Monday, October 31, 2011

VA Rep. Randy Forbes gives the finger to Founding Fathers; House to vote to affirm religious bumper sticker as national motto; Rep. Lee Terry on board

Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes:
first US motto by John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas
Jefferson not good enough for him
"E Pluribus Unum" was the motto proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. A latin phrase meaning "One from many," the phrase offered a strong statement of the American determination to form a single nation from a collection of states. Over the years, "E Pluribus Unum" has also served as a reminder of America's bold attempt to make one unified nation of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs. The challenge of seeking unity while respecting diversity has played a critical role in shaping our history, our literature, and our national character.

In 1956, a year after the phrase "under God" was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, the divisive, exclusionary phrase “In God We Trust” was made the official U.S. motto, replacing the eloquent, respectful-of-diversity adage that the nation's founding fathers first gave the our nation: E Pluribus Unum.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a resolution to affirm the phrase “In God We Trust” as the nation’s official motto, according to Politico's Seung Min Kim.
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), the founder and chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sponsored the legislation. It would encourage the public display of the motto in all public buildings, public schools and government institutions.
     In a committee report, five House Democrats – Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Bobby Scott (Va.), Melvin Watt (N.C.) and Judy Chu (Calif.) – said Forbes’s bill “creates unnecessary and excessive government entanglement with religion.”
     The resolution was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in March.
     Critics of the resolution said it violated the establishment clause of the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.”
Eric Dolan of TheRawStory reported:
“The phrase ‘In God We Trust’ does not apply to the more than 16 percent of Americans who identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, nonreligious, or unaffiliated, and it does not apply to religious Americans who do not have Judeo-Christian beliefs,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Branding our secular country with a religious motto only creates division among its citizens and erodes the wall of separation between church and state.”
And who cosponsored House Con. Resolution 274, which encourages the display of a religious slogan "in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions?"

Robert Aderholt [R-AL4]
Todd Akin [R-MO2]
Rodney Alexander [R-LA5]
Steve Austria [R-OH7]
Michele Bachmann [R-MN6]
Spencer Bachus [R-AL6]
James Barrett [R-SC3]
Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD6]
Judy Biggert [R-IL13]
Gus Bilirakis [R-FL9]
Rob Bishop [R-UT1]
Sanford Bishop [D-GA2]
Marsha Blackburn [R-TN7]
Jo Bonner [R-AL1]
John Boozman [R-AR3]
Frederick Boucher [D-VA9]
Bobby Bright [D-AL2]
Paul Broun [R-GA10]
Henry Brown [R-SC1]
Virginia Brown-Waite [R-FL5]
Vern Buchanan [R-FL13]
Dan Burton [R-IN5]
Ken Calvert [R-CA44]
David Camp [R-MI4]
Eric Cantor [R-VA7]
Shelley Capito [R-WV2]
Bill Cassidy [R-LA6]
Jason Chaffetz [R-UT3]
Mike Coffman [R-CO6]
Tom Cole [R-OK4]
Michael Conaway [R-TX11]
Ander Crenshaw [R-FL4]
John Culberson [R-TX7]
Geoff Davis [R-KY4]
John Duncan [R-TN2]
Vernon Ehlers [R-MI3]
Mary Fallin [R-OK5]
John Fleming [R-LA4]
Virginia Foxx [R-NC5]
Trent Franks [R-AZ2]
Scott Garrett [R-NJ5]
John Gingrey [R-GA11]
Louis Gohmert [R-TX1]
Robert Goodlatte [R-VA6]
Kay Granger [R-TX12]
Samuel Graves [R-MO6]
Ralph Hall [R-TX4]
Gregg Harper [R-MS3]
Jeb Hensarling [R-TX5]
Walter Herger [R-CA2]
Peter Hoekstra [R-MI2]
Duncan Hunter [R-CA52]
Lynn Jenkins [R-KS2]
Samuel Johnson [R-TX3]
Walter Jones [R-NC3]
Jim Jordan [R-OH4]

Peter King [R-NY3]Steve King [R-IA5]
Jack Kingston [R-GA1]
John Kline [R-MN2]
Doug Lamborn [R-CO5]
Thomas Latham [R-IA4]
Robert Latta [R-OH5]
Christopher Lee [R-NY26]
Frank LoBiondo [R-NJ2]
Donald Manzullo [R-IL16]
Kenny Marchant [R-TX24]
James Marshall [D-GA8]
Kevin McCarthy [R-CA22]
Thaddeus McCotter [R-MI11]
Patrick McHenry [R-NC10]
Mike McIntyre [D-NC7]
Howard McKeon [R-CA25]
Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-WA5]
Candice Miller [R-MI10]
Gary Miller [R-CA42]
Jeff Miller [R-FL1]
Jerry Moran [R-KS1]
Sue Myrick [R-NC9]
Randy Neugebauer [R-TX19]
Pete Olson [R-TX22]
Mike Pence [R-IN6]
Tom Price [R-GA6]
Adam Putnam [R-FL12]
Nick Rahall [D-WV3]
Dennis Rehberg [R-MT]
Phil Roe [R-TN1]
Harold Rogers [R-KY5]
Michael Rogers [R-AL3]
Mike Ross [D-AR4]
Aaron Schock [R-IL18]
John Shadegg [R-AZ3]
William Shuster [R-PA9]
Michael Simpson [R-ID2]
Ike Skelton [D-MO4]
Adrian Smith [R-NE3]
Lamar Smith [R-TX21]
Clifford Stearns [R-FL6]
Gene Taylor [D-MS4]
Lee Terry [R-NE2]
Glenn Thompson [R-PA5]
William Thornberry [R-TX13]
Todd Tiahrt [R-KS4]
Patrick Tiberi [R-OH12]
Michael Turner [R-OH3]
Frederick Upton [R-MI6]
Greg Walden [R-OR2]
Zach Wamp [R-TN3]
Edward Whitfield [R-KY1]
Addison Wilson [R-SC2]
Frank Wolf [R-VA10]
Bill Young [R-FL10]
Donald Young [R-AK]

