Saturday, December 31, 2011

Arrogant Chicago Cardinal Francis George wants 700,000 Gay Day celebrants routed around his church; uses KKK analogy; Chicago Tribune not buying it

Chicago Cardinal Francis George
(Archdiocese web site)
Organizers of Chicago's annual gay day parade decided to hold up the parade to avoid disrupting morning mass at Our Lade of Mount Carmel Church, but even that wasn't enough for Cardinal Francis George, who posed as a victim for a breathless local Fox News report:
"You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism... The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of the gay liberation people — who is the enemy? The Catholic Church."

Cardinal George lives in this 19-chimney residence,
but only on the 2nd and 3rd floors. (Photo by Karen
Callaway from Archdiocese of Chicago web site.)
In an editorial headlined "The Cardinal's Bizarre Analogy," the Chicago Tribune pointedly noted:
Responding to the blowback, a diocesan spokeswoman said the remarks were taken out of context and suggested people listen to the entire interview. We did. They aren't.
     ...That's right: As recently as 70 years ago, the KKK openly demonstrated against the Catholic Church. What that has to do with the pride parade is lost on us.
     ...In 1986, the Klan staged an anti-homosexual rally just before the 17th annual Pride parade, but never mind.
     ...Relations between the church and the LGBT community have been especially strained lately. The church opposed a new Illinois law allowing civil unions for gay couples, then relinquished its state foster care contracts because it refused to license gay couples as foster parents.
     George also joined the Catholic Conference of Illinois in a statement that ripped Gov. Pat Quinn for "rewarding" abortion-rights activists by appearing at an event. Quinn was attending to honor a rape victim who has become a victims' advocate.

Why Ben Nelson retired from the Senate

Friday, December 30, 2011

Designer John Galliano's 'brother' defends him on Conan

(Tipped by AKSARBENT reader James)

Verizon drops $2 "convenience fee" after net outrage

Yes, we hear you now... NBC reports that less than 24 hours after it announced it would charge a $2 "convenience fee" for every one-time online or phone payment customers make, Verizon Wireless reversed course after consumer outrage spilled onto the Web. The decision also came hours the FCC said it would investigate the new fee. Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless, said in a statement:
At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers. Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time.

RELATED: Recently, Qwest (now CenturyLink) tried a "convenience fee" to customers who paid via telephone robots through their checking account. They dropped the charge too, after evidently getting an earful from their customers though the fee, and its retraction, was not widely publicized.

Romney sons, politicking in New Hampshire, explain reduced visibility in campaign

Matt, Craig, Tagg and Josh Romney in Concord, NH. Not
pictured: Ben Romney, in training to be a physician.
Photo: Michael Ryan
The Romney sons were prominent in their father's 2008 campaign; they even published a "Five Brothers Blog." This time, after Mitt told them to focus on their jobs and families, they are less active. Video here. Their mother, Anne, has MS.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rick Perry claims question about Supreme Court decision (mentioned in his own latest book) is a "gotcha" question; doesn't remember the case

Today, in Cedar Rapids' Blue Strawberry Cafe, Rick Perry admitted he had no idea what the celebrated Lawrence vs. Texas decision, which nullified sodomy laws in Texas and 13 other states, was about — despite the fact that there is a reference to it in his latest book, Fed Up.

Here's the reference:
"Since I have been governor, a significant number of cases involving Texas or Texans have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. From posting the Ten Commandments in the public square to our right to execute a murdering rapist who happens to be a foreign national, we have had to kiss the ring of the Court and have done so, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Texans have long been involved in significant decisions before the Court, and often we have been told we can’t do something. To name a few: Roe v. Wade (legalizing abortion), Plyler v. Doe (requiring the education of children who are illegal immigrants), Lawrence v. Texas (outlawing anti-sodomy laws), Santa Fe Independent School District (prohibiting student-led prayer at football games), League of Latin American Citizens v. Perry (ordering the reconfiguration of a congressional district), and numerous others. It seems Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”

