Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nikon 1 cameras: not as 'huge' as Ashton Kutcher would have you believe; a poor value

Chart: The yellow is the Nikon 1 sensor; the blue
is an APS-C sensor which even the cheaper Nikon 3100 has.
A dinky-sensor camera for the price of a large-sensor DSLR. Fail. But you do get your choice of fashionable colors! Ken Rockwell says this new lens system/odd sensor size camera will be orphaned in a few years. We think he's right. Better compact camera: Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with an APS-C sized sensor that is more than 3 times the size of the Nikon 1's and which does better in low light. Speaking of which, the Fujifilm 35mm (50mm 35mm film equivalent) f1.4 (!) prime lens is four times faster (or more) than any Nikon lens you can get for the "1" system. (Good thing, too, since a flash for the Fuji is optional.) One more thing: the Fuji sensor is built in a way that doesn't require a low pass sensor to minimize moire patterns, so there's nothing in the camera between the image the lens transmits and the sensor. The Fuji is is more expensive, but it gives you access to the fastest prime lens in compact digital photography except for the f1.1 Leica Noctilux-M 50 — which costs nearly $10,000!

Urinal video games?

What a fiendish way to get dudes to drink more!

AKSARBENT remembers the old days, when one could play a skill-demanding game of Avalanche whenever the bartender emptied a bunch of ice into the urinals. No microprocessors required. And get off our lawn. (Via Towleroad)

BAE Systems, maker of pepper spray used on Occupy UC Davis students, now blackballing Medal of Honor winner who refused to continue working for firm

Recently, Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Dakota Meyer quit his job at BAE Systems, a British defense contractor with substantial US interests, because it was trying to sell advanced thermal optic scopes to the Pakistani military, which Meyer thinks is tantamount to stabbing US Marines in the back.

Now, Meyer can't return to his former employer, Ausgar Technologies, because BAE systems claims he has a drinking problem and is mentally unstable. Meyer says it's retaliation. His former employer says this:
"He exhibited a maturity for his age and an insightful capability to get the job done and provide recommendations to improve on what we are doing. I was very impressed while he was working for us. He was an outstanding employee," Tom Grant, a retired military naval officer and a senior program manager at Ausgar Technologies, told ABC News.
Under a plea bargain with the US Department of Justice BAE Systems was convicted of felony conspiracy to defraud the United States government and sentenced in March 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to pay a $400 million fine, one of the largest fines in the history of the DOJ.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

BAE's Wyoming subsidiary, Defense Technology, manufactures MK-9, the pepper spray used by Lt. John Pike on UC Davis demonstrators who were sitting down when dosed. In 2005 The Guardian reported that BAE Systems paid former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet $1,000,000.

This Christmas, buy American!

Yesterday, ABC's newscast reminded Americans that if they devoted just slightly under 10% of the average $700 they will pay for Christmas gifts this season, specifically $64, to gifts made in America, they could create 200,000 US jobs instantly. AKSARBENT heartily concurs and wonders why people load up on cheap Asian merchandise when they could acquire fine American products instead.

For example, this heirloom-to-be, of inestimable value, is manufactured lovingly crafted right here at home in the good, old US of A, by Thomas "This one's for you, Walt!*" Kinkade, America's most-collected living artist.

*From Wikipedia:
The Los Angeles Times has reported that some of Kinkade's former colleagues, employees, and even collectors of his work say that he has a long history of cursing and heckling other artists and performers. The Times further reported that he openly groped a woman's breasts at a South Bend, Indiana, sales event, and mentioned his proclivity for ritual territory marking through urination, once relieving himself on a Winnie the Pooh figure at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim while saying "This one’s for you, Walt." In a letter to licensed gallery owners acknowledging he may have behaved badly during a stressful time when he overindulged in food and drink, Kinkade said accounts of the alcohol-related incidents included "exaggerated, and in some cases outright fabricated personal accusations." The letter did not address any incident specifically.
     In 2006 John Dandois, Media Arts Group executive, recounted a story that on one occasion ("about six years ago") Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried & Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting "Codpiece! Codpiece!" at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother. Dandois also said of Kinkade, "Thom would be fine, he would be drinking, and then all of a sudden, you couldn't tell where the boundary was, and then he became very incoherent, and he would start cussing and doing a lot of weird stuff." On 11 June 2010, Kinkade was arrested in Carmel, California on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


From Jim Buzinski of Outsports comes video (smacked down by the NFL, but AKSARBENT found another) of San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak, who couldn't make it to the bathroom late in the game tied against Denver.
A bit later, he missed a 53-yard field goal that would have won the game in overtime (Denver won on a late field goal). Maybe his foot was still a bit wet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Video: Why Barney Frank is retiring from Congress

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Control freak GOP KS Gov. Brownback, after stage-managing Child Poverty 'town hall' meetings, goes after high school student for a tweet

Recently, Kansas Gov. Sam Brown back held several 'town hall' meetings across Kansas, presumably to address the issue of Child Poverty in the state, which is dead first in infant mortality. Participants in the forums had to submit, in advance, registration forms identifying their affiliations. If they were selected to attend, they were seated at a table with a "facilitator" who chose questions to be asked.
     Now comes news that Brownback's office was unhappy with a tweet sent by a high school student. Her principal was contacted; the student was told to write the Governor an apology. She hasn't decided whether she will. Now that the story has received nationwide attention, Kansas' Governor is refusing to comment.

