to fit our sexual preferences."
     Then all the ad signers went out to celebrate at Red Lobster and ignored the part of Leviticus forbidding the consumption of shellfish because that passage can't be used to hammer homos. OK, AKSARBENT made that up.
     The totally credible ministers told KMTV that it was just a coincidence that their ad appeared two days before Ben Gray introduced Equal Employment 2.0 because, you know, if it weren't just a coincidence, then someone might raise a stink about the rules governing tax exemption organizations engaging in political activities.
     So it was a coincidence, capiche?

'Populist' tycoon Warren Buffett to evicted home­owners: You won!

Photo: Dorothea Lange

Buffett had this sympathetic salve in his breathlessly-awaited 2011 letter to shareholders regarding homeowners left out in the cold during the recent mortgage meltdown:
Large numbers of people who have “lost” their house through foreclosure have actually realized a profit because they carried out refinancings earlier that gave them cash in excess of their cost. In these cases, the evicted homeowner was the winner, and the victim was the lender.

Oprah's hysterical rough-and-tumble skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live's post-Oscar show

Disgraced Pinal County, AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu ran MA boarding school with history of abuse

From 1999-2001, Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu, now in hot water for texting indecent cell phone pictures, for maintaining a semi-nude profile picture on a internet gay hookup site and for allegedly instigating deportation threats against a Mexican ex-boyfriend who may not have been in the US legally at the time, faces new scrutiny about his tenure at a controversial Massachussetts boarding school for troubled teens. BaBeu's own sister says he had a 17-year-old boyfriend then who was an alumnus of the school.



1980 People magazine Desisto photo
The founder of the Desisto School, Michael Desisto, who died in 2003, apparently had a history of academic fraud according to Wikipedia:
In 1988 The Orlando Sentinel reported that the DeSisto School's claim of accreditation by the National Association of Independent Schools was false. Michael DeSisto responded that, "low-level staff members were responsible". Mike DeSisto's résumé also stated he had been a faculty member at Elmira College, in Elmira, N.Y., and at Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y., when he had never had been a faculty member at either institution. DeSisto also claimed he had worked as a consultant for the Free University of New York at Stony Brook. According to Jeremy Weis, an official with the New York Bureau of Academic Information and Reports, the state agency with which all universities must register, "I've never heard of this university". Elmira payroll supervisor Mary Fetyko said, "DeSisto never worked there." At Adelphi, administrator Margaret Elaine Wittman said, "there are no records of DeSisto having been a faculty member, the man is completely foreign to us, the fact that he would say this on his vita is incredible."

     ...On November 15, 1988, The Boston Globe reported that Michael DeSisto, and The DeSisto School had been sued 23 times for breach of contract and fraud.
     ...In 1991, DeSisto authored his only book: Decoding Your Teenager(How to understand each other during the turbulent years). After its publication, some journalists published articles questioning whether DeSisto held a master's degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, as he claimed. In fact the University of Massachusetts doesn't even offer a master's degree in psychology, and only has a doctorate program. DeSisto later admitted to not possessing the Master's degree, and said the error was due to a "low-level assistant", who had mistakenly placed it on his résumé.
     ...In the book Death In Paradise (2001), by Robert B. Parker, the DeSisto School is mentioned briefly several times. In the first mention, Parker names Michael DeSisto as an attendee at a party given by an obnoxious pedophile. Then, he has the pedophile's wife say DeSisto is a good friend of theirs. Later, Parker mentions Michael DeSisto’s school in Stockbridge.

Tyler Clementi trial: ex-Rutgers Student Molly Wei testifies against defendant Dharun Ravi in webcam spying incident

              video platform   video management   video solutions   video player

Born This Way Foundation launch — live stream from Harvard University at 2:30 CST

On Wednesday, Lady Gaga, her mom, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and others will participate in the live launch at Harvard University of the singer's anti-bullying Born This Way Foundation. Also speaking will be Susan Swearer, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln psychology professor and anti-bullying expert featured by CBS Sunday Morning in a Tracy Smith story about a pilot anti-bullying project at Irving Middle School in Lincoln in cooperation with Principal Hugh McDermott.

Omaha LGBT employment protection to be reintroduced by Ben Gray in today's council meeting


Equality in the Workplace in Omaha from Lindsay Trapnell on Vimeo.

Ben Gray's proposed revision to Omaha's municipal code to protect LGBT workers is the 93rd item on the City Council's agenda today. The council will meet at 2 pm. Following today's introduction, there will be a public hearing (March 6th) and a final vote by the seven-member council on March 13th.
From the Omaha City Clerk's office:
93. Ord. to amend 13-82, 13-84, 13-85, 13-89, 13-90, 13-91, 13-92, 13-93, 13-94, 13-95, 13-97 and 10-192 of the Omaha Municipal Code to add prohibitions for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and gender identity within the City of Omaha and in City of Omaha contracts; and to provide the effective date hereof – see attached.
Following the release of University of Nebraska Medical Center research findings that 1/3 of gay Omahans surveyed were subject to employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the Voice of Omaha has published a long post full of first hand narratives of antigay Omaha workplace bias which give the lie to those heterosexual supremacists who say the issue is too insignificant to be addressed by the long arm of the law.

Added protection including LGBT Omahans has been endorsed by the Omaha World Herald, more than 100 Omaha businesses, and 257 clergy members.

