Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in Omaha:
Skip it even if you hate gay marriage

Dead at 60 of a heart attack: Don Perry, PR VP
of Chick-fil-A, purveyor of high-calorie,
cholesterol-ridden, fried chicken sandwiches.
Update 2: Video of the protest is here.
Update 1: Ken Riter has organized a protest of Chick-fil-A to take place outside its 33rd & Farnam outlet at the Mutual of Omaha Bank Building food court from 5-7 pm.
     Riter announced it on his Facebook page, but to see the announcement you have to join Facebook. Screw that. Another facebook page (thanks for the heads-up,  Karen) has the deets and you don't have to give Mark Zuckerberg your personal information.

     Bad AKSARBENT is tempted to encourage homophobes (who tend to be older and therefore more at risk for heart attacks and strokes) to dine on salt-laced, calorie-laden, fried-in-grease Chick-fil-A products as often as possible in order to meet the same fate as company public relations honcho Donald A. Perry, a "member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years" — until last Friday when he collapsed from a heart attack and died at the ripe old age of 60.
     Good AKSARBENT, of course, wants these people to extend their lives by staying away from the 1600+ grease pits run by artery-clogging fast food billionaire Dan Cathy, in the hope that they will live long enough to to grow out of the irrational right-wing mindset that attracts them, like moths to the flame that kills them early, to junk food tycoons like Cathy who apparently hope that wearing piety on their corporate sleeves will distract onlookers from the human wreckage caused by their crap food business model.

Click to enlarge.

Most Chick-fil-A fast food is so nutritionally lousy it makes even McDonalds' options look good by comparison. You'd have to be both homophobic AND stupid to eat to eat there often.

NBC: HarperCollins' Chick-fil-A statement suddenly removed from Berenstain Bear's website with no explanation of why it was posted in the first place

Click to enlarge
NBC news posted the following on its web site in a piece about the Berenstain family trying to keep its distance from Chick-fil-A, which is now promoting a Berenstain Bears giveaway after being dumped by the Jim Henson company, which no longer wanted its Muppets characters tarnished by an association with billionaire fast food tycoon Dan Cathy.
For a short time Monday evening, the Berenstain family message was accompanied by a statement from HarperCollins that read: “We have a long history of diversity and inclusiveness and are very disappointed to hear recent statements made by Chick-fil-A. After much consideration, we have decided to honor our previous arrangement, with the chain. We have no plans to work with them in the future.”
     By Tuesday, the HarperCollins statement was removed from the Berenstain Bears’ website and a HarperCollins spokeswoman asked NBC News to remove the image with the HarperCollins’ statement, saying that it contained “an unauthorized statement.” The company refused to provide further comment.

Russian Road Rage Revenge

This really is a thing of beauty. Mainly because the windows of the won't-let-you-merge vehicle were wide open on the passenger side.



Not to be chauvinistic, but AKSARBENT would like to see either of these Russian drivers thread the needle as expertly as the Nebraska woman we saw next to the vehicle below waiting for a tow truck to arrive at 24th & Nicholas last Saturday here in Omaha. (Click picture to enlarge; another photo here.)

WCBD in Charleston, SC caves in to DeMint campaign, yanks ad critical of him

Zack Ford of ThinkProgress explains how DeMint manufactured a phony issue which Channel 2 used to justify banning the ad, below.

Background of Bachmann aide sued for database theft

The Iowa Chairman of Michele Bachmann's failed presidential bid, state senator Kent Sorenson, is in hot water again, this time accused by another Bachmann campaign aide of stealing a database of home schoolers in the state.
     Barb Heki, said Bachmann's campaign then let her take the fall for the breach of privacy, with devastating results.
     Politico has the court filing here.
     The Iowa Republican quotes an (unnamed) senior Bachmann campaign aide:
“I am confident that Kent Sorenson participated in the theft and I am confident that members of the senior staff were aware of it, certainly on or before December,” the former Bachmann aide said. “And they debated it for three weeks, the senior staff, what to do. Over loud objections, they let Barb take the fall for it.”
      Even before Michele Bachmann decided that Sorenson was the most qualified person in Iowa to head her campaign there, he had significant civil and criminal priors of drug dealing, child suport nonpayment, bankruptcy, tax trouble and a domestic assault charge.
     Thomas Beaumont, of the AP, explains his latest imbroglio:
     Heki, who lives in Johnston, claims in the lawsuit that Sorenson took a database from her private computer in November that contained names and contact information, including email addresses, of thousands of Iowa families who were part of the Iowa home-school network on whose board she served. Heki said she had told Sorenson months earlier that she would not provide the list to the campaign.
     When an email from the campaign was sent to members of the network in November, Heki was named in media reports as providing the list. She was later removed from the boards of the Iowa network and a related national network of home-school advocates on which she served.
Below: Kent Sorenson explains to Fox News why ditching the Bachmann campaign to work for Ron Paul wasn't about the money and Barb Heki explains why campaigning for Michele Bachmann is a valid home school activity.



Monday, July 30, 2012

Rolling Stone: Global Warming's terrifying new math

Edel Rodriquez, Rolling Stone
Bill McKibben, of Rolling Stone has framed global warming with stark statistics in that magazine's new issue:
... June broke or tied 3,215 high­temperature records across the US.
     That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
     Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the "largest temperature departure from average of any season on record."
     ...Study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we'll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years...
     Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist: ...When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of about six degrees." That's almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit, which would create a planet straight out of science fiction.
     ...Among scientists speaking off the record, disgusted candor is the rule. One senior scientist told me, "You know those new cigarette packs, where governments make them put a picture of someone with a hole in their throats? Gas pumps should have something like that."
     ...Think of two degrees Celsius as the legal drinking limit – equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. The 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit – the six beers, say, you might consume in an evening. And the 2,795 gigatons? That's the three 12-packs the fossil-fuel industry has on the table, already opened and ready to pour.

How Sarah Palin, Alaska's best-known mean girl, says screw you to gay America

The caption on this picture from Palin's blog?
     "Stopped by Chick-fil-A in The Wood­lands to support a great business."

     Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A, which is becoming increasingly radioactive, is replacing its Muppets promotion (after being dumped by the company) with a Berenstein Bears tie-in. The Berenstein family says it was unaware of "any" Chick-fil-A controversy until July 25th, that the promotion has been in the works for a year and that it now has no control over the merchandising blitz.
We hope those concerned about this issue will direct their comments toward HarperCollins and Chick-Fil-A.
AKSARBENT has no doubt the Berenstein family is sincere in its hope that disgusted parents will yell at Chick-fil-A and HarperCollins and not them as it would no doubt distract from counting the money they will receive from their association with Chick-fil-A.
     One last thing: HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, parent of Fox News.

ABC News blogger falls for Target's gay marketing, says company supports marriage equality. (It doesn't.)

Tom Webb, of the St. Paul Pioneer Press saw through Target's PR and dug deeper (via JoeMyGod):
Does this mean Target Corp. is ready to make a commitment, too? Is Minnesota's most prominent corporation taking a public stand supporting gay marriage -- and opposing the Minnesota marriage amendment, which is coming to a vote in November?
     Nope.
     Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder confirmed Friday, July 27, that Target hasn't changed its neutral stance on the amendment, which would add existing state law to the Minnesota constitution stating that marriage is legal only between one man and one woman. "We recognize that there is a broad range of strongly held views on the MN Marriage amendment," Synder said in a statement. "Consistent with our longstanding support of civic engagement, we strongly encourage our team members to exercise their right to vote in November."
     Target's two-grooms ad drew a lot of online chatter this week, though it was originally unveiled in April. Snyder wouldn't say precisely where it was running, except that it was "appearing outside of Target's owned channels."
     Snyder said in a statement, "The Target Wedding Registry advertising campaign is designed to reach all guests and represent the diversity of communities we serve. At the heart of our company are core values which include Target's long-standing commitment to create an environment where all of our team members and guests feel welcome, valued and respected. We believe our current marketing is consistent with this value."
Amy Bingham, in a blog post hosted by ABC News, contrasted Target's position with that of Chick-fil-A and fell for Target's dissembly, hook, line and sinker:
At the national level, Target is broadcasting its support for equal marriage rights with a wedding registry ad featuring two smiling men dressed in suits and bow ties holding hands and touching foreheads. “Be Yourself, Together,” is printed in bold red lettering across the center of the advertisement, which encourages couples to build a registry that is “as unique as the two of you.”
     Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement that the ad is part of Target’s broader commitment to “diversity and inclusion.”
     “At the heart of our company are core values which include Target’s long-standing commitment to create an environment where all of our team members and guests feel welcome, valued and respected,” Snyder said. “We believe our current marketing is consistent with this value.”

Robbie Joe Banfitch makes a sequel to Gay Bar Rejection TutorialGay Date Rejection Tutorial


Via Towleroad
AKSARBENT always thought Banfitch was funny, but didn't know he could sing. Proof he can:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Magic Mike clearly having a corrosive effect on respectable heartland males

Don't you think for a moment that this deplorable display on Dodge St. today was a reaction to a string of 100-degree days here in Omaha. That streak broke earlier this week.
     No, readers, this is exhibitionism, pure and simple. To show the appalling extent of it, AKSARBENT was forced to take pictures of three different examples, but no sacrifice is too arduous when it comes to informing our audience.
     In fact we had to retake a photo of the second dude because the first one showed him with a considerably wider stance pointing with both hands to the second letter of the second word in his sign. Shocking. We may just email that picture to Hannah Buell of the Nebraska Family Council or Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee.
     If anyone can put a stop to this, they can.

Standard towing fees may not apply

AKSARBENT saw this at 24th & Nicholas early this afternoon. We wanted to ask the woman: "How in the world did this happen?" but thought the better of it.
     Lesson learned: it's not enough to remember to take your good camera when you're driving around (and the photo here is exhibit A of why you should.)
     You also need to take the damn memory card out of your computer before leaving.
     This was shot with an HTC One V cell phone.

Video: Omaha Vigil Against Violence, 7/26/12



Mayor Suttle, whose remarks are here, and who has been a supporter of LGBT rights in Omaha, nevertheless appeared to avoid uttering "gay" or "LGBT" during his address to the crowd.

50 Shades of Grey as read by the Washington Nationals

Friday, July 27, 2012

Greek Triple-jumper Voula Papachristou grounded for tweet about immigrants

The joke she sent from her personal twitter account was:
"with so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitos will be eating food from their own home."
Papachristou is a supporter of the far right Greek nationalist party, “Golden Dawn.“ She said she was sorry, in Greek and English.

Jane Fonda deeply affected by visit to dad's hometown


Fonda, center, flanked by Laura Dern and Alexander Payne
Jane Fonda devoted four pages of her blog (which has many more iphone pictures than even AKSARBENT dared to rip off) to an emotional visit to Omaha, where her dad got his start in show business after Marlon Brando's mom gave him a part in a play.
     That was in 1926, and the play was "Merton of the Movies" which also starred Omahan Dorothy McGuire. Since then, the Omaha Community Playhouse has become the largest community theater in the United States with, according to Fonda "a larger costume department and scenery shop than just about any Broadway theater "
     The Fonda clan is from Nebraska because after the transcontinental railroad was built, Omaha became a central railroad hub and Jellis Fonda, who was trained as a telegrapher and map maker during the civil war, was hired by the UP.
     Fonda took actress Laura Dern with her, as well as her son, Troy, who posed on the steps of his grandfather Henry's childhood home, which looks great — and is much bigger than Fred Astaire's South 10th Street childhood home, also still standing.
     While here, Fonda got less static from the considerable number of reactionaries in town than she did from QVC, which recently caved in to them and cancelled her 'Prime Time' book promotion appearance.
     No visit to Omaha is complete without a visit to King Fong, the oldest Chinese restaurant in the city, which has had the same phone number since 1922. Director Alexander Payne and his wife Ann, Fonda's hosts, just bought the restaurant and took her there.
Fonda mugging in front of a 1927 playhouse
poster of her aunt, Harriett, cast in 1927's
The Romantic Age 
     Fonda was amazed at the embroidered tapestries on the walls and the inlaid mother-of-pearl tables. So is AKSARBENT, as we've eaten there dozens of times and have never found a place with better pork fried rice. A two-plate serving, cooked to perfection, for about $8 and way better than anything you'll find in a strip mall or buffet.
     Fonda was in town for a Filmstreams (Omaha's art house cinema) fundraiser, for which she charged no personal appearance fee and raised $227,000. The Q&A was held at the Holland Center, where about 1300 people saw two-time Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne pick Fonda's brain.