Kindle vs. Nook: 0-3

AKSARBENT went out shopping Saturday and impulsively decided not to leave the store without an eReader so we wandered over the the Apple section to quickly see which one was better by doing our research on the spot. We bought a $79 Nook because 1) it was touch-screen and the $79 Kindle wasn't; 2) no ads; 3) faster software with quicker reponse; 4) support for the ePub format.
     Which brings us to Project Gutenberg, which has 36,000 free books for your reader, many in that ePub format not supported by Kindle.
     The founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael S. Hart, passed away September 6. Here is a brief obituary and related documents. A donation in Michael's memory to Project Gutenberg may be made here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to carve a turkey two different ways;
oh yeah, here's how to cook it

(Via Towleroad)

Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael talks about filming The Descendants for Alexander Payne

Recently, for The Reader, Leo Adam Biga interviewed Phedon Papamichael, producer Jim Burke and actress Shailene Woddley about working with Omaha director Alexander Payne on The Descendants, which opened in Omaha yesterday exclusively at Filmstreams.
“It was important for the photography not to be flashy, but to feel real,” Papamichael says. “Alexander has this saying: ‘Keep the banality of things.’ So we don’t touch anything on locations.”
     The joint where one of King’s cousins, played by Beau Bridges, holds court is a genuine bar and the extras glimpsed there its actual denizens.
     “Even when we shoot somebody driving somewhere we shoot on the road the character would have to take. It’s not like, ‘Oh, let’s do some drive-bys on the north shore because it’s really pretty.’ It extends to casting. Alexander instinctively finds people that feel real...

     He says the two of them work intuitively, starting in pre-production.
     “We don’t really shot list or storyboard. What we do is we watch movies we feel are more or less relevant to what we’re doing. We’re drinking wine and eating pasta and showing each other films.”
     For Descendants, he says, “I showed him Walkabout because it deals with nature and how society and humanity are in conflict with that. We always end up watching some Hal Ashby or Italian movie (at Payne’s insistence).”
     “He’s open, he listens to people. Sometimes he’s looking more for help, sometimes less. He has a very particular, very unique way of seeing things in the way he directs, the way he cuts. He takes a long time to cut his movies. He really fine tunes and finds the little moments with (editor) Kevin Tent. It’s very precise in a way.”
     That precision extends to Payne’s scripts.
     “I remember Thomas Haden Church once asked if he could change one word in a sentence (on Sideways) and Alexander thought about it for a really long time and he was like, ‘No, I think we’ll just do it the way it’s scripted.’ He surely thought about that line a really long time when writing and that’s why it’s in the script that way.”
You can read the complete piece at Biga's blog here as well as other interviews with Payne about his previous films.

Phony prodigal daughter J. Lo actually never set foot in the Bronx in fake Fiat ad showing her returning to Bronx; car broke down during shoot

The Smoking Gun reports that Brooklyn scenes featuring “Jenny from the Block” were played by a body double, according to two sources familiar with the commercial production.
While the Lopez lookalike was actually behind the wheel in the Bronx, Lopez herself was in Los Angeles, where she was filmed inside a Fiat 500.
     The shots of the actress were artfully merged to make it appear that she was tooling around New York City’s poorest borough. Big Block, a Los Angeles digital production studio, was hired to merge live action footage with computer-generated imagery to make it appear as if Lopez was in the Bronx.
Fiat/Chrysler's breathless press release falsely claims:
"The commercial, titled "My World," is voiced-over by Lopez, who is seen driving a Fiat 500 Cabrio as she travels through the streets of Manhattan to the Bronx where she grew up. The new ad explores her personal take on how life in the New York City borough continues to inspire her to be tougher, to stay sharper and to think faster.
When Lopez is not pimping Fiats via voiceovers for a Bronx stand-in for herself in exchange for millions of dollars, she drives a 3.3 ton Maybach with a carbon imprint the size of something Bigfoot might leave behind.

Oh, and that Brooklyn Fiat? It broke down during the shoot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letterman rips Marcus Bachmann: 'If you're a homosexual, her husband will take care of you'; joke deleted from CBS' web posting of monologue

Both the official CBS YouTube post and the one at conceal the sly double entendre at the Bachmanns' expense via an edit at 2:47.
[On Michele] "I'm ready to play The Feud and I'm not a witch..."
     And if you're a homosexual, her husband will take care of you. He's got a thing, a camp or a clinic or something. And if you're a homosexual and you feel you're in the need of some special treatment or counseling, he'll take care of you.
BONUS BACKGROUND for you readers sent here from JMG or Towleroad: The Bachmann campaign has been on CBS' case lately, following a mistaken receipt of an internal CBS email relating to the 11/12/11 GOP debate.
Per CNN's Peter Hamby, Keith Nahigian, Bachmann's campaign manager, stormed into the spin room after Saturday's debate calling for CBS News Political Director John Dickerson to be fired.
      "He's a piece of sh*t. He is a fraud, and he should be fired," Nahigian said, per CNN.

Pepper-spray-happy UC Davis cop John Pike may be a homophobe too; his involvment in discrimination suit that cost UC Davis $240,000

Via Igor Volsky of ThinkProgress comes a Daily Mail account of retired Marine Sergeant and current UC Davis policeman Lt. John Pike's involvment in a discrimination lawsuit against UC Davis:
As one of four lieutenants, the 39-year-old supervises more than one-third of the sworn officers, including the investigations unit...
    But an alleged anti-gay slur by Pike also figured in a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit a former police officer filed against the department, which ended in a $240,000 settlement in 2008.
    Officer Calvin Chang's 2003 discrimination complaint against the university's police chief and the UC Board of Regents alleged he was systematically marginalized as the result of anti-gay and racist attitudes on the force, and he specifically claimed Pike described him using a profane anti-gay epithet...
     Dieter Dammeier, an Upland lawyer for the Federated University Police Officers Association, the union that represents UC Davis officers, said the operations plan issued by the department includes the use of pepper spray.
     Dammeier said he does not represent Pike because he is a manager.
Evidently, institutionalized Marine Corps homophobia can be rather costly when its practitioners take it with them when returning to civilian life.