The Omaha City Council LGBT rights refuseniks:
(clockwise starting at upper left)
Garry Gernandt, Jean Strothert and Tom Mulligan)
Only three city council members stand in the way of equal protection for LGBT Omahans and of Omaha joining the 160 prominent US cities which treat their LGBT citizens equally. These three already voted down LGBT equality once, in 2010.

Those three are (left to right); Jean Strothert (District 5), Tom Mulligan (District 7) and Garry Gernandt (District 4).

Please email your City Council Member (if you don't know your district, look here) and send a copy to the Committee for Equal Protection addressed to CFEPJEFF@me.com. Be sure to tell them which district you are in as well.

Here are email addresses for all Omaha City Council members:  Congratulate Festersen, Gray and Jerram for their green ones for their positive votes and ask them to vote that way again.

Ask Stothert, Thompson, Mulligan and Gernandt why they're holding back Omaha's image as a progressive city, why they've ignored the need for recourse as demonstrated by a recent UNMC study on LGBT discrimination in Omaha, and why they think that the gay-friendly corporations Nebraska is trying to attract won't instead choose Iowa if Nebraska government officials continue to stiff-arm their LGBT citizens.

Red = a vote against equal protection for LGBT Omahans in 2010.
Green = for.
Yellow means the council member wouldn't take a position and didn't vote.



Pete Festersen — pete.festersen@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 1
Ben Gray — ben.gray@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 2
Chris Jerram — chris.jerram@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 3
Garry Gernandt — ggernandt@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 4
Jean Stothert — jean.stothert@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 5
Franklin Thompson — fthompson@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 6
Tom Mulligan — tom.mulligan@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 7 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Omaha director Alexander Payne & crew collect Descendants screenwriting Oscar, and start international Angelina Jolie leg meme


Towleroad, which discovered the clip above, reports that Jolie's leg now has its own twitter account.

214 churches and pastors buy full page antigay Omaha World-Herald ad on eve of reintroduction of Equal Employment legislation covering LGBT workers

Click picture to enlarge and read (at full resolution the image is quite sharp.)
The website is nebraskaheritagecoalition.org
Councilman Ben Gray, trying a second time
to pass LGBT protection in Omaha.
(Photo: KETV)
Update: A beautifully-made new video has just been released by EqualOmaha. See it in this post.
Writing in a 2/26/12 Sunday Omaha World-Herald ad "We do not have the right to change God's moral law to fit our sexual preferences," an organization of (mostly tiny) antigay churches and pastors has fired a shot across the bow of Omaha churches who have organized to support Councilman Ben Gray's reintroduction this week of his antidiscrimination ordinance, which failed in 2010 on a 3-3 council vote. (Ben Gray, Pete Festersen and Chris Jerram voted in favor; "Mean" Jean Stothert, Garry Gernandt and Thomas Mulligan were opposed.) Councilman Franklin Thompson called for a referendum and refused to vote.
    (Last summer the Human Rights Campaign released a poll during its bus tour (which included stops in Lincoln and Omaha)  revealing that a majority of Omahans favored passing an ordinance that would prohibit firing people because of their sexual orientation.)
Knee-jerk homophobe Perkins, of
Omaha's Pilgrim Baptist Church, who
opposed a gay rights law in Omaha
by saying "I find it offensive that we
would equate this with civil rights.
Those rights were based upon a
person's color of their skin,
which they could not change."
     The measure was shot down with the help of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce's executive committee, antigay churches, especially Pilgrim Baptist Church, home of heterosexual supremacist Cedric Perkins, and right-wing Christian policy organizations.
     When the Omaha Chamber of Commerce opposed the antidiscrimination ordinance in 2010, it said the law would impose "ambiguous and unclear" regulations and would be "difficult" for businesses to implement, saying such concerns were best approved at the state or federal level. The World-Herald said the Chamber would not elaborate on those arguments this week, citing the lack of final language for the latest proposal.
     LB912, an attempt to nullify any LGBT ordinance in Omaha by banning municipal protected classes not enumerated by the state appears to have stalled in the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee after a hearing last Wednesday during which Byron Babione of the Alliance Defense Fund, which appears to have written LB 912 for state Sen. Beau McCoy, testified on behalf of the legislation. The Alliance Defense Fund "helped" write a similar law in Tennessee which passed and nullified Nashville's LGBT protection ordinance.

Below: Alliance Defense Fund urging passage last Wednesday in Lincoln, Nebraska of LB912.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Warren Buffett: Don't fly the Big "O"

George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in an Up In The Air scene shot at Omaha's Eppley Airfield
The latest version of the Oracle of Omaha's annual report letter takes a dim view of inflated airline prices to Omaha during Spring's Berkshire-Hathaway stockholder's meeting.
      We're guessing that the airport authority is as happy with this advice as, oh, say, Lincoln businesses were when Omaha TV stations were broadcasting Chamber of Commerce exhortations to "Buy the Big O" all over eastern Nebraska. Karma's a bitch, ain't it?
     On the other hand, the 99 percenter in AKSARBENT says: "Why not let airlines rip off Muffy and Morton by charging them up the Wahoo when they breeze into Nebraska to check up on their $120,000 per share company."
     Buffett's advice:
"Airlines have sometimes jacked up prices for the Berkshire weekend. If you are coming from far away, compare the cost of flying to Kansas City versus Omaha. The drive between the two cities is about 2 1/2 hours, and it may be that you can save significant money, particularly if you had planned to rent a car in Omaha. Spend the savings with us."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

