Friday, November 30, 2012

Mesa AZ high school punishes two boys for fighting
by coercing them into faking the rainbow amidst jeers

Westwood HS principal
Dr. Timothy Richard
Mesa is an extremely right-wing, heavily Mormon community. This happened at Westwood High School, whose principal, Dr. Timothy Richard, 35, of Wolfeboro, N.H., came up with the punishment.
     Richard has an Ed.D. in educational leadership and an M.A. in educational leadership and administration from Jones International University [a for-profit, online-only institution] and spent four years in military intelligence in the U.S. Air Force. From Wikipedia:
In 1999, JIU became the first fully online university in the U.S. to be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and a member of the North Central Association. This decision caused outrage from the American Association of University Professors on the grounds that the teaching staff had no academic freedom, and that an institution that taught only one subject could not claim to be a university.JIU currently offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs in business and masters and doctoral degree programs in education according to its website.
Commenters on gay blogs had a lot to say about this story.

From Towleroad:
     Francis: Mesa, Arizona is one of the more Mormon cities in the United States, is extremely red, and most people in the city appear to agree with the "punishment" that they view two men holding hands as being.
     giovanni: "if these guys were cool and wanted to get the principal back, they would have hugged and done some open mouth kissing.

From JoeMyGod:
     penpal: The blatant homophobia and bullying are apparent enough, but beyond that is the basic premise that two men, even straight men, showing affection for each other is taboo and to be avoided at all costs is abominable. They're not raising boys there, they're raising damaged goods.

Israel retaliates against Palestine immediately after UN vote granting it nonmember state status

Steve Weizman of Agence-France reports that an Israeli official announced plans to build 3,000 settler homes.
Israeli media reports said that some new settlement construction would be in a highly contentious area of the West Bank known as E1, a corridor that runs between the easternmost edge of annexed east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement.
    Palestinians bitterly oppose the E1 project, as it effectively cuts the occupied West Bank in two, north to south, and makes the creation of a viable Palestinian state highly problematic.
     Lee Terry, Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns, who represent Omaha voters in Congress and the Senate, are staunch supporters of Israel, despite the country's continuing disregard of US admonitions about ever-escalating settlement activity that critics of Israel have called a decades-old land grab.
     Foreign aid to Israel now totals at least $100-$114 billion since 1973, but the total cost of US support to Israel in recent decades may be as high as 1.6 trillion dollars, according to Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. That's twice the cost of the US war in Vietnam, and counting.

     "We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and east Jerusalem construction and announcements. We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
     State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that, despite past failures, Washington would keep trying to get Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Historic UN Palestine vote: how every nation voted

UN vote by country. Click image to enlarge.
The vote to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state was 138 in favor and nine against, with 41 abstentions. Voting no: Israel, the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations which typically rubber-stamp positions aping US/Israel policy: the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
     Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed retaliation if the vote went against Israel, released a statement saying, in part:
The world watched a defamatory and venomous speech that was full of mendacious propaganda against the IDF (army) and the citizens of Israel, the statement said.
     AKSARBENT has located a twitter picture (above) identifying all the votes.

Here is how, according to Reuters, the US and Israel may retaliate against Palestine:
The United States and Israel oppose the Palestinian move, saying direct peace talks are the only way to achieve statehood.
     Israel has threatened the Palestinians with retaliation for seeking a U.N. status upgrade. It has suggested that it could withhold some taxes and customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
     But in the wake of the latest Gaza conflict, Israel seems reluctant to reveal itself as diplomatically isolated. It has toned down threats of retaliation in the face of wide international support for the initiative, notably among its European allies.
     Israel may opt for harsh retaliation if the Palestinians file complaints against the Jewish state at the ICC, which U.N. diplomats say is Israel's main concern at the moment.
     The United States has also threatened to withhold financial aid to the Palestinians. If they join any specialized U.N. agencies, Congress will likely seek to cut off U.S. funding to those agencies in accordance with U.S. law.
     The United States, which pays 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget, is the biggest financial contributor to the world body.

Syria now completely cut off from Internet, says a second web monitoring company

Renesys, and now Akamai report that all Syria's IP blocks are offline. From the Washington Post:

Still, maybe one question here is why Syria didn’t do this sooner... One possible explanation is that Syria has been far more assertive online, using it as a tool for tracking dissidents and rebels, and sometimes even tricking them into handing the government personal data using phishing scams. President Bashar al-Assad has a background in computers, unlike the much older Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gaddafi, and once even directly mentioned his “electronic army.” Assad’s regime may have seen opportunity as well as risk on the Web, where perhaps the Egyptian and Libyan authorities saw primarily a tool of the uprising. Or, perhaps the Syrian simply feared the economic consequences of an Internet blackout, or lacked the means to conduct it.
     The Syrian government has not claimed responsibility for the blackout, so it remains possible that another group or actor is responsible, although it’s not clear who would have the capability to close down Internet access so widely and rapidly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to handle street preachers on campus: University of Central Florida edition

Via JoeMyGod

The YouTube description:
At the University of Central Florida free speech lawn, a Baptist preacher (Micah Armstrong) talks about the sins of sexuality. In response one student (Austin Cooper) strips in front of him.
This is how they accomplish the same thing at the University of Nebraska and at Yale University.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gay Mobile Alabama woman beaten senseless by Travis Hawkins, brother of her girlfriend on Thanksgiving; 66,000 sign petition to escalate charges

Omahans will recognize WPMI 15's anchor, who introduced the story, as former KMTV anchor Greg Peterson who left Nebraska for Mobile, AL in 2007.

Prosecutors in Mobile chose to charge Travis Hawkins with second degree assault rather than attempted murder.
     They say they could not bring first degree assault charges because Hawkins did not use a deadly weapon.
     No hate crime charges were brought because Alabama is one of 26 states without hate crime statutes covering LGBT people.
     Second degree assault in Alabama is a class C felony. First degree assault is a class B felony. Attempted murder is a class A felony.
     Here are the penalties for those crimes, from the Alabama statutes:
(1) For a Class A felony, for life or not more than 99 years or less than 10 years.
(2) For a Class B felony, not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.
(3) For a Class C felony, not more than 10 years or less than 1 year and 1 day.
Here is Hawkins, in pictures on his facebook page:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Drag Dog

This Beagle also has issues with water jug hoarding, sneaker huffing, rolling with pickles and stealing pretzels from goats.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yes, there IS such a thing as bad publicity — if you ran a coffee shop, would you want Bob Vander Plaats running around with your store's name on a foam cup?

We suppose that, if he has one, the dog of the Iowa Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats, Fierce Defender of Marriage Against Imaginary Threats, ate the memo announcing that, since the Varnum v. Brien decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa, divorces have declined to their lowest per capita level since 1968 — 7,286.
     Despite the fact that Iowas favor gay marriage by about seven percentage points, Vander Plaats evidently has no qualms about flogging the failed Starbucks boycott started by the National Organization for Marriage and taken up by the Family Research Council:
I'm gonna go out and I'm gonna take a look at other coffee shops and support those who support God's design for the family. Who support the freedoms that we have in this country and what makes this country so great and what we hold dear.
We're not so sure we would want our coffee advertised as the choice of dishonest heterosexual supremacists, but considering what ABC News said about Vanderplaats trying to shake down Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, maybe Vander Plaats has a secret plan to shake down coffee house owners by NOT endorsing their products! Far fetched, but we wouldn't put it past him.

Larry 'JR' Hagman, Dallas star, dies at 81 — in Dallas

Larry Hagman has died at 81 in Dallas, Texas of complications from cancer, surrounded by family and friends, including Linda Gray, who played his wife on television, and Dallas costar Patrick Duffy.
     He was filming a second season of TNT's sequel to the CBS prime time soap which ran from 1978 to 1991, garnering 355 million viewers worldwide at its apex — the 1980 third season opener's reveal of Who Shot JR.
USA Today
     In the US, that episode got a 53.3 rating because an astounding 76% share of the nation's TV viewers — 83 million — watched CBS that night to find out that Bing Crosby's daughter Mary did the dirty deed.
     Hagman was born in Ft. Worth in 1931, the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin.
     In 1984, Cinema Canada republished an interview with famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman who confessed his fascination with Dallas:
Cinema Canada: You can be harsh towards actors.
Ingmar Bergman: No! It's not like that! I only behave that way when they ask for it. When you're ill and the doctor says: 'We have to take it out,' you don't ask him to be nice, you ask him to use clean instruments, to be objective, not to be afraid, but to take it out, God, and quickly. With actors it's the same: I see there's something wrong, and I have to cut it out. Of course cutting out a rotten spot hurts. But it has to be done.
     The worst doctors I know are the people who make Dallas. Dallas is written badly, directed badly, acted badly and filmed badly. Dallas has no limits in its tastelessness, lack of talent and completely cynical way of handling people. (He sighs) All of it makes Dallas so incredibly fascinating.
     Larry Hagman first got famous as Tony Nelson, the astronaut in NBC's I Dream of Genie. Although he loved his Dallas character, he hated Sheldon Leonard's I Dream of Jeannie scripts and was so difficult to work with that the producers seriously considered getting rid of him and replacing him with another actor. Darren McGavin was at the top of the list for Hagman's replacement. They even worked out a story where Tony lost Jeannie and McGavin found her, but the studio execs loved Hagman and wouldn't consider a change.

