Monday, December 31, 2012

Congress extends warrantless wiretapping, kills sensible oversight amendments to FISA

Netflix spent $400,000 lobbying House, Senate to let them tell Facebook what you watch

(And ThinkProgress says Facebook spent $1.6 million on this.) The new bill has already been adopted by the House, and is now on its way to President Obama’s desk. Adam Serwer at Mother Jones has the latest:
Netflix's Reed Hastings
soon can disclose
your viewing habits
(Photo: Wikipedia)
Netflix: 1-866-579-7172

Last Tuesday, the Senate quietly altered a key privacy law, making it much easier for video streaming services like Netflix to share your viewing habits. How quietly? The Senate didn’t even hold a recorded vote: The bill was approved by unanimous consent. (Joe Mullin of Ars Technica was among the first to note the vote.) [...] Video streaming companies that want to share your data now only need to ask for your permission once. After that, they can broadcast your video-watching habits far and wide for up to two years before having to ask again.

Log Cabin Republicans won't say who paid for their anti-Hagel NYT ad; in NE, a pro-Hagel ad paid for by Jewish son of a Buffett Berkshire-Hathaway millionaire

"Bobby" Eisenberg placed a four-column, below-the-fold
ad in last Saturday's Omaha World-Herald supporting
the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel.
Eisenberg's parents were early Warren Buffett investors.
(A $10,000 1956 preBerkshire-Hathaway investment
Buffett Associates, Ltd is now worth about half a
billion dollars..
Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald, writing for the Manchester Guardian, tried to find out who is using the Log Cabin Republicans to take down a possible Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense nomination. LCR wouldn't tell Greenwald who paid for their full-page NYT ad, which reputedly cost in excess of $140,000, money that evidently the LCR doesn't have lying around.
I posed several questions to LCR about the funding and motive behind this ad.
     In response, the group's Executive Director, R. Clark Cooper, confirmed that LCR did not pay for the ad out of its existing funds. Rather, he said, the ad campaign "is being funded by a number of donors". But he not only refused to identify any of those donors, but also has thus far refused to say whether those "donors" are from the self-proclaimed "pro-Israel" community and/or are first-time donors to LCR: in other words, whether these donors are simply exploiting gay issues and the LCR to advance an entirely unrelated agenda as a means of attacking Hagel.
     As for why LCR would suddenly object to the anti-gay record of Hagel despite a history of supporting more virulently anti-gay Republicans, Cooper claimed that "LCR is particularly concerned about Chuck Hagel as a potential Defense Secretary because of the role he would play in continuing to oversee the implementation of open service of the military." But he did not respond to my follow-up inquiry about why, then, LCR endorsed Mitt Romney - who has long supported Don't Ask, Don't Tell and other anti-gay measures - as President.
     Why would this group be so moved by concerns about a possible Defense Secretary's anti-gay record that they take out a full-page ad against him in the New York Times, but just three months ago endorsed someone who is at least as anti-gay for the position of Commander-in-Chief, which obviously has far more influence on such policies than a Defense Secretary?
     What makes this all the more inexplicable is that, a couple of weeks before the LCR ad was placed, the very same R. Clark Cooper spoke out in praise of Hagel to the Gay City News:

"I recall working with Senator Chuck Hagel and his staff during the Bush administration and he was certainly not shy about expressing his criticisms. But despite his criticisms, Hagel voted with us most of the time and there was no question he was committed to advancing America's interests abroad. As for his nomination to be secretary of defense, it is well worth noting that Senator Hagel is a combat veteran who has hands-on experience in the field. The battlefield is not just theory for him."
At some point thereafter, LCR decided not only that Hagel must be publicly smeared as anti-gay and anti-Israel, but that the group just had to take an extraordinary and incredibly expensive step - a full-page ad in the New York Times - to do so. And then magically, the substantial funding for that anti-Hagel ad materialized.
     While I agree with those who insist that a Hagel nomination would not meaningfully change administration policy, the goal of the anti-Hagel smear campaign is to ensure that there can be no debate and no diversity of views on Israel when it comes to top government officials.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Charlie Sheen goes damage controlling to TMZ:
'I meant to say maggot but I have a lisp'

This weekend, Charlie Sheen hosted the opening of his hotel bar in Cabo, Mexico, El Ganzo, where he cheerfully hurled a homophobic slur at a not-especially-gay audience, specifically saying, "How we doing? ... Lying bunch of f**got a**holes, how we doing?"
     AKSARBENT is running this because we think it A) his excuse is funny as hell, B) we don't think Sheen even thinks about homosexuality long enough to disapprove and C) even if he does, he ceased long ago to be responsible for anything that comes out of his mouth.
     Martin Sheen's unruly son offered TMZ another, alternative explanation, just in case they didn't like the first: "I meant no ill will and intended to hurt no one and I apologize if I offended anyone."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Jack Klugman on how he and Tony Randall gaybaited ABC execs; Randall on how one Odd Couple gay-censored script became his favorite episode

Jack Klugman intro to first video below:
You're going to see Tony and me hugging and kissing a lot. We did this to irritate the network executives. You see, they thought two guys living together... people will think we're gay, and in those days it would bring the ratings down. That's why they brought in the Pigeon Sisters and that stupid beginning about how our wives left us. Today, you cannot have a successful series unless you have a gay person on it.

@5:47, Tony Randall to Jack Klugman, in his underwear: "Don't let your thing show like that!"
@5:56, a series of clips showing Klugman and Randall gay-baiting ABC and Paramount;
@6:04, Tony Randall to Klugman: "Wanna have some F-U-N?
@6:54, a spit-take exchange between Tony Randall and Al Molinaro (in front of a studio audience):
Randall: I understand your wife is pregnant.
Al: I understand you've been fooling around with her.
Randall: Oh, I heard it was Oscar.
Al: I thought Oscar was a fag.
Randall: No, I heard that you were.
Al: I thought you'd never ask.