KMTV's Liz Dorland totally busts Sen. Charlie Janssen as tool of secretive billionaire Koch Bros. organization to pass stealth bills in state legislatures

New Nebraska Network's post drew our attention to an excellent KMTV investigative report on Fremont Senator Charlie Janssen's ties to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive vehicle through which corporate lobbyists and GOP activists distribute legislation they want passed in state legislatures.
     From KMTV's report:
Sen. Janssen said, "You know what, the first time I've talked about ALEC in two years is when you inquired about it."
     "I'm not a member of ALEC.  I've never attended an ALEC function either here in Lincoln or they have national conventions," added the Fremont Senator.
     Dorland handed him a document that still lists the Senator on a big ALEC committee.
     Janssen admitted, "Yeah, on my first year here I, I signed up for ALEC and then let my dues lapse."
     Dorland asked him to explain why his bill is remarkably similar to ALEC's model bill and handed both his bill and the ALEC template to him.   "And so your bill is not similar to this? Have you seen that?"
     "No.  I do not look at any ALEC materials," stated Sen. Janssen.
     We did and the match is hard to ignore.

Where in Nebraska are gay people protected from arbitrary discrimination?

The apparently-failed attack on LGBT Nebraskans by Sen. Beau McCoy via LB912 has focused attention on existing legal recourse by gay Nebraskans against arbitrary discrimination. Those remedies are sparse.

Dan Holtmeyer, in a recent Daily Nebraskan article, did a great job of surveying the landscape of LGBT protection.
Few areas of Nebraska have added LGBT protection on their own, and opponents to the extension often cite freedom of religion in their firings of those they consider abnormal or sinful. The city of Lincoln includes sexual orientation as a protected class in its contract with city employees, but Omaha and Grand Island don't. All four University of Nebraska campuses, Nebraska Wesleyan University and Southeast Community College include the provision, but Peru, Wayne and Chadron State Colleges do not.
     McCoy's bill wouldn't affect those that include sexual orientation in dealings with employees, such as UNL or Lincoln, because the university and city act as businesses in that context, not local governments. Otherwise, a town or county ordinance would be nullified if it stretched beyond the state's list of protected classes.

Nebraska bill, LB912, to ban municipal LGBT laws:
Sen. Beau McCoy and radical right wing ally, Alliance Defense Fund vs. Shelley Kiel of CFEP, Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska and others

In part one of AKSARBENT's video coverage of the LB912 hearing, Sen. McCoy tried to pull a fast one on the committee and observers by cherry-picking a quote from last Sunday's Omaha World-Herald editorial which made it seem like the Herald supported his approach, when it actually called LB912 wrong. Also in the video is Sen. Amanda McGill telling an LB912 proponent that comparing gay people to drug addicts was offensive and Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray defending his LGBT protection revision to Omaha's city ordinance. See that video here. 

In Tennessee, the Alliance Defense Fund "helped" former Tennessee state Senator David Fowler draft HB600, a state law which passed and killed Nashville's LGBT protection ordinance. Apparently the organization is waist-deep in a similar effort in Nebraska, where the designated puppet appears to be Beau McCoy, District 39, Elkhorn/West Omaha, who is being challenged in the forthcoming election by moderate Judy Domina. In 2008, McCoy's biggest contributor was TD AmeriTrade scion Peter Ricketts.
     Wanna bet on what organization wrote the the verbiage of LB 912 for McCoy, who is a roofing/home improvement contractor, not a lawyer?
     McCoy's buddies at the ADF have a history of lying about policy issues: watch the video (starting at 1:30) to see their sickeningly dishonest attack on the ACLU's "Don't filter me" initiative.
     A senior counsel for the ADF, Byron Babione, was the first person to testify on of LB 912 at the Unicameral Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday after sponsor Beau McCoy explained the legislation, took questions, and then quickly left the room for the presumably more hospitable confines of the Natural Resources Committee. Heaven only knows what mischief McCoy is up on that committee.
     Below is Babione representing the ADF and failing to convince the properly suspicious Brad Ashford, Brenda Council and Amanda McGill to vote for LB912. (Brad Ashford told the Omaha World-Herald that it is unlikely that the Judiciary Committee will vote to advance LB912.)



     The ADF's stated raison d'être is the defense of religious liberty, but in his testimony, Babione didn't give a single reason why "religious liberty" cries out for the passage of LB 912. His spiel, all business, was about as spiritual as a cost/benefit analysis of corporate homophobia, which is really the specialty of David Brown, the president of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, who rides roughshod over the more progressive views of younger Chamber members.
     Particularly affecting was the testimony of veteran Shane Strong who felt compelled to speak out at the hearing on behalf of his two gay siblings and who revealed that when he was in the military he was warned that the OSI had Omaha's gay bars under surveillance (Your tax dollars at work!):
I don't see why the state is interested in trying to take away rights that the city wishes to give its people.
     Jane Kleeb, the head of Bold Nebraska and wife of Scott Kleeb:
"I'm here really in solidarity with the LGBT community as well. On a very personal level, my little girls' godfathers are both gay and as a single mom when I lived in D.C., I'm not sure what I would have done without them, so I know that there's lots of other families like that in Nebraska that are deeply affected by discriminatory practices."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

LB912, law banning gay rights ordinances in Nebraska, likely dead in the water, even after trickery at yesterday's hearing by its sponsor, Beau McCoy

At yesterday's LB 912 Judiciary Committee hearing in Lincoln, the bill's introducer, Beau McCoy, tried to con senators, observers and the television cameras into believing that Nebraska's largest newspaper agreed in an editorial Sunday with his bill killing all LGBT municipal ordinances in Nebraska; actually the Omaha World-Herald called his bill wrong.