     Jeannie trivia from the International Movie Database:
  • Jeannie was born on 1 April 64 B.C.
  • The fancy antique bottle in which Jeannie called home was actually a decorative Jim Beam liquor decanter, decorated and painted with gold leaf by the show's art department.
  • According to Barbara Eden, network executives and censors were unconcerned about her navel being seen until someone casually mentioned during the third season that it was occasionally visible when the waistband of her costume shifted. After that her navel was required to be covered.
  • The famous theme music was actually not used during season one, but since the first season was black and white, it was generally not syndicated with the rest of the series, so few people have seen it.
  • In the episode "How to Marry an Astronaut", Barbara Eden's cries for help from inside the champagne bottle were real. As a prank, director Claudio Guzm├ín called "lunch!" and had everyone leave the set, leaving Eden trapped in the bottle.
  • Jeannie's harem shoes were made by Neiman Marcus.
  • In one episode, Tony and Roger are working training a chimp named "Sam". This was seen as a slap at the show Bewitched, whose producers accused "Jeannie" of stealing some of their ideas.
  • On the show, all of the characters drove Pontiac automobiles.
  • Season one was filmed in black-and-white because NBC did not want to pay for the extra expense of filming it in color (The network did not believe the series would last beyond one season. According to Sidney Sheldon in his autobiography "The Other Side Of Me", he offered to pay the extra $400 an episode needed for color filming at the beginning of the series. Screen Gems executive Jerry Hyams advised him, "Sidney, don't throw your money away.")
  • "I Dream of Jeannie" was the last television series to be broadcast in black and white. It began broadcasting "in living color" beginning with Season 2.
  • Originally, Jeannie's power was activated by folding her arms followed by a series of eye flutters. This was soon replaced by nodding her head and blinking once.
  • In Season 2, sets from other famous shows are used as locations. The most recognizable locations are the house and office featured on ABC's Bewitched plus locations from The Partridge Family and The Monkees.
  • The Nelson home still stands on the Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, CA, where it has a new role as the Ranch Operations office. Besides minor cosmetic changes, the house remains almost exactly the same after nearly 50 years.
  • Songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a theme song titled "Jeannie" but was rejected before the show's premiere.

A strangely misbehaving dog gets multiple timeouts

Friday, November 23, 2012

National Organization for Marriage: 'Children do best when raised by a mother and father' and if you don't believe that, maybe this will convince you. Or not.

Dear All Three
      With last evening's crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.
      It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.
      We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don't ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.
      Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.
      So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.
      In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn't for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.
      I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children's under­achievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don't want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it's not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won't do it by simply whingeing and saying you don't like it. You'll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn't possible, or you simply can't be bothered, then I rest my case.
     I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

St. Petersburg judge throws out suit against Madonna

Madonna in St Petersburg
Madonna in St Petersburg last August. Photo: Olga Maltseva/AP
The Guardian reports that a $10.7 million lawsuit brought against Madonna by various reactionary groups for her support of Pussy Riot and gay rights during a St. Petersburg concert has been tossed out by Judge Vitaly Barkovsky, who deliberated for more than an hour following a day-long hearing not attended by the Material Girl.
     He "appeared to treat the case with skepticism from the start. After one claimant, Vitaly Orlovsky, said Madonna's concert would prompt the divorce rate to skyrocket, Barkovsky asked him why he was suing no alcoholics, since alcoholism was a well-known cause of divorce in the heavy-drinking country."
     One senior official called Madonna a "moralizing slut" (which is kinda true). Among other things which are not at all true, the plaintiffs argued that Madonna's performance would adversely affect Russia's birthrate and therefore its ability to maintain a proper army and would therefore lead to the destruction of the nation.

William Shatner demonstrates how not to fry a turkey

"Hot oil, wet frozen turkey pushed together make steam, pushing the hot oil over the top and igniting the open flame. DON'T DO THAT!"

Straight dudes respond to gay male threats to marry their girlfriends: Go ahead!

This is way funnier than the gay video to which it is a response. Oh gosh, we forgot to link to the original. Sorry. Our bad.

(Via Americablog)

007 gets a New York license to drive after completing safe driving course and negotiating Staten Island traffic

Daniel Craig (who can too drive a stick!) spends a lot of time in New York, where wife Rachel Weisz lives, so he decided to get an Empire State driver's license, necessitating a five-hour driving safety course required of all aliens.
     His assistant requested a special Craig-only class at the Professional Driving School of the Americas on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. The road test was taken in Staten Island.
     The International film idol and popsicle model has now proven to the State of New York that he is well versed on proper turns, driving in extreme weather conditions, parallel parking, three-point turns and understands the danger of alcohol and driving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wayne Besen described creepy, trance-like midnight International House of Prayer meeting back in May, before Bethany Deaton's murder; 'Beware Grandview and Kansas City... It's time to wake up.'

Wayne Besen
Similarly, I warned in May that something was seriously amiss at Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Grandview, MO, an exurb of Kansas City. Part of my job is monitoring extremist organizations, which brought me to the IHOP’s worship center at midnight, a time I expected the cavernous hall to be practically empty. Instead, I found a far more disconcerting scene.
Here is what I wrote on May 4:
There was a gigantic 24/7 prayer room filled mostly with teenagers, many of whom appeared to be of high school or college age. A band played hypnotic Christian music while the audience of 100 or so youth engaged in a diverse set of worship rituals. Some were seated, as if they were in a traditional church setting. Others danced and skipped, like they were in some sort of fundie rave. One youth twirled a purple fan, as if he were at a gay circuit party. About a quarter of the participants walked in a trance-like state through the aisles muttering to themselves — a practice that I had not seen before. Some of these youths walked non-stop for over an hour, with no signs of stopping to rest.
     Beware Grandview and Kansas City. You have an aggressive, militant, angry, fundie cult growing under your nose. It’s time to wake up before you become the next Colorado Springs. Don’t be caught flat footed wondering, “How did this happen?” Consider this your first warning...
...With other radical cults now in the area, such as Lou Engle’s The Call and Andy Comisky’s Desert Stream, Grandview residents might want to take a fresh look at IHOP, before everyday seems like Halloween.

Eccentric Amarillo, TX millionaire Stanley Marsh, 74, owner of 'Cadillac Ranch,' sued by eight teenage boys

Cadillac Ranch, near Amarillo, Texas. Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
From the New York Times:
Eight teenage boys have sued him [Marsh] in recent weeks, alleging in a series of lawsuits that he supplied them with cash, cars and alcohol in return for sexual favors and performances at his office and at his home. The lawsuits claimed the boys, identified in court documents as John Does, were 15, 16 and 17 at the time...
     At 74, he is the only rancher in town whose windmill wears a bow tie and who has used his land and wealth as a kind of canvas for thought-provoking art. At his offices in Amarillo’s tallest building, the Chase Tower, there were no buried cars, but a visiting reporter once noted the sign by the elevator doors: “The People’s Republic of the 12th Floor.”
     Nearly 17 years ago, he was arrested on charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault after he was accused of threatening a high school student with a hammer and locking him in a chicken coop. The young man, 18 at the time, had stolen one of Mr. Marsh’s street signs, and he was a member of the Whittenburg family, with whom the Marsh family has had a long-running feud...
     In the 1970s, his name appeared on a White House “enemies list” after he wrote a letter to Pat Nixon, the first lady, about establishing a “museum of decadent art,” an entire room of which, he said, would be dedicated to her hats.
AKSARBENT warns its readers not to confuse this installation with Carhenge, a similar attraction/nuisance near Alliance, in Western Nebraska.

How do you think some San Franciscans
protested city's new ban on public nudity?

Activist 'Stardust' protests San Francisco's 6-5 vote to ban public nudity

NJ Gov. Chris Christie smart enough to parry Twinkie question but too stupid to have NJ Transit trains moved to higher ground before Sandy hit

Kawasaki rail car facility in Lincoln, NE. As of 2011, all PATH cars were made by the
company in either Lincoln or Yonkers, New York. NJ Transit uses cars from Bombardier
Transportation, the Berlin, Germany division of Bombardier of Toronto, Canada
Video frame: Anthony Roberts, Lincoln Journal-Star

Reuters reports:
The Garden State's commuter railway parked critical equipment - including much of its newest and most expensive stock - at its low-lying main rail yard in Kearny just before the hurricane. It did so even though forecasters had released maps showing the wetland-surrounded area likely would be under water when Sandy's expected record storm surge hit. Other equipment was parked at its Hoboken terminal and rail yard, where flooding also was predicted and which has flooded before.
     Among the damaged equipment: nine dual-powered locomotive engines and 84 multi-level rail cars purchased over the past six years at a cost of about $385 million.
     "If there's a predicted 13-foot or 10-foot storm surge, you don't leave your equipment in a low-lying area," said David Schanoes, a railroad consultant and former deputy chief of field operations for Metro North Railroad, a sister railway serving New York State. "It's just basic railroading. You don't leave your equipment where it can be damaged."

USA's Emperor of Statehouse Filibustering back in the saddle in Nebraska Unicameral after term-limit timeout

2012 North Omaha Billboard urging reelection of Chambers
Here's what John Gramlich of Stateline wrote about Chambers in 2010, before he defeated his successor, Brenda Council, last month in a reelection bid to represent his old North Omaha district, 11.
Among the most prolific filibusterers in any state's history is former Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers, who served a record 38 years in the Legislature before leaving in 2008 because of newly imposed term limits. Chambers is a legend at the unicameral statehouse in Lincoln, where for decades he used stalling tactics to defeat or change legislation he didn't like.
     In 2002, when Nebraska's Legislature adopted a new rule making it easier to end filibusters, most observers agreed it was done in an attempt to stop Chambers from using them. Chambers himself believes the state's term-limits law was approved just to get him, and his delaying tactics, out of office. It may have worked, but Chambers says he has no regrets about the way he legislated during his career.
     "In the legislative assembly, where you meet for a finite number of days, time is the most valued commodity. Whoever controls or manages time is the one who wins," says Chambers...
Deena Winter of Nebraska Watchdog recalled a memorable filibuster by Chambers in 2005 against legislation which recently passed anyway, via referendum:
...He famously blocked a constitutional amendment in 2005 protecting the right to hunt and fish by introducing amendment after amendment protecting the right to do things such as create, recreate, converse, procreate, sit on the porch and drink lemonade, laugh, cough, itch, scratch, shear and “hunt for the link between Noah’s Ark, Joan of Arc and Archimedes.”
Chambers has also amended or killed laws on fetal tissue research, marriage equality, the death penalty and abortion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bruno of DWTS to Kelly Monaco: '...You've been upstaged... Never work with animals or speedos'

Val Chmerkovskiy, little brother of Maksim and current torch bearer of big bro's DWTS bad boy rep, was sent packing along with soap star partner Kelly Monaco after their surfer flamingo routine got the judges' lowest marks.
     Said Ree Hines on Today's blog:
     Bruno thought it was more of a paso doble than flamenco anyway. Carrie Ann Inaba agreed, and noted that the arm lines were all off for a traditional flamenco.
     Given that it was a surfer flamenco -- a mishmash dance that doesn't actually exist in ballroom -- those nitpicks seemed out of place, just as the bottom of the pack scores (8, 8.5 and 9) did.

Knights of Columbus HQ got pushback today over millions in donations to it spent on antigay ballot fights

You wouldn't know it from the organization's disingenuous web site, but the Knights of Columbus has spent more than $6 million since 2005 in nasty political fights over gay marriage in state after state.
     Today, a liberal Catholic organization, Catholics United Education Fund, delivered 5,000 petitions directly to the New Haven headquarters of the largest lay Catholic organization in the world, which just spent another $600,000 on whatever side of ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state would ensure that gay couples stay strangers to the law in each of those states. Alas, the Knights of Columbus bet on the wrong horse in every one of those contests.
     Catholics United  says such efforts alienate younger Catholics; the Knights should focus on serving the poor and vulnerable.

Knights of Columbus headquarters
New Haven, CT
Here's Catholics United's press release:
Catholics United’s Statement on Knights of Columbus Anti-Marriage Equality Spending Report
Posted October 18, 2012

WASHINGTON – Equally Blessed, a coalition of pro-LGBT Catholics, has released a report that discovered the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization, spent nearly $16 million since 2005 on far-right wing social issues, including $6.25 million opposing civil same-sex marriage. Of this, more than $600,000 has been donated in 2012 alone to anti-marriage equality ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
     The report comes immediately on the heels of a Pew Charitable Trust poll which has found a record increase in the number of Americans, roughly one-in-five, who no longer associate with any religion. Leading researchers believe these individuals are abandoning religion over the mixing of religion with right-wing political movements, such as opposition to civil same-sex marriage laws. The Knights of Columbus’ over-emphasis on divisive social issues corresponds with the appointment of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, a former political appointee of President George W. Bush.
     The following is a statement from Catholics United’s Executive Director, James Salt:

     “At a time when so many Americans are suffering, it saddens me that the Knights of Columbus have dedicated a large portion of their charitable donations to fund a far-right political agenda. The Knights of Columbus’ work against civil same-sex marriage laws has the unfortunate effect of pushing younger generations of Catholics out of the church. Younger Catholics don’t want our faith known for its involvement in divisive culture wars, we want our faith known for serving the poor and marginalized.”
     In response to today’s report, Catholics United is launching a petition drive asking Carl Anderson to cease the divisive culture war. To view our petition visit:
     To review the report issued by Equally Blessed, visit:

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. For more information about Catholics United, follow us on our Facebook page ( or on our blog at

Anderson Cooper gets drunk at his day job

Obama pollster rips Gallup; 'The American Electorate does not bounce around as if it's on a pogo stick'

In a post-election interview, Maggie Haberman of Politico interviewed President Obama’s lead pollster, Joel Benenson, who took issue with the wild variations in the Gallup polling data – and other surveys which were off base.
“I think it’s long overdue for an organization with a name as well-known as Gallup to recognize what the demographics of the American electorate actually are and figure out why their model has continued to skew too old, too white and less likely to be college educated than the nation’s voters,” Benenson said.
     Benenson, like others in the Obama campaign high command, said the president won on values and not on demographics, as the Mitt Romney campaign has flagged.
     “The American electorate does not bounce around as if it's on a pogo stick,” Benenson said. “If you look at the exit polls, 70 percent of voters had made up their mind before September... Mitt Romney would have had to have a phenomenal two months ... he would have had to won that 30 percent of voters, to make up a five point difference, by 17 points.”

Ivan Stufer: handball homophobia, Italian style

First, we have Jerk Pride on parade:

Compare and contrast: In a 1995 Tokyo kickboxing match, Mike Bernardo (left) exhibits the sense of humor during a staredown with Jerome Le Banner that will probably forever remain beyond the reach of the knuckle-dragging Stufer.

Mike Wilson and the cost of adult delinquency

Sueper, above, and Michael Wilson
Scott Sueper has a pregnant wife, a mortgage, a house and three jobs.
     Now he also has a broken neck, large medical bills, a wrecked Cavalier and faces at least three months without income courtesy of Mike Wilson, who crashed into him at 16th & Sorenson last weekend.
     Wilson, said the cops, was driving drunk on a suspended license. Jail officials told WOWT reporter Brittany Gunter that Wilson's priors number over 100.
     If he goes to prison, he'll cost society $30-50,000 per year.
     Some dudes are just really high maintenance without much return on the investment.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Details emerge about death of International House of Prayer cult leader Tyler Deaton's wife; murder made to resemble suicide; Moore, accused, says husband ordered hit

The Kansas City Star has a lengthy article about the charismatic, controlling husband of slain 27-year-old Bethany Deaton
     Here is today's KSHB report:

IHOP has distanced itself from Tyler Deaton.

Moore told investigators that Bethany Deaton was drugged with Seroquel before being assaulted by members of her husband's group.

A spokesperson for IHOP said Moore was a student in the Bible school at IHOP University. The statement said Moore told an IHOP pastor at the Grandview Police Department that he video recorded the sexual assaults on his iPad, located at his apartment on College Ave.

If your cat takes up skydiving, here's the insurance company for you!

Eva Leijonmark has her cat insured through Folksam, so the Swedish insurance company dedicated this ad, with epic skydiving cats, to her.

Mayor of Iceland's biggest city, which AKSARBENT can't spell, sums up antigay French demonstrators

(Via JMG)

2012 an ongoing disaster for Democrats at state level

GOP-controlled Iowa House. In Iowa, at least
Democrats control the senate, if barely.
From Politico:
The GOP went into 2012 with unified control of the governor’s mansions and legislatures in 24 states and will come out with full political control of 25 states. Democrats will head into 2013 with a disadvantage at the state level, having total control of just 13 states.

New GOP mantra on Meet The Press: Eat the rich!

As articulated by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, NY, at the 1:48 mark in the
video below:
Too many Republicans here in Washington, D.C. are actually defending big business. They're defending the rich. I didn't become a Republican to defend the rich. And what we need to understand is that Big Business loves Big Government because they get all the goodies from Big Government. They get less competition. The more that government grows, the more that Big Business actually benefits from the tax code and the regulations...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ADF attorney charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of children

Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin reports the arrest for possession of child pornography and other charges of Lisa Biron, an attorney "associated" (there are thousands) with the right-wing activist legal organization which now calls itself Alliance Defending Freedom but which used to be known as the Alliance Defense Fund.
     Biron was arrested by the FBI and charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, possession of child pornography and five counts of sexual exploitation of children.

     Here's an example of ADF's tactics, in a smear of the ACLU's Don't Filter Me campaign which ensures that right-wing school administrators don't get away with blocking nonporn gay sites like that of It Gets Better or The Trevor Project while simultaneously allowing access to so-called "reparative therapy" ex-gay sites:

     In 2009, the ADF offered free legal representation to county recorder offices in Iowa who refused to issue marriage licenses under the state’s new gay marriage law because of “rights of conscience.” 
     In 2012, the ADF tried to short-circuit Omaha's passage of municipal LGBT antibias legislation via a state law, LB912, similar to one written in Tennessee by the ADF, which voided Nashville's LGBT protection ordinance.
     LB912, introduced by State Senator Beau McCoy of Elkhorn, died quickly in the Judiciary Committee, thanks to Brenda Council and Brad Ashford. You can see ADF Senior Counsel, Byron Babione's testimony urging LB912's passage below.

In its 2010 filings, the ADF told the IRS it did no political lobbying. Presumably it will not make the same claim about its activities in 2012. Or 2011, considering its actions in Tennessee.

Locally, ADF efforts have been buoyed by over $200,000 in financial support over the years by the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation. Grewcock is a multimillionaire former executive of Peter Kiewit and a donor to many radical right-wing groups, including the Family Research Council, a group so virulently (and dishonestly) antigay that it has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
     The Grewcocks gave the ADF at least $120,000 through 2006 and another $100,000 in 2008.

Maureen Dowd piles on to GOP criticism of Susan Rice

Maureen Dowd. (Fred Conrad photo)
My word! It's as if the ghost of William Safire suddenly sat down on Maureen Dowd's lap and wrote a column for her, ripping Susan Rice up one side and down the other.
Condi Rice sold her soul. Susan Rice merely rented hers on the talk shows one Sunday in September...
     Writing in a 2002 book about President Clinton's failure to intervene in the genocide in Rwanda, Samantha Power, now a National Security Council official, suggested that Rice was swayed by domestic politics when, as a rising star at the N.S.C. who would soon become Clinton's director for African affairs, she mused about the '94 midterms, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November election?"
     An Africa expert, Rice should have realized that when a gang showed up with R.P.G.'s and mortars in a place known as a hotbed of Qaeda sympathizers and Islamic extremist training camps, it was not anger over a movie. She should have been savvy enough to wonder why the wily Hillary was avoiding the talk shows.
     ...[The president's] argument that Rice "had nothing to do with Benghazi," raises the question: Then why was she the point person?