Randall on casting Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison: "We were sitting in the office of an agent named Milton Goldman, and we were racking our brains to think of who in the world could do it [Jack Klugman initially turned down the role]. We didn't have anyone and we were due to shoot, and he said, 'I've got it! Shelley Winters!' That's what you go into show business for — the laughs... Finally they convinced Jack to do it.

Matt Rousch @0:08 of second video: I'd like to focus on a few individual episodes of the Odd Couple that stand out, one being the episode "Fear of Flying" because it seems like there were some changes required by the network...
Randall: Yes. That happened twice. We had very good script. It began with me by happenstance finding something on Oscar's desk, an article in his typewriter he was working on. He was working on 'Homosexuality in Sports'  and I misunderstood it and thought it was a confessional and I said "Gee, you'd think if either one of us was, it would be me." ...That whole show was never made. You couldn't touch that subject. So, in the 'Fear of Flying' — which is my favorite of all the episodes; it was the funniest, I think — we end up taking a chartered flight. It turns out the chartered flight is a gay group, a chartered plane. They wouldn't let us do that.
     So at the last minute Gary [Marshall] rewrote it. Gary under pressure is unbeatable. He made them a parachute jumping club... It was responsible for, I think, the funniest joke I've ever come up with, because that was my line, I don't mind telling you. Before they jump, I go to the bathroom. And when I come back, the plane's empty. We never could get the line out. I just kept looking around. The line was: 'Weren't there a lot of people here?' The audience was laughing so hard you couldn't say the line.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fox News war on atheists: Bill O'Reilly now says Christianity is a 'philosophy' not a religion

Israel First lobby now worried that Chuck Hagel would treat the Jewish state 'just like anyone else'

If you ever doubted the sense of entitlement that AIPAC, Israel, and its supporters have in respect of meddling in US policy to effect preferential treatment of an "ally" which did not send troops to fight with those of this country in either Gulf War I or Vietnam even though dozens of other countries (from Spain to Poland) did, then you need read no further than the brazen quote below from an undisclosed "Jewish Nebraskan" that we found here.
     Another politically active Jewish Nebraskan who claims to have known Hagel for “almost 20 years, politically and non-politically,” spoke to The Algemeiner on condition of anonymity. “I was alarmed with his views about Israel,” said the source.
     As Secretary of Defense, “He would treat Israel just like anyone else, no special treatment […] of course it would be damaging to Israel.”
Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans have suddenly become outraged at Hagel's 14-year-old anti-gay remarks and have taken out a full page ad in the New York Times to ruin his prospects of being named Secretary of Defense.

Should names and addresses of gun owners be published?

One could easily make the same "my children's safety" argument that people use to justify the publication of the identity and location of pedophiles. Why wouldn't you want to know whether an alcoholic neighbor with an anger management problem has a gun permit and, likely, a firearm? Or whether your child is having a sleepover at a house in which assault rifles are likely to be kept? Or attending a graduation party / beer bust there?
     The Journal-News Media Group, owned by USA Today's parent company, Gannett, published a database of gun permit owners in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland, New York counties recently, eliciting much indignation from gun owners. But the story also aroused sentiment from people who don't own firearms, such as a neighbor of Richard V. Wilson, who, in May approached a female neighbor on the street and shot her in the back of the head. Said neighbor, reacting to the news that Wilson, a mentally disturbed 77-year-old man had amassed a cache of weapons, said this:
“Would I have bought this house knowing somebody (close by) had an arsenal of weapons? No, I would not have.”
Local authorities seem to have arbitrarily limited information provided the Journal-News:
...the state’s top public records expert told The Journal News last week that he thinks the law does not bar the release of other details. But officials in county clerk’s offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam maintain the public does not have a right to see such things as the specific permits an individual has been issued, the types of handguns a person possesses or the number of guns he or she owns — whether one or a dozen.
In a followup piece the paper wrote:
Hundreds of callers have complained, claiming publication of the database put their safety at risk or violated their privacy. Others claimed publication was illegal. Many of the callers were vitriolic and some threatened members of the newspaper staff.
     “New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” said Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tim Tebow's bosses so desperate for talent they try out Norwegian kicker with awesome YouTube trick video who has never played American football

Now that Tebow is going to the Florida Panthers, the Jets may be going in a totally new direction, having tried out a kicker from the world's most atheist country, Norway, with a nonbeliever rate of up to 70%.

Jack Klugman dies at 90; was cast in 12 Angry Men

Klugman, best known as a costar of The Odd Couple and later, the lead in Quincy, did not get better with age as most actors do; instead he settled mostly into repetitive overacting.
     This was especially difficult to watch in The Odd Couple where, week after week, he diminished the comedic efforts of the inspired Tony Randall. Randall had a much better partner in Rock Hudson, against whom he played in all three Hudson/Day vehicles, to great effect.
     Here's a 1957 scene from 12 Angry Men in which Klugman (reputedly a charming and considerate man offscreen) showed Henry Fonda how to use a switchblade. Klugman was better before he was worse.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Zero Dark 30 torture depiction 'grossly inaccurate and misleading' say Sens. Feinstein (D-CA) and McCain (R-AZ) in letter to Sony Pictures; here's the letter

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai (left) and Zero Dark 30 director
Kathryn Bigelow
Filmmaker Alex Gibney took the film to task in a detailed article in the Huffington Post.

December 19, 2012

Mr. Michael Lynton
Chairman and CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Dear Mr. Lynton:

We write to express our deep disappointment with the movie Zero Dark Thirty. We believe the film is grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.

We understand that the film is fiction, but it opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events” and there has been significant media coverage of the CIA’s cooperation with the screenwriters. As you know, the film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the Usama Bin Laden. Regardless of what message the filmmakers intended to convey, the movie clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier for Usama Bin Laden. We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect.

Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.