State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee chairman, said at a committee hearing Wednesday he does not expect the panel will act on a bill aimed at blocking the ordinance.
Byron Babione, of the Alliance
Defense Fund, testifying FOR
LB 912, a bill which would
nullify any LGBT municipal
ordinances in Nebraska

KETV's report is here.

AKSARBENT obtained video of yesterday's hearing; below are excerpts including a spectacularly inept performance by a proponent of LB 912 which must be seen to be believed. It starts at the 6 minute mark.

The first person to testify in favor of the LB 912 was Byron Babione, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which seems to have written the bill for McCoy, who is a roofing/home improvement contractor, not a lawyer.

AKSARBENT will post more video from the hearing soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
tells Warren Buffett to 'shut up'

Rachel Maddow on the tactics of Mitt Romney's billionaire backer

Indiana Rep. Bob Morris circulating ugly smear about Girl Scouts from Family Research Council / C-FAM

Photo via Towleroad
In a recently circulated letter to fellow constituents promoting a right-wing youth organization, American Heritage Girls, Indiana Rep. Bob Morris repeated a years-old, thoroughly debunked Family Research Council / C-FAM lie about Girl Scouts of America.
     Citing internet "research" including an article he found on WordNet Daily, a far right wingnut website, Rep. Bob Morris (R-Ft. Wayne) falsely accused the Girl Scouts of America of being pro-abortion and of indoctrinating their charges with sexually explicit literature, a lie which has been thoroughly discredited.  (Link below added by AKSARBENT.)
A Girl Scouts of America training program last year used the Planned Parenthood sex education pamphlet “Happy, Healthy, and Hot.” The pamphlet instructs young girls not to think of sex as “just about vaginal or anal intercourse.” “There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!” it states. Although individual Girl Scout troops are not forced to follow this curriculum, many do. Liberal progressive troop-leaders will indoctrinate the girls in their troop according to the principles of Planned Parenthood, making Bishop Conley’s warning true.


The accusation Morris cribbed from WorldNet Daily stated the Girl Scouts have banned prayer and Christmas Carols. Neither is true.

From Wikipedia:
The official Girl Scout policy does not ban or require prayer.
The Girl Scout organization does not endorse or promote any particular philosophy or religious belief. Our movement is secular and is founded on American democratic principles, one of which is freedom of religion. Although Girl Scouts has policies supporting religious diversity, there is no policy by Girl Scouts of the USA that prohibits or requires the saying or singing of a grace, blessing, or invocation before meals by Girl Scout members in a troop/group setting, in a resident or day camp, or at meetings, conferences, and other large events. The decision to say a grace, blessing, or invocation is made locally at the troop or group level, and should be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of all participants.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colorado football player Shane Williams charged with 2nd degree assault, possessing fake ID and underage drinking after gay woman hospitalized with fractured skull and bleeding from ear

Depending on your Internet connection the video may take some time to load.

(Via Towleroad)

Picture of Arizona gay Sheriff's boyfriend published as Latino group calls for Justice Department abuse-of-power investigation

An Arizona TV station published a picture of Jose Orozco, the ex-boyfriend of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, after a Latino Rights organization, Respect Respeto, sent a request to the U.S. Department of Justice for a probe of Paul Babeu for abuse of power, according to MSNBC.
Respect Respeto wants the sheriff investigated on behalf of every immigrant who has been threatened with deportation.
     The group alleges in its request to the Justice Department that Babeu made "text messages, pictures and threats that are unbecoming of an elected sheriff."
     The letter, signed by the group's director, Lydia Guzman, reads, "The threat came from the top law enforcement officer in Pinal County, a person who’s sworn to protect and serve victims of crime. These types of threats and acts of intimidation send a horrible message to the migrant community that they cannot look to their law enforcement agencies for protection when they are victims of a crime."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Czech scientist thinks cat parasites may be invading your brain and rewiring it; he's a biologist and no kook

Al Herrmann, Flickr
Kathleen McAuliffe of the Atlantic says Flegr Jaroslay's research is beginning to be taken seriously.
Stanford’s Robert Sapolsky thinks he could well be onto something. Flegr’s “studies are well conducted, and I can see no reason to doubt them,” Sapolsky tells me. Indeed, recent findings from Sapolsky’s lab and British groups suggest that the parasite is capable of extraordinary shenanigans. T. gondii, reports Sapolsky, can turn a rat’s strong innate aversion to cats into an attraction, luring it into the jaws of its No. 1 predator. Even more amazing is how it does this: the organism rewires circuits in parts of the brain that deal with such primal emotions as fear, anxiety, and sexual arousal. “Overall,” says Sapolsky, “this is wild, bizarre neurobiology.” Another academic heavyweight who takes Flegr seriously is the schizophrenia expert E. Fuller Torrey, director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, in Maryland. “I admire Jaroslav for doing [this research],” he says. “It’s obviously not politically correct, in the sense that not many labs are doing it. He’s done it mostly on his own, with very little support. I think it bears looking at. I find it completely credible.”