ABC says the issue came up when a man asked Perry to defend his criticism of limited government in the case.
Asked by Ken Herman, a columnist with the Austin American Statesman, for clarification on whether he knew what the case concerned, Perry responded, “I’m not taking the bar exam…I don’t know what a lot of legal cases involve.”
The decision actually limited the power of government by declaring off limits police intrusion into a bedroom of two consenting adults to enforce sodomy laws. Perry's book complains that this decision limiting government's power was actually an assault on limited government. Apparently Perry only cares about limiting federal not state power.

Or perhaps a ghost writer penned the book and Perry hasn't bothered to read it.

Turncoat Bachmann operative Kent Sorenson grilled by Fox News after he knocks Iowa Republican Party for not helping him get elected

Fox's ├╝ber bitch, Megyn Kelly, furious at Iowa campaign co-chairman Kent Sorenson's abandonment of Bachmann, badgers him about his defection:
I don't wanna get too deep in the weeds here on Iowa politics..  Frankly our viewers don't care that much about your re-election battles...
Kelly then asks State Senator Sorenson if HIS OWN former 2008 and 2010 campaign manager, Susan Geddes, is ALSO lying about Ron Paul offering him money to ditch Bachmann.

Michele Bachman's campaign co-chairman allegedly paid off to defect to Ron Paul campaign; Sorenson's history of drug dealing, child support nonpayment, bankruptcy, tax trouble, domestic assault charge

UPDATE: Fox News' Megyn Kelly rips into Kent Sorenson for leaving Bachmann compaign after he rips Iowa Republican Party for not helping him get elected.

Michele Bachmann herself now says Kent Sorenson, the co-chairman of her faltering Iowa campaign, defected to Ron Paul because he was paid off. Sorenson, an Iowa state senator, has a checkered history, according to the Des Moines Register.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mormon-organized front group, National Organization for Marriage, airs ads attacking Ron Paul using gay Iowans as whipping boys and girls

The National Organization for Marriage, a sinister and well-financed Mormon-organized Astroturf organization which is fighting campaign disclosure regulations in state after state in order to avoid identifying its donors is now running ads using gay Iowans as a foil to target Ron Paul's presidential campaign.

Earlier this year NOM tried to buy Iowa's 18th district Senate seat for Cindy Golding, but Iowans weren't fooled by the deceptions; NOM's candidate lost badly, despite the fact that NOM teamed up with Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa Family Leader, who was just accused of trying to shake down Rick Santorum in exchange for an endorsement.

NOM recently lost campaign disclosure court fights to hide the identities of its supporters in Rhode Island, Maine, Washington State. and now says it will defy the law in Minnesota, too.

Chimp who just died probably not the gay movie star who fondled Tarzan and bit Jane

Weismuller cooling off between Tarzan takes
The ape would have been 80ish to have costarred in Tarzan flicks of the 30s, which is highly unlikely.

Maureen O'Sullivan claimed in her autobiography that ALL the Tarzan chimps were queer for Johnny Weismuller and hated her:
Cheetah bit me whenever he could. The [Tarzan] apes were all homosexuals, eager to wrap their paws around Johnny Weismuller's thighs. They were jealous of me, and I loathed them.
AKSARBENT has seen one account which claimed that the crew had to put a leg restraint (just out of the camera frame) on Cheetah in some scenes with Tarzan and Jane to prevent the monkey from attacking Maureen O'Sullivan.

Another recounting said the chimp would get sexually excited in scenes with Johnny Weismuller, at which point filming stopped and members of the crew would ping Cheetah with pea shooters to get rid of his tumescence.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson announces retirement on YouTube: 'Public service... is about protecting the rights of individuals, even if it angers the majority...'

Nelson prepared two videos. After his decision leaked (before he could even tell his staff) he decided to post the announcement on YouTube. Tomorrow he will announce his next endeavor, says KETV, teasing an interview to be broadcast tomorrow.