Pursuant to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently-adopted Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program, Committee staff reviewed more than 6 million pages of records from the Intelligence Community. Based on that review, Senators Feinstein and Levin released the following information on April 30, 2012, regarding the Usama Bin Laden operation:
  • The CIA did not first learn about the existence of the Usama Bin Laden courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the CIA discover the courier's identity from detainees subjected to coercive techniques. No detainee reported on the courier’s full name or specific whereabouts, and no detainee identified the compound in which Usama Bin Laden was hidden. Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.
  • Information to support this operation was obtained from a wide variety of intelligence sources and methods. CIA officers and their colleagues throughout the Intelligence Community sifted through massive amounts of information, identified possible leads, tracked them down, and made considered judgments based on all of the available intelligence.
  • The CIA detainee who provided the most significant information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

In addition to the information above, former CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote Senator McCain in May 2011, stating:
“…no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.”
We are fans of many of your movies, and we understand the special role that movies play in our lives, but the fundamental problem is that people who see Zero Dark Thirty will believe that the events it portrays are facts. The film therefore has the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner. Recent public opinion polls suggest that a narrow majority of Americans believe that torture can be justified as an effective form of intelligence gathering. This is false. We know that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is an unreliable and highly ineffective means of gathering intelligence.

The use of torture should be banished from serious public discourse for these reasons alone, but more importantly, because it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, because it is an affront to America’s national honor, and because it is wrong. The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America’s values and standing that cannot be justified or expunged. It remains a stain on our national conscience. We cannot afford to go back to these dark times, and with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, the filmmakers and your production studio are perpetuating the myth that torture is effective. You have a social and moral obligation to get the facts right.

Please consider correcting the impression that the CIA’s use of coercive interrogation techniques led to the operation against Usama Bin Laden. It did not.

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.


Dianne Feinstein
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Carl Levin
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

John McCain
Ranking Member
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New York Times blasts NRA, LaPierre anew

AKSARBENT doesn't ever recalling reading an editorial in the Times as pugnacious as this one or with as insulting a headline (slyly evoking comparisons between the gun group and Sadam Hussein). Published yesterday, it ripped the NRA and its president up one side and down the other. You really should read the piece in its entirety. Of course Wayne LaPierre is an easy target; he has been certifiable for a long time. Go here to see why George H.W. Bush quit the NRA in 1995 specifically because of a foaming piece by then executive vice president LaPierre.
     Here in Nebraska, Senator-elect Deb Fischer and Congressmen Adrian Smith, Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry are all endorsed by the NRA, and all have 92% ratings.
Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.
      The N.R.A., which devotes itself to destroying compromise on guns, is blameless. So are unscrupulous and unlicensed dealers who sell guns to criminals, and gun makers who bankroll Mr. LaPierre so he can help them peddle ever-more-lethal, ever-more-efficient products, and politicians who kill even modest controls over guns.
      His solution to the proliferation of guns, including semiautomatic rifles designed to kill people as quickly as possible, is to put more guns in more places. Mr. LaPierre would put a police officer in every school and compel teachers and principals to become armed guards.
      ...We cannot imagine trying to turn the principals and teachers who care for our children every day into an armed mob... Any town officials or school principals who take up the N.R.A. on that offer should be fired.
      Mr. LaPierre said the Newtown killing spree “might” have been averted if the killer had been confronted by an armed security guard. It’s far more likely that there would have been a dead armed security guard...
      In the 62 mass-murder cases over 30 years examined recently by the magazine Mother Jones, not one was stopped by an armed civilian. We have known for many years that a sheriff’s deputy was at Columbine High School in 1999 and fired at one of the two killers while 11 of their 13 victims were still alive. He missed four times.
      People like Mr. LaPierre want us to believe that civilians can be trained to use lethal force with cold precision in moments of fear and crisis. That requires a willful ignorance about the facts... In August, New York City police officers opened fire on a gunman outside the Empire State Building. They killed him and wounded nine bystanders.

UNL's 'right wing professor,' Gerard Harbison, gives some advice to Chuck Hagel (14 years too late) about how heterosexual supremacists should behave!

"He could have voted against Hormel
without opening his big mouth
and calling him 'openly, aggressively gay.' "

Does model-of-discretion Harbison understand that leading by example is the most effective way to teach? Let's find out, class! After all, Right Wing Professor has 140-character opinions on many other subjects, too, and he charitably lets a breathless world know, via twitter, dozens of times per month!

But first, more from Harbison's blog. Did you know that he really hates sprinkler restrictions? It's true! And somehow, fags are partially responsible for this:
And while they treat the perpetually whiny lesbian and gay activist community with kid gloves, going out of their way to make nice even while members of said community concoct hoax hate crimes, they are gung ho about busting taxpayers unfortunate enough to have malfunctioning sprinkler controls.  
AKSARBENT doesn't know what the learned, gun totin', UNL professor means by "they." Cops? The Democratic Political Machine? Tom Casady and one of the aforementioned? Were there really other hate crime hoaxes from the "gay activist community" apart from the Charlie Rogers imbroglio? Because no one except Harbison seems to know about this. Could you identify them, professor? Also, what is the "gay activist community?" Are those, like, queers who want legal relationships with their partners and the right to bury them and own property as tenants-in-entirety? Is that what you mean by "whiny"? So many questions, Professor Harbison.

Perhaps it is just better to move on. After all, Harbison has lots of other weighty and important pronouncements to think about.

A few selections from the twitter wit and wisdom
of University of Nebraska at Lincoln Chemistry
Professor Gerard Harbison

On growing up in Europe, not America, and subsequently holding forth expansively about the essence of the Cornhusker State:
I like to help out-of-staters with directions. it's the Nebraska way! (8/22/2012)
Here in Nebraska, we'd be inclined to use different adjectives: 'crude', 'unprofessional', 'vulgar', 'uncollegial' (8/27/2012)
You're from Rochester, NY. You've probably never even set foot in NE (7/27/2012)

On the historic 1986 Nebraska race between Democrat Helen Boosalis and Republican Kay Orr, the first time two US women ever vied for a governorship in a general election:

In 150 years, the Nebraska Democrats have never been able to find a single woman qualified to lead the ticket. Wow. Says it all.  (8/5/2012)

On professorial demeanor and enhancing UNL's academic reputation:

(David Burge) Let's load our magazine of activism with the hollow points of awareness, and blow a hole of understanding in the torso of intolerance.
(Gerard Harbison) But gently! (8/15/2012)
@ThatOtherChris so, do you think #harryreidisapederast ? (7/31/2012)
Please don't RT #harryreidisapederast , because every time you RT #harryreidisapederast , #harryreidisapederast trends higher! (7/31/2012)
A hooker I met in Nevada told me #harryreidisapederast But that might be because he stiffed her. And not in a good way. (7/31/2012)
I clicked on a button on Bob Kerrey's web site, and now I'm making a nuisance of myself here. Whee! Anyone got any meth? (7/29/2012)
The American Burying Beetle uses the rotting flesh of dead rodents to raise maggots. A fitting mascot for @boldnebraska! (8/2/2012)

On scientific investigation and drawing reasoned conclusions:
I don't know that #harryreidisapederast but that resemblance to the old pedophile on Family Guy surely can't be coincidence? Can it? (7/31/2012)

On the millions of dollars Chick-fil-A's company charity has donated to some of the nastiest antigay pressure groups in America, including SPLC hate group, the Family Research Council:
Wish we had a @Chick-Fil-A in #lnk. Good food and good cause today.
Retweeted by Gerard Harbison (8/1/2012)

On Willie Nelson having settled with the IRS almost 20 years ago, in 1993, after discovering that his accounting firm, Price Waterhouse, which he sued, hadn't been paying his taxes:
With the millions of unpaid taxes he owes, shouldn't Willie Nelson be writing a check to the US Treasury, and not @kerreybob? (8/9/2012)
@kerreybob re: milking taxpayers, will you press Willie Nelson to pay the $$$m he still owes the IRS, when he fundraises for you? (8/6/2012)

On the oppression of the white race, which can never catch a break, especially with a black man in the White House:
Obama campaigns today in Charlotteville VA. Plaquemines parish, LA, being socked by Isaac. 70% white, so drownings are of no consequence. (8/29/2012)
Being called racist is merely a testimony to one's debating skills. (7/27/2012)

On finally being banned from sending further comments to the Nebraska Democrats twitter feed:
O noes! Blocked by the @NebraskaDems ! I must have made them cry! I'm so sorry, little guys! I didn't know you were sensitive! (8/23/12)

On safe computing practices:
If anyone got a DM from me in the last 6 hours, don't click on the link. It's the koobface Twitter/Facebook virus. Yes, I'm a moron. (8/21/2012)

On being a selfish pig during an historic drought:

The city fails to provide the citizens with an adequate supply of water. Justice therefore requires that the citizens be fined. #LNK (8/19/2012)

On kneejerk fanboy adulation of reactionary politicians:

Paul Ryan rocked. (8/29/2012)
Chris Christie seriously rocked. (8/28/2012)

On steadfast family values and domestic violence:
Main reason both my wives have been American: Irish women punch too darn hard. (8/9/2012)

Windows 8 war on Linux: how "secure boot" stops you from running Linux on some new PCs

CNET reports that a new feature included in the operating system in the name of security may also effectively make it impossible to load Linux on officially Windows 8-certified hardware.
The problem derives from Microsoft's decision to use a hardware-based secure boot protocol known as Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) in Windows 8 rather than the traditional BIOS we're all familiar with...  
     Essentially, the technology is designed to protect against rootkits and other low-level attacks by preventing executables and drivers from being loaded unless they bear a cryptographic signature conferred by a dedicated UEFI signing key.
     “There is no centralised signing authority for these UEFI keys,” Garrett explained. “If a vendor key is installed on a machine, the only way to get code signed with that key is to get the vendor to perform the signing. A machine may have several keys installed, but if you are unable to get any of them to sign your binary then it won't be installable.”     Microsoft has said it will require that Windows 8 logo machines ship with secure boot enabled.
Microsoft claims that Linux infringes 235 of its patents and has recently made Casio obtain licenses to run the open source operating system.
In the last four years, the software giant has been quietly threatening legal action for any Linux-using company that refuses to sign patent deals with it. Amazon, Novell, Linspire, TurboLinux and Xandros have all put their X on the dotted line. Others, like satnav maker TomTom, ended up in court, but eventually settled.
     Microsoft has also used the Linux-related patents, among others, to target Google's Android, already succeeding in getting HTC, Acer, Viewsonic and two small hardware manufacturers – Onkyo and Velocity Micro – into licensing agreements.
Brad Linder of Liliputing explains how PC buyers should shop for a Windows 8-certified PC to keep their Linux options open:
Before a computer boots Windows, OS X, Linux, or any other operating system it loads system-level firmware. For the past few decades most PCs have used something called BIOS to recognize your hardware and load the appropriate operating system. But there’s a new kid in town called UEFI, (which is what Macs have been using for the past few years)...
     In fact, in order to qualify for the Windows Certification program, a computer will have to use UEFI 2.3.1 or newer and have “secure boot” enabled by default. This feature is designed to prevent malware from infecting your bootloader by preventing unuathorized code from running when you first boot your computer.
     ...If the feature is turned on you may not be able to replace Windows 8 with the operating system of your choice or create a dual boot setup.
     ...In order to slap a Windows logo on a Windows 8 PC, hardware makers will have to ensure that secure boot is turned on by default. But there’s absolutely nothing preventing PC makers from giving customers the option to turn off that setting.
     Of course, there’s also nothing requiring them to do so… and so it’s possible that some companies won’t bother to make sure the UEFI included with their prebuilt computer systems include an option to disable secure boot... we won’t really know if there’s a problem for Linux users until Windows 8 computers start to ship — or you can just build a computer yourself using components that are known to work with the operating system you choose to use.