Alexander showed clips of some of my films and the one from “On Golden Pond” lead to an interesting discussion of tensions, universal ones I sometimes believe-- at least with a certain generation—between powerful, remote fathers and daughters who struggle for their love. Susie Buffett told me afterwards that she was very moved by that and related deeply to it.

Below, Jane Fonda in HBO's The Newsroom

Mitt the Twit; Brit tabloids hammer Romney's undiplomatic gaffes; Guardian catalogues them

Here's the Manchester Guardian's list.

Another day, another city official disses Chick-fil-A; Philadelphia councilman tells Dan Cathy to 'take a hike'

Councilman Kenney
Dan Cathy, the very spiritual billionaire founder and head of antigay Chick-fil-A, which gave about $4,000,000 to antigay organizations in 2009 and 2010, was hit again by mushrooming disgust over his recent radio comments:
I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.
The latest pushback came from Philadelphia councilman Jim Kenney. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he wrote a letter to Cathy inviting him to "take a hike and take your intolerance with you. There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection."
     The Inquirer adds that when the City Council returns in September, Kenney plans to introduce a resolution condemning Cathy and the company.

  
Far right: Chick-fil-A booster and Papillion, NE Mayor David Black, who, in January told the World-Herald that he had Papillion "brochures, fact sheets and other materials put together" in a full court press to recruit the homophobic fast food chain. "We hit it hard," Mayor Black said.
     Today, in respect of Chick-fil-A, Papillion Mayor Black pretended, in comments to the World-Herald, that (despite millions in company donations to some of the most viciously antigay pressure groups in the country) Chick-fil-A's business "has nothing to do with social or political issues."
     Black really should be selling used cars — at a lot cheap enough to match his low-rent lies.

Revealed: identity of gay Lincoln woman alleged to be hate crime victim; KETV airs on-camera interview hours before thousands attend Omaha Vigil

She is Charlie Rogers, former NU standout basketball player and small business owner. KETV's on-camera interview is here.
     From Fry's intro: "Today, with her attorney present, she sat down with me talking about the pain and frustration over those who say she made it all up."



Below: photos from last night's Vigil Against Violence in Memorial Park. AKSARBENT will add video from the Vigil to this page later today, probably about Noon, CST: tonight. UPDATE: Go here.

Iowa's Zach Wahls makes an Obama campaign video

After a day of watching the usual suspects circle the Chick-fil-A wagon, this is refreshing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

As tonight's Omaha Vigil Against Violence begins, suspicions about assault on Lincoln gay woman linger

Update: Vigil photos here.

The World-Herald is reporting that Lincoln police still haven't ruled out the possibility that the home invasion and failed arson attempt targeting a gay woman who said epithets were cut into her and that she was bound, might have been staged.
     The woman's attorney, Megan Mikolajczyk, said that neither she nor her client had accepted any money from fundraisers, that a bank account set up for those funds will be managed by a third-party trustee and that any funds beyond the woman's expenses relating to the incident would be donated to other charity.
     Tyler Richard, of Outlinc, a Lincoln gay rights group said: “Here's what I know: In Lincoln, we have a very qualified and sensitive law enforcement. They have a history of support for the community and a willingness to bring in additional law enforcement if necessary. They will conduct the investigation in a way that gets to the truth.”
     Tonight's vigil starts at 8:30 at Memorial Park at 6005 Underwood just north of Dodge Street.
     The Facebook page for the gathering estimated attendance at about 3,500, predicated on the number of responses.

Frail, 93-year-old Billy Graham releases letter supporting antigay Chick-fil-A — along with
fundraising appeal to benefit evangelist son, Franklin

Graham's letter said, in part about the Cathys: "I've known their family for many years and have watched them grow Chick-fil-A into one of the best businesses in America while never compromising their values," Graham said.

From CNN:
His open letter also contains a fund-raising appeal and a notice that Graham's son Franklin, himself a major evangelical figure, is launching a new effort to "bring the Gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year."
     Randall Balmer, the chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, suspects the motivation for the letter is at least partly political.
     "It's hard for me to believe that this letter does not have political intent," he said.
     Its move to decry what he would see as moral decay "would be tied to the Obama administration," he argued, asking rhetorically why Graham would not have issued the statement in response to an event like the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
     Graham's spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about what prompted the letter.

Five new antigay lies from Republican Mike Huckabee



ONE

I heard all of this incredible hate speech being directed toward Dan Cathy and the Cathy family, who are the owners of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, all because they support traditional marriage... It's just their personal beliefs...

If it's just their personal beliefs, Gov. Huckster Huckabee, then why did the company give about $2,000,000 to antigay organizations in 2009 and again in 2010, while constantly issuing denials about its homophobic agenda?


TWO

...The activist gay community has just gone crazy about this and a call for national boycotts and essentially trying to put them (Chick-fil-A) out of business which is a form of economic bullying...

No, it's a boycott. Christers do it all the time as you well know, you shameless hypocrite: The American Family Association did it to J.C. Penney for retaining Ellen Degeneres and to Home Depot for sponsoring gay day festivities. You know perfectly well that your ideological buddy and  invited guest on the show today, Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, tried to boycott "economically bully" Starbucks for opposing a drive to ban gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in Washington State.  Are there any limits at all to your pugnacious duplicity, Mr. Huckabee?

THREE

Chick-Fil-A just wants to sell chicken. They don't really get into politics all that much. But now they've been drug into it by these groups that want to destroy their business...

The "activist gay community" forced them to pump four million dollars into politically active antigay organizations in just two years? Really, Mike Huckabee?

FOUR

One of the first major organizations that joined in this was the National Organization for Marriage, a highly respected large outreach...