National Organization for Marriage subsidiary issues 'handy ammo' talking points for your Thanksgiving dinner:

Via Good As You come these marching orders for your Thanksgiving Day feast, courtesy of NOM, which wants more of your limitless supply of money right now so that they can create even more subsidiaries, go on more road trips, and ensure that their president can continue to enjoy living on a million-dollar house on five-acre mini-estate in Virginia.
  1. State your position briefly
  2. Refute the charge of bigotry (Making gay couples strangers to the law is "common sense!")
  3. A call to tolerance (We're "not ALL haters or bigots!")
"Repeat step three as often as necessary or until they bring in the pie."

By God that's it! Instead of Glitter Bombs, gay activists should distract Maggie Gallagher with a pie every time she is about to step in front of a television camera!

Users submit pepper spray photos to Amazon

Poster Jeff D in Dallas on JMG noticed that users are uploading pictures of the UC Davis Lt. Pike internet meme to, which apparently sells bear-repellent strength pepper spray to anyone with a valid credit card.

(Lt. Pike did not use the 1.3% stuff on demonstrators.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Karl Rove's secretly funded attack ads on Ben Nelson: mostly false

Three quarters of the funding of Karl Rove's political attacks are anonymous — which demonstrates just how sinister a political operative Rove has become.

  • Crossroads GPS ads recycle an old claim about support for the stimulus bill, saying that Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson and Kaine voted for projects that weren’t specifically mentioned in the legislation. They also misconstrue an “office upgrades” project, claiming it was $39 million worth of “wasteful spending,” though it was actually low-interest financing assistance.
  • The ad targeting Nelson exaggerates when it says the stimulus was “a bill Nelson helped write.” Nelson’s most notable contribution to the stimulus was a bipartisan agreement to trim $110 billion worth of proposed spending.
  • The ad also ties Nelson to Obama, claiming that “whenever Obama needs him, Ben Nelson’s there with another blank check.” But Nelson has voted along with the Democratic Party less than any other Democratic senator; he recently voted against allowing Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill to move forward.
From the Nebraska Democratic Party:
Submitted by Brandon on 17 November 2011 - 3:25pm
     Late last week, Karl Rove's group, Crossroads GPS, launched another
$160,000 of factually misleading attack ads aimed at Ben Nelson.
     According to our ad buyers that is on top of more than $500,000 outside
groups like Rove's have spent attacking Ben Nelson this year.
     Now, has reviewed the ad and concluded it fits the pattern
of Rove's group misleading voters and twisting the facts.
     Another fact checking organization, Politifact, found the majority of Rove's claims were false during the 2010 elections. And a different organization created by Rove, American Crossroads, received similarly negative ratings for its misleading claims.

Boys in the Band author Mart Crowley on the death of friend Natalie Wood: 'I knew that she had taken a tremendous fall... a mark on her from head to toe'

Interview here.

Al Jazeera vs. Al Roker: Islamic news network video-bombed by two Spanish dudes making out in background

(Via Towleroad)

Rinse, repeat (skip to 3:05 if you're impatient):

Above inspired by this real life stunt...

Monday, November 21, 2011

What kind of pepper spray did UC Davis police use on Occupy protesters?

BAE Systems Pepper Spray
used against UC Davis students
Def-Tec MK-9 is an extra-strength .7% Major Capsaicinoids solution (identified by an orange band on the cannister) which is 3.5 times more powerful than Defense Technology's "First Defense" product.

That weaker solution (than the one used at UC Davis) is effective to 18-20 feet and should not be sprayed closer than 6 feet, according to the manufacturer. The only spray the company makes which is stronger than the one used at UC Davis is intended for use on bears.

UC Davis Lt. Pike, using MK-9 pepper spray in a manner
inconsistent with the manufacturer's recommendations.
Former Marine Pike, who makes $110,000 per year,
is apparently unable to follow written instructions.

Defense Technology, (1855 South Loop, Casper, WY 82601, Phone: (877) 248-DTFL (3835) Fax: (877) 984-TECH (8324)) the manufacturer of MK-9, is now owned by BAE Systems via its acquisition of Safariland which merged with American Body Armor in 1996.

BAE Systems seems to be unusually corrupt. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the corporation:

BAE Systems is a British conglomerate formed in 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies, Marconi Electronic Systems(MES), the defense electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc(GEC), and aircraft, munitions and naval systems manufacturer British Aerospace (BAe).
  • In September 2009, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it intended to prosecute BAE Systems for offences relating to overseas corruption. On 5 February 2010, BAE Systems agreed to pay £257m criminal fines to the US and £30m to the UK.
  • Under a plea bargain with the US Department of Justice BAE was convicted of felony conspiracy to defraud the United States government and sentenced in March 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to pay a $400 million fine, one of the largest fines in the history of the DOJ. U.S. District Judge John Bates said the company's conduct involved "deception, duplicity and knowing violations of law, I think it's fair to say, on an enormous scale".
  • In September 2003 The Sunday Times reported that BAE had hired a private security contractor to collate information about individuals working at the Campaign Against Arms Trade and their activities.In February 2007, it again obtained private confidential information from CAAT.
  • In September 2005 The Guardian reported that banking records showed that BAE paid £1 million to Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator.
  • BAE ran into controversy in 2002 over the abnormally high cost of a radar system sold to Tanzania. The sale was criticised by several opposition MPs and the World Bank; Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short declared that BAE had "ripped off" developing nations. In December 2010, leaked US diplomatic communications revealed that Edward Hoseah, the Tanzanian prosecutor investigating misconduct by BAE, had confided in US diplomats that "his life may be in danger" and was being routinely threatened.
  • BAE Systems has been under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, into the use of political corruption to help sell arms to Chile, Czech Republic, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and Qatar.