Belgian newspapers go after competing media
— with a clever video

(Via Towleroad)

Betty Bowers nails it again

Because it's not really about the Westboro Baptist Church, it's about the other religions for which the "God Hates Fags" crowd provides cover.

(Via JoeMyGod, Towelroad, et al., see Bloglist)

Right Wing talk radio host Tom Becka leaves Fargo, will return to Omaha

KOIL reports a return to Omaha by Tom Becka, who got a gig at KRWK in Fargo after Clear Channel fired him from KFAB in Omaha following a "business analysis" by one of its major shareholders, Bain Capital.
     Becka has been phoning in his new Omaha program from North Dakota but will quit his show there and move back to Nebraska to begin an expanded 2-6 PM KOIL show on January 2.
Operations manager Jeff Lynn says Becka’s program on KOIL has grown significantly on the station – the adults 35-64 demo is up 26% during the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot in which his show is currently airing.
Previously on AKSARBENT: The Tom Becka "three people off the top of your head" litmus test of class discrimination and Tom Becka feigns ignorance of homophobia, Ben Gray hangs up on him, then Becka asks the dial tone, 'What'd I do wrong?'

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Leno helps gay couple decorate for Christmas and hurl snowballs at a Chik-fil-A

Elsewhere on AKSARBENT:  
Sir Paul McCartney gets owned by 55-year-old Four Lads record
     Crystal Dixon firing upheld: Nebraska Family Council falsely exploited case as religious liberty / freedom of speech issue in order to attack Lincoln LGBT law.

Leno: Look at this place. There's no lights. There's nothing on the lawn. These people need our help.

Leno: ...Why so gloomy?
Victims: You know it's just the way we were brought up, I guess.

Leno: Are you guys a couple?
Victims: We've been together 14 years.
Leno: So it's just become kind of... the excitement's gone!

Victims: When it comes to taste or fashion, the closest thing we have is our wagon wheel chandelier in the kitchen.
Leno: OK, these are not real gay people.

Skip to 1:37 below.

Later on Friday's show, Leno and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw exhibited their cake-eating tendencies.

2012: Paul McCartney gets owned by 55-year-old Four Lads recording

From Stirred Straight Up:
Before striking it big on their own, Canadian harmony group The Four Lads
sang backup for Johnnie Ray. We assume it's from Mr. Ray that the Lads
learned the pleasures of lounging, bottoms up, whilst studying makeup ads.
You're on your own, pal, if you think you can cover Barbra Streisand's People or Andy William's Moon River or even Dean Martin's Let It Snow better than they did.
     Same goes for the 1957 claim that the Four Lads made on Frank Loesser's More I Cannot Wish You from Pal Joey. AKSARBENT loved the Beatles, but Jesus Christ, Sir Paul.

Crystal Dixon firing upheld: Nebraska Family Council falsely exploited case as religious liberty / freedom of speech issue in order to attack Lincoln LGBT law

Crystal Dixon
From the Philidelphia Edge comes this:
     A federal appeals court has upheld the University of Toledo’s decision to fire the college’s vice president of human resources who was canned in 2008 after writing an article in a local newspaper where she condemned gay rights, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The University of Toledo is a public municipal university.
About four years ago, the Northwestern Ohio university fired Crystal Dixon over concerns about a column she wrote for the Toledo Free Press, where she said gays and lesbians have no claim to the civil rights movement...
     When her lawsuit went to court, U.S. District Judge David Katz ruled against her and dismissed the case.
     "The balance of [Dixon’s] interest in making a comment of public concern is clearly outweighed by the University’s interest as her employer in carrying out its own objectives," the judge wrote in an opinion. "Therefore, [Dixon] has failed to establish that her speech was protected. [Dixon] also claims that she was fired for violating an impermissibly vague speech policy. However, the damage she did to her ability to perform her job and to the University provide ample justification for her termination."
     After appealing Katz’s ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday that Dixon’s column "contradicted the very policies she was charged with creating, promoting, and enforcing," and her defense of being a private citizen does not excuse her from her remarks against LGBT rights. The panel supported Katz’s decision and dismissed the case once again.
Nebraska Family Council's
Al Riskowski
     The Dixon case has been falsely cited by antigay organizations like the Nebraska Family Council, which referred to the case as a consequence of LGBT antidiscrimination ordinances both on NFC's website and before the Lincoln City Council.
     In fact, the ruling clearly shows that Dixon's termination had nothing to do with antidiscrimination ordinances, freedom of speech or religious liberty. Dixon publicly contradicted her employer's policies, which she was charged with implementing. Courts have long ruled that employers have no obligation to employ people who publicly subvert their lawful policies.
     Links to news articles about the case appear on NFC's website under the following introduction:

Below: NFC's Hannah Buell begins her brazen falsehood at about the 1:20 mark: "...She [Dixon] was fired for exercising her first amendment rights to write a column to a newspaper and in that column she was writing as a private citizen, but she expressed disagreement with a bill, an ordinance similar to this and expressed her disagreement in that form. She was fired for this."

Contrary to Hannah Buell's untruthful testimony to the Lincoln City Council, Dixon's letter did NOT mention any LGBT ordinances at all — either similar or dissimilar to the one under consideration by Lincoln's City Council. You may read the letter that the Nebraska Family Council misrepresented below.
     The Nebraska Family Council also distorted another case involving the boycott by gay patrons of a restaurant in West Hollywood after they found out that the Christian manager who posed as a friend to their community was secretly donating money to the Prop 8 effort to reverse marriage equality in California.

