Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Watch: complete Indiana dueling press conferences on state's RFRA; Gov. Pence spins it; Dems reject it

Democrats: Pence was in denial yesterday, today he's in the bargaining stage, and tomorrow we hope Pence reaches the stage of acceptance.



Below Gov. Pence began by saying that it's been a tough week in the Hoosier state without admitting which party and what state official were responsible for that.




At Bieber roast, Martha Stewart cheerfully evoked the n-word without actually saying it

You can watch the video here. Below, an excerpt:
As we all know, Kevin is one of the biggest movie stars in the business right now, and he deserves it. He struggled for years.
     When he finally got his first big paycheck, he spent $150,000 on a watch. I forget the term for that — it's not African-AMERICAN rich...
     It'll come to me...
     When I did my stretch, all the hoodrats on my cell block wanted to break off a piece of artha Stewart's ass, so I decided some bitch needed to get got.
     I walked into the chow hall, picked out the biggest bulldyke, and I stuck her.
     From then on, prison was easier than making blueberry scones.
     And Shaq, I hope your mom doesn't still hold a grudge.

20 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced this year in Texas. A summary

Here, via Towleroad is an overview, from a joint news release issued Tuesday by Equality Texas, the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Freedom Network:
The 20 bills (click here) that would subject LGBT Texans to discrimination can be grouped into four broad categories:
  • Six bills, including two proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, would allow businesses, government workers and other individuals to use religion to justify discrimination.
  • Five bills would sweep away nondiscrimination protections passed by municipal and other local governments.
  • Six bills openly seek to subvert any court ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.
  • Three bills would turn transgender people into criminals if they use a restroom that is appropriate to their gender identity. They would also turn employers and building managers essentially into bathroom police who must — under threat of fines and criminal prosecution — verify the gender of individuals using their restrooms.

Antigay Indiana RFRA: Keith Olbermann unfavorably contrasts NCAA's 'boilerplate' response to NFL's decisive response to AZ's 2012 antigay law

Keith Olbermann really is the most eloquent essayist on TV.


(Via Towleroad)

Snarky comment of the day

It comes from one of Towelroad's sassy readers. AKSARBENT wishes it had sassy readers. We're beginning to think our audience just looks at the pictures.

Here are the names of the 4 Indianapolis councilors who refused to support repeal of anti-gay RFRA

24 council members did. But not Cain. Freeman, Holliday or Sandlin.


Seth Myers rips apart the closet bigotry of Indiana's Gov. Pence

Myers: Oh! So you CAN answer a question!




Pence, who obviously thought as recently as Sunday that national media exposure would augment his political currency, spent yesterday desperately trying to con the twitterverse into believing that he hasn't been exposed as a duplicitous jerk who panders to a very bigoted base:

FIX THIS NOW — full, front-page Indianapolis Star editorial to Gov. Mike Pence and GOP

The editor of the Indianpolis Star actually tweeted the paper's full-page, front-page editorial published today, telling the lawmakers (GOP) who created a PR disaster for Indiana to fix their disastrous screwup.
     Indianapolis' GOP mayor is fit to be tied, too.

Virginia, Chicago and Cincinnati woo Indiana businesses angered by GOP's antigay RFRA

Chicago and Virginia and Cincinnatti are eagerly recruiting Indiana businesses appalled by the state's thinly disguised GOP attempt to legalize corporate discrimination against LGBTs.
     Here's coverage of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe attempt to capitalize on the PR disaster inflicted on Indiana by its GOP legislators and governor:

      McAuliffe's open letter encouraged Indiana businesses "to take advantage of Virginia's open, inclusive and thriving business environment," and then went further:
     "...there is another quality that sets our Commonwealth apart from some other states: In Virginia, we do not discriminate against our friends and neighbors, particularly those who are supporting local businesses and generating economic activity.     So if recent events have led you to reevaluate your business relationship with your current home state, I hope you will visit YesVirginia.org and contact me personally about the opportunities our Commonwealth can offer.  Thousands of firms are benefiting from our strategic location, our unparalleled quality of life, our mild winters and our open and inclusive business environment. Come join them."
The Indianapolis Star reported Monday that Chicago Mayor Ron Emanuel's office "sent letters to about a dozen businesses in Indiana, saying that the act is wrong and urging Indiana business owners to:
     "...consider Chicago as a place to move and grow."
     Businesses can't "succeed in the global economy if you discriminate against your residents," Emanuel said.
     Last week, the Cincinnati City Council's first openly gay member, Chris Seelbach, issued a twitter invite to Indiana businesses fed up with their state's powerdrunk antigay GOP legislative majorities:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Media Matters shows how Fox News lied about IN antigay law; then, AFTER it blew up, told the truth

Before: Indiana law was JUST LIKE the federal RFRA:



After: Oh, wait — it's REALLY A LOT DIFFERENT


Nebraska AG joined successful Texas effort to deprive married gay couples of Family and Medical Leave

Last Thursday a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against a recent Labor Department policy change granting family medical leave benefits to legally married same-sex couples living in states that forbid same-sex marriage — after Nebraska joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in an amended complaint to stop FMLA benefits for gay couples.
     One of the plaintiffs to the Nebraska suit to overturn the state's gay marriage (AND domestic partnership AND civil union ban) has stage IV cancer, so at least if she outlives Attorney General Doug Peterson's stalling tactics, he will have the cruel satisfaction of knowing that her gay family will not have received the FMLA benefits that he doubtless took advantage of after his recent cancer diagnosis.
     What a contemptible piece of work. Ugh.
     From the above-linked Washington Blade article:

Indiana Dems: power-drunk GOP has embarrassed Indiana before nation and 'lost touch with Hoosiers'

The GOP mayor of Indianapolis isn't happy with the state's GOP either.  Want to known which Indiana representatives and senators voted for the state's new license-to-discriminate law? Go here.
 