Ex-police lieutenant Charles J. Kelly, who codified thuggery for Baltimore PD, defends UC Davis police procedures

From CBS:
Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department's use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a "compliance tool" that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.
     "When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them," Kelly said.
      "Bodies don't have handles on them."
     After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of "active resistance" from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.
     "What I'm looking at is fairly standard police procedure," Kelly said.
Got that? If someone who is sitting on the ground is maced and curls up into a ball, that's "active resistance" and warrants clubbing. Keep that "standard police procedure" in mind the next time you visit Baltimore.

Silent UC Davis students turn 3-block stroll of chancellor to her car into a perp walk

Meanwhile, UC Davis police lieutenant John Pike, who reportedly makes about $116,000 per year, has become an internet meme, digitally inserted into art by (clockwise, from top left) Thomas Eakins, A.M. Willard, Georges Seurat and John Trumball.

Sabotaging Occupy movement on CBS: Koch Bros. subsidiary spokesmodel Peter Schiff for

(David H. Koch donates large amounts of money to, and sits on the board of the Reason Foundation.)

Peter Schiff on capitalism: It's the most compassionate system I know — by definition!

Schiff said the following to a demonstrator who wondered why someone who made $100,000,000, couldn't use half to create jobs (Plutocrats smart enough to keep the rabble sufficiently well-fed that it doesn't storm the mansion gates might call this enlightened self-interest):

But what you're forgetting is that if I make $100,000,000, I had to create a lot of jobs to make that money...

Really Mr. Schiff? Like when a private equity group makes $100,000,000 orchestrating a leveraged buyout of a company — thereby loading it with debt, then firing thousands of workers to make the debt-laden firm more financially attractive, then curtailing research and development and corporate infrastructure investment, and finally parting out the skeletal corporate carcass in sales to other private equity firms or corporations?

Not that this ever happened repeatedly in the 80s or 90s.

The Omaha World-Herald runs editorials written by the Reason Foundation and disseminated to newspapers. AKSARBENT thinks the Herald would be more honest with its readers if it just made the Koch Bros. take out an damned ad.

Former Boehner aides urge opposition research for 'negative narrative' to undermine Occupy movement

Story here.

Related? Covert surveillance at Occupy Nashville

AKSARBENT found this provocative conspiracy theory video courtesy of the tin foil-capped paranoiacs at CBS News. (Scroll down to "other" Occupy developments, then find Nashville.)

From the YouTube description:
A mysterious van is illegally parked—with motor running—outside the Hilton Downtown Hotel in Nashville on Nov. 17, 2011, where Occupy Nashville protesters shamed Donald Rumsfeld as a war criminal both outside the hotel and inside the elite dinner, where Occupy protesters heckled the former defense secretary.
      The van's windows were blacked out except the front, and there was a curtain that wouldn't close all the way. There were obviously TVs and computers inside. The van was marked externally as "NES," with the Nashville Electric Service's phone number. But a call to NES confirms that all their vans have unique ID numbers on them.
      So the protesters called Metro Police, who responded to the suspicious call.
     When police became inquisitive, the mystery man flipped off the protesters and sped away.
      Is this what covert surveillance looks like?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tweet of the day:
Conan O'Brien photographs a stone buttocks

"Eating alone in an Italian restaurant and this is on the table.
I think I'll use my vermicelli to make him a thong." - @ConanOBrien

Barefoot water skiing

(Via Towleroad via Yale Daily News)

Citibank has a customer arrested for trying to close her account

Somehow this outrage escaped us while we were watching (some) rogue cops manhandle protesters on the street.

This video was posted on Dangerous Minds. Bank of America appears to have a more cunning strategy, according to one poster who commented on the above video:

Oct 15, 2011

Matt says:

My BofA Story.

In 2006, I went to a local branch of BofA to close my account. I had no direct deposits or auto debits. (I still pay my bills via USPS.)

I told the teller I wanted to close my account. He sent me to an account manager. I told the account manager I wanted to close my account. He sent me to the branch manager. I told the branch manager I wanted to close my account.

She said I couldn’t.

The branch manager told me that since I opened my original account in San Diego, CA, and I was now living in Portland, OR, she could not close my account. I had to travel back to San Diego. No options. No shit.

Inside, I’m livid. But I keep my cool.

So I go back to the original teller, annoyed but not making a scene. I figure I’ll take out all my dough. (not realizing that’s exactly what they want as they could then start charging me for not having a certain balance or the $5 for debit cards or whatever would get me to put cash back in the account…)

The teller looks over towards the manager, sees she’s walking back to her office since I didn’t flip, and *whispers* to me, “See that red phone in the corner? Pick it up and talk to the BofA customer service rep. They’ll take care of you.”

I get on the red phone, a nice chap closes my account, and I head back to the teller to grab the balance of my account. Clean. Closed. Done.

But had that teller not told me straight, I might still have a BofA account no thanks to their duplicitous branch manager.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Gracie Mansion: no NYC mayor has in 10 years, so why not a baby seal?

Gawker: "Give me liberty or give me fish snacks!"

UC Davis Lieutenant John Pike bravely fights for his life against marauding campus Occupy protesters

Former Marine and UC Davis Police
Lt. John Pike. Salary: $110,000 per year
RELATED: Covert surveillance discovered at Occupy Nashville rally... Also, the corrupt corporation that sells the pepper spray misused by Pike

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog is on fire about the mistreatment of UC Davis Occupy protesters and wants his readers to spread the word. AKSARBENT is happy to oblige.

The UC Davis community isn't crazy about its university's response; in particular Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi's.

The cop at the center of it all has quickly been identified: Lt John Pike ( One facebook poster even published Pikes' skype account name, japike3.

In a later post on Ameriblog "Gaius Publius" noted that in an open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, Prof Nathan Brown, UC Davis added this:
When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
UC Davis' facebook page is bursting with comments along the lines of this one:

Back to John Aravosis:
UPDATE: The cops now say they feared for their lives because of the crowd that was gathering around them! ...If you feared for your safety from the crowd surrounding you, then why didn't you pepper spray the crowd? Why would you turn around and spray a bunch of kids sitting on the ground, doing nothing except looking at their feet?
     ...UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students.
     “If you look at the video you are going to see that there were 200 people in that quad,” said Chief Spicuzza. “Hindsight is 20-20 and based on the situation we were sitting in, ultimately that was the decision that was made.”
     Spicuzza is a liar and should be fired. And 20/20 is just hindsight, it's about fifteen multi-million dollar lawsuits. And your job.
UPDATE: UC Davis staff and administrators reportedly watched and did nothing while the police attacked. They didn't even offer to get medical help for the students afterwards. Take note kids, when you're planning what school to attend, and alums when planning who to give money to.
     UCD paramedics later treated with saline the eyes of 11 protesters; two were taken to Sutter Davis Hospital. Nearby, one young woman sat on her knees, crying with her eyes shut and pink streaks of Pepto-Bismol and water running down her cheeks.
     ...Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Occupy Springfield activists protest outside Scott Lively's Holy Grounds Coffee House in Springfield, MA

Scott Lively's homophobic animus is truly dangerous; he agitates for criminal sanctions — and even death — for gay people in places he thinks he can get away with it, like Africa. Earlier this year, Springfield police arrested Michael J. Frediani, 38, at his apartment at 453 State St., Springfield, MA, located above the Lively's Holy Grounds Coffee House, for failing to register as a Level 2 sex offender.
     Lively said he did not know that his volunteer manager was a convicted sex offender.
     This post should give you a good idea why the Southern Poverty Law Center considers Lively's Abiding Truth Ministry to be a hate group.

Friday, November 18, 2011

That 'Online DVD Lawsuit' occupying your email inbox isn't spam — it's for real

Tim Weldon quits his job to work for the Occupy movement

Mike Gronstal reiterates refusal to put Iowa same sex marriage up for a vote

Yesterday on Iowa Press, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (left in photo) and Minority Leader Jerry Behn jointly appeared to answer questions. Here is Iowa Press' transcript of the exchange regarding gay marriage in the state, which starts at about 23:38 in the video link earlier in this paragraph.

Glover: Senator Gronstal, way too many issues and way too little time. Last session you refused to allow debate on the issue of gay marriage. Will you do so again in the next session?

Gronstal: Yes.

Glover: Senator Behn, is that a winner politically for republicans? We just had a special Senate election ...

Behn: It's not so much an issue whether it's a winner or a loser politically. The idea, the concept is should the debate be allowed. And as I have stated previously on other issues I believe the debate should be allowed. There are only 150 legislators and where we vote in the booth will not probably affect the outcome. The question is should Iowans get to vote on it. That is all we're discussing. We're not discussing whether that constitutional amendment would pass or not pass, we're just discussing should Iowans get a vote on it. My position is absolutely Iowans should get a vote on that and I think it is outrageous that he's going to say no.

Glover: Senator Gronstal ...

Gronstal: People's rights should not be put to a popular vote. If I can put, if you can put my rights to a popular vote of the people then I can put your rights to a popular vote of the people and eventually, and eventually -- well, we didn’t put slavery to a vote of the people in Iowa, we didn't put the right to go to a school in your neighborhood to a vote of the people of Iowa, we didn't put public accommodations law to a vote of the people in Iowa. The Supreme Court said certain inalienable rights -- you either -- when you say the Pledge of Allegiance, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, you don't say for all except for gay people, you don't say that. That is what this is about and you don't put ...

Behn: That's not what this is about.

Gronstal: ... yes it is. And you don't put that up to a vote of the people ...

Behn: It's about Iowans being allowed to decide.

Gronstal: ... to a vote of the people. Churches are not required to marry anybody. I just think it's fundamentally wrong to put to a popular -- it's the whole principle ...

Better Billy Elliots

Ryan Gosling fans not taking Bradley Cooper's Sexiest Man People honorific lying down

Buzzfeed via JustJared
Ryan Gosling fans are steaming about People Magazine's choice of Bradley Cooper as sexiest man alive for 2011. A poster to Towleroad enumerated his suspicions of foul play:
  • People owned by Time Inc
  • Time Inc subsidiary of Time Warner
  • Time Warner owns Warner Brothers
  • 2011 Time Warner movie The Hangover part 2 made over 254 million dollars from an 80 milion dollar production investment
  • He is Time Warner's $ maker for 2011
  • That is all and he is sexy to time warner's bottom line. He has no actual sexual attraction for many outside of Time Warner
  • If one were to check every single year's "sexiest man" one would find every single one was part of a time warner project that year
  • People is one of Time Warner's propaganda arms
AKSARBENT thinks People should buy a stock tank from Tractor Supply, and fill it with Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, and Ryan Reynolds and a bunch of cottage cheese, and then everyone would be happy.

Well, AKSARBENT would...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What the hell kind of airline would seat these two Andrews (Breitbart and Sullivan) next to each other?

Sullivan dished about the flight to LA encounter on his blog:
Breitbart is actually a kind of straight gay: loves pop music, hates rock n roll, lost interest in radio music around the time of grunge (as did I) and now believes there's a revival of joyous pop going on. Oh, and, yes, we talked Trig a little. How could we not?
     Anyway, I happen to personally like him...I made him listen to some new PSB classics.
AKSARBENT has never been happier to inhabit a flyover state.

Tax burden shift from corporations to individuals

Gold: Corporate Income Tax - fed pct GDP
Blue: Individual Income Tax - fed pct GDP


Chart: miraclesawake via I Love Charts

Bob Vander Plaats rips ThinkProgress for 'tearing us down for our commitment to marriage'

We think the real reason for Vander Plaats' whine was that he's still mad about his homegirl, Cindy Golding, losing the recent District 18 race to Liz Mathis and the $10,000 that his organization threw down a rat hole supporting her.

Vander Putz didn't bitch about ThinkProgress' video showing him grinning and saying "Good One!" in response to fag joke told to him in Audubon, Iowa earlier this year, so apparently the leftist organization isn't all bad.

And Bob didn't complain when the AP busted one of his organizations for spending federal grant money politicking against gay marriage or One Iowa's demand that he return said money.

Vatican sics lawyers on Benetton for ad showing 'grave lack of respect' for Pope Dracula

Benetton, the Madonna of Italian clothing companies, has been running provocative ads for a looong time and has shown, according to the Hollywood Reporter, a priest kissing a nun, a close-up of a dead Bosnian soldier, another of a man dying of AIDS, and a black woman breast feeding a while child.

According to Reuters:
On the ad featuring Benedict and Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi criticized Benetton for exploiting the image of the pope.
     "We must express the firmest protest for this absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in a publicity campaign with commercial ends,” Lombardi said in a statement. “This shows a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence to the feelings of believers, a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation."

Jack Abramoff on Ralph Reed:
'He's a mad version of us.'

Poor Ralph Reed. He wasn't firstest with the mostest in Minnesota to exploit the anti-gay for pay opportunities in that state's forthcoming political effort to add an amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

NOM apparently beat him to the punch in helping to form Minnesotans for Marriage (which includes the Minnesota Family Council and the Minnesota Catholic Conference) and is now sucking up all the heterosexual supremacist money in the state.

Now, adding insult to injury, Reed's old ex-felon buddy Jack Abramoff, is dissing him on Fox radio.

Cheer up, Ralph. You'll find a new scam!

BONUS: Casino Jack just went after Newt Gingrich, too. Wow. Abramoff must have spent so much time in prison plotting the ruination of his former right-wing buds that he didn't get any. But it's all good.

Pizzicato vs. Perry

Video about gay bullying school countermeasures

Andy Towle says this video will scare antigay activists to death. AKSARBENT thinks it will both frighten and elate homophobic Christers. We mean, lookit: on the one hand, it subverts those prejudices that Christers use the bible to bolster and therefore indirectly attacks that book. On the other hand, it does the same thing to Muslim children and the Koran. From a Christer perspective, that's good, isn't it?

Keith Olbermann: Lee Terry 'whoring himself out'; worst persons in the world list

(Via New Nebraska Network)

McQueary claim disputed by both
Penn State and local police

Barney Frank: 'Two L-words
apply to Newt — lobbyist and liar'

Gay Waxahachie, TX teacher fired; outraged parents circulate reinstatement petition, demand and get meeting with school; TV station barred from meeting


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CBS: McQueary email said he discussed Sandusky child rape with cops; Penn State says no police report filed

Obviously, this isn't necessarily a contradiction, given the propensity of some campus police departments to sacrifice justice at the alter of their university's reputation.

Rattled Karl Rove word salad: You wanna keep jumpin' up and yellin' you're the 99%? That was presumptuous and arrogant do you think you are?

Since Karl Rove is second only to Newt Gingrich in his ability to tell more lies and half-truths per speaking engagement than can be refuted in a single Q&A, Occupy Baltimore decided to simply interrupt his lectern propaganda dump.

Bradley Cooper, en fran├žais!

Interview was conducted last May.

Nightline: Penn State child sex abuse scandal widens; not just athletics

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

This video clears up a couple questions which puzzled AKSARBENT about Mike McQueary's role in this affair. Turns out that McQueary DID notify the police as well as Paterno. Earlier, Penn State campus police investigated a 1998 incident with Sandusky but a DA did not press charges. Campus police can be more interested in protecting their university than in pursuing justice, according to this NYT article.

Here are more pieces of the Bob Costas interview via Jon Stewart:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fox News attacks! Todd Starnes comes to the rescue of bigoted homophobic cake maker

Fox Nation Special Victims Unit investigator Todd Starnes is on the case!