Omaha World-Herald endorses Ben Gray's LGBT Equal Employment Ordinance AND slams LB912!
Paper reminds readers that it's 2012

Not-from-Omaha twins Saul and Nathan demonstrate for gay
marriage elsewhere; quite a discussion about these two here.
Even the right-wing, business-minded Omaha World-Herald knows that Big Red Homophobia is dragging the city down, even as it seeks more convention business to pay off the bonds on the $250,000,000 Century Link Center.
     Twelve years ago, the Herald threw its statewide influence against Initiative 416, which amended Nebraska's constitution to ban gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and anything else that even smelled queer.
     The state's voters overwhelmingly supported 416 anyway, convinced in large part by hundreds of thousands of carpetbagger Mormon dollars.
     As we write this, state senators in Lincoln are putting final touches on boutique legislation to attract a $1.2 billion data center, perhaps to be built by Apple but more likely by Facebook. Iowa is also vying for the facility, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the gay employees of either firm would doubtless prefer to work in LGBT-friendly Iowa than heterosexual supremacist Nebraska.
      Anyway, in an editorial published Sunday, the World-Herald made it clear that it wasn't fooled by Jean Stothert's transparent attempt to head off Ben Gray's February 28th reintroduction of his amendment to include LGBT folk in Omaha's list of protected classes.
     Stothert's meaningless stunt, introduced by her and the other two council members (Garry Gernandt and Thomas Mulligan) who voted against LGBT rights in Omaha last year, was a nonbinding resolution that didn't even mention LGBT people by name. It said, in part: “All people possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected,” and went on to claim that the council would pledge to work with business and community leaders to promote workplaces that “promote respect and eliminate any workplace discrimination.”
     Gray's response was: “If you have people who are hellbent on discriminating, what's a ‘voluntary approach' going to solve?” The Herald, which is running a poll on the issue here, politely dismissed Stothert's calculated distraction as a:
precursor to the introduction of council member Ben Gray's proposed amendments to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
      It's now 2012. The hope would be that businesses, landlords and others would have moved past the stereotypes and scorn that have too often greeted the gay and lesbian community.
      Most have. Many businesses have adopted non-discrimination policies regarding the gay and lesbian community and operate that way.
      These are real signs of positive progress.
      But the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is seeking equality. Real equality. The kind that is accompanied by a law making it illegal to discriminate against a certain group...
      In the absence of state and federal laws, the Omaha City Council should adopt Gray's proposal...
      Nationwide, about 140 cities have enacted such anti-discrimination laws. If local elected officials choose to do so, they should have that authority. A bill currently before the Nebraska Legislature, LB 912, would wrongly prohibit local communities from taking such action.
David Brown, of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, which lobbied against Ben Gray's amendment last year, seems to be on board with the Stothert deception. He sent a shameless letter to the Council in support of it, which read, in part:
“Omaha is certainly a welcoming and inclusive place, but we do need to constantly reinforce that — from government leadership to individual employers and associations.”
Please email your City Council Member (if you don't know your district, look here) and send a copy to the Committee for Equal Protection addressed to CFEPJEFF@me.com. Be sure to tell them which district you are in as well.

Here are email addresses for all Omaha City Council members:

Pete Festersen — pete.festersen@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 1
Ben Gray — ben.gray@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 2
Chris Jerram — chris.jerram@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 3
Garry Gernandt — ggernandt@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 4
Jean Stothert — jean.stothert@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 5
Franklin Thompson — fthompson@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 6
Tom Mulligan — tom.mulligan@ci.omaha.ne.us — District 7

Two 1029 Jack City Gang members in custody in Atlanta gay-bashing; cops say they know identity of third assailant in video posted online



Cain (left) and Moragne. Photos: Atlanta Police Dept.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Christopher Cain, 18, (left) was arrested Feb. 11th and charged with aggravated assault and robbery.
      WSB-TV reports that  Dorian Moragne, 19, turned himself in to police just before 4 p.m. Friday Feb. 17th. The third suspect remains at large. The reward has been increased to $25,000 from $15,000.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Video: complete press conference of gay AZ sheriff Paul Babeu after accusations that he had his lawyer threaten Babeu's undocumented Mexican ex-boyfriend

I'm not married. I'm a single guy. I don't have a fake girlfriend. These are things that I choose to do...

Why didn't you come out before this?

Because it's my private life. And it's my personal life. I've never worn it on my sleeve. I've had countless women that have have tried to date, to marry me... and I can tell you, I'm off the market...

"Did the Romney Campaign ask you to step down..."

I actually called the Romney Campaign and said 'Hey look, I am actually going to step away from the campaign,' and they said, "We support your decision, sheriff."


Sheriff Paul Babeu Press Conference from Paul Babeu on Vimeo.

Below, Bebeu spins his Obama-bashing appearance on radical right wing Alex Jones radio program.

AbFab's Jennifer Saunders sends up Downton Abbey

Part One of the parody is here. Out-of-time slang inappropriately used in the show's dialogue was explored by Ben Zimmer in the Boston Globe. No matter; AKSARBENT is the show's forgiving bitch anyway.

Downton Abbey parody: a jealous BBC wickedly mocks competitor ITV's international smash hit

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gay AZ sheriff Paul Babeu quits Romney campaign after Mexican ex-boyfriend, Jose, said Babeu's lawyer threatened to deport him; Babeu to John McCain in TV ad: "Senator, you're one of us!"