Indianapolis' GOP Mayor: 'RFRA' threatens what thousands of people have spent decades building

Although the state of Indiana refuses to extend civil rights protections to LGBTs, Indianapolis has done so for years. The city's GOP mayor is taking a dim view of the anger that Indiana's GOP lawmakers and governor has brought down on his city and other progressive municipalities. (To see who voted for Indiana's RFRA, go here.)


Raw video: Top Indiana GOP lawmakers desperately backpedal over state's new right-to-discriminate law

The best part was at 20:05 (not 10:05 as AKSARBENT erroneously tweeted) when a reporter asked if the presser hastily called by Indiana's two top GOP statehouse lawmakers was because of Gov. Mike Pence's performance on Sunday's This Week (in which he refused EIGHT TIMES to answer yes/no questions from moderator George Stephanopoulos.)
     The answer, from Indiana's GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma: "...Yes"



From CNN's Jeremy Diamond:
     ...But Indiana's top GOP lawmakers also stuck to the line that the law, in its current form, could not be used to discriminate against LGBT individuals and that any other understanding was a result of "mischaracterization" and "misperception. They also insisted the law had been "misconstrued" and "misrepresented," wagging their fingers at the media and groups opposed to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, dubbed RFRA.
     The state's Democratic legislators said Monday Republicans' proposed "fix" would not be enough to blunt the damage the law has done to the state's image around the country.
     "If Republicans want a fix, there's only one choice. And that is to repeal this law," Sen. Tim Lanane, the state senate's minority floor leader, said as he waived around papers he said would repeal the law and expand Indiana's civil rights act to protect "all Hoosiers."
Meanwhile, Chris Cuomo ripped apart the lie by Peter Spriggs of the Family Research Council, that Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act is "exactly" like the federal RFRA. It is not.

TX AG using part of DOMA that SCOTUS left intact in Windsor decision to deny gay couples family leave

When the Supreme Court invalidated the federal government's refusal to recognize gay marriages in the Windsor case, it left untouched the part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that allowed states to refuse to recognize gay marriages in other states.
     Texas' attorney general is now exploiting that loophole to deny legally married (in other states) Texas couples Family and Medical Leave benefits available to hetero couples.

Indiana Gov. Pence's crude attempt to defend his freedom-to-discrimate law gave state another PR
black eye on ABC, NBC & CBS today




World News Videos | US News Videos

CBS This Morning also did a piece on the controversy, but CBS requires now computer users to reconfigure their browsers to view its content.

Indiana's state seal, reinterpreted


AKSARBENT did a little Internet spelunking on this matter and was quite surprised at all the state seals which feature same sex couples, either two women (New York, North Carolina and New Jersey) or two men (Wyoming, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia.)
     Virginia's is only half a male couple since one appears to be dead at the hand of the other.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

IN Gov. Pence tells 4 lies on ABC about Religious Freedom Restoration Act; won't answer George Stephanopoulos' Yes/No questions

Related: Every Indiana state representative and senator who voted to legalize discrimination against LGBTs

Time after time after time after time, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence refused to answer a yes or no question from George Stephanopoulos.
      Including lies of omission and outrageously false equivalencies, Indiana's governor told at least four whoppers to ABC's audience.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos
His first lie was the false equivalency he repeatedly made between the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of Illinois and Indiana. Illinois' act is balanced by the fact that the Land of Lincoln includes LGBTs as a protected class. Indiana, as Gov. Pence knows very well, does not, and Pence told Stephanopoulos that such protections are not on his "agenda."
     Pence's second lie was his false parallel between the federal RFRA statute and Indiana's. There are at least three major differences between the two:
The bill is broader than its Federal counterpart in several ways.  It explicitly protects the exercise of religion by entities as well as individuals.  Its enumeration of entities includes "a corporation", without limiting this to closely-held companies.  The bill's protections may be invoked when a person's exercise of religion is "likely" to be substantially burdened by government action, not just when it has been burdened.
     Pence's third lie was his specific misrepresentation that Indiana's RFRA "represents a foundational protection for individuals." Here's what the law actually says:
 

     Pence's fourth lie, actually a rather clever bit of disingenuous shape-shifting, was that Indiana's RFRA "does not apply to disputes between individuals unless government action is involved." Here's what the statute really says:

And here's what Lambda Legal says:
SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination. In addition, SB 101 makes it easier to claim a burden on religious freedom than the federal RFRA by defining the “exercise of religion” as “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Video: thousands protest new state freedom-to-discriminate law in Indianapolis


Some businesses in Indiana have banned Gov. Mike Pence from the premises — they're furious about his ridiculous assertion that the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act he supported and signed isn't at all about discriminating against LGBTs and that it is just like the federal RFRA (It isn't; click here to see why.) Here's a list of every Indiana State Representative and Senator who voted to pass the RFRA.

Here is every Indiana state senator and representative who voted for new freedom to discriminate law

Today's anti-RFRA rally in Indianapolis
Click each graphic to enlarge if you need to. At today's Indianapolis anti-RFRA rally (right) there was a booth to register voters.



Not a single Indiana House Democrat voted for the RFRA, according to alternative weekly Nuvo, whose tally is below:

Lloyd Arnold, R – Leavenworth
Michael Aylesworth, R – Hebron
Ron Bacon, R – Boonville
Jim Baird, R – Greencastle
Robert Behning, R – Indianapolis
Bruce Borders, R – Jasonville
Brian Bosma, R - Indianapolis
Mike Braun, R – Jasper
Dr. Tim Brown, R – Crawfordsvile
Woody Burton, R – Whiteland
Martin Carbaugh, R – Fort Wayne
Bob Cherry, R – Greenfield
Tony Cook, R – Cicero
Casey Cox, R – Fort Wayne
Wes Culver, R- Goshen
Steve Davisson, R – Salem
Tom Dermody, R – LaPorte
Dale DeVon, R – Granger
Bill Fine, R – Munster
Bill Friend, R – Macy
Dave Frizzell, R – Indianapolis
Randy Frye, R – Greensburg
Douglas Gutwein, R – Francesville
Dick Hamm, R – Richmond
Tim Harman, R – Bremen
Bob Heaton, R – Terre Haute
Christopher Judy, R – Fort Wayne
Mike Karickoff, R – Kokomo
Eric Koch, R – Bedford
Kathy Krieg Richardson, R – Noblesville
Don Lehe, R – Brookston
Dan Leonard, R – Huntington
Jim Lucas, R – Seymour
Kevin Mahan, R – Hartford City
Peggy Mayfield, R – Martinsville
Jud McMillin, R – Brookville
Wendy McNamara, R – Mount Vernon
Douglas Miller, R – Elkhart
Bob Morris, R – Fort Wayne
Alan Morrison, R – Terre Haute
Sharon Negele, R – Attica
Curt Nisly, R – Goshen
David Ober, R – Albion
Julie Olthoff, R – Crown Point
John Price, R – Greenwood
Rhonda Rhoads, R – Corydon
Donna Schaibley, R – Carmel
Hal Slager, R – Schererville
Ben Smaltz, R – Auburn
Milo Smith, R – Columbus
Ed Soliday, R – Valparaiso
Mike Speedy, R – Indianapolis
Greg Steuerwald, R – Avon
Holli Sullivan, R – Evansville
Jeff Thompson, R – Lizton
Jerry Torr, R – Carmel
Randy Truitt, R – West Lafayette
Matt Ubelhor, R – Bloomfield
Heath VanNatter, R – Kokomo
Thomas Washburne, R – Vincennes
Tim Wesco, R – Osceola
Denny Zent, R – Angola
Cindy Ziemke, R – Batesville

     Five Republican and 26 Democrat representatives voted against SB 101. There were six representatives (three Democrats and three Republicans) who either were not in attendance for the vote or chose to abstain.
     And Mike Pence made it a law.

Some Indiana firms have banned Gov. Pence from their premises

ALSO: Here's a list of every Indiana State Representative and Senator who voted to pass the RFRA.
ABC's This Week: Watch Gov. Mike Pence tell 4 LIES about state's RFRA but refuse to answer two yes/no questions

They're furious about his ridiculous assertion that the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act he supported and signed isn't at all about discriminating against LGBTs and that it is just like the federal RFRA (It isn't; click here to see why.)

IA antigay activist Bob Vander Plaats, anti-gay marriage group under investigation by feds

From the Sunlight Foundation:
     The Federal Election Commission is asking former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and an anti-gay marriage organization to tell the agency why it should not investigate an allegation that they violated campaign finance limits during the last election.
      The complaint, brought by Fred Karger, a gay rights activist who ran a quixotic campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, accuses Santorum of coordinating with the National Organization for Marriage to pay $1 million to Vander Plaats to endorse him, with the money eventually going for ads backing Santorum. That would be a violation of campaign finance law.
     Below: Vander Plaats and NOM (National Organization for Marriage) in an unsuccessful smear campaign to unseat Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

Nebraska's Sen. Deb trolled by Michigan's Sen. Debbie

Chances are slight that the Tom Cotton's gang of 47 (including Sen. Deb Fischer and Sen. Ben Sasse) will have their stationery allowance cut off, but AKSARBENT can dream, can't it?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Disney-owned ABC does charming story of uncle who bolstered niece's confidence by accompanying her to Cinderella in princess drag

If there's a way to illustrate crap news (in this case a viral reddit) by promoting a Disney movie, ABC will find it and milk it.


An important message from the Indiana Board of Terrible People

How sad that Indiana, which was in the forefront of fact-based inquiry into sexual behavior (via Dr. Kinsey) decades ago, has fallen so far.Via Queerty:


Going viral today: Airbus instructional video of how its cockpit doors lock

Nothing, it seems, is more difficult than devising security procedures which cover every base.

Chicago Tribune: the shame of Indiana's new 'religious freedom law'

Rex Huppke, of the Chicago Tribune, has three criteria for determining that Indiana's religious freedom law might be a bad statute. We liked #2:
If you speak out proudly about the importance of your law and it garners national attention, and then you decide to sign that law in a private ceremony with no media coverage, it might be a bad law.
Judging from Indiana Governor Mike Pense's deceptive defense of the law whose passage he just supported, we would probably never buy a used vehicle — or any other hard goods or ideology — from him. Huppke took strong exception to Gov. Pence dragging Illinois into his rationalization
     Gov. Mike Pence noted that 19 states, including Illinois, have Religious Freedom Restoration statutes. The implication was clearly: “Hey, our neighbor Illinois has a law like this and nobody looks at that state as intolerant.”
     He neglected to point out the important fact that Illinois also has a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Indiana has no such law.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Comment of the day on Phil Robertson's predatory, fear-mongering and violent atheist fable

Commenter Sam Ganci cut through the crap of Phil Robertson's moralistic finger-wagging via a simplistic, self-serving parable disrespecting atheists, with this:

Empathy is the basis for morality, not an arbitrary set of rules handed an invisible, undetectable entity. Our ability to understand the impact of our behavior is the thing that separates us from animals. If Phil [Robertson] needs constant supervision from a god to keep from raping/killing, he has the moral understanding of an animal. My dog can refrain from stealing food if I'm watching. Phil has reduced human morality to a fear of punishment. As a father and husband in a non-believing family, I shudder at the thought of how many American evangelicals agree with this.

Dry drunk Phil Robertson's old man sanctimony has a nasty, violent provenance but Robertson blames that history on Satan and a permissive 60s culture — not himself — insisting that outside forces were responsible for the eight years of liquor and substance abuse in his 20s during which he savagely beat a bar owner and his wife over a rent dispute, sending them to the hospital and forcing his wife and small sons to fend for themselves while he hid in the woods of a neighboring state from the Louisiana State Patrol for four months.
     After repeatedly kicking his wife and kids out of the house, Robertson finally straightened up.
     Nowadays, the only people Robertson assaults are LGBTs, with cherry-picked biblical clobber phrases from the Apostle Paul.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wonkette's take on Daily Caller, the 'national news' outlet so enamored of Nebraska Watchdog's Ernie Chambers exposé

Chronicling by chapter and verse Chambers' rhetorical excess about cops (which he has been saying since, like, 1966) and then watching it bounce around the right-wing echo chamber isn't remotely a scoop, and criticizing fellow reporters for not bothering to transcribe Chamber's latest fusillade isn't very meaningful either.
     You can report on the Unicameral or you can report on Chambers' wretched excess but who can adequately cover both? We'd rather see Unicameral reporters ignore Chambers' sideshow antics in favor of more reportage of legislative proceedings in general, as Dana Winter herself is prone to do on her better days.
     For Pete's sake, if she continues to roll around in this ditch, she's no better than a jammies-clad blogger... Us, for example. We expect better from our betters — real reporters — even while recognizing that some of them have to supply their right-wing paymasters with this kind of drivel occasionally.
     Go read Wonkette's take on the Daily Caller for an alternative take on what some people think about the "national news" outlet that takes Chambers' flights of fancy seriously. Via Winter:
     None of the reporters at the legislative hearing reported on Chambers’ comments, but KFOR Radio and Nebraska Watchdog did this week, prompting a flurry of national coverage. Nebraska lawmakers are accustomed to Chambers’ vitriolic speeches, and rarely call him out, perhaps because he often retaliates by targeting them and their bills. But on Wednesday, McCoy took the unusual step of confronting Chambers.
     “It’s appalling, and I’ve had enough,” McCoy said.
     He said he first heard about Chambers’ remarks on Wednesday, when the story went viral.
     “This is the first time in my time I’m going to stand up and take on Senator Chambers for something he said,” off the floor, McCoy said Wednesday morning, noting the story made national news – from FOX News to the National Review to the Daily Caller – and calling on Chambers to apologize to police and military officers who defend the U.S.
In June 2012, Nebraska Watchdog's parent, the Franklin Center, teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to host the first annual Breitbart Awards dinner.

SCOTUS' DADT approach to heightened scrutiny in gay discrimination cases

JURIST Guest Columnist Eric Berger, of the University of Nebraska College of Law,  ponders how, not if, the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down prohibitions on gay marriage:
Precedent forms less of an obstacle to this approach than one might think. Scholars disagree about whether Romer held that laws targeting gays and lesbians receive only rational basis review or alternatively, found that the Colorado amendment failed rational basis and therefore would have failed any level of scrutiny. Either way the common wisdom is that the court did not apply deferential rationality review but rather "rational basis with bite." In invaliding section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor abstained from articulating a tier of scrutiny but also seemed to apply searching review. Heightened scrutiny is not what the court says in these cases, but it may be what it does.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz launches presidential run at university whose dean has published screeds by death-to-homosexuals activists three times

Ted Cruz announced his bid for the presidency of the U.S. at a mandatory-attendance assembly at Virginia's Liberty University, founded by sexist, antigay and dead "apartheid-supporting bigot" Jerry Falwell. The institution has few women leaders  
     Via JoeMyGod (link added by AKSARBENT):
For the third time in four months, Christian leader Matt Barber has published  a guest column from an advocate of the death penalty for homosexuality. 
     In 2010, Liberty University got almost half a billion dollars in federal financial aid ($25,000,000 more than the government gave to NPR.) according to Alex Parene at Salon.
     The massive sum was thanks to the growth of Liberty's online program, which enrolled 52,000 students last year. The school is the largest recipient of Pell grant money in the state of Virginia.
 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sean Penn: 'Homosexuality through musical hypnosis.'
Andy Richter: 'That's how they get you.'

Penn commuted to S.F. from Marin while filming Milk and had a morning routine to get into his gay character.


SXSW: a miniskirted, Bill 'Murray-achi' does a sidesaddle dismount to greet Jimmy Kimmel

He usually tools around Austin in jeans, a t-shirt and a golf cart, but this was special.


How a Brit tabloid sells a budget story to its readers

Awesome! Maybe the New York Times, which once rejected a courtesy photo from William F. Buckley to accompany a profile because it showed him shirtless on his sailboat, is only the world's second best newspaper.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Matt Baume does Aaron Schock

Schock retired hours after Politico reported the latest blowup about his finance irregularities: claiming (for reimbursement worth at least $50,000) double the miles on a Chevy Yukon that the SUV had on the odometer when Schock sold it.


Microsoft ends development of Internet Explorer,
its second communications program

Explorer will be supplanted by a totally new browser in Windows 10, although it will ship with the operating system for compatibility. Microsoft's first communications program was Access, such a dismal failure that the company was able to recycle the name as a database product without confusing its customers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A grim interview with Aaron Schock's father

We were going to be snarky but this is sad on so many levels. Ugh. How many rungs of denial are there on this ladder? Via Politico


   

Sir Elton spotted with D&G bag; Did he surrender to jack-booted D&G models and Glenn Beck?

Beck must have retrieved his biggest trowel for his latest load, casting antiChrist Elton John against St. Stefano of the jack-booted Milan male models (the really terrifying part of the D&G video below starts at 8:53).
     Interestingly, Elton John was photographed entering an L.A. recording studio with a D&G bag a day after swearing off the brand. Either he's already capitulated or he's up to something...



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MO GOP gubernatorial race so nasty, one candidate shoots himself in head, dies

This wasn't even a general election fracas — just what Republicans do to each other. Tough party.



Among the tactics: a false whispering campaign that Tom Schweich was (gasp!) Jewish. This apparently works in Missouri to dry up funding from Christers.
     (Schweich may not have realized that there are plenty of wealthy, right-wing Jews willing to fund stooges for Israel (like the ones funding Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel, which showered Tom Cotton's campaign with $1 million as he went down to the wire against Democrat Mark Pryor in Arkansas last fall.)
     And then there are all those like-minded domestic groups similar to the one responsible for the video below, that front for Israel in the U.S.


         

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dolce and Gabbana have now stitched together a victim narrative on instagram; commenters aren't buying it

Click above graphic to enlarge

#BoycottDolceandGabbana today became the top-trending hashtag in America. The designers are attempting to change the conversation from their attack on gay parents and IVF children to a discussion of an alleged attack on their freedom of speech and now insist that critics are disrespecting their personal opinions which they claim were never meant to criticize anyone else's choices.
In an interview with Panorama, an Italian fashion magazine, the couple was quoted: "The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow; there are things that should not be changed."
     Below: presumably rented baby models in a D&G advertisement years before D&G ripped "rented uterus" scenarios engaged in by gay male couples attempting to start their own biological families. Below that, a male couple depicted as raising a kid poses for a D&G advertisement. In 2006, Stefano Gabbana told the Daily Mail, "I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How Barney Frank got back at a GA pol for years of Senate homophobia

Politico's long excerpt from Barney Frank's new autobiography, Frank; a life in politics from the Great Society to same sex marriage, is fascinating.
     Included is how Frank placated both of the gay journalists from the Boston Globe vying to break his self-outing, how he threatened a nuclear outing of GOP closet cases if Lee Atwater didn't stop his dirty tricks whispering campaign against Rep. Tom Foley, and how he decided that two prominent Democrats were fueling a whisper campaign against House majority leader Tom Foley.
     But here's the part in which Frank paid Sen. Sam Nunn back for years of homophobic actions in the Senate:
     ...There is a postscript to the fight over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that I promised Clinton I’d keep secret. But I now feel free to reveal it because Clinton himself brought it up in a conversation with Taylor Branch that would be published with Clinton’s consent in Branch’s book The Clinton Tapes. Branch, whose work on Martin Luther King Jr. is brilliant journalism that I wish every activist would read, is a strong admirer of Sam Nunn and apparently asked Clinton why he had not appointed Nunn to a major national security post in his second term. Nunn had in fact hoped to become secretary of state. Clinton replied that it was my fault, referring to a memo I had sent him.
     I am delighted to plead guilty as charged. After the 1996 election, one of Clinton’s top aides called to warn me that the president was on the verge of making Nunn secretary of state. I started to complain, and the response I got was, “Don’t complain to me. I agree with you, but I haven’t been able to stop it and that’s why I am calling you.”
     I immediately composed a memo to Clinton in which I said that Nunn had a consistent record of homophobia. He had fired two men from his staff because they were “security risks” back at a time when the anti-gay order was still in effect. He had vigorously led the fight against allowing us to serve in the military, and in 1996 when Ted Kennedy cleverly forced a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Senate, Nunn was one of only five Democrats to vote against us.
     In other words, I wrote to Clinton, Nunn has been one of the most effective and dedicated opponents of fair treatment for LGBT people. I have defended you, I went on, against those who have unfairly, in my judgment, accused you of selling us out on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell issue. But if you appoint this man, who has done so much to harm us, to the most prestigious position you have to give, you will do more to validate those criticisms than I could do to rebut them. I passionately told Clinton that he should not do this to those of us who had been his strongest supporters.
     I must acknowledge that I got some personal satisfaction from apparently frustrating Nunn’s aspiration to be secretary of state. But I also thought that something crucial was at stake: Being a leading opponent of fair treatment for LGBT people should be considered a disqualification for high honor within the Democratic Party. No comparable opponent of fair treatment for African-Americans, women or any other group would have been considered for such a post. I am proud that I helped establish the principle that we should receive equal consideration.

SNL repeats one of its most brilliant sketches, ever

It takes a lot of brass to try to demolish the legacy of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in one of cinema's most beloved scenes by skewering it with a feminist twist, but SNL's victory was total thanks to a genius script, the incomparable Kate McKinnon ( who got EVERY laugh in the piece) and J.K. Simmons, who, evidently, was just around to feed her setup lines.
 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Omaha Film Festival

The 10th annual Omaha Film Festival ends tomorrow.
     Tonight, on the Short Film Block #8 (Nebraska) schedule is Derek Davidson's Just Another Tuesday.
     Here's the entire schedule and links to buy tickets.

Sens. Fischer, Sasse unconcerned about outrage to their attempt to sabotage nuclear agreement with Iran

The menacing letter they signed, almost certainly a violation of the Logan Act, was written by Sen. Tom Cotton, and threatened the integrity of nearly 4,000 executive agreements signed since the begining of the Carter administration alone.
     It falsely attempted to persuade the government of Iran that the United States is not bound by executive agreements and implied that President Obama's successor could revoke any agreement signed by the United States with Iran.
     Secretary of State Kerry said their recklessness undermined U.S. foreign policy, was legally incorrect, and "ignored more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy."
     Iran's foreign minister, a professor of international law with advanced degrees from three U.S. universities, said this:

     Sen. Deb Fischer dismissed criticism of her action as "partisan noise."
     Sen. Ben Sasse adopted a mien of incredulity, passing off his attempt at diplomatic meddling as merely "a letter that says we have a Constitution." He then went further, telling the World-Herald:
     It's breathtaking to me that anybody can think a letter that says we have a Constitution is surprising."
     Pressed as to his reason for signing the letter, Sasse said that shouldn't be the issue...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

UNL Chancellor: honor society tackling not hazing because football players get tackled



On Monday, the Daily Nebraskan published a story by Chris Bowling (a really good student reporter) wondering whether the University of Nebraska's oldest honor society, Innocents, was getting away with hazing, after an uploading to YouTube of a tackling ceremony (above) by UNL Innocents. Such an incident last year resulted in the examination of an inductee for a possible concussion, which was ruled out.
    The Innocents' induction certainly seems to fit the description of hazing, as defined in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Code of Conduct:
“Any activity by an organization or by a member of an organization in which a member, prospective member, pledge or associate of the organization is subjected to acts which cause harm or create the risk of harm to the physical or mental health of the member, prospective member, or pledge.”
But there's a loophole, noted by Bowling:
     Members have a defense against allegations of hazing. They say inductees don’t have to be tackled if they don’t want to.
     The Innocents is upfront on its membership application that inductees may opt out of the ceremony. But Peter Bock, a former Innocents member and UNL alumnus, said this hardly ever happens because no one wants to be the person who disrupts the tradition.
DN: An excerpt from the minutes for the Innocents Society meeting following the tackling incident.
     Today, the DN published another piece by Bowling, containing the university's response to his initial article:
     UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman pointed to article III, section eight of the code in an email defending the tradition...
     In accordance with the particular guideline, which outlines acceptable practices for initiation rituals, the Innocents’ tackling ceremony doesn’t require exertion, deprivation or embarrassment over a sustained period of time, Perlman said. Nor does it damage anyone’s reputation.
[Says the star of a series of stupid YouTube videos, as seen at the bottom of this post—AKSARBENT]
     But Perlman, an honorary Innocents member, didn’t explain how the tackling falls beyond the reach of the code of conduct’s definition of hazing. The definition is outlined in article III section seven: “any activity by which a person intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health or safety of an individual for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership with any student organization.”

     ...Perlman said stretching the definition of hazing runs the risk of criminalizing innocuous behaviors.

     “If tackling by Innocents as a condition of membership is prohibited, then what about (the) tackling drill to make the football team?” Perlman said.
Below: Perlman in a cult of personality NU promotional video:

Politico: Peoria, IL Rep. Aaron Schock disguised plane trip cost as software purchase

Left: Keith Siilats
Politico reports that Rep. Schock's reported $3,425 purchase of software from Bytelogics was really part of a $13,000 payment for air travel to Illinois for official events and to a Chicago Bears football game on a plane belonging to Keith Siilats, the chief technology officer of Bytelogics.
     “This is for a flight,” Siilats said in a brief interview Monday. Asked if he has ever sold Schock software, Siilats said, “No, I never sold him software.”
     Under federal law, “knowing and willful” violations of election statutes — including reporting violations — can result in criminal charges. That could include failing to report an expense or disbursement properly, or repeated violations of regulations covering such actions.
     ...Schock reimbursed the government roughly $10,000 for that flight. The additional $3,425, which Schock labeled as a software purchase, came out of the Schock Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account.

Here's wet-behind-the-ears Sen. Marco Rubio trying to put Sec'y of State Kerry on trial. Pathetic

In respect of the rash letter signed by Rubio and other GOP senators (seven refused to sign) Kerry had this to say, via Politico.
“This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy,” Kerry said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “This risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to with the United States.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Paul Ryan claiming 'soverign immunity' for chief of staff, who rear-ended two men

Ryan's chief of staff, Kevin Seifert, rear-ended a vehicle carrying Santos Perez and Adan Cajas on I-395 in D.C. in February, 2014. Both are claiming injuries, want $100,000 in damages, and say Seifert neither kept a safe distance nor drove at a safe speed. Ryan, who owned the car, was not involved.
     The Wisconsin congressman is being defended by the U.S. Department of Justice, which got the case moved from D.C. trial court to federal court and are seeking dismissal.according to the Huffington Post.
The DOJ lawyers acknowledge that Seifert was "acting within the scope of his employment" on that day. But they contend that both Ryan and Seifert are protected under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which generally shields the government from lawsuits to which it has not consented. They also argue that Perez and Cajas have failed to first pursue all administrative remedies as required under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Below: Ryan, campaigning for the vice-presidency, in Council Bluffs, IA, in 2012:

Ours or theirs?


Jamaican mob records murder of gay youth tied up, then pummeled with rocks

Gay Star News linked to said video but did not embed it in its story.
     It shows the young man dressed effeminately with long hair, appearing to be tied up in ropes or wire, laying in a pool of his own blood. A large stone is thrown at the boy's head, blood gushes out.
     It's not clear whether he is still alive or conscious as the rocks break his skull.
     You can hear homophobic slurs, clearly said with a Jamaican accent, yelling: 'Batty man yuh fi dead!' This means, 'Gay, you should die'.
Should this affect your travel plans, you will certainly want to inform Jamaica's Tourist Bureau at: @VisitJamaicaNow

Hillary Clinton destroyed 31,830 emails: more than half her email traffic while Sec'y of State; her complete statement

No other news outlet we've seen has put it quite as succinctly:
     Clinton turned over 30,490 e-mails to the State Department last fall at the department's request, just under half of the 62,320 total e-mails she sent or received as Secretary of State. Clinton's office said in information supplied after her news conference. More than 27,500 involved official government e-mail addresses. To identify which e-mails were work related, her office searched not only for .gov addresses, for names of government officials and Clinton's staff, but also for terms including "Benghazi" and "Libya.''
     The remaining 31,830 e-mails were deemed personal and deleted.
     Although the Clinton email scandal is on the same level as Jeb Bush's and far less disgusting than Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's hot email mess, we can't keep from wondering if "Keystone XL" was one of Hillary's search terms in determining which emails to turn over and which to obliterate. Just saying.

   Hillary Clinton emails Q&A by Alex Seitz-Wald

Due to circumstances beyond our control: TV reporter MUGGED ON CAMERA

From the YouTube description of two of Zambia's most blatantly stupid criminals outside the cadre of officials who actually run that country.
While waiting to go live, contributing SABC editor Vuyo Mvoko got mugged in full view of SABC cameras shortly before he was to deliver a standup on Zambian President Edgar Lungu's arrival at Milpark hospital.

Watch: Maine's independent Senator King appalled by reckless Cotton letter signed by Sens. Sasse and Fischer

Arkansas' hothead freshman senator, Tom Cotton, has "split unified American sentiment on Iran into a partisan issue [even within the GOP] and undermined the president, congressional authority, and U.S. allies in the process" — with the help of signatories like Sen. Ben Sasse and Sen. Deb Fischer (bracketed comment in quotation added by AKSARBENT)..