Highly respected, Mr. Huckabee? NOM 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.

NOM staffers hustling a pathetically small 2011 Council Bluffs
turnout to show up at Iowa GOP straw polls by promising to
enter them into drawings for a big screen TV and other prizes
Large outreach, Mr. Huckabee? Did you see the tens of people at each stop during NOM's recent bus tours? Here's one in Iowa last year which failed to draw even 20 people despite the fact that NOM teamed up with two other groups.

FIVE

Well, it was that Boston mayor's comments that kind of pushed me over the edge and I thought, "Wait a minute. When you have elected officials saying 'You can't do commerce in my town because I disagree with you in your personal life.' " That really was just a bridge too far.

Below is what Boston Mayor Thomas M. Merino really said in his letter to Chick-fil-A, which differs markedly from the two-bit transliteration you served up to your radio audience, Mr. Huckabee:

To Mr. Cathy:

In recent days you said Chick-fil-A opposes same-sex marriage and said the generation that supports it has an "arrogant attitude."
     Now — incredibly — your company says you are backing out of the same-sex marriage debate. I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston.
     You called supporters of gay marriage "prideful." Here in Boston, to borrow your own words, we are "guilty as charged." We are indeed full of pride for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people. We are proud that our state and our city have led the way for the country on equal marriage rights.
     I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it. When Massachusetts became the first state in the country to recognize equal marriage rights, I personally stood on City Hall Plaza to greet same sex couples coming here to be married. It would be an insult to them and to our city's long history of expanding freedom to have a Chick-fil-A across the street from that spot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chick-Fil-A may be creating fake facebook accounts to cover its Muppets lie; Boston, Chicago stiff-arming the chain; Emmanuel: 'Chick-Fil-A values are not Chicago values'; Papillion Mayor still a big fan

Not to worry, Chick-Fil-A — no matter how many
millions you give to antigay groups, no matter how
disgusted Chicago and Boston city officials are by your
behavior, no matter how much you lie about the
safety of Muppets toys or when you really decided
to pull them, no matter many fake people you may be
putting on Facebook to con people, Papillion, NE
Mayor David Black is still a big fan and has your back!
Last Friday, the Jim Henson Company (creator of the Muppets) used Facebook to announce it was cutting its ties to the restaurant chain that gave $2,000,000 in 2010 to antigay organizations:
The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.  Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.
     After that, Chick-Fil-A claimed it ended the relationship before the Jim Henson Company did, because of "safety concerns" with muppet promotional items distributed by the chain. Chick-Fil-A claimed it decided to voluntarily withdraw the toys, Thursday 7/19, the day before the Henson statement — but they didn't tell their stores on Thursday.
     Virtually nobody in the gay community believes that Chick-Fil-A wasn't lying:
We apologize for any inconvenience but as of 7/19/2012 Chick-fil-A has voluntarily recalled all of the Jim Henson's Creature Shop Puppet Kids Meal Toys due to a possible safety issue. Please be advised that there have not been any cases in which a child has actually been injured, however there have been some reports of children getting their fingers stuck in the holes of the puppet.
Below is a letter sent to Chick-Fil-A by the mayor of Boston:
Now, via Towleroad, according to the Chicago Tribune, Rahm Emmanuel, Mayor of Chicago, is backing Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno in keeping the chain out of the city's First Ward:
 "If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno told the Tribune on Tuesday.
     Moreno stated his position in strong terms, referring to Cathy's "bigoted, homophobic comments" in a proposed opinion page piece that an aide also sent to Tribune reporters. "Because of this man's ignorance, I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward."
The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno's decision. "They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty."
Now comes evidence via Gizmodo via JoeMyGod that Chick-Fil-A is planting fake facebook comments by phantom PR people using stock photos of teenagers to convince people it wasn't lying and didn't "backdate" its decision to recall Muppets toys because of "safety concerns."


Attackers firebomb Camaro of gay Oklahoma man, injuring him; spray-paint "FAG" on trunk; Fire Chief not yet sure it's a hate crime

25-year-old Jon Ferguson, of Edmund, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, woke up Saturday morning to the blare of his Camaro's alarm. When he went out to investigate, he saw two people vandalizing his vehicle. As he approached, one of them threw a fire bomb into his car. Ferguson sustained first and second degree burns to his face, arms and torso and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Later he discovered that "FAG" was spray-painted on that thing Camaros have that is usually called a trunk.
     Oklahoma Fire Chief Homer Jones told KWTV, the city's CBS affiliate, that if it's a hate crime, (evidently he's still deciding) then his department and the police would continue to investigate. (Via JoeMyGod)
Homer Jones



Plutocrat Romney ripped in Salt Lake City Olympics ad

These senators voted to kill the bill to extend ban on assault weapons and 100-round magazines like the ones used in Aurora's Batman killings

100-round drum for AR-15
assault rifle
Which senators voted (90-8) to kill a renewal of the ban on high-capacity assault weapon clips that killed or wounded 70+ Batman fans in CO Springs? You'd be surprised. Lots of Democrats voted to kill renewing the ban on supersized clips and assault weapons, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein.
     Background: on March 2, 2004, the US Senate voted down a bill (Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) to protect gun makers from liability suits (which passed anyway in 2005 after the NRA took out some southern Democrats).
     The NRA's Wayne LaPierre lobbied to kill the 2004 bill because an amendment to renew a 1994 ban on assault weapons (and high capacity clips) was also in the bill.
Tea Party tool Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
at CPAC Chicago
     Last weekend on Fox News Sunday, GOP Senator Ron Johnson, said that restricting high-capacity magazines would infringe on a basic right. “When you try and do it, you restrict our freedom,” he said.
    The following senators who voted 'nay' killed the 2004 bill to renew the 1994 ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips, both of which killed and maimed 70+ people at the Batman premiere in Aurora, CO:


'Angel' appears at Batman shootings vigil — a bit late

Why, it's so real it looks fake! And no one else seems to have photo­graphed it or noticed it!
     Channel 7 said:
Crystal Fuller snapped a photo of some clouds gathered above the theater that she believes looks like an angel. Fuller wrote on Facebook:
I took this picture last night after I left the vigil....Looks like an Angel in the clouds above Century 16. Touching!
Crystal posted the photo on the 7News Facebook page and the picture had already garnered hundreds of comments and more than 1,000 shares.
One of the comments was:
Yes. I see the angel in the photo and she's beautiful! I pray this angel and many others are giving comfort to the Colorado victims, their families and friends.
AKSARBENT thinks the 'Angel' would have been even more comforting to the tragedy-stricken families at the vigil had it shown up a few minutes before the shooter starting pumping bullets from 30-bullet high capacity clips which are now legal again, thanks to the tireless efforts of the NRA.
   