Maritime Halloween: shark trick-or-treats hagfish — and wishes he hadn't

This evening the CBC broadcast a feature about hagfish, who are so ugly that, listeners were warned, even if they dressed up as slutty ones, they'd be alone at any Halloween party. The creatures release a gill-clogging slime cloud when threatened. Watch the shark release the hagfish and make a face, the CBC opined, like you would make if you ate a spoonful of long-expired cottage cheese.

As world population hits 7 billion, 2 Australian gay men father 2 sets of twins via Indian fertility clinic

(Via Towleroad)
Earth to heterosexual supremacists: this is what happens when laws are passed preventing otherwise-qualified gay couples from adopting children. (And sometimes, unfortunately, what happens even in the absence of such laws.) AKSARBENT thinks couples who can't have kids should adopt, not procreate, and that the government shouldn't stand in their way. Incidentally, these four baby boys have already cost their 'rents $130,000, Australian. A Current Affair televised the story, "Daddies' Boys."

Christopher Hitchens responds to 9-year-old's question: What books should I read?

Gravely ill with throat cancer, Christopher Hitchens received the Richard Dawkins Award at the Texas Freethought Convention in Houston — from Dawkins personally. During an unscheduled Q&A Hitchens was aproached by a very precocious then-8-year-old girl, Mason Crumpacker, whose mother (knowing her daughter is no pushover) told her she could ask Hitchens a question if it was good and if it was respectful. Mason walked through the hall, populated with over 1,000 Atheists, seized the microphone, the day and the attention of the blogosphere, and asked Hitchens: "What books should I read?"

Hitchens was so charmed and intrigued that he spent 15 minutes with the girl after the presentation. His recommendations?

  • Dawkins’ Magic of Reality
  • Greek and Roman myths, "particularly those compiled by Robert Graves"
  • "Anything satirical"
  • Shakespeare
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  • PG Wodehouse (“for fun”)
  • David Hume
  • A Tale of Two Cities.

A complete account may be seen at Why Evolution's True.

$600,000 Koch Bros subsidy for Global Warming denial study blows up in their faces

The Huffington Post reports that prominent physicist and global warming skeptic Richard Muller, who just spend $600,000 of Koch Bros. money in a two-year study to try to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong, has decided that they are right.

The shameless Koch Foundation is now acting increasingly like the witch doctor who blamed the villager who killed the chicken whose entrails he examined before making a false prophesy. The foundation released a (very) brief statement noting that:
Muller's team didn't examine ocean temperature or the cause of warming and said it will continue to fund such research. "The project is ongoing and entering peer review, and we're proud to support this strong, transparent research," said foundation spokeswoman Tonya Mullins.

Keystone XL pipeline: retired World-Herald publisher Harold Andersen, 0; New York Times, 1

In his blog, Harold Andersen, retired publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, said (emphasis added):
Kleeb, incidentally, is opposed to construction of the pipeline across the Sand Hills or anywhere else. Some other opponents, including Governor Heineman, say they approve of a pipeline which would bring Canadian crude oil into this country for processing. But a research team retained by the State Department (a team which concluded that the Sand Hills route was environmentally safe) said that to try to switch to an alternate route at this late date would kill the project because it would increase the $7 billion cost by 25%.
Here, Andersen is nothing if not cleverly disingenuous. The October 7, 2011 New York Times reported that the "research team [Cardno Entrix] retained by the State Department," as Andersen phrased it, was "retained" because TransCanada recommended the firm, which was because the State Department allowed TransCanada to screen applicants. Apart from Harold Andersen, some people (like those at the New York Times) would find the blatant conflict of interest and the co-opting of the integrity of the US State Department by a foreign corporation much more troubling than a cost increase of 25% to that corporation.

Anderson blithely bashed on, trying to scare his readers a bit for Halloween:
It has been suggested that a likely alternative would be to pump the crude oil to a West Coast refinery and put it on tankers bound for China, which has indicated great interest in importing oil from Canada.
Right. Because if the current route is chosen, the oil would go to Houston refineries to be sold on the world petroleum spot market where China, of course, couldn't pursue its "great interest in importing" Canadian oil because... Oh wait, they could.

Rum Diary: Johnny Depp in the driver's seat. Or lap

The trailer is here. The film opened weakly, only pulling in $5 million, but is said to be an enjoyable, if fluffy romp. BTW, Puss 'N Boots raked in, like, $34 million in its opening weekend.