In a curiously slanted recounting of the same-sex cake imbroglio which went viral yesterday, Starnes, who occupies Fox News Radio, quoted Victoria Childress about how she supposedly made five cakes for a tasting before "discovering" that her prospects were two women planning their wedding, at which point her rather selective religious morality dictated that she should frost a couple of lesbians.

Starnes evidently didn't bother interviewing Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, who drove some distance to Des Moines for the tasting, who said they made it clear on the telephone beforehand that the cake was for their wedding, and who said they were "degraded" by a holier-than-thou Christer and her homegirl posse.

Typical of of dozens of fact-challenged comments about Starnes' sob sister saga by the Fox News listeners, or even readers, was this, by a Stacey Capps, of Knoxville, TN:
AGREE! She [Childress] has a right to deny her service. See it's not EQUAL rights they want, it's SPECIAL rights they want. We must all "accept" them but they are not willing to offer equal acceptance to those whose beliefs differ. They are considering civil rights suit? I don't think so. Please. Find somebody else to bake your cake.
The first level of stupidity in Stacey's facebook posting, above, is her bogus claim that Childress has a right to deny service to a gay couple who are a protected class in Iowa's 2007 law governing Public Accommodation by licensed businesses. In fact, Childress does not have this right, at least not on account of the fact that her two customers were gay. Childress has admitted that her denial of service was based specifically on that bias.

The second level of stupidity in Stacey Capps' posting is her twisted conclusion that by expecting equal treatment under a law that specifically includes them, a gay Iowa couple is demanding "special rights" and her specious assertion that "they" (whatever THAT means) "aren't willing to offer equal acceptance to those whose beliefs differ."

Who are "they," Stacey? Any of the gay principals in this case? How do you know this, dumbass?

Like most of the incurious and unstudied commenters of Fox Nation, Ms. Capps seems willfully ignorant of several easily-discovered, yet critical facts. (I assume Capps can read, can Google, can type and could find out what the 2007 Public Accommodations Law in Iowa actually says, provided she has any interest in this incident beyond releasing the dam of distortions and misinformation that has been pooling on the plateau inside her skull.)

Capps' (and Starnes') Christers-as-victims mindsets might be surprised to learn that Iowa's 2007 law protects religious bigots as well as gay people, which means that if a Fox-News-watching heterosexual supremacist like Capps walked into a gay cake shoppe in Iowa to buy something, the business would would have to accommodate her obnoxious, whining and martyred self.

Capps sees nothing but the delusion that her fellow Christers deserve a special exemption from the law when the banquet tables are turned.

As if that weren't enough, Stacey gathers the long train of her pugnacious, hypocrisy-studded ignorance to make a toxic and inexplicable accusation that gay couples are demanding "special rights" because they expect fair and balanced (if you will) treatment under the law — even as Stacey defends a selfish, fellow Christer who exempts herself from that same law via imaginary special privileges granted unto herself by herself, and then ridiculously proclaims on television that she isn't discriminating against anyone.

Frankly, AKSARBENT thinks that the Ms.Stacey Capps of Knoxville TN, who posted the words above, is either incapable of critical thinking or is two eggs short of a quiche.

Official US State Department video: Hillary Clinton Hawaiian surprise — streaked by flamer in loincloth

(Via Towleroad via Politico via Daily Mail via US State Department.)

She was speaking to Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang. Oddly, this video was posted on YouTube by the US State Department.

Chillicothe, Ohio area gay teen beaten in viral cell phone video at Unioto High school speaks out

Glenn McEntyre of WBNS TV, Columbus, Ohio reported: "The ACLU says this incident is more than a school discipline issue. It's accusing the district of being derelict in its duties to protect students, which they say violates state and federal laws."
     AKSARBENT first posted the facebook video of the vicious beating video on October 27, with initial reactions from school authorities.

"I got hit in the face a couple of times," the teen said. "I tried to ignore it like three times."
     The teen and his mother said their repeated complaints to school administrators fell on deaf ears.
     "He basically said 'There's a few gay kids in school and you're the only one they have problems with. So, what can you do to tone yourself down?'" said Zach.
     "I was like, 'Wait a minute, you want my son to change, but you don't want this bully to change?"said Becky Collins, the teen's mother.
     The ACLU of Ohio announced that they were representing the teen in possible legal action against the district.
     "The school district should have protected (the teen) and they failed," James Hardiman, ACLU of Ohio Legal Director said.

Best capitalist running dog Christmas advert
(yeah, it's British — John Lewis) we've ever seen,
and set to a Smiths song!

Thank you Towleroad!

Here's the original, via a Smiths' fan-made video:

And the original, original, Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (1984):

And the Dream Academy instrumental cover from the Museum scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (cut):

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trailer: Alexander Payne's current release, The Descendants, opens this weekend; his next film, Nebraska is in preproduction.

NOTE: The Descendents will be shown starting November 23, at FilmStreams. The special Waikiki party preview on November 20 (with introduction and Q&A by director Alexander Payne) has been sold out. 

Alexander Payne, the Oscar-winning Omaha director of Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt and Sideways (all except the last were filmed partially or mostly in Omaha) has a new movie opening this weekend in limited release: The Descendents. Because the film opens on a packed weekend against a new Twilight movie and Happy Feet Two, Eric Eisenberg thinks the movie will be "absolutely buried." AKSARBENT, disagrees because a) we root for the home team and and b) we don't think moviegoers attracted to an ADULT movie will be waylaid by Vampire Twinks or Cartoon Penguins.
The film, which stars George Clooney, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, and Robert Forster, is about a man who reconnects with his two daughters after his wife is put on life support after a boating accident and is also is also forced to face off with the man with whom she has been having an affair.
The New York Post says Payne's next film, 2012's “Nebraska,” about a father’s road trip with his estranged son, is in preproduction.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops worried that their religious liberty is being threatened because they no longer dictate terms of civil marriages everywhere

Starchbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, has warned that Obama's decision not to defend ban on gay marriage could "precipitate a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions."