NCAA failure to give Penn State football the 'death penalty' means its football program can collect $20.7 million per year in TV cash

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News acidly observed:
     While Jerry Sandusky was out raping boys, it’s not a reach to suggest Joe Paterno and his lackeys covered for him not only to protect the image of Penn State football, but to make sure the TV loot would continue flowing into the program.
     ESPN has a 10-year deal with the Big Ten worth $1 billion. The Big Ten Network pays the conference $2.8 billion under terms of a 25-year contract, while Fox pays the Big Ten $145 million in a six-year deal for the conference championship game. In its six-year deal, CBS pays the conference $72 million.
     This is a staggering amount of dough. Penn State would not have been able to collect its share if the NCAA had suspended the football program for a season or two.
A refresher from Wikipedia on the five times the NCAA has lowered the (ultimate) boom on college athletic programs, all for less egregious conduct than covering up ongoing child rape in the campus athletic department showers for more than a decade:
  1. The University of Kentucky basketball program for the 1952–53 season. (Point shaving scandal; 3 players took bribes and another perjured himself about it.)
  2. The basketball program at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) for the 1973–74 and 1974–75 seasons. (Academic fraud, recruiting violations and improper financial assistance.)
  3. The Southern Methodist University football program for the 1987 and 1988 seasons. (Lying to NCAA officials, continuing to pay players, for which it was already on probation.)
  4. The Division II men's soccer program at Morehouse College for the 2004 and 2005 seasons (Recruited 2 Nigerian ex-professionals, then played them before they actually enrolled in school.)
  5. The Division III men's tennis program at MacMurray College for the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. (Coach Neal Hart and his father arranged to obtain scholarships for 10 players from foreign countries. Division III schools are not allowed to offer scholarships.)
It really does all boil down to money, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thousands expected at Thursday's Omaha vigil for Lincoln lesbian, 'Rainbow Jane,' who said she was cut by 3 masked men; 8:30 pm at Memorial Park

Update: Vigil photos here. Video here.

The 33-year-old Lincoln gay woman, who does not wish to be publicly identified though she is out to friends, is now living in a Lincoln shelter. She told police three male masked intruders beat her and carved three epithets on her, then bound her and set fire to her rented apartment near 22nd & E in Lincoln. The fire didn't "take" and and caused about $200 worth of damage. Antigay epithets were found spray-painted on an inside basement wall.
     Police spokeswoman Officer Katie Wood has told The Advocate that the department is treating the attack as a hate crime and that Lincoln police investigators met Tuesday with the FBI.
     The story has been covered by the Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha World-Herald, both Lincoln commercial TV stations and by at least four Omaha TV stations. It has also been picked up by the New York Daily News, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and ABC (below) after posts in Towleroad and JoeMyGod:




Sherman Hemsley, Jeffersons star, dead at 74 in El Paso, TX

Below, Hemsley, a lifelong bachelor, talks about his role on the show. Cause of death hasn't been released yet.

Christian Bale takes a break from European Batman publicity junket to visit fans shot by deranged shooter imitating villain in his new film

Bale had been urged by fans to visit victims shot up during the premiere of his new movie and he did.
     Carey Rottman, an audience member wounded in Aurora, posted the above picture of himself with the star.
     An assistant for Susan Fleishman, executive vice president for Warner Brothers corporate communications, told the Denver Post:"Mr. Bale is there as himself, not representing Warner Brothers."

Massive NE Wildfire still not under control; has burnt 1/4 of Niobrara National Scenic River corridor; river closed east of Smith Falls

At least 50,000 acres (about 78 square miles) across three of Nebraska's 93 counties have burned — Cherry, Brown and Keya Paha. Earlier reports of 150 square miles of damage were revised downward after viewing of infrared photos.
    The area is immense and sparsely populated. Example: Cherry County is about big as Massachusetts (minus Cape Cod), but home to just 5,472 souls — an average of 1.02 per square mile; half live in Valentine. Photos: Dave Weaver via MSNBC.

Major League Soccer cuts ties to Boy Scouts; Is BSA a hostage of LDS and other right-wing religions?

Above graphic links to GLAAD
In the wake, last week, of its decision to maintain a ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders and Major League Soccer's decision to end its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America, GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has published a chart contrasting the BSA's gay policy with those of other US youth organizations. Many have concluded that the BSA has become the hostage of right wing religious organizations.

Sally Ride comes out — posthumously; her sister on gay marriage opponents: 'stubbornly ignorant; Who cares about them, really?'

Ride, aboard a space shuttle (NASA)
Although Sally Ride didn't conceal her 27-year-relationship with her female partner, it was never officially acknowledged either — until today's posthumous statement from Sally Ride Science indicating that the first US female astronaut was survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years." Ride died of pancreatic cancer at 61.
     Her sister, Bear, minced no words about gay marriage opponents: "Who cares about them, really? There are those who are stubbornly ignorant, and if they want to continue in that, God bless them, but probably best not to talk to my family."
Tereshkova
     Ride was not the first woman or civilian in space. That distinction belongs to Russia's Valentina Tereshkova, now 75, who rocketed into history on June 16, 1963 and piloted Vostok 6 by herself for three days, encircling the earth 48 times. While Sally Ride held four degrees, Tereshkova dropped out of school at 16 to work in a textile factory. Later, she took correspondence courses.

Monday, July 23, 2012

North Central Nebraska wildfire sparked by lightning now raging; 7-mile front; five times larger than Colorado Springs fire; 150 square miles already burnt

UPDATE: Revised estimate of damage.
The Fairfield Creek wildfire/s have leaped across the Niobrara river, claiming rancher homes and a even a firetruck. Firefighters are battling the inferno — and 100-degree weather. Apache helicopters have been dispatched by the National Guard to help. From Reuters:
The fire initially was reported Friday north of Johnstown, Neb., along Fairfield Creek, a tributary of the Niobrara River. It is near the Nature Conservancy's 56,000-acre Niobrara Valley Preserve, one of the organization's largest preserves in the United States.
     Flames jumped the Niobrara and raced 6 miles north to Norden across sparsely populated Keya Paha County. The county has a population of 1.1 people per square mile.
From NASA: The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image of wildfires burning near the border of Nebraska and South Dakota on July 22, 2012. The red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. The blaze in South Dakota—the Longhorn Complex fire—began on July 19 and had burned through nearly 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) by the afternoon of July 23. The fire in Nebraska—the Fairfield Creek Fire—was reported on July 20 and had burned over 150 square miles (388 square kilometers). Both fires were fueled in part by the broad drought that has affected the central United States in recent months.

That drought has damaged almost 90% of corn and soybean crops in the US.
     Food made with corn, corn syrup, ethanol-blended gasoline, soybeans and soybean oil will rise with the skyrocketing prices of the two crops. Rain is expected this week, but it won't help early-planted corn already pollinated during the height of the hot weather drought.
     Late-planted corn and much of the nation's soybean crop will find some relief.

Lincoln, NE lesbian says she was victim of home invasion by 3 masked men who carved epithets on her and tried to burn down her house

The Omaha World-Herald said the alleged arson attempt resulted in $200 of damage. The Lincoln Journal-Star said:
City fire Inspector Damon Robbins said a match flame ignited vapors from a pool of gasoline on the woman's floor, but the flash fire did not continue to burn and caused no noticeable damage to the house.
 A friend quoted a friend of the victim (who declined to be identified) as saying that she crawled naked and bleeding from her house, screaming for help before reaching a neighbor's doorstep.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that Erin Thompson of Lincoln, who said she was the victim's best friend, reported receiving a call at 6:30 Sunday morning asking Thompson to pick up the victim from Bryan LGH Medical Center West.
     Thompson said three epithets, including the word “dyke,” were carved on the arms and stomach of the woman, who is in her 30s.
     Captain Jim David declined to comment on any possible motives or to say whether the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. He would not identify the woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, though she is known in the gay community.
     A facebook-organized vigil was held Sunday at the state capitol, drawing about 500 people according to the Omaha World-Herald and about 300 people according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. Attendees from gay organizations including Lincoln's OutLinc and Star City Pride as well as Omaha Pride read statements of support. All declined to identify the victim.
 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Craig Ferguson replaced light-hearted Batman Dark Knight monologue with somber intro after CO killings

Ferguson: "...The events of today would make it difficult to broadcast a show tonight which began with the phrase ‘It’s a great day for America’.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

International Olympic Committee meeting protest planned this weekend

Tatchell. (CarolineLucas.com)
Pink News reports that Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, has written an open letter to Lord Coe and Jacques Rogge and will lead a protest this Sunday, July 22 from 11.30am to 1pm of the IOC executive meeting at the Hilton Hotel, 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE (Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner.
“The IOC should disqualify from the Olympics countries that discriminate against athletes on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Olympic Charter prohibits discrimination in sport but it is not being enforced by the IOC.”

Papillion mayor David Black recruited antigay Chick-Fil-A; Boston mayor says he'll ban firm from city's Freedom Trail

Papillion, NE Mayor David
Black, a big Chick-Fil-A fan
who lobbied the firm for a store
From the Boston Herald:
     “Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.“
     “If they need licenses in the city, it will be very difficult — unless they open up their policies,” he warned.
     In February, Northeastern University balked at Chick-fil-A’s plans for an on-campus eatery after students squawked about reports the chain’s charitable arm donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups.

Bob Barker narrates factory farming expose of pig cruelty in Minnesota

Iowa's new "Ag Gag" law, supported by GOP Gov. Terry Branstad, would punish the maker of the video below with up to a year in jail.


 
Minnesota has not yet outlawed "gestation crates"  — pens so small that sows, confined to them for virtually their entire lives, cannot even turn around. Iowa, a huge pork producer, hasn't banned the crates either, but has a new Ag Gag law, introduced in the Iowa House by antigay Iowa Rep. Anette Sweeney and quickly signed by GOP governor Branstad under which individuals working for organizations like Mercy for Animals can be jailed for exposing factory farming cruelty. These Iowa lawmakers voted for the law.

Aurora CO gunman kills 14, injures 50 during AK-47 rampage at midnight showing of new Batman film

Suspect James Holmes, 24, described as a
medical student from San Diego who
dropped out of a doctoral program at the
University of Colorado medical school
last month. (University of CO photo.)
UPDATE: Police took the shooting suspect into custody outside the theater. His vehicle was parked outside a back door. ABC is reporting that when apprehended he told police he was the joker and was sporting hair dyed red. He may be schizophrenic.
    Death toll has been revised to 12. As many as 71 people were shot. Police say weapon was an AR-15. Alleged shooter's apartment is booby-trapped with incendiary devices and and the apartment and surrounding buildings have been evacuated.
     Right-wing politicians have wasted no time in exploiting the killings to further their agenda. The Heritage Foundation gave TX Rep. Louie Gohmert a forum to blame the extend of the carnage on victims (for not carrying guns to the movies) and Atheists (for insisting on separation of church and state).

Updated video report from Gannett:

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Antigay Chick-Fil-A now bullying heteros, too; will soon open in Papillion after recruitment by Mayor David Black, a huge fan

Chick-Fil-A now sells food inside the Mutual of Omaha bank building and in the company's cafeteria, but is building a 4,569-square-foot store in Papillion at the urging of Mayor David Black (left), a big fan of the company. 

The chain, which donated $2,000,000 to antigay groups in 2010, also has quite a history of making what some would consider overreaching legal threats to various individuals, including the heterosexual below who isn't taking the company's intimidation lying down.