Video game Black Ops II earns seven times Breaking Dawn's first day profits in its debut

The score: Black Ops II, $500 million, Breaking Dawn, $71 million. In fact, Breaking Dawn didn't even make more than the video game's first day take all weekend, during which it raked in $140+ million.

House GOP Study Committee releases copyright reform report to court youth vote, then caves after MPAA and RIAA go ballistic

Here's the email retracting the fully vetted study, released after Hollywood burned up the GOP phone lines, preposterously claiming the fully vetted reported wasn't completely reviewed:
From: Teller, Paul
Sent: Saturday, November 17, 2012 04:11 PM
Subject: RSC Copyright PB
We at the RSC take pride in providing informative analysis of major policy issues and pending legislation that accounts for the range of perspectives held by RSC Members and within the conservative community. Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand. As the RSC’s Executive Director, I apologize and take full responsibility for this oversight. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and a meaningful Thanksgiving holiday....

Paul S. Teller Executive Director U.S. House Republican Study Committee
Below are two salient points, the first attacking a widely accepted myth about copyright, and the second proposing one of several reforms:
...the purpose of copyright is to compensate the creator. No, it correctly notes, it's about benefiting the public:
  1. Thus, according to the Constitution, the overriding purpose of the copyright system is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” In today’s terminology we may say that the purpose is to lead to maximum productivity and innovation.

    This is a major distinction, because most legislative discussions on this topic, particularly during the extension of the copyright term, are not premised upon what is in the public good or what will promote the most productivity and innovation, but rather what the content creators “deserve” or are “entitled to” by virtue of their creation. This lexicon is appropriate in the realm of taxation and sometimes in the realm of trade protection, but it is inappropriate in the realm of patents and copyrights.

Copyright infringement has statutory damages, which most copyright holders can and do use in litigation (rather than having to prove actual damages). The government sets a range – which is $750 to $30,000 per infringement – but that goes up to $150,000 if the infringement is "willful." Evidence suggests that the content holder almost always claims that it is willful. This fine is per infringement. Those rates might have made sense in commercial settings (though even then they arguably seemed high), but in a world where everyone copies stuff at home all the time, the idea that your iPod could make you liable for a billion dollars in damages is excessive.

SNL Coroner sketch

Increasingly, AKSARBENT tunes in SNL just to see Bill Hader... (Note if the top video does not appear, click the headline of this post to refresh the page.)

Below Hader tells David Letterman about a Texas father he met whose 13-year-old son was more enamored of the character than his dad was comfortable with.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sandra Bullock dresses down Chelsea Handler in shower: 'Lay off the booze... I DO NOT want to sleep with you'

Sandra: You have a responsibility to be a role model... a role model to young girls and gay and questioning men.. You need to lay off the booze... Lay off the booze... When you interrupt me, it's like interrupting Oprah... Stop sleeping with your guests. Stop it. It's beneath you. That is why I haven't done your show. I DO NOT want to sleep with you...
Chelsea: Why did you hit me?

After reelection, Cortland County DA Mark Suben no longer denying stint as porn actor

Missourians for Equality considering statewide anti-gay bias initiative

AKSARBENT has no idea whether these two presumably straight farm hands know that there really
is a gay college bar in Columbia, MO called Boner Farm. (Photo: Flickr, SkinheadSportBiker1)
Elizabeth Crips of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a new Missouri organization is close to circulating petitions making discrimination against gay Missourians illegal in the state.
     Although the GOP has veto-proof majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Aaron Malin thinks Missouri voters are more liberal than their representatives on the issue.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, quietly signed an executive order two years ago that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation for jobs in the state executive branch.
     Several cities also have passed local ordinances to outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians. Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis have included sexual orientation in anti-discrimination legislation in recent years, as have Clayton, Creve Coeur, Ferguson, Maplewood, Olivette, Richmond Heights and University City. Recently, Springfield also has considered similar language.
     The Missouri-based gay advocacy group PROMO announced on Monday that it wants St. Louis County to update its nondiscrimination ordinance to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Andrew Shaughnessy, PROMO’s local field organizer, said he has been in discussions with County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and members of the County Council on the issue.
...The Missouri House drew attention earlier this year when it passed a bill that would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate against people because they own or use guns. The measure never came up for a vote in the Senate, but several lawmakers questioned the priority of protecting gun owners when there are no similar protections for gays and lesbians. Some Republican members of the Legislature also drew a public backlash this year for proposing a bill that would have restricted discussions about sexual orientation in public schools.

Lincoln Northeast GSA paints rainbow on snowplow instead of school logo — no one said they couldn't

The haters on KOLN/KGIN's facebook page are hoping for a very warm winter.