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

OU Coach Switzer appears with tearful SAE housemother — then a racist video appeared of HER

After Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its University of Oklahoma chapter following release of a racist bus video featuring members, the frat's 79-year-old housemother, Beauton Gilbow, was out of a job, so a GoFundMe page appeared to collect money for her. After $6,000 had been collected, the page suddenly disappeared. The following video, discovered by the Oklahoma Daily, may have had something to do with that:



     In an emotional interview with News9, former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer appeared with Gilbow and said he hated that "so many good kids have been hurt." Switzer used to belong to a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. For her part, Gilbow said she was "in shock" at the racism depicted in (now two) videos of her charges.
   “Did you ever get any indication there was anything like this going on?” News 9's Kelly Ogle asked.
   “No, no, no... ,” Gilbow responded.
RELATED: AKSARBENT's grandmother, (a virulent non-racist, unlike some family members we could mention) also used to be a housemother at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter. She became so disgusted with the shenanigans that she quit.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Bloomberg wonders if right-wing extremists like Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer just signed a treasonous letter

Both Nebraska senators (as well as Iowa Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley) have signed a letter intended to sabotage President Obama's negotiations with Iran. Via Bloomberg:
     The letter, organized by Senator Tom Cotton, a freshman from Arkansas, warned Iran that "...we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time."
     White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the letter's goal was to "undermine" negotiations with Iran, but also noted that if the Obama administration reached an agreement over Iran's nuclear program that it would not be a treaty subject to congressional ratification.
In a response, Iran's foreign minister seems to display more knowledge about the U.S. Constitution than either grandstanding senator from Nebraska:
Zarif expressed the hope that his comments "may enrich the knowledge of the authors to recognize that according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement at any time as they claim, and if Congress adopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of US obligations.
Crooks and Liars added: Republican idjuts like Senator Tom Cotton [this would include Sasse, Fischer, Ernst and Grassley, who all signed his ignorant letter] may think it's cool to play cowboy with international relations, but we're fortunate to have some adults in the room still.
     Mother Jones reminds us that Tom Cotton,first gained notoriety after writing a letter to the editor of the New York Times demanding that everyone who worked on a story on a top-secret terrorist tracking program be tried for treason
     Now it seems that he has graduated to conspiring to commit treasonous activities his own self.

Sad cat diary

Well, this video, which has 20,000,000 views was new to us...

YouTube videos got knocked off Facebook's top perch; now Twitter will also host videos—on 2 new platforms

In December, Socialbakers, a social media data tracking company, reckoned that for the first time ever, Facebook Page owners uploaded more videos directly to Facebook than they did via sharing from YouTube. This is a sea change and terrible news for YouTube, but that's not the end of it.
     Twitter has announced TWO new video hosting platforms; one up to 10 minutes and another (competing more with VINE and Instagram) up to 30 seconds.

Bloomingdale's is here to fill the Arthur Murray void

If you never heard of Arthur Murray, go here.



Here's the how-to, if you care:

Will your horse do this?

This has to be one of the world's most indulgent equine.

Downton Abbey actor dissed fellow cast member as the 'stupidest' in Christendom

Now that you're here, we'll tell you that the actor who plays Tom Branson (Allen Leech, who is as funny as he is adorable) was referring to Isis as "the stupidest dog in Christendom." At 5:40 in the video below:
And I don't know why it has a job. It will not sit where it's supposed to. It's a treat whore... It'll do anything for a treat. But if you don't have treats and you run out and you're in a scene and you're half way through the scene that's only about four minutes long and suddenly this dog gets up, sniffs your crotch and leaves... And Maggie Smith goes, "Can you not control him?"
     No, I can't Maggie. I'm sorry.
     ...Myself and Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, have a plan next year [the interview was from 2013 before the dog was written out of the show] to buy a dog and train it ourselves. It'll be cheaper. We'll take the money — and spend it on cats.


Leech goes on to describe the parlor games the cast plays during dinner scenes, which can last 12-14 hours.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon bus chant

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is North America's largest fraternity. This recent video, said to be of members of the University of Oklahoma chapter, was uploaded this weekend while most of the rest of America commemorated the violence visited on voting rights protesters in Selma 50 years ago. Lyrics:
There will never be a nigger SAE.
There will never be a nigger SAE.
You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me
There will never be a nigger SAE.



This just in: SNL rips Dr. Ben Carson FOUR TIMES, Nebraska only once

Thank you SNL! Total evisceration of a homophobe and a snarky news item about an idiotic Nebraskan (a Lincolnite) and AKSARBENT only has to embed one video!



Saturday, March 7, 2015

KETV shows its straight viewers that they're still in its thoughts and prayers

KETV (with other stations) has been doing one gay story after another lately, with the gay hate crime trial of Gregory Duncan, the burning of a rainbow flag by a homophobic vandal in front of its lesbian owners, and the back and forth between the advance of marriage equality in 37 U.S. states and Attorney General Don Peterson's spend-whatever-it-takes efforts to try to beat back the tide in Nebraska using an budget which must be far more generous than we thought.
     But now — finally— a story just for heteros! About a straight adult-entertainment entrepreneur!
     Or, according to Rob McCartney's lip-smacking introduction: "New tonight, a story that might get your juices flowing."
     (The story's subject, Shane Harrington, wants to open a string of nude "juice bars," which wouldn't require liquor licenses, along Interstate 80.)
     So Rob made a salacious allusion: DID YOU GET IT?

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