Update: Unblurred photo of Sheriff's handsome Mexican boyfriend surfaces. Uncut video of Babeu's press conference addressing the growing scandal.


 
Arizona Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, is now running for Congress but has been busted big time for his hypocrisy on immigration by the Phoenix New Times.
     While running as a keep-the-immigrants-out candidate for the House, the Fox News commentator and Tea Party darling was coming off a years-long affair with an undocumented Mexican, "Jose."
     When the relationship went south, Babeu's attorney, Chris DeRose, allegedly threatened to get Jose deported there, too.
     Towleroad reports:
Their relationship began to disintegrate after Jose discovered Babeu's profile on Adam4Adam and created a false profile to see if Babeu was amenable to an affair. After many messages and explicit photos exchanged between Babeu and Jose's alter-ego (including Babeu's self-portrait, above), Jose's alter-ego arranged a date with Babeu at a steak house. (Babeu told Jose's alter-ego to "pack an overnight bag.") Babeu showed up and was shocked to discover Jose in the parking lot.
New Times explained:
During the previous year, Jose says, Babeu e-mailed explicit photographs of himself to an anonymous man he met on the gay adam4adam.com website.
     Jose knows this because he posed as this man after his suspicions resurfaced that Babeu was cheating on him.
     He shared with New Times photographs that he claims Babeu e-mailed to the anonymous love interest. In the photographs, the sheriff revealed himself shirtless, in his underwear, and naked from the waist down.
and quoted Jose's immigration attorney, Melissa Weiss-Riner
"If what [Babeu's attorney] says is correct [about Jose's being illegal], either the sheriff had a long relationship with someone he knew was undocumented, while all the time being Mr. Bluster about the border and using it for political gain," or he threatened to deport someone he just broke up with, Merritt says.
     "That's just the worst kind of hypocrisy."
     She adds that federal immigration-enforcement agents have better things to do than "take care of Babeu's boyfriends."
     Antonio Bustamante, a criminal defense attorney and immigration activist, tells New Times that if the allegations against Babeu are true, "To use a position of authority . . . and make legal threats opens a Pandora's box of ethics issues for any law enforcement person or any elected person. In this case, he's both."

Ex-GEICO announcer rips Romney in parody video

OOPS... AKSARBENT discovers via a patient commenter that it is probably news to D.C. Douglas' girlfriend that he is gay, as we falsely stated. Also, Lance Baxter is a character name, not a real one.
      But other than that AKSARBENT did a fine job of getting the facts straight, ahem.

Gay voiceover artist DC Douglas used to narrate GEICO ads before the company fired him after he left a choice voicemail for Dick Armey's right-wing Astroturf organization, FreedomWorks. Although the Warren Buffett company came down hard on the extracurricular political activities of Douglas (real name:AKA "Lance Baxter") it didn't mind hiring top-40 homophobe Charlie Daniels to do ads for GEICO. Maybe it's because Warren Buffett appears to be personally rather uncomfortable with the whole LGBT idea...

Massive Apple iOS device sales; How Google tricked iPhone's OS into accepting its cookies

Earnings were $13.87 per share. iPhone sales were up 128% over last year; iPad sales were up 111% and Mac sales were up 26%. iPod sales were down 21%. The company has sold 315 million iOS devices and now has 85 million iCloud users.

Apple's fiscal Q1 2012 profit was 13.06 billion, about 3 billion more than Google's entire revenue, which may explain why the search giant has been playing things so close to, or perhaps over, the edge lately.

Iowa Rep. Annette Sweeney doggedly pursues 'Ag-Gag' law to jail animal cruelty whistleblowers as restaurants force unwilling Iowa pork producers to torture pigs less

Annette Sweeney,
Dist. 44, Iowa House
Running interference for factory farms so their cruelty won't be seen by the public and dismantling Iowa State Capitol displays that she doesn't agree with aren't the only activities of GOP Rep. Annette Sweeney.
    Last year, she voted to advance an amendment to Iowa's constitution to ban same sex marriage AND civil unions AND domestic partnerships. When Ms. Sweeney sets out to screw her gay constituents, she goes whole hog.


Following the lead of Burger King, Wendy's, Hardee's, Wolfgang Puck and Chipotle's, McDonald's has become the latest chain to require pork suppliers to stop confining pregnant sows for months in crates too small to turn around in. Chipotle's aired the following commercial during the recent Grammy Award broadcast.



The video below was made between April and June of 2011 by an undercover investigator from Mercy for Animals who documented the abusive treatment of pigs and piglets at Iowa Select Farms in Kamrar, IA. Iowa Select is the fourth-largest pork producer in the USA.

Caution: This is very difficult to watch. You may just want to read the following description, from About.com. Abuses documented by the investigator included:
  • Mother sows confined to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies – unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
  • Workers ripping out the testicles of conscious piglets without the use of painkillers
  • Piglets suffering with herniated intestines, due to botched castration
  • Conscious piglets having their tails painfully sliced into and yanked off with dull clippers
  • Large, open, pus-filled wounds and pressure sores
  • Sick and injured pigs left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care
  • Mother pigs – physically taxed from constant birthing – suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses
  • Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a "roller coaster ride"
Last year, the Iowa General Assembly passed "Ag-Gag" legislation introduced by Representative Annette Sweeney of Alden, that would send to jail those who surreptitiously document the type of animal abuse contained in the following video, which exposes outrageously cruel treatment of pigs.

Learn why "Ag-Gag" laws, like the one introduced by GOP Rep. Sweeney, are dangerous for the environment, free speech, consumers, labor, and animals.



The following video, shot by WHO-TV at the Iowa State Capitol, shows Representative Sweeney dismantling an Iowa Voters for Companion Animals display showing a photo of alleged animal abuse. The group considered filing a formal complaint against Rep. Sweeney.
She picked up their literature and took down one of their posters. Members of the group later replaced the materials. Sweeney called the poster an inaccurate representation.

These organizations bankrolled Sweeney's election campaign in 2008 and 2010.

Sourcewatch details Rep. Sweeney's shoot-the-messenger attempt to punish whistleblowers who expose factory farm animal cruelty in the Hawkeye State.
In Iowa, Senate File 431 [not, as of this writing, passed] and House File 589 prohibit anyone from producing, possessing, or distributing a record of a “visual or audio experience occurring at [an] animal facility.”[3][4] The House bill, which passed March 17, 2011, was originally introduced by Rep Annette Sweeney.[5][6] Sweeney operates a family cattle operation and she is the former Executive Director of the Iowa Angus Association.[7][8] In the Senate, the bill was initially introduced by Tom Rielly.[9] One of his top campaign contributors in 2008 was the Iowa Farm Bureau.[10]

Reverse Things! video redone after Warner Music Group had original taken off YouTube


(Via Towleroad)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Antigay right wing radio host Michael Berry visits gay bar, hits car, flees, is given free skate by Houston cops

KPRC-TV's Stephen Dean reports:
There was a tense meeting here at the hit-and-run office. It lasted nearly three hours tonight. HPD officers are telling us that prosecutors from the Harris County District Attorney's office came here pushing the officers who were originally assigned to this investigation, saying "Why wasn't a full and complete investigation done the first time around?"

As McDonald's requires pork suppliers to stop raising sows in crates, Iowa Rep. Annette Sweeney pursues 'Ag-Gag' law to jail animal cruelty whistleblowers

Annette Sweeney,
Dist. 44, Iowa House
Running interference for factory farms which want to ensure that their institutionalized cruelty is never seen by the public at large and dismantling displays in the Iowa State Capitol that she doesn't agree with aren't GOP Rep. Anette Sweeney's only activities.
     Last year, she voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 6 to let voters amend Iowa's constitution to ban same sex marriage AND civil unions AND domestic partnerships. When Ms. Sweeney sets out to screw her gay constituents, she goes whole hog.


Following the lead of Burger King, Wendy's, Hardee's, Wolfgang Puck and Chipotle's, McDonald's has become the latest chain to require pork suppliers to stop confining pregnant sows for months in crates too small to turn around in. Chipotle's aired the following commercial during the recent Grammy Award broadcast.



The video below was made between April and June of 2011 by an undercover investigator from Mercy for Animals who documented the abusive treatment of pigs and piglets at Iowa Select Farms in Kamrar, IA. Iowa Select is the fourth-largest pork producer in the USA.

Caution: This is very difficult to watch. You may just want to read the following description, from About.com. Abuses documented by the investigator included:
  • Mother sows confined to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies – unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
  • Workers ripping out the testicles of conscious piglets without the use of painkillers
  • Piglets suffering with herniated intestines, due to botched castration
  • Conscious piglets having their tails painfully sliced into and yanked off with dull clippers
  • Large, open, pus-filled wounds and pressure sores
  • Sick and injured pigs left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care
  • Mother pigs – physically taxed from constant birthing – suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses
  • Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a "roller coaster ride"
Last year, the Iowa General Assembly passed "Ag-Gag" legislation introduced by Representative Annette Sweeney of Alden, that would send to jail anyone who surreptitiously documents the type of animal abuse contained in the following video, which exposes outrageously cruel treatment of pigs.

Learn why "Ag-Gag" laws, like the one introduced by GOP Rep. Sweeney, are dangerous for the environment, free speech, consumers, labor, and animals.



The following video, shot by WHO-TV at the Iowa State Capitol, shows Representative Sweeney dismantling an Iowa Voters for Companion Animals display showing a photo of alleged animal abuse. The group considered filing a formal complaint against Rep. Sweeney.
She picked up their literature and took down one of their posters. Members of the group later replaced the materials. Sweeney called the poster an inaccurate representation.

These organizations bankrolled Sweeney's election campaign in 2008 and 2010:

Sourcewatch details about Rep. Sweeney's shoot-the-messenger attempt to punish whistleblowers who expose factory farm animal cruelty in the Hawkeye State.
In Iowa, Senate File 431 [not, as of this writing, passed] and House File 589 prohibit anyone from producing, possessing, or distributing a record of a “visual or audio experience occurring at [an] animal facility.”[3][4] The House bill, which passed March 17, 2011, was originally introduced by Rep Annette Sweeney.[5][6] Sweeney operates a family cattle operation and she is the former Executive Director of the Iowa Angus Association.[7][8] In the Senate, the bill was initially introduced by Tom Rielly.[9] One of his top campaign contributors in 2008 was the Iowa Farm Bureau.[10]

Husband of 700 Club motivational speaker says her boyfriend and two operatives stole his porn

Below: frequent 700 Club guest Tamara Lowe, hypnotically selling Christer snake-oil, in a rapper-ripoff schtick.



Soon-to-be divorced Christian Business Motivational
Seminar kingpins Peter and Tamara Lowe.
The Lowes have built a $100,000,000 business hosting arena-filling Get Motivated Christianity-slanted "business" seminars featuring celebrities like Rudy Giuliani, Joe Montana, Laura Bush, Bill Cosby and Colin Powel.
     After Tamara Lowe recently filed for divorce against her husband of 24 years, fellow motivational speaker Peter Lowe, he accused her in a motion of having her boyfriend and two operatives steal his porn collection...In court, one of the lawyers on the case rattled off the names of some of the magazines taken...
One legal eagle familiar with the case said the couple is desperately trying to keep their split under the radar.
     “The lawyers are letting them negotiate the settlement,” the source said. “Their best interest is to make sure no nasty details leak out.”
     ...Peter’s lawyer, Jeff Fisher, declined comment on what was taken while Peter was on a trip to Las Vegas. According to the filing, Peter’s handyman caught Mitch Steitz, identified as Tamara’s new boyfriend and a former official of Get Motivated Seminars, and two other individuals going through stuff in Peter’s study.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rick Santorum: the Prop 8 demagogue interpretation



The Ninth Circuit decision yesterday said that marriage, if you believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman and exclusively that, you are in fact, the only reason you could possibly believe that, is because you are a bigot. That there is no rational basis for you to have marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. There, there’s no, no rational basis. Your belief of marriage between a man and a woman is purely irrational based on hatred and bigotry. That’s what they just wrote. 
— Rick Santorum
Timothy Kincaid elucidates for Box Turtle Bulletin:
No. That’s not what they wrote. Not even close.
     What the court said was that the State of California could not discriminate in the providing of services to gays and lesbians without a rational basis. And that a rational basis needed to be tied to a legitimate government goal. They didn’t say that any person who opposes equality is irrational, just that there was no legitimate goal which could be rationally tied to the proposition.
     But even assuming that Santorum has forgotten anything that he may have incidentally picked up at law school (yeah, he actually went to law school) about rational basis and is every bit as stupid as he appears to be, he simply cannot justify the “hatred and bigotry” claim.
     Actually, what the court said was:

     Ultimately, the “inevitable inference” we must draw in this circumstance is not one of ill will, but rather one of disapproval of gays and lesbians as a class. “[L]aws singling out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status or general hardships are rare.” Romer, 517 Ë.Í. at 633. Under Romer, we must infer from Proposition 8′s effect on California law that the People took away from gays and lesbians the right to use the official designation of ‘marriage’—and the societal status that accompanies it—because they disapproved of these individuals as a class and did not wish them to receive the same official recognition and societal approval of their committed relationships that the State makes available to opposite-sex couples.

Anti-immigrant law crafted by antigay Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach may cripple Alabama's economy; Kobach dined with White Supremacist last Saturday

Kobach: "If you want to create a job for a US
citizen tomorrow, deport an illegal alien today!"


Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, author of draconian
Alabama anti-immigrant law, seated next to White
Supremacist Robert Vandervoort at CPAC Saturday.
Kobach said he "had no idea who was going to be on my
panel." The Institute for Research and Education on
Human Rights
said all panelist were informed of
Vandervoort's background in advance.
Mitt Romney endorser, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Harvard '88, is a virulent homophobe who, in 2004, accused the US congressional candidate who beat him of supporting LGBT groups like the Human Rights Campaign, which Kobach claimed supported "homosexual pedophilia."
     Andrew Harmon, writing in the Advocate, reported that Kobach attends Christ Church in Overland Park, which left the Episcopal church after the ordination of New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson. The church has in the past had ties to antigay churches fomenting violence in Rwanda.
     Last Saturday, Kobach dined alongside White Supremacist Robert Vandervoort at a Conservative Public Action Conference, according to the Kansas City Star.
    Kobach, who is paid by the State of Kansas, is the author of Alabama's draconian new anti-immigration law.
     The Huffington Post notes that a new study by the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama suggests that the immigration law could end up crippling the state's economy.
Dr. Samuel Addy...predicts that the law will lead to a huge departure of immigrants from the state, leading to a dramatic reduction of demand for goods and services. This would shrink the state's gross domestic product by between $2.3 billion at $10.8 billion annually, and cost up to $264.5 million in lost tax revenue and between 70,000 and 140,000 jobs.
     George Talbot said Kobach wrote Alabama's new law while sitting in a turkey blind.
"I doubt there’s anybody in America who understands the immigration issue better than Kris Kobach," said Alabama state Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, who worked closely with Kobach to draft House Bill 56 and then sponsored it in the Legislature this spring. "As far as I’m concerned, he is a godsend."
     ...Not everyone is a fan. The Southern Poverty Law Center placed Kobach on its "nativist" watch list, citing his legal work on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform — a Washington, D.C., non-profit organization that has been described as a hate group by the SPLC.
     The Montgomery-based SPLC released a 26-page report on Kobach earlier this year, detailing his work on local and state immigration bills in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Texas.
     "What we found is that, wherever he’s gone, you find communities torn apart culturally, economically and racially," said SPLC spokesman Mark Potok. "Kris Kobach comes to town and leaves strife in his wake. Our expectation is Alabama will be no different."
     Despite Kobach's contention that complaints from farmers and construction firms about the law are a sign that it is working as intended, a federal appeals court has blocked a key part of his law that requires schools to check the immigration status of students.
     Kobach also has crafted anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

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