(Via Towleroad)
 
This is what Jeremy Hooper had to say:
If Dan Cathy is proud that his company's efforts have alienated a customer base that is only going to grow with every passing year, then he has every right to take that defiant position. Pro-equality companies will do the reverse, despite boycotts from groups like NOM. But refusing to own the facts at hand is not an option for either side. And refusing to own the facts by hiding behind a false layer of "family" support (which, by extension, casts LGBT people and allies out of that same unit)? That makes Mr. Cathy sound a bit like a, well—chicken.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jazz On The Green — Mike Gurciullo & his Las Vegas Lab Band

Video by AKSARBENT's own "Fingers" DeMille:



Fingers mistaken estimated that Mr. Gurciullo wouldn't have his head chopped off because of the less than 100% viewfinder coverage of the camera. He was wrong. Here's Gurciullo with his head intact:



Mike & his Las Vegas Lab Band will appear every Monday in July at Anthony's Ozone Lounge at 7220 F at 6:30 pm. Attention cheapskates: there is no cover! Anthony's is on the North Side of 72nd. You can't miss it, just look for the large sculpture bovine outside. Richard Simmons once voiced his regret at not climbing on top of the thing when he was in Omaha, but we doubt he would have been the first to do so, drunk or sober.

Below, Martin at Ozone demonstrates his "Trick of the Week" (at the 2:10 mark) — the Mark of Zorro:

Ron Paul delegates get swamped at last-in-the-nation Nebraska GOP convention

Paul supporters were hoping that the Cornhusker state would be the fifth (GOP rules require 5 states) in which they would get enough delegates to get Paul nominated at the GOP convention in Tampa, along with Romney, and prompt a convention fight. It didn't happen. They only got two of Nebraska's 35 convention delegates. Romney was worried enough to have sent (according to the World-Herald’s Robynn Tysver) "as many as five Romney staffers, including campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg, who was on the scene in Grand Island to keep an eye on things."
     Nebraska Watchdog noted:
Heineman did not attend the convention because he was chairing the National Governors Association meeting in Virginia – while Louisiana’s governor skipped the governors’ meeting to speak at Nebraska’s convention.

Friday, July 13, 2012

If you're not using your seatbelt, start now

Romney campaign tries to get Boston Globe to validate its Bain Capital lie; is told to take a hike; campaign now won't release letter it sent to Globe


From the Daily Kos: Did Mitt Romney inadvertently tell the truth about when he left Bain Capital?



Here's the letter from the Boston Globe to the Romney campaign, refusing to cooperate with Romney's falsehood about leaving his company in 1999:
    Dear Ms. Gitcho:

    We received your request late this afternoon for a correction regarding this morning’s Globe story. Having carefully reviewed that request, we see no basis for publishing a correction. The Globe story was entirely accurate.

    The Globe story was based on government documents filed by Bain Capital itself. Those described Governor Romney as remaining at the helm of Bain Capital as its “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” until 2002. The story also cited state financial disclosure forms filed by Romney that showed he earned income as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.

    The Globe story accurately described the contents of those documents.

    The Globe story also gave a full account of the Romney campaign’s position that, notwithstanding several years of regulatory filings, Mitt Romney “retired from Bain Capital in 1999 … (and) has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time.” In your correction request, you reiterate points that are fully detailed in the Globe story.

    Sincerely,

    Martin Baron
    Editor, The Boston Globe

Scathing Sandusky report damns former University of Nebraska at Lincoln Chancellor Graham Spanier

Graham Spanier, removed by Penn State board in 2011 over
handling of Sandusky scandal
Spanier spent more than 3 years as chancellor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln before leaving in 1995 to become President of Penn State where he remained until the board fired him in 2011 for his handling of the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal.

Spanier's machinations were fricasseed in the just-released report of the independent investigator hired by Penn State, former FBI director Louis Freeh. Excerpts from the report follow the video below.




Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University — President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno — failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.

     These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001.
     Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child's identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.
     These individuals, unchecked by the Board of Trustees that did not perform its oversight duties, empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University's facilities and affiliation with the University's prominent football program.
     Indeed, that continued access provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims.

...By not promptly and fully advising the Board of Trustees about the 1998 and 2001 child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and the subsequent Grand Jury investigation of him, Spanier failed in his duties as President...

...Spanier said, in his interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, that he never heard a report from anyone that Sandusky was engaged in any sexual abuse of children. He also said that if he had known or suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.
      Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, the Special Investigative Counsel finds that it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University - Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley - repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the University's Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.
     The avoidance of the consequences of bad publicity is the most significant, but not the only, cause for this failure to protect child victims and report to authorities...

...A decision by Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley to allow Sandusky to retire in 1999, not as a suspected child predator, but as a valued member of the Penn State football legacy, with future "visibility" at Penn State and ways "to continue to work with young people through Penn State," essentially granting him license to bring boys to campus facilities for "grooming" as targets for his assaults. Sandusky retained unlimited access to University facilities until November 2011...

...Curley notifies Schultz and Spanier that he has "touched base with" Paterno about the incident. Days later, Curley emails Schultz: "Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands." Board meeting on May 15: Spanier does not notify the Board of the ongoing investigation...

...A retirement agreement with Sandusky is reached in June 1999, including an unusual lump sum payment of $168,000, an agreement for the University to "work collaboratively" with Sandusky on Second Mile and other community activities, and free lifetime use of East Area Locker Room facilities. As the retirement package is being finalized, Curley requests the emergency re-hire of Sandusky for the 1999 football season, which is approved. In August 1999, Sandusky is granted "emeritus" rank, which carries several privileges, including access to University recreational facilities. Documents show the unusual request for emeritus rank originated from Schultz, was approved by Spanier, and granted by the Provost, who expressed some uneasiness about the decision given Sandusky's low academic rank and the precedent that would be set...

...March 5, 2001: Scheduled date of meeting between Curley and Sandusky. In his 2011 Grand Jury testimony, Curley said he told Sandusky "we were uncomfortable" about the incident and would report it to the Second Mile. Curley says he also told Sandusky to stop bringing children to the athletic facilities. Sandusky's counsel later reports that no accusation of sexual abuse was made at this meeting and that Sandusky offered to provide the name of the boy to Curley, but Curley did not want the boy's name. Board of Trustees meeting: Spanier does not report the Sandusky incident to the Board...