Ann Arbor, MI wecomes Eric Cantor

From Blogging For Michigan:

WHEN: 12:00 noon, Monday, October 31
WHAT: Funeral Procession, Protest and Eulogy
given by a “Cantor” impersonator
WHO: University of Michigan Planners Network
Protect Your Care Michigan
Washtenaw Community Action Team
WHERE: University of Michigan League
911 N. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI

Click for a printable flyer (PDF)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seemingly drunk Rick Perry: 'I grew up on a farm... I tell people: so far out in the country that everybody had their own Tomcat'

Texas ex-cheerleader Rick Perry evidently likes alcohol AND guns as he seemed to be referring fondly to a small arms weapon during his bizarre Cornerstone address which many people think he delivered under the influence of something.

Beretta's line-up of small pocket pistols is led by the (.32ACP) caliber Tomcat, a semi-auto that delivers a potent punch from a small, light­weight package. The exclusive tip-up barrel allows the user to easily load a round directly into the chamber. Very small, very concealable. The weapon is similar to its larger counter­part, the Beretta 92FS M-9, which is used widely by the American Armed Forces, and Law enforcement.

Novelist Mona Simpson's touching eulogy for brother Steve Jobs; last words revealed

Apple Staircase
Design Patent US D478,999 S
Photo:, Flickr
The New York Times has published Mona Simpson's affecting and eloquent eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, delivered Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University. Simpson is also a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother...
     ...Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”
     He had surprises tucked in all his pockets. I’ll venture that Laurene will discover treats — songs he loved, a poem he cut out and put in a drawer — even after 20 years of an exceptionally close marriage. I spoke to him every other day or so, but when I opened The New York Times and saw a feature on the company’s patents, I was still surprised and delighted to see a sketch for a perfect staircase.
     ...He started his farewell and I stopped him. I said, “Wait. I’m coming. I’m in a taxi to the airport. I’ll be there.”
     “I’m telling you now because I’m afraid you won’t make it on time, honey.”
     ...Until about 2 in the afternoon, his wife could rouse him, to talk to his friends from Apple.
     Then, after awhile, it was clear that he would no longer wake to us...

Congress sends State Dept. another letter; Rep. Blumenauer, 33 others blast Keystone XL pipeline selection process; not one Nebraska congressman signs letter; Pick up the phone, readers!

Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress reports:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one of the top climate hawks in the U.S. Congress, is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The signatories raise the specter of corruption in the use of a former Clinton campaign official as TransCanada’s top lobbyist. In a letter signed by several fellow House Democrats, Blumenauer “says newly released emails of exchanges between the State Department and TransCanada have tainted State’s review of the project.”
The letter may be read in its entirety here. Absent from the list of 33 signatories are Adrian Smith. And Jeff Fortenberry. And Lee Terry. And Mike Johanns. And Ben Nelson. Not one of them signed last week's letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders either — the one requesting a State Department Inspector General investigation of the Department of State's outrageous behavior in this matter. Why not click on the names of your representatives in the above list and call them to ask why they aren't being proactive in this matter? Here's an excerpt from the letter:
As members of the House of Representatives who are concerned about the impacts to the Nebraska Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer of the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, we request that you find the proposed route not in the national interest. The Final EIS did not adequately consider alternatives to the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. There are at least three reasonable alternatives that should have been considered. A northern alternative would avoid the Ogallala Aquifer and is shorter than the proposed route. Yet, the Final EIS did not consider this alternative because of potential impacts to groundwater in North and South Dakota, but failed to compare those groundwater resources to the Ogallala, which provides 30% of the water used for irrigation in the United States. The only economic justification was a single email from TransCanada saying the slightly increased cost of this route would not be economical, but it provided no economic analysis to support that claim.

Iowa Rep. Steve King on Perry, Santorum: 'I would stand in a blind and shoot next to either one of them any time."

King isn't quite fishing buddies with either of the two Ricks (Santorum-Perry) but he recently went pheasant hunting with each of them and told the World-Herald that both men "showed skills." King was asked but wouldn't tell exactly what each of his companions bagged, warning, "I just don't know if I'd want to be between them in a debate."
     (Aksarbent notes that King's Selective Service records indicate that he prefers to shoot at things which don't shoot back.)

UNL only Big 10 university not offering domestic partner benefits

(If the video on this page doesn't appear after 15-30 seconds, click here) Antigay-for-pay activists like to paint domestic partnership benefits as a sop to the "gay agenda," but what they don't say is that 50% of the nation's households are headed by single people. UNL's singular lack, among Big 10 universities, of employee+1 coverage has caused aggressively-recruited talent to cross the University of Nebraska off their lists. Instead, we get people like this person.

Short Takes: Omaha World-Herald endorses special pipeline session; new smartphone app: I'm being arrested! USA near bottom of OCED social justice report

Nebraska's largest newspaper endorses the special pipeline session in an editorial, cites Montana's Major Facilities Siting Act and urges senators to git 'r done, or, in Herald-speak: "...there should be room for a common-sense, Nebraska solution"

Shorter University, a George Southern, Baptist College has its tax exemptions and can fire gay employees any time it wants! What a deal

John McCain makes the same joke 27 times in 5 years

New smartphone app: "I'm being arrested!"

Android Ice Cream Sandwich release (4.0): No longer the iphone's ugly cousin

Gay retirement communities walloped by recession

What does OWS want? Wrong question.
Right question: What doesn't it want? Answer: you, Mr. Pundit.

The New York Times concludes that Scandanavia rules in selected measures from the report "Social justice in the OCED" (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) — how do the member states compare?" It places the USA in the bottom five of the 31 countries its chart lists

Tom the Dancing Bug tips its hat to Dan Savage?

The creator of the strip, Reuben Bolling (a pseudonym) must have read Dan Savage's rude October 5th response to Herman Cain's stubbornly stupid assessment of homosexuality as a choice before he drew the strip scheduled for release October 14th. Or maybe a case of great minds thinking alike.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tivol's gay vague ads: everything's more up to date in Kansas City than you might think

Joyce Smith, of the Kansas City Star, reports that Tivol, the century-old, veddy upscale KC jeweler, coyly says through its director of marketing, Adam Gebhardt, that its Tivol and Tommorows ads, put on the web, KC magazines and billboards, aren't "political" and that it's up to viewers to decide the message.

Don't expect inclusive ads like Tivol's here in Omaha at Borsheims, where Bill Gates bought Melinda her rock. It's owned by Warren Buffet who, if his GEICO treatment of gay people is any indication, would prefer to ignore or insult them than to wink at them, the way Progressive does on TV and the web. Photo: TEDizen via Flickr.

Where has AKSARBENT heard that before? Could Gebhardt be channeling VW, which said roughly the same thing when it premiered its same-sex "Sunday Afternoon" Golf ad during the coming out episode of Ellen in 1997?

Although a surprising number of car ads have been out-and-out gay (well, in Europe, anyway; see below) VW remains the king, queen and royal family of gay vague advertising. Take this "Big Day" Jetta ad, run in 2006, featuring the actor who is now 1/2 of the gay couple on Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives:

AKSARBENT prefers Renault's ads, if not its vehicles. In a Renault ad, there is actually a possibility of a boy getting laid; unlike the uptight Germans, the French don't give a shit who knows it.

Here's another example of Renault laughing at boundaries, although AKSARBENT thinks they should have named the car "Twinko," not "Twingo."

Cain vs. Obama: bad lip reading vs. donuts

Pundit Kitchen and Boing Boing via JMG

Siri answers your gay questions, no matter how frank

There are many more at this tumblr website, including a response seeming to indicate that someone at Apple made sure that Siri understands what a gloryhole is. Hmm.

David Arquette: really, really high on life

(Via Towleroad)

Distiller of spirit most favored by destitute alcoholics celebrates 30 years of marketing to the gay community

Good parents always trick-or-treat with their kids

West Hollywood Confidential

Gay Conan staffer will marry his boyfriend on show

Update: they're hitched.

Conan O'Brien will celebrate one year at TBS by taking his show to New York's Beacon Theater next week, where he will officiate an on-air same sex wedding.

Show sources are quick to caution that the potentially ground­breaking event is no mere publicity stunt, and isn't intended to make light of gay marriage — in fact, O'Brien will be marrying a longtime staffer and his partner.

Conan is a minister? In what? The Church of Jayne Mansfield of the New Atomic Age?
     AKSARBENT wonders if he'll rent out the studio again as a B&B in his absence.

Gay HS student athlete documentary,
'Out for the Long Run' to be screened in Hartford CT

The Hartford Courant reports that "Out for the Long Run," a documentary profile of four openly gay student athletes will be screened at the EROS Film Festival, the student-run offshoot of the Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival,  Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Saturday, Nov. 6 at Cinestudio in Hartford.
"Out for the Long Run" profiles four openly gay student-athletes, male and female. The film's director, Scott Bloom, will be present at the screening, as will Green, and possibly Green's parents.
     Green [a subject of the film] said in a phone interview from New London that Bloom found him, and the other athletes, through a query on a Facebook group for gay athletes.
     Bloom found that college was more accepting of gay athletes than high school or the pros. "College is larger and a better-educated atmosphere. Kids are not in that fishbowl that high school is," he said. "Then they get to pro sports, then it closes down again. … All of the pro athletes I know now who are gay all came out after their careers were over."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rep. Lee Terry cosponsors 'worst piece of IP legislation in a decade'; SOPA would imprison future Justin Beibers; death penalty for thousands of web sites

Lee Terry's bill would expose future Justin Beibers
to prison terms. Regrettably, this photo is not real.
Congress is considering companion bills, the so-called Protect IP Act in the Senate and, in the house, SOPA.

Here's the deceptive House of Representatives description of the bill, SOPA, that Lee Terry is cosponsoring:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) allows the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products.  The bill increases criminal penalties for individuals who traffic in counterfeit medicine and military goods, which put innocent civilians and American soldiers at risk. And it improves coordination between IP enforcement agencies in the U.S.

What the description Terry (Washington: 202-225­-4155, Omaha 402-397­-9944) and his fellow perps don't tell you is that it means the death penalty for any web site featuring somebody streaming a performance of a song they don't own. Oh, and five years in prison for the performer.

Here's what Declan McCullagh of CNET said about Terry's sinister bill:
Because the Stop Online Piracy Act is 79 pages long and amends existing law in subtle ways, it will take some time to analyze how it differs from the PROTECT IP Act, which earlier introduced the notion of an Internet "death penalty."
Terry's bill, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation has called "disastrous" may be even worse than its Big Brother in the Senate, the so-called "Protect IP" act, which even Google has already vowed to fight. The EFF further described Lee Terry's legislation:
...suffice it to say, this is the worst piece of IP legislation we’ve seen in the last decade — and that’s saying something.  This would be a good time to contact your Congressional representative and tell them to oppose this bill!

AKSARBENT gets suckered into publishing a publicity photo for shorts which pictures Katie Price's ex

AKSARBENT has no idea who Katie Price is, but evidently she has a past, and he (Alex Reid) is on the left in a publicity photo for what we assume is a totally new men's underwear product that is completely different from every other kind of men's underwear currently on the market. (Source)

York, Nebraska man with five automobile DUIs gets another one — in an aircraft on the runway

But he can skate on this one because, since an aircraft is legally considered to be different from a road vehicle, Bartholomew's newest conviction is considered to be a first offense.
According to court documents, the trooper and airport worker were talking when their attention was grabbed by the sight of an Ultralite aircraft entering the runway circle at the south end of the airport. They saw the aircraft then go into the ditch, back to the runway, down the runway and then off the runway, during which it damaged marker lights.

Secretive front group supporting Cindy Golding with 1000s of mailers is withholding its tax returns — again

In a letter released to Jeremy Hooper of GoodAsYou and other "interested parties," Fred Karger again wonders why the well funded and secretive Mormon-organized anti-gay lobby the National Organization for Marriage is again concealing financial information.

NOM was caught days ago distributing mailers in New Hampshire which contained faked photos.

If Cindy Golding fails to specifically disavow and disassociate herself from this deceptive, unaccountable political hit squad, and if NOM continues to refuse to come clean about its supporters, AKSARBENT recommends voting for Liz Mathis.
October 28, 2011

Mr. John Eastman

National Organization for Marriage
2029 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC20006

Re: Missing NOM Tax Returns

Dear Mr. Eastman:

I am writing to alert you that the 2010 federal tax returns (990’s) of the National Organization for Marriage are missing. They were due in May 2011, and an extension was granted until October 15, 2011. We stopped by your Washington, DC office this week and there were no 990’s available for viewing as required by law. They are not up on your web site nor are they on Guidestar.

No IRS returns [are] available again this year at the tiny national NOM office in Washington DC.

As the newly hired Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a distinguished law professor and a former law school dean, I had hoped that you came aboard NOM to perhaps try and give it some much needed honesty.
Who is NOM Trying to Protect?
NOM has not filed its tax returns on time with the Internal Revenue Service for both its 501©3 and 501©4 organizations for any of the four years since it began. I have had to visit your various NOM offices year after year to request them. Others and I have sent certified letters requesting your 990’s and have never received them. I finally had to file multiple complaints with the IRS to force your organization to release its tax returns.

I have been the most prominent watchdog of the National Organization for Marriage since June of 2008, soon after it was established. I watched NOM grow from nothing just over three years ago, to an operation working in over half the states on each and every anti-gay legal and political battle. NOM is also deeply involved in hundreds of state and federal candidate campaigns. Additionally, all your federal lobbying and other activities in Washington, DC rival that of the Family Research Council.

NOM Under Active Investigation in Maine
As I am sure you are aware, NOM and its former officers are under investigation by the state of Maine for money laundering on a referendum NOM put on the ballot in November 2009. The active investigation of the National Organization for Marriage by the State Ethics Commission and the State Attorney General is in its third year. I filed the original complaint and testified three times in Maine to make sure that the truth comes out. Only then will we finally learn where all the millions and millions of dollars NOM brings in each year to its two organizations actually comes from.

You can't blame me for being suspicious, since NOM has sued 23 states to try and keep the names of all your funders secret. It was, however, gratifying to see NOM lose its California case this week in federal court the same case you subpoenaed me in). CLICK HERE:

So, as NOM’s new Chairman, I am writing you in the hope that finally there may be a modicum of integrity at the National Organization for Marriage. We hope that someone with your distinguished record will act in accordance with the law; unlike your predecessors Robby George and Maggie Gallagher.

We assume that you will promptly obey federal law and file and release both sets of tax returns.

I anxiously await your reply.

Best regards,

Fred Karger

cc: Interested Parties

Mt. Rainier casts shadow on the sky

Photo: Kathy Brant
Via Towleroad come a number of photos of Mt. Rainier casting shadows on the sky.
It only happens when the sun rises farther to the south as we head toward the winter solstice and has to be in the exact position to where Rainier blocks the first rays of morning light.
If it weren't for the fact that there are several other photos of this unreal phenomenon, AKSARBENT would swear this picture was ham-fistedly Photoshopped.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Koch Bros. money quietly funding ALEC drive for laws to disqualify voters

(via JMG)

The above documentary, should be watched in its entirety but if you haven't time, skip to the 12-minute mark to see the part about the insidious, well-funded and secretive organization known as ALEC.
The Kochs and their partners spent at least $40,000,000 in the 2010 US elections, helping to shift the balance of power in the House of Representatives towards right-wing tea party Republicans. It's been reported that to defeat president Barack Obama next year, the Kochs plan to raise and spend more than $200,000,000.