Nelson's unexpected decision leaves Nebraska's Democratic party, barely functional under the best of circumstances, flatfooted and scrambling. There are reflexive rumors of talking former Senator Bob Kerrey down from the political shelf, but he has said nothing.

In his farewell, Nelson pointedly noted: "Public service is a place for public service — not personal profit." Gosh, AKSARBENT wonders aloud, "To whom might Nelson be referring?"

Nelson specifically denied that GOP attack ads (most of which have come courtesy of Karl Rove's Citizen's United-enabled slush fund, American Crossroads  and David Koch's Astroturf Potemkin Village, Americans for Prosperity) were responsible. If anything he said, they motivated him to run again.

President Obama's reaction to Nelson's retirement:
I want to thank Senator Nelson for his years of service representing the people of Nebraska, first as Governor and then for more than a decade in the United States Senate. Over the course of his career, Ben’s commitment to working with both Democrats and Republicans across a broad range of issues is a trait far too often overlooked in today’s politics. Michelle and I commend Ben for his service, and wish him and his family well in the future.

Little girl rant against corporations, toys and gender role enforcement: she's just not that into pink..

"The companies who make these try to trick the girls into buying the pink stuff..."

She's like, four years old and already sees right through corporate marketing to children. You know this child is going to be major trouble when she grows up! If Big Bidness were smarter than it is, it would set up a scholarship fund to pay her way through anything except law school.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Decent Android audio apps arrive

From Wired:
Basically a pared-down version of the Audiotool web app, Audiotool Sketch for Android offers one melodic synth and two drum machines that clone popular analog sounds. It also makes quick, simple work of creating and editing beats, in stark contrast to apps like ReBirth for iOS, which have potential, features-wise, but look like the dashboard of a space shuttle.

First Magic Mike production still photo

Channing Tatum's recounting of his days as a stripper (he's in the movie, with Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Joe Mangianello, Olivia Munn, Riley Keough, Cody Horn, and Adam Rodriguez) is the story of this Steven Soderbergh low-budget ($20 million) dramedy.

Even a stripper movie has a synopsis, which is: "The film follows Mike (Tatum) as he takes a young dancer called The Kid (Pettyfer) under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money."

Obligatory promotional quote from director:
When Channing talked to me about this, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard for a movie. I said I wanted in immediately. It’s sexy, funny and shocking. We’re using Saturday Night Fever as our model, so hopefully we’re on the right track.
The last films in Soderbergh’s pipeline before the retirement he says is imminent: Haywire starring Tatum, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender his theaters this August, filming on Magic Mike is set to start in September/October, the star-studded Contagion (Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, etc.) is slated for October 21st, then The Playlist reports that The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starring George Clooney is aiming to shoot in February of next year, with the Liberace biopic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon serving as Soderbergh’s grand finale, set to film next summer.

Baby polar bear

Mom can't produce enough milk; cub needs 24/7 care for first year.

(Via Towleroad)

Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch, 12/26/2011

A new law in Ireland means that New Yorkers now have more rights on the Emerald Isle than they do in their own country. A hospital in Tennessee violates federal guidelines in denying visitation to a lesbian couple. There's a new ad for marriage equality in New Hampshire that epitomizes Yankee thrift. And 20,000 Australian doctors agree: marriage equality is good for your head.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Today's birthdays: Jesus Christ* and Quentin Crisp

*Only one, Crisp, not Christ, was actually born on December 25th (in 1908.)

Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, notes that early on, Quisp decided that his life’s work would be “making the existence of homosexuality abundantly clear to the world’s aborigines.” Crisp's stronger attraction to camp remarks than to common sense got him into trouble during the early years of the AIDS crisis, when he recklessly quipped that AIDS was a “fad.”
Jesus Christ, aka "The Prince of Peace"
breaking off a piece.
He made a pact with a New York performance artist named Penny Arcade that he would live to be a hundred years old, with a decade off for good behavior. He died just one month before his 91st birthday.
Related: AKSARBENT had Midnight Mass at the Vatican running in the background last night. We appreciated the color commentary which informed us that St. Peter's Basilica occupies five acres and that Pope Ratzi has to cover the length of two football fields just to get to the altar. (This is why they push him in a cart.) We looked up in time to see shots of a nativity scene of Christ in a rude manger/hut, followed by a vertigo/acrophobia-inducing shot of the wildly ornate gold leaf on the Vatican ceiling. Probably not a good juxtaposition, but then it wouldn't be the first example of the Catholic Church's tone deafness, would it?
*Frequently inconsistent and even contradictory biblical accounts are in accord on one thing: descriptions of shepherds in the fields indicate that Christ, if he existed at all, was probably born in the spring and certainly no later than early fall.
     Christers did not commemorate the birth of their savior for centuries; when they did, it was almost certainly a ruse to poach on the winter solstice festivals of pagans in order to win converts, hence the real "reason for the season."

Rachel Maddow on Palin/Starnes ginned-up, partisan Fox News outrage over Obama Christmas card: 'Totally, totally, idiotic'

Short takes: Brando, Warhorse, blind dog's guide dog and AKSARBENT learns a new word

A blind dog with his own guide dog

Christopher Hitchens' unforgivable mistake

Danish MP wants Hans Christian Andersen gay festival (link NSFW)

Why no one's investigating Wall Street 

Chinese hackers broke into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and gained access to everything on its systems including information about its 3,000,000 members 

This .gif (of Marlon Brando, back in the day) supposedly turns straight men gay... except when it doesn't (see comment by breathesrain)

War on drugs is mostly a war on young people

Latino veteran has an encounter with Arpaio's officers; not expected to survive

AKSARBENT's new word for the day is CALLIPYGIAN. Thank you, commenter petuniadewitt Why, yes we were were perusing Roger Ebert's retweet of the funniest headlines of 2011. However did you guess?

Peter Knegt thinks Warhorse is totally gay and makes a pretty good case for his contention

Santa's elves lift Lady Gaga dancer out of the doldrums

(Andrew Christian via Queerty)

Michael Jordan sells Hanes shorts one way, Andrew Christian has his way...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Appropos of nothing: Danny Bhoy and the Queen

Were popular Omaha radio personalities Dave Wingert and Tom Becka fired by Mitt Romney's company?

Clear Channel is the radio giant that owns both KFAB and KGOR, the stations which, respectively, used to employ Tom Becka and Dave Wingert. Although Wingert, unlike Becka, was ostensibly fired for an expletive uttered by a caller and allowed to air, many believe that the incident was an excuse to get rid of him and that since no similar excuse could be offered to ax Becka, that he was simply canned.

What many people don't realize is that Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, recently "analyzed" Clear Channel's staffing and determined that certain jobs were "redundant, unnecessary or could be done by a computer rather than a human being. Thus, 1,850 people at Clear Channel (largely owned by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners) were fired in January of 2011 and 590 more were let go in a later round of cost cutting that left Becka and Wingert unemployed.