I read with great interest Michael Miller's April 6 column, "Gay Rights and Wrongs."
I respectfully submit a different perspective for Miller and Toledo Free Press readers to consider. First, human beings, regardless of their choices in life, are of ultimate value to God and should be viewed the same by others. At the same time, one's personal choices lead to outcomes either positive or negative. As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are "civil rights victims." Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. The reference to the alleged benefits disparity at the University of Toledo was rather misleading. When the University of Toledo and former Medical University of Ohio merged, both entities had multiple contracts for different benefit plans at substantially different employee cost sharing levels. To suggest that homosexual employees on one campus are being denied benefits avoids the fact that ALL employees across the two campuses regardless of their sexual orientation, have different benefit plans. The university is working diligently to address this issue in a reasonable and cost-efficient manner, for all employees, not just one segment. My final and most important point. There is a divine order. God created human kind male and female (Genesis 1:27). God created humans with an inalienable right to choose. There are consequences for each of our choices, including those who violate God's divine order. It is base human nature to revolt and become indignant when the world or even God Himself, disagrees with our choice that violates His divine order. Jesus Christ loves the sinner but hates the sin (John 8:1-11.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gary, IN photographer Terrell Smith, 25, shot to death during probable robbery; took two bullets

Kate Sosin of the Windy City Times reports that Terrell Smith, a young gay man who was active in Chicago LGBT organizing, was shot to death December 16th in Gary. Smith had been a member of Chicago-based LGBTQ organization National Youth Pride Services (NYPS).
     In a remembrance posted on the NYPS website, the organization recalled Smith's enthusiasm for community activism.
     "The world may never know that Terrell did work on the national level for the next generation, not just in Chicago and Gary," a post at the LGBTQ organization's website says. "His work with us impacted young people from California to Florida and we will remember his efforts always."
     Smith came out as gay his Sophomore year of high school, said Elesia Davis, a longtime close friend. His family had been supportive, she said, and Smith was open about who he was and what he believed in. Smith cared deeply about gay marriage, Davis said.

Pepé Le Pew Wayne LaPierre holds disastrous press conference; a flashpoint for assault weapon opponents

National Rifle Association idiotically tells reporters from all over the world, who don't understand why US allows civilian sales of assault weapons, the following: "Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonized gun owners."

Israel Firsters, LGBT groups, target anticipated nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense

Conservative Hagel, right, with younger, liberal
brother Tom, the only known American siblings
to serve in the same infantry squad in Vietnam.
Update: Today, an aide to Hagel relayed the following to Politico:
My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”
Conservative groups have been critical of the prospect of a Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense because they see Hagel, who almost died for his country in Vietnam, as insufficiently supportive of Israel — which sent no troops either to Vietnam or, as dozens of other countries did, to Kuwait during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
     Yesterday, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Hagel's “consistent anti-LGBT” record” in the Senate raise serious questions about where he stands today and that “The next secretary of defense must be supportive of open service as well as equal benefits for lesbian and gay military families, and Sen. Hagel must address these issues immediately. Whomever is selected to be the next secretary ... needs to understand there are clear expectations for progress.”
     Griffin's remarks were distributed to the Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets but were not available today in the News Releases page of HRC's website or anywhere else there that AKSARBENT looked.
     OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson also issued a statement: "At OutServe-SLDN, we expect that anyone being considered by the President for the Secretary of Defense post would embrace one of the signature accomplishments of this administration — the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' — and would be prepared to demonstrate his or her firm commitment to fairness and equality for our nation's men and women in uniform," Robinson said.
     In 1999, Hagel told the New York Times said he opposed repealing DADT, saying “the U.S. armed forces aren’t some social experiment.”
     In respect of President Clinton's nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, gay meat scion James Hormel, Hegal told the Omaha World-Herald: “They [ambassadors] are representing America. They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”
Hagel said in the article that he had a good chat with Hormel and described him as a “nice fellow.” The GOP senator also made clear that he was not opposed to appointing a gay ambassador.
     He and others took issue with Hormel’s openness and advocacy on gay-rights issues.
     Hagel pointed to a documentary film that Hormel helped fund that showed teachers how they could teach children about homosexuality. Hagel also cited a separate clip showing Hormel at what Hagel described as an anti-Catholic event in San Francisco that featured a group of drag queens known as the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
     “It is very clear on this tape that he’s laughing and enjoying the antics of an anti-Catholic gay group in this gay parade,” Hagel said at the time, citing the majority status of Catholics in Luxembourg. “I think it’s wise for the president not to go forward with this nomination.”
     Today, Hagel supporters were in full damage control mode in the pages of an even-handed World-Herald treatment of the story.
     The former Nebraska Senator's defenders pointed out that the senator did not stand in the way of Hormel’s appointment advancing through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he was a member.
     Nor did Hagel organize opposition to Hormel. Hagel never had a chance to vote up or down on the Senate floor because the Republican leadership never allowed a vote. Clinton ultimately gave Hormel the job through a recess appointment.
     Deb Fiddelke, who was Hagel’s communications director in 1998, came to Hagel’s defense on Thursday.
     “Any group can take any quote out of context and try and create a larger issue and because of the situation, Sen. Hagel can’t speak back right now and defend himself,” Fiddelke told The World-Herald in a front page story today by Joseph Morton and Roseann Moring.
     For years HRC awarded Hagel goose-egg ratings for his hostility to legislation addressing fairer treatment of LGBT folk, but in 2005, Hagel, who opposed marriage equality, also opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
“I’m a conservative. I believe the sanctity of the Constitution of the United States is very important,” he said. “I don’t think you need a constitutional amendment defining marriage.