ALEC is another Koch-funded group that brings together corporate lobbyists and conservative legislators to draft model laws. It turns out the anti-union measures in both Wisconsin and Ohio reflect ALEC model legislation which the organization tries to keep under wraps. But a few months ago a whistleblower leaked more than 800 of ALEC's sample bills to the Center for Media and Democracy.
     Lisa Graves is its executive director.
"What happens here through ALEC is that these corporations are actually voting...preapproving these bills. Then these legislators go along with this system, introduce these bills in the state houses and don't tell the public at all that those bills were preapproved, prevoted on by corporations.
Voter ID laws passed this year in Wisconsin and four other states that make it harder for minorities, students and the elderly to vote were based on an ALEC bill.
Some state legislators, like Tom McMillin of Michigan, get VERY defensive when asked if they belong to ALEC.

Iowa Rep. Steve King uses notorious Catholic bully, Bishop William Lori, to trash gay constituents; Gay civil marriage wrong because it insults Catholicism; Next stop: divorce?

Here we see, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, speaking at a crudely fabricated Washington, D.C. hearing concocted to recast tax-exempt Christian bullies* as victims (House Judiciary subcommitte hearing on "The State of Religious Liberty in the United States.")

In his legislative passion ploy, King chose Bishop William Lori, Catholic Bully,* to play Joan of Arc, tied to the stake by gay marriage advocates.

Watch King cynically and stupidly attempt to paint the LBGT drive to gain legal protections for gay families through same sex civil marriage as, somehow, an attack on heterosexual church marriage.

Equating apples to oranges is a logical fallacy, which King may not have studied in college because in 1970, draft avoider Steve King quit college (and its Vietnam draft deferments) after having drawn a high lottery number (#308) on December 1, 1969, meaning he was safe from having to serve in Vietnam. In 1970 he abruptly quit Northwest Missouri State three years into his college education without earning a degree.
King: If a group of individuals actively engaged in or promoted the idea of desecrating the Eucharist, would that be a direct affront to the Church?
Bishop William Lori, Catholic Bully:* Why yes!
King: Would you name the seven sacraments (of the Catholic Church)?
Bishop William Lori, Catholic Bully:* Baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, annointing of the sick, marriage and holy orders
King: When there's an active effort to desecrate a sacrament of the church, that is a direct insult and affront to the Catholic Church
Bishop William Lori, Catholic Bully:* Absolutely!
Steve King is a member of St. Martin's Church in Odebolt, Iowa, a Roman Catholic church.

*WikiPedia says this about King's hearing witness, Bishop William Lori:
While an auxiliary bishop in Washington D.C., he led an investigation at the behest of Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey into a liberal parish in Georgetown. Investigators taped their questioning of priests, staff and volunteers and asked them all to pledge their honesty. Critics said the tactics were a heavy-handed attempt to bully the parish away from its liberal ways. One called it "an inquisition."

Vicious antigay facebook beatdown at Chillicothe, OH area High School; Union-Scioto's penalty for attacker: 3-day suspension, no expulsion, no call to police

From Equality Ohio:
This week, a 15-year-old teenager was severely beaten in his high school class room for being gay. The attack occurred at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, and was caught on camera as fellow class members watched one teen wait for the victim to enter the room, push him to the ground and continually punch him in the face. Two days prior to the attack, the perpetrator harassed the victim via Facebook regarding his sexual orientation. The victim has suffered a possible concussion and dental damage. The attacker was suspended from school for just three days.

Union-Scioto has no policy in place that specifically protects students from being bullied or attacked based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Union-Scioto Local School District does have a policy that prohibits harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, among others, but it does not specifically protect against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ohio House Bill 208 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and other enumerated protections to Ohio’s anti-bullying law without changing the general prohibition against any bullying or harassment.  Research demonstrates that students feel safer and actually are safer in schools that have enumerated anti-bullying policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Proponents of the bill are seeking testimony in the House Education Committee, but the bill has not been a priority of the committee. 

Dwight Garrett, Superintendent
Union-Scioto Local Schools District
Dan Savage has published contact information for the administrators of this high school in his post, "What Does It Take to Get Expelled From Union-Scioto High School?"

The school district's facebook page is here.

WKKJ 94.3 FM recently reported on Unioto High School's initiative to discourage cyber bullying on Wed. Oct. 17th:
Gunderson was at Unioto High School, Wednesday, encouraging students think before they speak or post negative comments: "We don't see the reaction of our victim anymore; we don't see what's happening, so we will put all this out there, we can be anonymous if we want to, and we can hurt people in ways that was never possible before."
     In some cases, cyber bullying has even led to suicide.
     Unioto Guidance Counselor Sara Williams said there are consequences for bullies ranging from a conversation to suspension to legal action.

IBM claims it can now simulate a cat brain

Aksarbent's Director of Issue Analysis for
Government and Public Policy, a position
which, at the American Family Association,
is held by Bryan Fischer
IBM, the corporation famous for its wildly popular graphic user interface-based operating system, OS/2, and for Jeopardy and chess stunts, now claims it can simulate the entire brain of a cat using 24,576 processors, each with 1 gig of memory, in some sort of parallel arrangement. The company only needs 512 processors to simulate a mouse brain and 2048 for a rat brain, which AKSARBENT thinks is probably the setup used to think of the name for this project: Blue Gene.

RELATED: IBM cat brain simulation called hoax.

New dyslexic-friendly type font

Scientific American reports that:
Christian Boer, a graphic designer from the Netherlands, has developed a way to help tackle his dyslexia. The 30-year-old created a font called Dyslexie that has proved to decrease the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading. The font works by tweaking the appearance of certain letters of the alphabet that dyslexics commonly misconstrue, such as "d" and "b," to make them more recognizable.
A slideshow highlighting the differences between Dyslexie and conventional fonts is here, and a page typeset in the new font is here.

Liz Taylor's jewelry to be sold 12/13-14

CBS reports:
Eighty of the most famous pieces will be sold on Dec. 13. The following day, 189 more gems will be sold. About 500 pieces of Taylor's costume jewelry will be sold online at the same time. The entire collection will be exhibited from Dec. 3-10 at Christie's New York galleries. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition admissions and publications related to the sales will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

13 congressman want investigation of State Dept. handling of TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — not one is from Nebraska

Pit mines, tailings ponds and haul roads of tar sands mining site Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Photo: Mary Kavanaugh, University of Lethbridge
(Outrage your friends! Share this post by clicking on a button underneath it.)

TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline will almost certainly leak poisonous chemicals into the huge Nebraska part of the Ogallala Aquifer (Keystone 1 has leaked more than a dozen times in its first year.)
    Yet, not a single Nebraska senator or representative is curious enough about documented State Department skullduggery, corporate collusion and whitewashed environmental "studies" to sign the letter Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 13 other congressmen have sent to the State Department Inspector General.

     AKSARBENT wonders why the senator from Vermont is doing a better job of looking after the interests of Nebraska landowners than Adrian Smith. Or Jeff Fortenberry. Or Lee Terry. Or Mike Johanns. Or Ben Nelson.
    Below are questions your Nebraska congressional representative apparently isn't asking. Why not click on his name, above, and call to ask why he too isn't asking for an investigation of the State Department's outrageous behavior? Don't send an email. Congress gets millions and even the staff can't begin to read them all. Phone tip: be polite, but firm.
  • Did TransCanada improperly influence the State Department’s selection of a contractor for the EIS?
  • Did the State Department and all parties fully comply with the letter and spirit of all federal disclosure laws and regulations in regards to the Keystone XL pipeline project?
  • Is Cardno Entrix’s contract for the EIS and Keystone XL pipeline analysis with the State Department or with TransCanada, and has this contract been publicly disclosed?
  • Does Cardno Entrix have a contract or agreement with TransCanada wherein Cardno Entrix would provide services, such as spill response, for the Keystone XL pipeline if it is approved?
  • What is the nature and extent of any other contractual or financial relationship between Cardno Entrix and TransCanada?
  • Did the State Department’s Final EIS fully incorporate the views and concerns of federal agencies with expertise, such as EPA, in relation to central questions of alternatives and mitigation, pipeline safety, and environmental risks from this project, including:
  • fully considering whether the oil from Keystone XL will stay in the United States or be exported,
  • evaluating a tar sands oil spill in the Kalamazoo river with a cleanup cost that has increased from $430 million in 2010 to $700 million today,
  • assessing the exacerbation of climate change due to increased greenhouse gas emissions from increased exploitation of tar sands oil?
  • Were there any communications between State Department officials and TransCanada, the Canadian government, or proponents of the pipeline, which were in any way improper or which indicate any deviation from the State Department’s obligations under federal law to provide objective analysis of the project and its potential risks?
  • Did the State Department or any of its officials or employees, past or current, improperly disclose any materials or information to TransCanada, the Canadian government, or proponents of the pipeline?
  • Have all requests for materials related to the Keystone XL pipeline under the Freedom of Information Act been timely fulfilled so that the public has access to all the necessary documents and materials related to this project?
  • Did the State Department violate its role as an unbiased oversight agency by advising TransCanada to withdraw their permit request to operate the pipeline at higher pressures with the reassurance that TransCanada could apply for the permit at a later date through a less scrutinized and less transparent process? [Thank you WikiLeaks! Free Bradley Manning!]

Tom Becka fired by Clear Channel; ruthless corporatism bites the hand that promoted it

UPDATE: Becka returns to Omaha radio. Were Tom Becka and Dave Wingert axed by Mitt Romney's cutthroat private equity firm?

The popular right-wing KFAB radio personality was, according to the Omaha World-Herald, one of dozens of Clear Channel hosts across the country who have lost their jobs due to cost-cutting measures. This seems to corroborate suspicions of critics who said Clear Channel's reason for firing Dave Wingert (an expletive uttered on air) was just an excuse to get rid of comparatively expensive talent.

This week's Clear Channel firings were predicted last week by a poster on, who wrote:
It's widely reported that the suits are being summoned to Chi-town next weeks and the flash drives will be handed down dictating severe programming cuts.  You see, the debt they'll [Clear Channel] never pay off had to be re-financed and, in return, the bank wants a lot of operational cuts.  This time, programing will be SEVERELY impacted.  Who is in trouble locally?
The latest round of pink slips comes in addition to the bloodletting in the first quarter of this year.
The larger group of positions eliminated yesterday were the result of the top-to-bottom business analysis conducted by Bain Capital, which along with Thomas H. Lee Partners, are the private equity firms which now own the overwhelming majority of Clear Channel parent CC Media Holdings. That analysis determined that certain jobs were redundant, unnecessary or could be done by a computer rather than a human being. Thus, the mass firings of 1,850 people in January and 590 yesterday for a total of 2,440.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

HRC Press Release: Disgraced homophobic extremist Paul Cameron, formerly of University of Nebraska, now leveraging hate in Moldova

From WikiPedia: Paul Cameron used to be an associate professor of Marriage and Family at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
     In 1982, when the Lincoln city council asked residents to vote on a proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, Cameron led the opposition as chairman of the Committee to Oppose Special Rights for Homosexuals.
     During the campaign in Lincoln, Cameron delivered a speech at the University of Nebraska Lutheran chapel. This drew much attention after he stated that a four-year-old boy had suffered a brutal homosexual assault in a local mall.
     Police were unable to confirm the incident, and Cameron acknowledged that he had heard the story only as a rumor. On May 11, Lincoln voters rejected the proposed measure by a 4–1 margin.
     After that he established the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality, now known as the Family Research Institute (FRI). As FRI's chairman, Cameron has written papers associating homosexuality with perpetration of child sexual abuse and reduced life expectancy.
     In 1983, the American Psychological Association expelled Cameron for non-cooperation with an ethics investigation, although by his own account he had resigned from the organization the previous year.
     Position statements issued by the American Sociological Association and Canadian Psychological Association have accused Cameron of misrepresenting social science research.

HRC's Press Release:

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today condemned remarks made by anti-gay extremist and disgraced psychologist Paul Cameron in Moldova, where he is speaking out against proposed non-discrimination legislation that would include sexual orientation.

During a press event in Moldova today, Cameron repeated some of his most vicious and false remarks about gay people, including likening homosexuality to pedophilia. Cameron said: “While no one can say precisely how dangerous a homosexual teacher is; no one can say exactly how dangerous a homosexual priest is; it is clear that they are many, many more times dangerous to their charges – to the children they oversee … whoever is pushing this thing [non-discrimination legislation] wants to sprinkle homosexuals throughout your society.” Watch Cameron’s remarks [Above].

“Paul Cameron’s remarks aren’t only false and offensive, they’re also incredibly dangerous,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We saw in Uganda the dangerous impact that Lou Engle’s anti-LGBT rhetoric had on citizens there, and Cameron’s incendiary and blatantly untrue lies put gay Moldovans at the same risk. Cameron has been roundly disgraced by his colleagues here at home – but when he takes his hate abroad, government officials are often unaware that his purported science is a sham.”

The American Psychological Association expelled Cameron in 1983 for grossly misrepresenting research. And both the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Canadian Psychological Association say Cameron misuses research to fit his rhetoric. In a 1985 resolution, the ASA said of Cameron: "Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism…Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research."

Cameron founded the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality – later renamed the Family Research Institute – and used the organization as a platform to publish his propaganda by buying space in publications. In addition to linking homosexuality to pedophilia, Cameron has called AIDS a “godsend,” advocating for placing those who are HIV positive or living with AIDS in “detention centers,” and has called being gay a “crime against humanity.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Occupy Oakland: ABC, CBS cut live feeds seconds before cops throw tear gas and flash-bang grenades

Sources: Fire Dog Lake,
via JMG

Rick Perry: Dare you to come to Western Nebraska,
you sorry wretch

Frame from Rick Perry's first Iowa campaign ad, now being aired in a state that gets 20 percent of its electricity from wind. For another reason not to vote for Perry, go here.

DC Halloween foot(wear) race; Place your Bettes

Zack Ford of ThinkProgress shot this, via JMG.

Gay Heidelberg, PA man set on fire; Police chief tells TV reporter he'll send attackers a summons in the mail

Heidelberg Police Chief Vernon Barkley, seen here
in a television report on a different crime
Timyka Artist of WPXI reported that Steven Iorio's leg was set on fire after he passed out in a friend's apartment after a night of drinking at the Heidelway Bar, in Heidelberg PA, near Pittsburgh.

A witness said Iorio's acquaintances wrote "disgusting" things on his pants, drew on his face, poured Bacardi 151 on his leg and then set it afire because he is gay.

The two suspects, Brandon Washington and David Blair, were not arrested by the Heidelberg PD, but they WILL receive a SUMMONS in the mail, as they have been charged with aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Timyka Artist made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the Heidelberg Chief of Police, so she went to his office. He told her he was "too busy to talk right now." Artist, as of her report, was "still waiting for him to call us back."

MSNBC covers fake photo distributed by group campaigning for Cindy Golding for Iowa Senate

Not one, not two, but three unsavory groups, the Iowa "Family leader," the National Organization for Marriage (see below clip) and the Concordia Group really, really want to send Cindy Golding to the Iowa senate. If that's not a reason to vote for Liz Mathis, then we don't know what. BTW, the web site mentioned by Rachel which found the fakery is, which actually discovered two doctored photos. Here is the other one.