Apparently this is because the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Baltimore this week, still thinks its church should be able to dictate the definition of civil marriage to the government or else they somehow will be "victimized," even though the government doesn't tell them who they should marry in religious ceremonies.
Critics of the bishops, point out that while Catholic bishops are making a big show of fighting the state over same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception, more lay Catholics are assuming a liberal attitude toward the same issues. Critics say, also, that the focus on confrontation with Obama is a strategy to divert attention from the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the church in recent times.
Huffington Post reports that many Catholic academics, activists and parishioners say the bishops are overreacting.
The National Catholic Reporter's annual survey now says only 16% of Catholics say church leaders should have the final say about the "morality" of homosexuality and only 35% say opposing gay marriage is important to them.

Same-sex wedding cake feud: Victoria Childress says Christian 'convictions' exempt her from 2007 Iowa Public Accommodations law; it's not discrimination if she does it

KCCI reports about an attempt by Janelle Sievers and Trina Vodraska to buy a cake for their wedding.

Victoria Childress: "I will tell you that I am a Christian and I do have convictions... And I said 'I'm sorry to tell you that I'm not going to be able to do your cake.'
     It is my right as a business owner... and it's not to discriminate against them. I did not belittle them... There was no condescending remarks made."

Janelle Sievers' fiancee, Trina Vodraska (on the right in the photo) said, "It was degrading, you know. It was like she chastised us for wanting to do business with her... I went there for a cake."

Other cake makers in Iowa have started to weigh in — and KCCI did a follow-up story.

Dana Schaub and Cynthia Hendrikson own the Devilish Pig Bakery. Dana said, "To have someone say, 'Im sorry, because your lifestyle is different from mine, I'm not gonna take care of you and help you and I don't want your business.' It's wrong on so many levels.

Three Chicks Bakery's Amanda Laurich: "I have gay family members — two actually — and if any one of them wanted to get married I wouldn't want them to go through the stress or feeling disappointed and you know having that really take away from the thing that should be really special for their day."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

60 Minutes: Insider trading by congressmen

At least one representative made significant stock purchases the day after
he and other members of Congress attended a secret meeting in September
2008, where the Fed chair and the treasury secretary informed them of the
imminent global economic meltdown. The meeting was so confidential that
cell phones and other digital devices were confiscated before it began.

Garrett McNamara may have ridden biggest wave ever surfed, off Portugal's coast

Garrett McNamara rode what members of his group said was a wave the face of which measured 90 feet, which would make it the largest wave ever surfed. This happened near the deep-water canyon off Nazare, a small fishing community about 70 miles north of Lisbon, Portugal, a locale internationally renowed for the size of its waves.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chase Suites Sales Manager Richard Zierke sells Sen. Tony Fulton on a bill forcing group recitation of Pledge of Allegiance in Nebraska schools

JoAnne Young of the Lincoln Journal Star reports that a Lincoln ex-Marine and Chase Suites sales manager has persuaded right-wing Lincoln state senator Tony Fulton to introduce a bill requiring all K-12 classes in public schools throughout Nebraska to be led in group recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance and requiring each classroom to display an American flag.

Now, the law requires one flag prominently displayed per school and the pledge, with its unconstitutional (when forced) religious oath, wisely is not required.

Zierke claims the pledge instills American "exceptionalism" and might make students consider stints in the military.
     A bill requiring the pledge likely would go to the Legislature's Education Committee, headed by Sen. Greg Adams of York. The key to the bill getting out of committee, he said, is whether it can accomplish what its advocates say it can.
     Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery, chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, said Nebraska has a strong ethic of local control of schools, and he would be reluctant to tell districts what they must do every day in the classroom.
     As the saying goes, "If it's not broken, don't fix it," he said.
     "What's the problem we're trying to fix here?" Avery asked...
     "You can't make kids be patriotic," Avery said. "You can force kids to observe the symbols of patriotism under duress, but that's not going to make then internalize it."
Zierke is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic organization which successfully pressured the U.S. Government to add "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy era.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist Christian socialist who deliberately left out any mention of God in his civic pledge. In fact the original Pledge of Allegiance didn't even mention the United States of America, a fact which apparently doesn't matter to former jarhead Zierke, a self-described student of history, or else he failed to learn this fact during his attendance at "Hard Knocks University" or while obtaining his Masters Degree at "Black and Blue U."

The original Pledge states simply:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The Lincoln-Journal Star is conducting a poll on the Zierke/Fulton proposal. So far, respondents don't like it.

Among the more tart comments added to the Journal/Star piece about Zierke's initiative were these three:
     — We are not 'exceptional', in fact we are sub-par in many critical areas. Rah Rahhing over the flag every morning won't change that. Perhaps we could do it old school with the Front Hand Salute, too!
     — Being forced to chant the same words every day when you're a kid, leads those words to be meaningless. Saying a bunch of words over and over doesn't make one patriotic, or even teach it. Radicals pushing nonsense legislation along with their radical fringe agenda, when there are real problems to dealing with (like too many families struggling to find work, put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads) is unacceptable and irresponsible.
     — Forced patriotism is not real patriotism. You can't become a patriot by reciting a pledge anymore than you can become a dog by sitting on your front porch and barking.