Kansas NRA stooge, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, helped gun lobby suppress federal gun crime info you paid for

Todd Tiarht in 2011
Former Kansas Rep. Todd Tiarht is best known for his series of amend­­ments introduced to prevent you from knowing certain facts highly inconvenient to the NRA and gunmakers about which guns are involved in what crimes, even though your taxes pay for gathering that information.
     Tiarht accomplished this by introducing legislation to cut funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and the CDC) for releasing even aggregate statistics about, for example, assault rifles used in crimes.
     Below, Tiarht recently criticized President Obama in a tweet for hiding information about the Fast and Furious campaign. What he didn't mention is that the restrictions he introduced in Congress "blocked Congressional oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives & Firearms (ATF) and its controversial 'Operation Fast & Furious.' " by preventing the ATF from releasing trace data connected to Fast & Furious, forcing Congress to request the data from the Mexican Government.
     Mayors against Illegal Guns has, in effect, politely called the former representative a serial liar in a five-page compilation of his misrepresentations about his own Tiahrt Amendments.
Here's an excerpt from yesterday's Fresh Aire in which Tom Diaz explained how Tiarht and the NRA were able to censor the release of government information about guns and crime:
Teri Gross: Is there any research on how these semiautomatic weapons are being used? ...Are people using these [assault weapons] as hunting rifles?
Tom Diaz: ...The direct answer to your question is, because the gun industry and the National Rifle Association have been so very successful in shutting down federal sources of data, for example from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and basically shutting down cogent research from the Centers for Disease Control... we don't really know the extent of the use of these guns in crime because we cannot get even the generic aggregate data. It's been shut down. What we learn from are simply, for example at the Violence Policy Center, we do a lot of anecdotal research.
     I, for example, did a study about assault weapons a couple years ago, but I had to rely entirely on what I could derive from news reports and other public sources. You cannot get that information from government sources because of something called the Tiardt Amendment which has basically shut down ATF from releasing data.
Gross: So, this amendment prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from releasing information about what guns have been used in crimes? Do I have that right?
Diaz: You have that exactly right.
     When Todd Tiarht was in congress, he did nothing to restrict sales to civilians of 50-caliber armor-piercing rifles used in war zones to take down airplanes and helicopters near landing fields and helicopters.
     Such weapons may now be purchased by disgruntled 18-year-olds anywhere in America, and represent an alarming threat to general and commercial aviation. Every commercial airliner is a potential fuel-bomb, whether in the air, on the tarmac or flying into a skyscaper.
     Today, amazingly, Tiarht works as an "aviation consultant" in Wichita. Among his clients are Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft and Textron (maker of Cessnas).

Teri Gross of Fresh Aire interviews Violence Policy Center's Tom Diaz

Tom Diaz's new book, The Last Gun, picks up where his previous expose, Making a Killing, left off. The first effort turned out to be the most effective antigun book ever written, invariably cited in gun control initiatives after its publication. Diaz was interviewed by Teri Gross on Fresh Aire yesterday. 

From the Violence Prevention Center:
“Your grandfather’s shotgun has no place in today’s civilian gun market,” says the author of Militarization of the U.S. Civilian Firearms Market," VPC Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz. “The gun industry has created a unique American civilian firearms bazaar which arms thousands of criminals, dangerous extremists, and drug traffickers throughout the world. If Congress wants to find the real causes of the gun traffic to Mexico, it needs to look upstream to the gun industry’s callous transformation of the American gun market into one more suited to warfare than sport. The world’s bad guys come here for their guns because they are cheap and plentiful.”

     The study describes how, plagued by declining gun ownership and the explosion of recreational alternatives such as electronic games, the faltering gun industry has relied on creating demand by designing and selling increasingly lethal military-style firepower.

Spencer Cox tribute

Cox, who died of AIDS-related causes, died Tuesday. An Atlanta native, he was the remarkable son of two accountants, Jerry and Beverly, and a Theatre Major at Bennington College who discovered that he was HIV+ shortly after moving to New York City.
     He joined ACT UP in 1989 at 20. By 1992 he had helped form TAG, the Treatment Action Group. There he and his colleagues learned the science of AIDS, drug trial protocols, and the govern­ment approval process.
      Cox was seen in the documentary about ACT UP, How to Survive a Plague.
“You can’t understand how incredibly scary it was for him to sit down at the table of the F.D.A. Anti-Viral Advisory Committee as the ‘P.W.A. representative’ and take on the scientific establishment,” David Barr, an original TAG member, wrote in a Facebook post about Mr. Cox. He added: “It took incredible courage and a whole lot of arrogance. You need to understand how lonely it was to sit at those tables, how much you felt like a complete fraud, yet also right and right to be there.”
      In 1995, when antiretroviral drugs known as protease inhibitors began to show promise for treating AIDS patients, Mr. Cox designed a human drug trial for one of the earliest, ritonavir, which was being developed by Abbott Laboratories.
      “Spencer pushed for data-driven decisions,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on Wednesday. “He wanted the facts and was always very meticulous about getting good data rather than just screaming for getting something approved. It’s a great loss. He was part of a historic group of people.”
      Methamphetamine brought Cox down. Mark Harrington, the executive director of TAG, told the New York Times, "a despairing Mr. Cox had apparently stopped taking his medication" some months ago.

Celebrity runts

Click picture to enlarge. Source.
This Celebuzz 'infographic' (ah, chart?) is the source. A much longer list is here, and includes women. Biggest surprise: Mikhail Baryshnikov is only 5'6". We always thought he had a large head, but it turns out he just has a small body.
     There's a gay bar in New York which offers drink specials weekly on Runt Night, but you can't be over 5'8, which means Jason Statham wouldn't make the cut, not that he would ever have to pay for anything in a gay bar.
     Mark Walberg, 5'7", is on the list. He started out as a model, even though it's almost impossible for a male shorter than six feet to break into the field. Calvin Klein must really have seen some exceptional attributes in Wahlberg. Boy, he sure can spot talent, can't he!
     Scott Cahn, son of James, pictured left wearing only a cowboy hat in Varsity Blues, is 5'5". In the movie, he pretended to fellate James Van Der Beek from a football locker room bench as a joke. On Hawaii Five-O, he only gets to shoot people; the only fellatio in sight is performed by CBS on cops, the military and small arms manufacturers.
     James Cahn, Scott's dad, is pictured here having a well-deserved smoke break after the famous toll booth assassination scene in Godfather I. Getting ripped by automatic weapons fire obviously can take a lot out of you. Caan, Sr., a former (or current for all we know) smoker, is now in his 80s.

Neil Patrick Harris, playful puppet perv

Gosh, Harris watches Chris Hansen, host of To Catch a Predator in bed too!