Interview with director of Invisible Men, Outstanding Documentary Feature at Frameline LGBT film festival

Colin Murphy, of St. Louis' Vital Voice interviewed Yariv Mozer, in town for the screening of his documentary at the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

Colin Murphy: How difficult was it to find the interview subjects and how did you earn their trust?
Yariv Mozer: In the beginning I didn’t know that among us in Tel Aviv are people that live in such situations. So the first man I approached was Shaul, who is a volunteer in charge of minorities at The LGBT Center in Tel Aviv, if you’ve seen the film.  And he’s like the unofficial address of gay Palestinians when they need an Israeli guide who will help them or address them to other Israeli officials and things like this—he’s the guy. So through him I got to meet several gay Palestinians in the same situation and when I met Louie -  it was very clear that I was going to do a film because of his story and his character  and I was really emotionally attached. I felt for him and it was right after that first meeting with him that I understood.
     To gain his trust was something—I’m always saying that before I’m Israeli or Jewish, I’m gay. And Louie knew it. So the fact that I’m gay, he was gay – this was the first thing to make the bond, to make us trust each other. And the first time I convinced the police officers not to arrest him – this was a turning point. It was clear that I was here for him and I will do whatever I can to help.
Read the entire interview here.

Homocon blues at the Log Jam Tavern

(Via JMG)

HRC exposes Iowa Family Leader partner, National Organization for Marriage, as phony grassroots lobby

Bob Vander Plaats and Tamara Scott got up to $100,000 in matching funds in their recent, failed character assasssination Jihad to remove Justice David Wiggins from Iowa's Supreme Court because he was part of a unanimous 2009 decision which ruled that denying same sex couples civil marriage licenses violated the equal protection clause in Iowa's constitution. Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign showed up at the Washington offices of the National Organization for Marriage to request their latest 990 form. Given the pathetically small turnouts at NOM-sponsored bus tours, HRC's discovery is less than shocking:
NOM’s 2011 990 is available here. In addition to illustrating that more than $4.7 million of NOM’s total $6.2 million reported came from just two mysterious mega-donors, the documents also reveal some interesting information about NOM’s closest affiliates. For example, NOM paid $870,000 to CC Advertising – a group HRC recently filed an FCC complaint against for spamming unsuspecting cell phone users with anti-gay, anti-Obama text messages. The organization also paid nearly $375,000 to Frank Schubert, their ad guru who makes his living largely off of promoting anti-LGBT propaganda.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Google invests another $200,000,000 in Council Bluffs, bring Iowa total to $1.1 billion

Take a look inside Google's Council Bluffs, Iowa data center here. It's as close as you're likely to get.
     Google provides free wi-fi to Bayliss Park and will do the same in Dodge Park.

Surprise! Omaha cop union prez, Sgt. John Wells, on latest dog execution: 'I don't see that the officers acted inappropriately... [video] doesn't tell the whole story... officers were left little choice but to protect themselves'

The Omaha Police Union seems to be working from the hollow bullet points used by most PDs in justifying even the most outrageous, cavalier and indefensible summary pet executions. 
     At least the local Humane Society didn't pile on this time, as it did several years ago, when a cop entered a gated Omaha yard to investigate improper registration on a vehicle and then shot a friendly pit bull whose owner subsequently was the subject of a Humane Society complaint for "failing to restrain" his dogs.
     In the latest case, the dog's walker, Chris Schulte, was thrown to the ground apprehended for having an open container and 'obstructing' police.
     Despite the fact that it was an Omaha policeman who got to experience the thrill of wasting the family pet, (one of those notoriously vicious lab/golden retreiver mixes) Sgt. John Wells assured Omahans that the responsibility for the shooting of the dog rested with Schulte and not with the officer who pulled the trigger.

Shirtless FBI agent shows up during Letterman monologue

Letterman: Part of this Gen. Patraeus deal is, a guy investigating it for the FBI is an agent who investigates without his shirt. He likes to take pictures of himself without his shirt and shoot them around to various people and somehow he became involved in the Patraeus and the other generals and the CIA thing... and I thought: "Wait a minute, this rings a bell, oh yes, at the FBI, J Edgar Hoover used to do the same thing, except it was usually in a backless evening gown...
[Man wearing sun glasses, no shirt and suit pants runs up from behind]
Letterman: Oh, geez! Holy god!
Fake FBI Agent: If it wasn't my day off...
Letterman: Uh, huh.
Fake FBI Agent: ...I'd arrest you.
Letterman: Sure you would. Now get out of here. There he goes. He smelled nice.

Grand Island gay rights fight turns into pissing match between homophobic mayor and city council

On October 9th, Grand Island, Nebraska's fourth largest city, rejected an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment by a margin of 8-2, but the issue returned in the form of a scaled-down change to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in hiring for city jobs. (Grand Island currently protects gay people already employed by the city.)
     This HR change passed Tuesday, 6-4, ("no" votes: Mitch Nickerson, Chuck Haase, Scott Dugan and Peg Gilbert) but was vetoed by Mayor Jay Vavricek after he called on council members to explain why they voted pro or no, provoking two council members who had previously voted "no" to switch their votes. Grand Island requires a supermajority of seven to override a mayoral veto.
     In the end, after Nikerson and Haase changed sides, only Peg Gilbert and Scott Dugan voted against the override.