...April 1, 2011: A Trustee emails Spanier, asking if the Board will be briefed about the Sandusky investigation reported in the paper. Spanier tells the Trustee: "Grand Jury matters are by law secret, and I'm not sure what one is permitted to say, if anything. I'll need to ask Cynthia [Baldwin] if it would be permissible for her to brief the Board on the matter..."

The Trustee emails Spanier again: "despite grand jury secrecy, when high ranking people at the university are appearing before a grand jury, the university should communicate something about this to its Board of Trustees." Spanier responds, downplaying the significance of the investigation: "I'm not sure it is entirely our place to speak about this when we are only on the periphery of this..."

...Spanier separately emails Baldwin, noting "[the Trustee] desires near total transparency. He will be uncomfortable and feel put off until he gets a report..."

...May 12, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting: Spanier and Baldwin brief Board on status of Grand Jury investigation; Spanier and Baldwin downplay importance of the investigation to Penn State. The Board asks a few limited questions...

...July 15, 2011 ? Board of Trustees meeting: Spanier and Baldwin do not update the Board on the Sandusky investigation. The Board does not ask about the Sandusky investigation...

...September 9, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting: Spanier and Baldwin do not update the Board on the Sandusky investigation. The Board does not ask about the Sandusky investigation...

...Sandusky is arrested. Grand Jury presentment released, noting there was no "attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2 or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct, except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property." A Trustee asks Spanier, "What is going on, and is there any plan to brief the Board before our meeting next week?"

...Baldwin advises Spanier to tell the Trustee, "you are briefing the chair and the Board will be briefed next week." Spanier issues a press release expressing "unconditional support" for Schultz and Curley; with regard to child victims, Spanier only states, "Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance." Spanier emails Baldwin: Spanier says that if the Board is briefed, "it will be nothing more than what we said publicly." The Board meets on a conference call that evening. A senior administrator suggests an independent review of Penn State's intercollegiate athletics. Baldwin replies, "If we do this, we will never get rid of this group in some shape or form. The Board will then think that they should have such a group." Spanier agrees...

...November 6, 2011 Board of Trustee meeting: Board places Curley on administrative leave; Schultz re-retires. Spanier issues a second press release stating that Curley and Schultz voluntarily changed their employment status. Board members disagree and express frustration at changed tone of press release. Spanier says he only made "grammatical" edits to the press release...

...Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley did not even speak to Sandusky about his conduct on May 3, 1998 in the Lasch Building. Despite their knowledge of the criminal investigation of Sandusky, Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley took no action to limit Sandusky's access to Penn State facilities or took any measures to protect children on their campuses...

...Spanier and Schultz failed to report the 1998 investigation to the Board of Trustees. Sandusky was convicted of several assaults that occurred after the 1998 incident. Some of these sexual assaults against young boys might have been prevented had Sandusky been prohibited from bringing minors to University facilities and University football bowl games...

...In an email from Curley to Schultz and Spanier at 5:24 p.m. captioned "Joe Paterno," Curley reports, "I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks." In an interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, Spanier said he did not recall this email, and pointed out that he received numerous emails everyday that provide him with updates on various issues. In a written statement from Spanier, he characterized the May 5, 1998 email as a "vague reference with no individual named..."

...Nothing in the record indicates that Spanier, Schultz, Paterno or Curley spoke directly with Sandusky about the allegation, monitored his activities, contacted the Office of Human Resources for guidance, or took, or documented, any personnel actions concerning this incident in any official University file. Spanier told the Special Investigative Counsel that no effort was made to limit Sandusky's access to Penn State...

...Spanier never declared Sandusky a "persona non grata" on Penn State campuses, as he did toward a sports agent who, before the 1997 Citrus Bowl, bought $400 worth of clothing for a Penn State football player. Spanier was very aggressive in that case and banned the agent from campus. Spanier said the agent "fooled around with the integrity of the university, and I won?t stand for that." The University conducted its own investigation, and provided the results to law enforcement. In an email dated May 13, 1998, Spanier said, "The idea is to keep [the sports agent] off campus permanently, to keep him away from current athletes, and to keep him away from current graduates or students whose eligibility has recently expired..."

...Spanier told the Special Investigative Counsel that his first knowledge of the 1998 event came when he was before the Grand Jury on April 13, 2011. Yet notes from Spanier's interview on March 22, 2011 with members of the Attorney General's Office reflect he was asked, "[d]id you have info @ the 1998 incident?" Cynthia Baldwin, who was then General Counsel, confirmed to the Special Investigative Counsel that Spanier was asked about the 1998 event in the interview before the Grand Jury appearance. According to Baldwin, after the interview, Spanier said the interview "was no big deal" and he was "quite comfortable" going before the Grand Jury...

...On June 29, 1999, Spanier approved a one-time lump sum payment to Sandusky of $168,000. A senior University Controller's office official and a retired Senior Vice President both stated that they had never known the University to provide this type of payment to a retiring employee...

...Sandusky was also awarded "emeritus" rank, with special privileges including access to the University's East Area locker room complex. Sandusky's positions in the University did not meet the general eligibility requirements for this honor, yet University administrators found themselves in a "bind" because Spanier had promised the emeritus rank to Sandusky...

...On February 12, 2001, Schultz and Curley met with Spanier to give him a "heads up" about the report concerning Sandusky. Spanier said this meeting was "unique" and that the subject matter of a University employee in a shower with a child had never come up before...

...There is no information indicating that Spanier, Schultz, Paterno or Curley made any effort to identify the child victim or determine if he had been harmed...

...The February 26, 2001 email and related emails that follow among Curley, Schultz and Spanier over the next two days are unique from the hundreds of thousands of other emails reviewed by the Special Investigative Counsel. These messages are the rare documents where proper names and identifying information are replaced with generic references. Spanier told the Special Investigative Counsel that Curley communicated in "code" in sensitive emails because the Athletic Department was notorious for leaks. When Curley communicated about other sensitive issues involving Sandusky, however, he did not use "code" words.

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