Outsource your outing to George Takei, Andy Richter

Very affordable. And with the option of also engaging Dion Cole, a standup comedian and Team Coco comedy writer.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia a 'flat out, unreconstructed bigot' — Barney Frank

Barney Frank got straight to the point on Michael Signorelli's show, articulating his satisfaction that Antonin Scalia is no longer a closet bigot for whom excuses can be offered to deflection accusations of homophobia.

“I was glad that he made clear what’s been obvious, that he’s just a flat out bigot,” Frank said. “I’d previously said he was a homophobe. And Fox and the rightwing said, ‘Oh just because he’s not for same-sex marriage? And I said, ‘No, let me be very clear. That’s not it. This is a man who has said you should go to prison for having sex.’ It was an extraordinarily abusive sentiment and it was dead wrong. And, by the way, for a guy who is supposed to be so smart -- quite stupid.This young man said to him, ‘Why do you compare sodomy to murder?’ And he said, ‘Well because I have a right to say if I think something is immoral.’ Well the question wasn’t about his right. The question was, By what morality is expressing your love for someone in a physical way equivalent to killing that person? It makes it clear that the man is an unreconstructed bigot, and given that you have a bigot on the Supreme Court like that, it is useful to know.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NRA now hiding its Facebook page

Go to the URL below and you'll be instantly bounced to Facebook's home page.

So we'll just embed former Senator Bob Kerrey's 1994 reelection ad, which is just as relevant today as it was almost 20 years ago. Kerrey was recently defeated in a comeback bid for a third term in the Senate by NRA sweetheart Deb Fischer, who hasn't had much to say about firearms in the last few days. Nor have any other GOP congressmen from Nebraska.

Why one must never take one's cat on the subway

Coyotes. And yes, this is why we need easy access to assault weapons. Because you never know when you will be called upon to defend your cat. (To be fair, however, AKSARBENT does understand why the coyote is not amused. We rode a subway once.)

Gun-lobby puppet Deb Fischer won't talk about firearms in wake of Sandy Hook shootings

Photo: Nati Harnik
In October, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star, the NRA endorsed then-senate-candidate Deb Fischer because, according to Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA's political action committee, her "strong dedication and voting record in the state Senate have earned her an A rating." "Deb Fischer opposes any anti-gun nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court," the NRA said.
     No wonder senator-elect Fischer, along with all the rest of the 31 pro-gun-lobby senators, refused to appear on Meet The Press to discuss gun control or anything else. Since she parrots the language of the NRA, it doesn't surprise us that she is in the same lockdown mode as her benefactor, which has shut down its Facebook page and isn't answering any press inquiries.
     In case you've forgotten, here are some of the radical positions of the organization whose talking points Deb Fischer stuck to during her Senate race against Bob Kerrey:
1. Wanted people on the terrorist watch list to be legally able to acquire guns.
2. Opposed required background checks on every gun sale.
3. Lobbied to allow warlords to get arms on the international market.
4. Wanted to prevent the public from accessing information about where guns come from.
5. Pushed to keep guns in bars.
6. Supported forcing all business owners to allow guns on their property.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stephen Hawking, et al., write a letter to The Telegraph urging the UK to forgive Alan Turing's conviction

Turing statue by Stephen Kettle at
Bletchley Park, commissioned by the
American philanthropist Sidney Frank
(Source: Wikipedia)
Alan Turing, a renowned British mathematician who improved and automated the Polish crack of Nazi message encrypting machines and is credited by many for paving the way for Allied Victory, was arrested for "Gross Indecency" with a 19-year-old — Arnold Murray — after Turing went to the police following a series of petty thefts in which Murray and a confederate were involved.
     Turing underwent "chemical castration" (estrogen injections) for a year, after which he died from cyanide poisoning, either as a suicide from a suspected tainted apple he ate (never tested) or from inadvertently from experiments he was conducting.
     Not everyone agrees with Hawking. Martin Robbins, in a blog hosted by the Manchester Guardian wrote:
...I'm not sure that the British government have earned the right to pardon Alan Turing. Not as long as the attitudes that led to his persecution are still very much with us, and entrenched in that very same government.The language of Hawking et al's letter is remarkably clumsy; its plea that the government should 'forgive' Turing carelessly implying that he did something to be forgiven for.
John Graham-Cuming, who was behing a 2009 campaign resulting in a government apology to Turing, is against a pardon:
...Secondly, even if a pardon is appropriate, a pardon for simply Turing would be unjust to the other gay men who suffered under the law. There were many, many others. And there are men alive today living in Britain with a criminal record because of offenses committed during the time the laws were in force. I could get behind a petition for a pardon for all those people, especially since living people are still hurt by that law, but not just for Turing. Pardoning him doesn't help the living.       But even that's unnecessary. Subsequent to the 2009 apology campaign the UK government introduced legislation that actually does roll back the criminal convictions of gay men. The Protection of Freedoms bill has already passed all stages in the House of Commons, two readings in the House of Lords and enters (this coming Monday) committee stage. That means it's close to being law.
Here is the Hawking letter:
SIR – We write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He lead the team of Enigma codebreakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War. Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.
     We urge the Prime Minister formally to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even today. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing’s achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.
Lord Currie of Marylebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner or Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow

Astronomer Royal
Lord Sharkey
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Baroness Trumpington

Sir Timothy Gowers
Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
Dr Douglas Gurr
Chairman, Science Museum Group
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse
President, the Royal Society

When Ewan McGregor shut down George Stephanopoulos

Some years ago Stephanopolous shut down George Will when he defended the Ancient Order of Hibernia's refusal to let a gay contingent march in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade because of their "agenda." Stephanopolous shot him a look and said, "Saying who you are is not an agenda, George." A couple years ago, Stephanapolous got a bit of his own when Ewan McGregor turned the tables on him, as seen in the YouTube clip below posted here and noticed on Reddit recently.