Recently, the New York Times took note of Mitt Romney's continued profiteering via Bain Capital:
During his political career, Mr. Romney has promoted his experience as a businessman while deflecting criticism of layoffs caused by private equity deals by noting that he left Bain in 1999. But records and interviews show that in the years since, he has benefited from at least a few Bain deals that resulted in upheaval for companies, workers and communities.
Mitt Romney, center, in gag money photo distributed by Bain Capital, of which he was CEO
for 15 years and from which he continues to profit. Popular Omaha DJs Dave Wingert and
Tom Becka were fired following a recent fiscal analysis of Clear Channel by Bain Capital.
For those of you who don't know what "private equity" companies do, here's a typical scenario: They help a few executives take a company private in a leveraged buyout with large amounts of borrowed money (thereby sharply increasing the company's debt), then they fire employees and raid the pension fund to make the now debt-laden company look more profitable, and THEN they sell off the carcass of the once viable enterprise, piece by piece, at a considerable profit.
     And then, sometimes, a founder of the company will run for office, touting his business experience, and hiding his history of destroying pension funds and/or eliminating or outsourcing jobs to boost the bottom line of the businesses he buys, plunders and flips.
     Unfortunately, many voters whose knowledge of economics comes from right-wing talk radio or political ads don't realize that creating wealth and creating jobs are NOT the same thing; in fact, they are frequently at odds with each other.
     Among politicians, Romney, now worth about $250,000,000, is a poster boy for hardball, kick-employees-to-the-curb capitalism.

HB 4770, signed by MI Gov. Rick Snyder, cuts off insurance to gay spouses; Who voted for HB 4770?

HB4770, which prohibits public employers from providing partner benefits to unmarried partners of public employees, was signed into law Thursday by Michigan's GOP governor Rick Snyder, according to Todd Heywood of Michigan's PrideSource.
Emily Dievendorf, policy director at Equality Michigan, also slammed the governor for the signing.
      "Gov. Snyder's support for these bills is appalling. Today, the Governor told unmarried public employees that they could no longer care for their partners or children. He has put hardworking gay and lesbian couples and their children into harm's way by eliminating important health care coverage. He has spent the last two years talking about creating a welcoming state with a attractive business climate, and these bills fly in the face of those goals," said Dievendorf. "All families in our state, including gay and lesbian families, should have fair access to health care coverage. Governor Snyder caved to the radical social agenda coming from the legislature. He has rejected our shared commitment to economic growth. In order to compete in today's global business environment, we must build a culture that prioritizes fundamental fairness. This law will only serve to hurt Michigan."
      Democratic State Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) said he was disappointed the governor had signed the bill.
      "If there is any question this governor is a moderate, that has just gone out the door," said Bieda. "We want to attract the best and brightest into the state. I think it sends a message about what kind of state we are to the rest of the country. I think it is particularly cruel happening two days before the holidays. It is going to be traumatic and extraordinarily disruptive to a number of families across the state. I had hoped the governor's better nature would have prevailed, but evidently not."

HB4770 was approved by the Michigan House 64-44 on September 15, 2011. You can see a video of Jim Townsend articulating his disgust with the bill before voting against it, here. The following representatives voted to cut off insurance to gay spouses (Source: MyGov365):

Al Pscholka MI-79
Amanda Price MI-89
Aric Nesbitt MI-80
Ben Glardon MI-85
Bruce Rendon MI-103
Charles Moss MI-40
Dale Zorn MI-56
David Agema MI-74
Earl Poleski MI-64
Ed McBroom MI-108
Frank Foster MI-107
Gail Haines MI-43
Holly Hughes MI-91
Jase Bolger MI-63
Jim Stamas MI-98
Joel Johnson MI-97
John Walsh MI-19
Jon Bumstead MI-100
Ken Goike MI-33
Ken Yonker MI-72
Kenneth Horn MI-94
Kevin Cotter MI-99
Kevin Daley MI-82
Kurt Damrow MI-84
Kurt Heise MI-20
Lisa Lyons MI-86
Mark Ouimet MI-52
Matt Huuki MI-110
Matthew Lori MI-59
Mike Callton MI-87
Paul Muxlow MI-83
Paul Scott MI-51
Peter Lund MI-36
Phil Potvin MI-102
Ray Franz MI-101
Rick Olson MI-55
Rick Outman MI-70
Sharon Tyler MI-78
Tom McMillin MI-45
Wayne Schmidt MI-104
The Michigan Senate voted December 7th to pass HB4770. The following Michigan senators voted to cut off insurance for gay spouses: