Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Iowa Dept. of Public Health still refusing to issue correct birth certificates to married same sex couples

Dr. Marianne Miller-Meeks, Gov. Terry Branstad's
appointee to direct Iowa Department of Public Health

One Iowa weighs in on continued refusal by to immediately issue accurate birth certificates to married, same sex Iowa couples. KCRG video here.
     ...Despite a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court in the case Gartner v. Newton, the Iowa Department of Public Health is still refusing to immediately issue accurate birth certificates for all children born to married lesbian parents like Joanne Abbas and Lindsey [Clark.]
     The Gartner case was decided unanimously in May of this year by the Iowa Supreme Court as part of a Lambda Legal lawsuit challenging the Iowa Department of Public Health’s refusal to issue an accurate birth certificate to MacKenzie, daughter of married same-sex couple Heather and Melissa Gartner. Iowa’s highest court ruled in favor of the Gartners, stating that the department would have to change its practice of refusing to issue accurate birth certificates listing both mothers.

     Instead, same-sex married couples are being told by the Iowa Department of Public Health that they must follow an affidavit process and obtain certified copies of their marriage license before accurate birth certificates can be issued. Yet these requirements do not apply to non-gay Iowa families.

     It is unacceptable that the Iowa Department of Public Health is still dragging its heels on this very important issue of granting accurate birth certificates to children born to married lesbian mothers. The Attorney General’s office knew at the time of the Gartner decision that a process needed to be in place, and they have failed.

     These couples are forced to jump through bureaucratic hoops and spend time and money to attain what is rightfully and legally theirs. The Iowa Department of Public Health is playing procedural games with the lives of the children of these married couples and that is simply outrageous and unfair.

     The Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Department of Public Health owe Joanne and Lindsey and their family an apology. They owe every same-sex couple treated in this manner an apology.

     It is time, once and for all, for the Iowa Department of Public Health to end its shameful practice of denying children their legal bond to both parents.

     Equality in Iowa should mean something.

     PLEASE NOTE: Iowa couples who encounter problems obtaining an accurate birth certificate are encouraged to call Lambda Legal’s help desk in Chicago at 312.663.4413.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

#NyetRussianCaviar

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out has issued a press release reminding LGBTs and their friends that vodka isn't the only popular Russian export:
Another Russian enterprise susceptible to pressure is caviar. Due to fishing restrictions in the Black Sea, an American caviar industry has sprung up and is beginning to prosper. It would behoove these American caviar companies to join our efforts to boycott Russian caviar and fill the demand for this product. This would be a wonderful way to increase business, while creating American jobs in a time of high unemployment. Furthermore, there are many who say that American caviar is superior because of the freshness of the product.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ohio Bank empties wrong house in foreclosure; blames GPS, offers to replace $2,300 Bowflex with one it found on the side of road

Consumer Watchdog: Keystone XL pipeline could raise gas prices up to 40¢ per gallon in Midwest

Thanks, Rep. Lee Terry! Omaha: (402) 397-9944; D.C.: (202) 225-4155





Bold Nebraska's Ben Gotschall: why TransCanada is deregistering pipeline easements with 288 landowners

No one should let his/her guard down. It ain't over 'till it's over. This may be an attempt to weaken a landowner suit which has TransCanada worried. Full Post is at BoldNebraska, here. An excerpt:
     According to TransCanada's release, "TransCanada representatives will de-register easement agreements on properties in the following [Nebraska] counties: Boone, Garfield, Greeley, Hamilton, Holt, Jefferson, Keya Paha, Merrick, Nance, Rock, Saline, York and Wheeler. In total, the easements that will be de-registered involve 288 landowners who controlled 367 properties and 58 temporary work space agreements."  The release also states that landowners will be able to keep the payments made to them on the now-unnecessary easements.
     Now for a warning. We are pretty sure TransCanada made this announcement hoping folks would think – ‘Well, if they are letting them keep the easement payment maybe I should sign up and hope the route is moved or not approved and I can keep the money.’ This is exactly what TransCanada wants us to think so they can tell the State Dept., President and the press that all the landowners are on board, its just a vocal minority that is against the project. TransCanada has recently hired a bunch of new lobby and PR firms and each and every move is calculated. The only reason we see victories like today is because of the hard work of citizens and landowners standing in solidarity and holding out. You are forcing them to be more reasonable. Each of this victories is no mystery and no coincidence.

      TransCanada's announcement on easements comes on the heels of the news that the landowner lawsuit against the state of Nebraska will go to trial.  The State of Nebraska and Attorney General Bruning have twice attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, and three times the judge has ruled in favor of citizens to uphold the process.  The new route, approved by Gov. Heineman as a result of LB 1161, could be nullified if citizens win that lawsuit and Heineman's route approval is deemed unconstitutional.


Below: new TransCanada Keystone XL lies and half-truths, the most outrageous of which is a slide which claims Keystone operates under "strict" Alberta environmental rules. Yeah. So strict that there have been 9,000 violations of those rules in recent years (that we know about) and just 37 actions by the Alberta Province regarding them.


Welcome aboard Putin Airlines

As seen on Americablog and JoeMyGod...


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Video: Spanish high speed train leaving the track



78 died and 140 were injured in Spain's deadliest train accident in 40 years and the country's first significant high-speed rail accident. The train was doing 120 mph in the curve, despite the posted 80 km/h (50 mph) limit. All eight cars hit the concrete wall.

#NyetRussianVodka gets traction as gay bars start a Putin pushback

From the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which advocates for LGBT rights
in Eastern Europe, comes a horrifying report:  
The perfectly constructed hashtag, coined by twitter user Str8grand­mother, is now a clearinghouse for twitter info about boycotting Russian Vodka to show disapproval of scapegoating of gay Russians and increasingly frequent violence against them.
      Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB thug, diamond thief and current leader of the mafia state that describes Russia today, has concocted, with the help of fellow connivers in the Russian Orthodox Church, draconian laws against gay Russians and foreigners which criminalize both the existence of gay people and the speech of straights who would defend them.
     (RT, the English language Russian news product which sharply criticizes homophobia in the USA, has said little about the savage targeting of gay Russians under cover of state-sponsored, church-encouraged antigay policies and laws.)
     Stolichnaya Vodka is a $2 billion company owned by one of the 100 richest men in Russia and probably doesn't deserve to be boycotted, as it has been supportive of gay alcoholism customers, will be the first target of those withholding their dollars, euros, francs, etc. from Russian businesses.
     Nothing personal, Stolichnaya. Don't be any more offended than those gay Russians being maimed by skinheads encouraged by Putin and his religious allies looking for distractions from the consequences of their wretched, corrupt governance.




British woman gives birth to a boy; infant to be trapped in unrelenting reality show until it dies

Time Magazine reminds Americans, who, of all people, should know better, that royals aren't just garish anachronisms, but the living link to histories of misrule and injustice.

NSA surveillance: Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith, Steve King and Tom Latham approve continu­ation of massive NSA spying on your phone calls

Every GOP congressman in Nebraska and Iowa sold out your privacy to the constitutionally dubious NSA dragnet and every Democratic congressman (Loebsack and Braley of Iowa) voted to defend the privacy of law-abiding citizens from relentless government snooping.
     In a Thursday morning print edition story about the vote, the Omaha World-Herald did not tell its readers in Nebraska and Iowa how their representatives voted on the issue.
    That roll call, in the U.S. House last night, after an hour of debate, was 205 in favor and 217 against an amendment by Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash to a $598.3 billion appropriation to fund the Pentagon in 2014. It would have cancelled the statutory authority for the NSA program which collects and stores telephone records and calling locations of everyone in the United States, under the USA Patriot Act, unless it identified an individual under investigation.
     Rep Mick Mulvaney, (R-S.C.) remarked, about the supposed "balance" between civil liberties and national security: "Right now the balancing is being done by people we do not know. People who lied to this body."
     The lying reference was to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who admitted that he gave misleading statements to Congress on how much the U.S. spies on its citizens. He apologized earlier this month, after outrageously claiming in March that the U.S. does not gather data on its citizens, a spectacularly shameless and pugnacious whopper.
     For that alone, AKSARBENT thinks he should be in a cell beside Bradley Manning. Certainly he is not fit to be Director of National Intelligence.
   

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Gilberton, PA, Police Chief Mark Kessler, also a member of the North Schuylkill School Board, who once shot himself in the hand in a bar

Kessler's boss, Gilberton Mayor Marylou Hannon, also a nutcase 2nd amendment Teabagger, says she's in favor of protecting Kessler's First Amendment rights, meaning she won't discipline him for the national ridicule of Gilberton that he is inviting as more people see his Youtube videos.
     "It would be terribly inappropriate to comment on or restrict what our employees do on their free time," said Mayor Hannon.
     Kessler himself has no qualms about restricting free speech; he has disabled comments on his YouTube videos. (The second one below is a repost on an account which is allowing comment on Kessler's bizarre behavior.)
     In 2011, Kessler shot himself in the hand when he, "off-duty at the time, became involved in an altercation already under way among patrons inside a crowded 2nd Street Pub about midnight...
     After Kessler was shot, he had left the scene with a friend to seek emergency treatment at Saint Catherine Medical Center Fountain Springs before troopers arrived.
     On Thursday, Kessler referred all comments to his attorney, Joseph Nahas, Frackville, who was unavailable."





After community pressure, Ottumwa, IA high school principal Mark Hanson cancels Laramie Project production; 'We were on the fence with it'

Former Ottumwa City High
Principal Mark Hanson
According to the Cincinnati-based Educational Theatre Association, The Laramie Project was the tenth-most-frequently produced non-musical play on high school stages during 2011-12, but after pot-stirring by a local radio station and local pressure, including an attempt by a local father to recall school board members who greenlighted the production, it was cancelled. “Could we have done it? Yeah,” said Hanson, the former principal at City High. “We were on the fence with it, but we came to the conclusion that it would be better at a community theater...” From the Iowa City Press Citizen:
     In Iowa, 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn of Primghar killed himself last year after coming out to his classmates, who had taunted him on Facebook. The documentary “Bully” brought national attention to Sioux City public schools around the same time. After the “Laramie” production at Valley, former Gov. Chet Culver visited the school to sign a bill to ban bullying in all Iowa schools.
     So Ottumwa students say it’s hard to understand why school administrators wouldn’t want them to produce a play that confronts those issues head-on.
     “It doesn’t make any sense,” said Jordan Young, a junior in the thespian group. “This is a show that deals specifically with bullying and the outcome that it had on an entire town because of one bullying incident. If they’re trying to get rid of bullying, then why would they say ‘no’ to this show?”  
      ...Ottumwa resident Pam Schulz, who has nine grandchildren in Ottumwa schools, was relieved to learn that the play will not be a high school production.
      “When I saw the article in the paper, I thought, ‘Well, that’s certainly the right approach,’ ” she said. “That’s not a play that should be promoted for any family entertainment.


NC GOP pulls a last-minute switcheroo to try to enact USA's most aggressive voter supression law after recent SCOTUS ruling on voting rights act

Iowa Rep. Steve King says ratio of illegals brought in by parents to those with cantaloupe calves from weed smuggling is 100 to 1

The Des Moines Register is on record as calling Rep. Steve King an "embarrass­ment" to the state of Iowa. The Omaha World-Herald is on record as repeatedly endorsing his reelection. Which paper's editorials do you read?


(Via JoeMyGod)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

You go, boys:
Septagenarians Gary Player, Geraldo Rivera

Golf legend Gary Player is 77 and Geraldo Rivera is 70. By the way, the correct term for someone in their 60s is sexagenarian.








Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pentagon winning its battle against meaningful sexual assault reform: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's law to take the chain of command out of sexual assault cases

The Pentagon's utter failure, despite repeated promises to the contrary, to lessen sexual assaults in the armed forces was the reason for Gillibrand's attempt to remove the military's authority to prosecute rape. The military's response has been a full court press in lobbying to defeat her legislation and to make more promises that it will do what it hasn't done despite decades of waiting.
     Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is adamantly opposed to Gillibrand's reform.

Lone Star goober, Louie Gohmert, trolls likeminded Texans by wondering how two males who mate evolve the species; evokes the smug laughter of idiots



Here's an answer, Louie: because they don't, as a group, contribute much to overpopulation, consequent global warming and the ensuing destruction of humans on earth. What's that you say? Not the answer you were looking for? Well, go fuck yourself.


Atheist Christopher Hitchens on 'ultimate wickedness' of Christian, Jewish and Muslim death cults


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Friends of the Earth sues State Dept. over Keystone XL

Here's the text of Friends of the Earth's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. State Department following its footdragging in supplying the names of "well-connected lobbyists in decision-making" over the Keystone XL pipeline.

October 2011 chart via Friends of the Earth

Cameroon LGBT activist, Eric Ohensa Lembembe, tortured, killed in Yaoundé

Also: Evangelicals pour millions into antigay African churches and missions;
Video: Born This Way documents fierce oppression of underground LGBT community in Cameroon

From Human Rights Watch: 
Eric Ohena Lembembe, an activist and journalist  was found dead at his home in Yaoundé on the evening of July 15. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron. Lembembe was an outspoken activist who defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, and the executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS).
      ...Lembembe’s killing follows several attacks on the offices of human rights defenders, including those working for equal rights for LGBTI people. On June 26, 2013, unidentified assailants burned down the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroun, which provides HIV services to LGBTI people. A few days earlier on June 16, the Yaoundé office of human rights lawyer Michel Togué, who represents clients charged with same-sex conduct, was burgled, and his legal files and laptop stolen. Both Togué and Alice Nkom, another lawyer who represents LGBTI clients, have received repeated death threats by email and SMS, including threats to kill their children. Although activists have reported all of these incidents, the Cameroonian authorities have not apprehended a single suspect.
      “We don’t know who killed Eric Lembembe, or why he was killed, but one thing is clear: the Cameroonian authorities’ utter failure to stem homophobic violence sends the message that these attacks can be carried out with impunity,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The police should not rest until the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. President Biya should break his silence on the wave of homophobic violence in Cameroon and publicly condemn this brutal attack.”

Liberty University's Steve Crampton, Matt Barber: 'average homosexual not controlled by reason'

More evidence that you might want to think twice about the mindset of graduates educated at Liberty University who apply for jobs at your company, if you think an institution reeking of delusional, bare-knuckled bigotry may not be turning out the kind of people who would be a good fit at your workplace...
     From Right Wing Watch:
     A few weeks ago, an anti-gay activist was attacked while protesting a gay pride festival in Seattle by a straight man with a long criminal record and Matt Barber and Steve Crampton are not the least bit surprised because, well, what else can you expect from those who have been given over to a "reprobate mind."
     ...Crampton explained, "the life of the average homosexual is not controlled by reason" but a perverted lust and passion that has "overwhelmed them." And thus, when you couple that "a lack of self-control" with "the taste of blood," you have a recipe for further bloodletting.

     Barber agreed, declaring that gays "define their entire identity based up aberrant sexual behaviors and sexual temptations and acting on those temptations" and so, as Scripture proclaims, they are eventually consumed by this "lust-filled, sex-centric, perversion-centric lifestyle" and ultimately driven by a "dark soul" to commit this sort of violent behavior...

Time: Five ways to tell you're watching a Spielberg film

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ender's Game movie boycott: GeeksOUT unpersuaded by Lionsgate LGBT benefit ploy; won't end protest

Also:
  • I09 wonders if the Ender's Game boycott could actually sink the $110 million movie
  • GeeksOUT interviewed on boycott by Michealangelo Signorile on his Sirius radio program
  • Donna Minkowitz: My favorite author, my worst interview. I worshipped militaristic Mormon science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card -- until we met.
Here's their pledge; below is their response to Lionsgate's cynical attempt to buy them off cheaply with an LGBT benefit.
     As proud members of the LGBT community, champions of creative freedom and honest self-expression, and a group at whom the film Ender’s Game is directly marketed, we appreciate Lionsgate’s record of doing good things and its admirable, strongly worded rejection of Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card’s and the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-gay activism.
The simple fact is that Skip Ender’s Game has never been about the content of the novel or the film Ender’s Game.
     It’s about money. It’s about the money the company has already paid to Card and the potential millions he and the National Organization for Marriage stand to make off of the success of the film—our money.
     A benefit premiere, indeed any outreach to the LGBT community by Lionsgate, ought to be much appreciated. What’s clear is that whether or not they support his views, Lionsgate is standing by their man and their would-be blockbuster. They made the common, perhaps cynical, calculation that audiences wouldn’t connect Ender’s Game with Card’s very public homophobia—or wouldn’t care.
     Geeks OUT appreciates that most American families work for every dollar and care deeply about where that money goes and what it supports.
     Skip Ender's Game is not a threat; it is a reality. Our pledge adds hundreds of signatures every day from sci-fi fans around the world who would rather stay home than support homophobia. We have only just started and Geeks OUT and its allies are prepared to carry on past November 1. Nothing Card nor Lionsgate has said changes the fact that skipping Ender's Game is the easiest way to ensure none of your dollars go to Orson Scott Card's and the National Organization for Marriage's extreme anti-gay agenda.
GeeksOUT has collected several of Orson Scott Card's more inflammatory attacks on gay people. Here's one:
“Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”
— Orson Scott Card, “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” Sunstone Magazine, Feb 1990

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kansas City's International House of prayer cult pours millions into anti-gay Uganda Churches; former leader, still uncharged in suspicious death of wife, is 'placed on leave' from Lancaster, Texas high school

The video below accompanied a Mother Jones post, Foiled in the United States, Anti-Gay Evangelicals Spread Hate in Africa.
     Good for the Ford Foundation for sponsoring this film.
     (The Foundation is completely separate from Ford Motor Company, although Ford's policies toward gay stakeholders are exemplary. Too bad some of Ford's dealerships, like this one in Nebraska, support homophobic institutions.)



      Several months ago, the wife of a man active in IHOP, Bethany Deaton, was killed in a murder made to look like a suicide. The man accused claimed her husband, Tyler, ordered a hit on her.
     Mike Bickle, the head of IHOP, quickly disassociated himself and his cult from Tyler Deaton.



     Tyler Deaton, who has not yet been charged with any role in the killing of his wife, moved to Lancaster, Texas to teach math but after his students googled him and complained, the district placed him on leave. The Kansas City Star quoted a Texas parent who wants to know why the school district's background check didn't unearth Deaton's creepy past when students were easily able to.
     AKSARBENT has posted about this cult before, here and here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Virginia Dems go after AG Ken Cuccinelli

They're targeting his attitudes toward women, but he's also a virulent homophobe. Noted the Washington Post:
Cuccinelli has not taken a public position on the bill, which was signed into law by President Obama in March. Some conservatives opposed the measure because of language on domestic violence protections for gays and lesbians and expanded authority for Native American tribal courts.

Another vacant Northeast Omaha house burns down



The video contributor to AKSARBENT who shot the above tells us that in the last several weeks he has seen the Omaha Fire Department extinguish two fires of vacant houses; one was near Sherman School on 16th, within blocks of last night's incineration of another vacant home at 17th & Ogden, where, according to a fireman on the scene, flames shot forty feet into the air.
     We're told that the poor, but lily-white (draw your own conclusions) district of Northeast Omaha, bordered by the largest black enclave in Omaha, has had an elevated arson rate for decades, and apparently the still-uncaught perps are either pursuing their nocturnal hobby into middle or old age or else their children have decided to carry on a family tradition.
     Call us crazy, but we doubt arson this audacious and this longstanding would be allowed to flourish anywhere in West Omaha.
     The Omaha Fire Department turned out to be very interested in talking to Our Contributor, a night owl who was returning from a shopping expedition when he saw the fire trucks and decided to deploy the camcorder he usually takes with him. When OFD started asking him some rather pointed questions, he turned on the camera. Here is our transcript:
OC: ...Okay, so you're asking me my name...
OFD: What is your last name sir...
OFD: What time did you show up as far as after the fire got going?
OC: About five minutes ago. And what is your name?
OFD: [Something] Jones. Omaha Fire Department. Serial number 9056.
OC: ...Do you regard people who live in the neighborhood who photograph what goes around as being suspicious and is my name going into a database?
OFD: Oh, no, no. I'm just talking to any witnesses. I'm going to knock on some doors.
OC: But I already told you that I wasn't a witness and that I drove by after the fact.
OFD: After the fact... so you saw something...
OC: What I told you is that I saw the flashing lights and that I live in the neighborhood.
OFD: Oh no, you didn't tell me... "flashing lights."
OC: Yes I did, yes I did.
OFD: I thought you said you saw the fire.
OC: No. I didn't say that.
OFD: Okay, that's fine.
OC: I didn't say that.
OFD: I'm not trying to say you said something you didn't say. Where is your vehicle parked?
OC: You want to know where my vehicle is? It's over there.... (pointing)
AKSARBENT advised our contributor to save all shopping and ATM receipts from the night, not that we believe that the OFD or the OPD would ever hassle anyone deservedly innocent of suspicion.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fracking worsens pressure on water supplies in parched Texas

Wendy Koch, of USA Today, visited drought-striken Austin, Texas for the Lone Star State installment of USA Today's current series on climate change.
     The period since 1950 in the Southwest has been hotter than any comparably long period in at least 600 years, says the draft of the third federal National Climate Assessment report.
     Frackers, who are giving what landowners tell Koch amounts to "mailbox money" for the right to tap their wells, are causing some wells to run dry and have even created conflicts within families.
What's exacerbating water worries in parts of Texas is water-intensive fracking, which is taking off in some of the state's driest areas.
      Half of Texas' oil and gas wells were in "high or extremely high water stress" regions, according to a report in May by Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit that promotes corporate sustainability. Nationwide, the report says, 47% of these wells are in water-stressed areas.
      In Texas, water for fracking jumped 125% in three years and will continue to increase before leveling off in the 2020s, according to a University of Texas-Austin study this year by research scientist Jean-Phillippe Nicot.
      The UT study says oil and gas drilling accounts for less than 1% of water use statewide, and one-fifth of water used in fracking is recycled or brackish. But a similar 2011 study, also by Nicot, found it accounts for at least 20% of water in some counties where fracking is big business.
      Hugh Fitzsimons,a Dimmit County bison rancher, suspects fracking has depleted nearby wells so much that one of his wells is running low. "I've had trouble irrigating," says Fitzsimons, whose herd has dropped from 400 in 2007 to 100.

Matt Damon exploring NU campus with student planning on attending UNL this fall

Jackie Mora of KMTV spotted this social media picture.


Mark Fiore mocks Christers nailing themselves to the cross over Prop 8, DOMA court losses

The Family Research Council claim that Christian small businesses are "forced to particpate" in gay marriages under penalty of serving jail time in the wake of enforcement of gay rights laws is called out as a half-truth. by Politifacts. (Via JMG)

The scariest film of the year opens tomorrow; it's a documentary and here's the trailer

Monday, July 8, 2013

Video: Bold Nebraska's Jane Kleeb nicely parries tag team Fox critics on fracking, oil transport


If Fox video embed code (which uses unsecure javascript that you may have disabled) does not appear in your browser, below, go here.

Domestic Spying: Secret FISA court decision expanded 'relevant' to include huge databases; Postal Service photographs envelopes of mail you send and receive

A former Justice Department official reveals: "In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime. Now it seems to be, ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”
     Domestic surveillance headlines start at 4:00 in the video below; USPS revelations at the 6-minute mark.



Glenn Greenwald calls U.S. pressure to endanger flight of Bolivian President over false accusations he was carrying Ed Snowden 'rogue nation imperialism'; reveals NSA spying on millions of Brazilian citizens


Pat Robertson, of tax-exempt 700 Club, upset that DOMA ruling will return more than $600,000 in estate taxes to Edie Windsor: 'the land will vomit you out'




David Letterman's angry rant against fracking

This, via Americablog, is a year old. Letterman owns about 108 acres in North Salem, New York, in Westchester County, as well as owned or leased property near Choteau, Mont. (a ranch) and on Martha's Vineyard and in St. Bart's in the Caribbean.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

#NOKXL Pipeline Posse trail ride

Related: Unicameral ethics complaint filed against TransCanada's Papillion puppet, Sen. Jim Smith.

4th of July "Restore the Fourth [amendment]" protests against NSA/FBI domestic surveillance

First, editorial cartoonists weigh in. Interestingly, the first two mock the hypocrisy of a public which too willingly surrenders its privacy.
To read, click above to enlarge.

Below: the first protester nailed it. The only way to rein in a out-of-control bureaucracy is to cut its budget.
    Unfortunately, large parts of the complete NSA budget, like that of the CIA, are not only classified, but scattered among other agencies and hidden in the so-called "black budget," which the Supreme Court has ruled that mere taxpayers do not have "standing" to examine, though Article One of the U.S. Constitution (Section 9) says: "...a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all [emphasis added] public Money shall be published from time to time."

From Michael E. Salla:
     ...Richardson had won an extraordinary, though ultimately short lived, legal victory. He had succeeded in arguing that the ‘black budget’ was inconsistent with his constitutional obligations and that the CIA Act had doubtful constitutional standing. The 1971 decision of the Court of Appeals is the closest any US court has come to ruling on the constitutionality of the CIA Act. The Court had effectively decided that Congress had no right to deprive American citizens knowledge of the true size of the appropriated money that was being channeled to the CIA through other government agencies.
     The Federal Government immediately appealed to the Supreme Court and in July 1974, the nine Supreme Court Justices ruled in a 5-4 decision, that Richardson did not have the legal standing to challenge the Federal government. Adopting a conservative legal position, the Court argued that Richardson’s suit was nothing more than a generalized political grievance by a citizen that needed to be dealt with through the political system, rather than the legal system. The Supreme Court concluded that it did not need to examine the merits of Richardson’s case, since he did not have legal standing to bring the suit to the Court. The Supreme Court thus overturned the earlier ruling of the US Court of Appeals. The immediate consequence was that the black budget would remain a secret for some years yet. Despite the setback, Richardson had demonstrated that the ‘black budget’ and the CIA Act that created it, had dubious constitutional standing, and only required a challenge from a party with legal standing to most likely have it struck from the statute books.
Many more demonstration photos are at Buzzfeed...



Friday, July 5, 2013

Obama's gay ambassador nominee to Dominican reveals discontent with Catholic hierarchical homophobia and hypocrisy

Update:
The Dominican community in New York City has reacted swiftly to Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez crude insult to incoming U.S. ambassador James Brewster:
El movimiento Dominicanos Laicos [the Dominican Laity movement] has already written a letter to the Apostolic Nunciature in which they demanded the resignation of Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, and that the Concordat between the Vatican and the Dominican Republic be regulated or annulled.
Fox News Latino adds:
     The Dominican people are speaking and are showing signs that they are in lockstep with the majority of Latino Catholics in the United States, who are increasingly in favor of gay rights.
     An informal poll by Dominican newspaper Hoy showed 60 percent of respondents were against the Catholic Church's criticism of Brewster. Another poll conducted by Pulso Dominicano showed that 57 percent believe the Dominican government should protect and provide more opportunity for gays to hold public office.
     ...According to the U.S. State Department, 68 percent of Dominicans are Catholic. As with U.S. Latinos and elsewhere in Latin America, the Protestant movement is growing, partly by winning over Catholic converts. Evangelical churches in the country have grown from claiming 11 percent of the country’s religious followers in 2000 to as high as 20 percent as of last year.
     "People don't attend church as often and when you look at the rate of marriages in the Dominican Republic, a sacred value of the Church, it is one of the lowest in Latin America,” said Hernandez, of the Dominican Studies Institute.
     ...regarding Brewster, the government — unlike the Church — has actually shown restraint, and did not publicly condemn his nomination. In fact, the government is already considering the matter a done deal.


Blabbeando has covered this like no other blog, in fascinating detail and has revealed that the Dominican Republic's government has ignored the Catholic Church's bullying and implied threats, raising no objections to the nomination of James Brewster:
In the past you probably would have only heard from religious and conservative leaders on the issue. What is remarkable is the push back the homophobic criticisms from the church and conservative leaders are getting not only from gays and lesbians but also the community in general.
      While President Danilo Medina has not publicly spoken about the issue, members of his administration are defending the nomination which would not have happened in previous administrations.
      One Catholic priest, Jesús Maria Tejada, is also buckling the religious powers that be stating that Brewster should be judged on his merits and not on his sexual identity.
      Also, an informal online survey ran this weekend by HOY, a leading newspaper, had 60% of readers disagreeing with the criticism coming from the church.
      It might be that people are getting tired of the church expressing outrage over what they consider immoral issues while turning a blind eye to immoral acts within the church.  Earlier this month in a case that has captured the attention of all Dominicans officials called on a Polish priest to return to the island and face charges he sexually abused up to fourteen children.
      Or perhaps they are tired of the naked vitriolic homophobia of Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez whose declining decades-old power has had a stranglehold on Dominican politics when it comes to LGBT rights.

Dominican Cardinal who called U.S. ambassador nominee a faggot is facing (or evading) priest pedophile scandal in own archdiocese

Related: Blabbeando has covered this story like a blanket. Go here for more details. AKSARBENT did a followup post here, quoting extensively from Blabbeando after we realized how thoroughly that blog had already reported this. Also: Dominicans in NYC react to Cardinal's insult and Shifting Catholic opinion in Dominican Republic
Gil Photo By Elnuevodiario.com.do
Dominican Today says the Santiago Office of the Prosecutor announced Wednesday that it's waiting for Immigration to specify whether a Polish Catholic priest, Wojciech ("Alberto") Gil, accused of pedophilia by several families, has left the Dominican Republic under another identity.
     Investigators have determined that two minors from Juncalito have left the country, perhaps with Gil.
     Faced with a widening scandal, the Santiago Archdiocese, headed by Catholic Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, announced Gil's "suspension" effective May 30, reported Dominican Today on July 3.
     AKSARBENT wonders aloud:
Left: Cardinal "Nicky," out of RCC drag
Gosh, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez! Got any ideas about how, as public outrage mushroomed, your priest could have left the country so stealthily, perhaps under an assumed name and maybe even with two embarrassingly talkative minors? Have you thought about asking around — maybe one of your other padres knows something! Maybe you do, but it slipped your mind... We're guessing that the civil authorities would be all ears should you decide to favor them with your distinguished input. Don't be shy, now; we know you can run your ecclesiastical mouth when you want to!
Below: Santo Domingo's plucky little 2013 Gay Day Parade, which seems to have been granted only two traffic lanes. AKSARBENT doubts any of the participants would object to a gay ambassador from the USA.


The Hodge Twins fricassee Paula Dean




Thursday, July 4, 2013

Canadian sues police for $900,000 for stealing nude photos of him and passing them around to other cops

Matthew Waltenberry called 911 in February 2011 to get help
for a suicidal woman at his home. He waited outside while
Knox and other officers went in. “I trusted them in my home.
They went in the back of my sock drawer and stole 12 photos.”
A former resident of Kitchener, Ont., has sued  Waterloo Regional Police and three officers for $900,000, alleging that one of them stole nude photos of him from his home, rephotographed them with his personal phone, and then distributed them to at least six other officers on a Blackberry messenger group.
     "Did he do it to humiliate me?" an emotional Waltenberry said at a news conference Wednesday held in front of a Kitchener police detachment.
     "I found out he had a wife and kids. So was it a secret sexual thing and these six other officers were involved?"
     The lawsuit also alleges that Const. Jeff Vongkhamphou tried to destroy evidence by removing the photographs from Christopher Knox's police locker and putting them in the garbage.
     Knox admitted in court last May before his September resignation that he stole a dildo from a woman's home that had been broken into, photographed it on a sergeant's cruiser, and sent naked photos of a woman he found on a seized cellphone to his friends.
     What AKSARBENT has learned from this sorry episode: It's always the sock drawer!

Seeds of Death documentary: Gary Null, the Michael Moore of agriculture, exposes Monsanto's sickening chicanery


'Family values' State Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, who fast-tracked eminent domain seizure of Nebraska farm and ranch land by foreign oil company, didn't disclose luxurious TransCanada junket — a class IV felony

Sen. Jim Smith, of Papillion, sponsor of
LB1161, which helps TransCanada trample
property rights of Nebraska ranchers and
farmers through abuse of eminent domain.
Smith's law exempts oil companies that apply
during 2012 from complying with Nebraska's
new Major Oil Pipeline Siting act. Smith
claims, with a straight face, that his law
wasn't unconstitutionally written
specifically for TransCanada.
Jim Smith, Papillion's District 14 senator in the Unicameral, campaigned on a "family values" platform and won in part through the efforts of extremists like the Nebraska Advisory Group.
     He's also the Nebraska State Chairman of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded by billionaire right-wing global warming deniers, the Koch Brothers.
     ALEC distributes "model" legislation, written by lobbyists, to state legislatures where it is introduced via puppet lawmakers like Smith.
     In 2012, Smith sponsored LB1161, which:
...exempted the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline from Nebraska's new Major Oil Pipeline Siting act for a year and would let the company condemn farmer and rancher land under eminent domain without a federal permit for its pipeline.
Naughty Senator Jim Smith didn't tell the Nebraska Accountability and
Disclosure commission about his fabulous, all-expense-paid visit to Ruth's
Chris steakhouse in Calgary, with its "mahogany wine towers," and "niches
throughout the restaurant" exhibiting "intriguingly illuminated glass art."
And the wine! And the brushed walnut limestone imported from Argentina!
A perfect place to reminisce about fast-track eminent-domain condemnation
legislation to make those stubborn Nebraska farmers and ranchers
snap to attention when they don't listen to the reasonable requests of
agents of a foreign oil company without a pipeline permit. Hope Senator
Smith doesn't get convicted of a Class IV felony, don't you?
     Smith couldn't answer question after question about LB1161 during its hearing, deferring to Trans­Canada's lawyer — leading some observers to suspect that he didn't write his own bill.
     The Center for Media and Democracy has now filed an official complaint against Senator Smith, alleging that he took gifts of travel expenses worth almost 30 times what Nebraska Senators are allowed to accept in a month. This doesn't include restaurant bills or lodging.
     From the complaint, filed by Brendan Fischer:
TransCanada May Have Provided Gifts in Excess of Statutory Limits, and Sen. Smith Did Not Disclose Gifts of Travel From the Government of Alberta
     Lobbying principals are prohibited from providing “gifts” to legislators, defined as anything valued at more than $50 in any calendar month (with certain exceptions). Neb. Rev. Stat. §49-1490 (1-3). It is not clear whether Sen. Smith directly or indirectly received gifts from Trans­Canada by way of the lobbying principal “sponsoring” the ALEC Oil Sands Academy,which potentially involved expenditures of $80,000.
     The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission has previously held that when ALEC accepts funds from lobbyists or principals intended for the benefit of Nebraska legislators, ALEC“is acting on behalf of a lobbyist or principal.” Lobbying principals cannot evade the state ethics and lobbying laws by filtering gifts to legislators through ALEC; to do so would allow a principal to “accomplish indirectly that which could not be done directly.”
     Additionally, evidence indicates that Sen. Smith failed to disclose the gifts of travel he received from the Government of Alberta.
    ...In an email sent to the Center for Media and Democracy on May 29, 2013, Sen. Smith affirmed that he did participate in the trip to Canada in October 2012... In the email, Senator Jim Smith stated: “I covered the costs of my air travel to Canada and my lodging while travel to the oil sands region was provided by the Government of Alberta and the Canadian Ministry of Energy.”
     ... However, in September 2012, when ALEC invited legislators to participate in the “Oil Sands Academy,” it offered to pay for their lodging at the Westin Calgary and their airfare from the U.S. to Canada... The cost of lodging was $648.92 for two nights, according to an email ALEC sent to an Ohio legislator who participated in the “Academy.” ...A separate email apparently sent to all legislators attending the “Academy” lists Sen. Smith staying in the ALEC room block.
Click picture to enlarge so you can see the scrumptious entrees at the Calgary
Petroleum Club,
one of which Sen. Jim Smith may have enjoyed after the
hard work of betraying Nebraska farmers and ranchers and having to defer
annoying, mystifying questions about his bill, LB1161, to a TransCanada
lawyer to answer because he couldn't. Bother. Check out the wines! Lovely!
Right: perk enjoyed by Senator Jim Smith of Papillion for selling out the interests of Nebraska farmers and ranchers to a foreign oil company in a bill that may unconstitu­­tionally have been written for a single corporation: one totally free dinner at the Petroleum Club in Calgary!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Independence Day, cynics!

Before accurately noting that the colonies agreed on July 2nd to revolt and that the Declaration of Independence wasn't signed until August (although John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson later conspired to concoct the Fourth fib) Gawker went on this rant:
 ...In San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, victorious in the gay-marriage sweepstakes just in time for the entire neighborhood to be recolonized by same-sex couples who take the Google shuttle and make six figures each, the American flag will fly from every bar and every million-dollar condo unit cut out of a rehabbed Victorian. A few banners will combine the rainbow flag with the one blamed on that talentless old hag Betsy Ross, but the message will fly with all of them: Gay people are super patriotic. Why, they're more patriotic than straight people, especially straight people who worry a lot about gay people.
     Roasting in the heartland, reliably Republican towns will dress up their faded, abandoned Main Streets for an annual ritual aping Disneyland's summer parade and fireworks, minus the fun. Hulking tract-home people with skin the color of Costco precooked shrimp will bivouac at curbside with their monstrous ice chests and drink-holding chairs beneath portable canopies. They will cheer wildly for the military bands and overbearing military vehicles, because what would these towns be without the military hiring the otherwise unemployable heartland teenagers?
     ...The rich make sure to be extra patriotic on the Fourth, even as they transfer ever bigger chunks of their massive wealth to offshore tax havens. The media, in full moronic masturbation mode, will roll out a torrent of straight-faced utter bullshit the likes of which you'll never see outside of a presidential nominating convention at a sports arena. Every industry and every banal cause will be draped in the Stars and Stripes, because since 9/11 it is basically illegal to be unpatriotic. Even the very few people with some guts, like the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, claims to be a patriot...
Here's patriot careerist/opportunist Lee Greenwood, working the God and Country thing to the bone.

Here human! Crush these leaves. Good boy!


Roman Catholic Cardinal refers to Obama ambassador nominee as a 'faggot'

(AKSARBENT replaced the first video in this post with one that is subtitled.)

From Buzzfeed:
Catholic Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez referred to Brewster as a “maricón” — which is usually translated as “faggot” — during a press conference. At his side, Monseñor Pablo Cedano promised the nominee such an unpleasant stay in the country that he will have to return home.
From Americablog's John Aravosis:
     What kind of organization tolerates these kind of slurs, let alone the rape of children?  Paula Deen, a TV chef, lost her entire career for admitting insensitivity to minorities.  But a Catholic Cardinal does the same, and it’s no big deal – just another day at the altar.  After all, when you aid and abet pedophilia, and the literal enslavement of women, what’s a bigoted slur against hundreds of millions of citizens of the world?
     I grew up Christian, but not Catholic.  And even after coming to terms with being gay, I never fully understand why so many of my gay friends who grew up Catholic had such a visceral hatred for the Catholic Church.  Now I do.
     Rodriguez' insulting arrogance and sense of political entitlement is a reminder of how the Roman Catholic Church uses power and deference whenever and wherever it gets it either.
     The Cardinal's ridiculous and unsupported contention that a gay U.S. ambassador would have any agenda other than the interests of the United States is contemptibly typical of the attitude of the Catholic Church, an organization which has no loyalties to any country except the postage stamp principality it calls home, where the Vatican Bank for years routinely violated money-laundering laws.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why don't Omaha sportscasters ever appear in drag on the air, like in Chicago, huh?

And what prompted the above, you might justifiably ask? Has AKSARBENT been into the Malbec again? (Ohhh, not a bad idea...)
     No. It tripped over a WGN Pat-Down segment embedded in the Huffington Post about Chicago Sportscaster Pat Tomasulo getting revenge on photobombers of TV standup reporters by asking the pranksters when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife type questions.
     Actually a female reporter (WKMG reporter Jessica Sanchez ) started that kind of revenge (on a drunk New Orleans Superbowl fan) some time ago, raising the bar far above the reach of virtually any future attempts, so we looked to see what Tomasulo has been up to since the last time we saw one of his reports, about how annoying he found men who unnecessarily go shirtless (bottom.)
     We found the following video of Pat in drag! Yea! AKSARBENT wins!




IA GOP Gov. Terry Branstad tries to con voters into believing neither he nor Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds knew they were doing 90 MPH on rural highway and being chased by police

Branstad, Reynolds
KETV reports that following the release of audio recordings indicating reckless speeding of the Governor's vehicle, an Iowa state trooper, Larry Hedlund, has been placed on leave.
     Hedlund complained about kid glove treatment of the GOP state executives after he pursued a black Chevy Tahoe,
driven by another Iowa state trooper and carrying Iowa Governor Branstad along with the state's Lieutenant Governor, which was going "a hard 90" on rural Iowa Highway 20.
     Here's what the Huffington Post said:

The incident happened on Friday afternoon, and Hedlund complained Monday, April 29, to superiors about the governor's driver being let go without consequence, Hedlund's attorney, Tom Duff, said. Two days later, the attorney said, agents showed up at Hedlund's home to take his gun, badge, car, phone and laptop and inform him he was on leave. Duff said they told Hedlund it was for alleged insubordination and rules violations.
     Here's the asinine, arrogant and unapologetic statement issued by the office of Iowa's governor:
"We have public safety professionals who drive the governor and lieutenant governor throughout Iowa's 99 counties. We have great faith and trust in Iowa's law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the governor and all Iowans. The governor and lieutenant governor were in the vehicle, but were unaware this event had occurred. When we learned the DPS would be sending a release regarding this event, the governor was informed of the incident this morning," said [spokesman Tim] Albrecht.
     And here's Kim Reynolds, speaking at a Paul Ryan event in Council Bluffs last year, accusing President Obama of having "no style" and of playing Iowans for fools. 
     AKSARBENT wouldn't go so far as to call her hypocritical and kind of a bitch — let's just say she's gratuitously catty and embraces double standards, shall we?

Two stupid New York subway homophobes, who don't understand how cellphone cameras and the Internet work, are about to find out


(Via JMG)

The quotable Thomas Peters, American Papist, name­dropper and NOM PR ace: 'I'm kind of a papist groupie, you might say... Most recently, I had a nice sit-down with Cardinal Dinardo'

Peters turned petulant and pouty recently, before hanging up on KABC radio's "McIntyre in the Morning," but he was quite the raconteur in 2010 on the EWTN Global Catholic Television Network show, Life on the Rock with the hip! and contemporary! Fr. Mark, he of the sandals and no socks.
Oh, my!
(29:10) Fr. Mark (left, above): You report on activities and powerful figures in the church... Have you met some of these flesh-on-flesh?

Thomas Peters (right, above): I have. I'm kind of a papist groupie, you might say... Most recently, I had a nice sit-down with Cardinal Dinardo... I even met Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict. I was in Rome for one of the last masses that John Paul II said, Easter Mass, I think, of 2003, and my friend and I were huge Cardinal Ratzinger fans and after Pope John Paul II had gone down the aisle, we spotted Cardinal Ratzinger in the line of Cardinals following him and my friend, who's Irish and sort of has an intense personality, just as Cardinal Ratzinger was passing by us, kind of shouted out in a tone that's not appropriate for St. Peters, "Ratzinger rules!" and Cardinal Ratzinger kept his eyes straight forward, we got him to crack this big smile...

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