Sunday, March 31, 2013

Entitled Christers yipping about victimization because Google recognized Cesar Chavez' birthday on Easter

Chavez, whose March 30th birthday is a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas, was the subject of a Google recognition doodle today, which caused pushy Christers all over the country to vow to switch to Bing, a service of Microsoft, founded by atheist Bill Gates.
     Many of them, like professional political harridan Michelle Malkin, stepped off the curb yowling about Google's supposed fealty to Hugo Chavez. (Malkin quietly corrected her headline mistake without acknowledging it.)
     Here's a handy victimization guide for Christers who like to nail themselves to the cross.
     Here's the three-Japanese-guys Easter joke.

Here's Lee Terry, looking like he got a snootful of John Boehner's stash, calling Keystone XL a 'nobrainer' on VERY day that ExxonMobil tar sands pipeline ruptured in Arkansas, spilling12K+ barrels, causing evacuation

This is a backyard picture of the Mayflower, AR oil spill on March 30, 2013,
from that nasty Exxon pipeline. The local authorities have denied the press
access to these areas so few have actually seen the extent of the spill. This
picture was taken by a friend’s daughter who lives next door to this house.
Share this widely.
Here's the complete irony of Rep. Lee Terry, bad John Wayne impersonator and total oil company sock puppet, giving phony safety assurances in the same week that 15,000 gallons of tar sands oil spilled in Minnesota and on the SAME DAY that an underground tar sands pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, as reported by Rebecca Leber of ThinkProgress:
     One week after the Senate held a symbolic vote in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. saw two different oil spills involving Canadian tar sands crude oil.
     An ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured Friday, leaking approximately 10,000 barrels of tar sands crude in an Arkansas town. As a result, 22 homes have been evacuated as officials clean up the world’s dirtiest oil.
     The Keystone XL pipeline would carry almost nine times the barrels of oil as the Pegasus pipeline.
     The first oil spill came Wednesday, when a train reportedly carrying tar sands oil spilled 15,000 gallons in Minnesota. Also this week, Exxon was hit by a $1.7 million fine for a pipeline that dumped 42,000 gallons of oil in the Yellowstone River in 2011 (the fine itself is a small hinderance for a company that earned $45 billion profit last year).
     As one of the companies to profit from Canadian tar sands, Exxon often takes to its blog to defend its so-called safety. Big Oil lawmakers then repeat those myths despite evidence to the contrary.
     On Friday, the same day as Exxon’s oil spill, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) claimed the pipeline is a “no-brainer” and passes environmental “muster.” The State Department recently issued a draft report claiming the pipeline will have no environmental impact, authored by a contractor with extensive ties to oil companies.

The three Japanese guys Easter joke

(Evidently, hell is not the just desert for a life of evil, but a trap door slide to damnation after the wrong answer to a one-question pop quiz.)
Three Japanese men die in a horrible bus accident and go to the gates of heaven. St. Peter stops them at the gate, eyes them suspiciously and says "Boys, most Japanese practice Shinto or Buddhism. You're actually Christians?"
     The three indignantly protest that they were raised in Christian families and have practiced the religion their entire lives.
     St. Peter says: "Ok, I'm going to ask you one question. If you get the one question correct, you will get to go into heaven."
     Excited about not going to hell, the three Japanese men agree to the test.
     Calling over the first Japanese man, St. Peter says to him, "Okay, here is your question. It's easy. What is Easter?"
     The first Japanese man, replies, "Ahhh... Easter... Easter is American holiday. Fat man in red suit come down chimney, give toys to all boys and girls... everyone happy!"
     Looking annoyed, St. Peter pulls a lever opening a trap door and the first Japanese man falls down to Hell.
     Calling over the second Japanese man, who looks a bit nervous, having seen his friend dispatched to Hades. "Okay, I'll ask you the same thing. It's not hard, but your friend was an idiot. What is Easter?"
     Stroking his chin for a few seconds, he answers, "Easter is American holiday... family get together eat turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, everyone fat and happy."
     Shaking his head in disapproval, St. Peter pulls a lever opening a trap door and the second Japanese man falls to hell.
     St. Peter then calls the third Japanese man over, who is cowering in fear. "Relax. Just answer this ONE simple question, and you can get into Heaven. What is Easter?"
     Hearing the question, the third Japanese gets a huge, confident smile on his face, and replies, "Ahh... Easter celebrate Jesus Christ die on cross."
     "Yes... go on." says St. Peter.
     "They take him down from cross, and put Jesus in big cave.... cover cave with big rock."
     "That's right... go on!" Says St. Peter, excitedly.
     "Jesus there for three days"
     "Go on!"
     "After three days, Jesus stand up, move big rock to the side, come out, and look for shadow. If he see shadow, then 6 more weeks winter!"

Indian tiger doesn't fall for zoo keeper trick; makes friends with goat thrown into pen; now he can't be released into wild and zoo has to keep feeding him

Brian McKay
From the Times of India:
     For two days, the tiger did not kill the goat despite being hungry. Instead it played with it; at one point even playfully dumping it in an artificial waterhole. Finally, the goat was shifted out and the tiger was given beef to eat...
     "I fear the male tiger is not fit for release," says veteran conservationist MS Chouhan. "When the females were rescued they had killed a dog and it seems they still had some hunting skills, but in the case of the male they are evidently missing."
     This just proves the point that the National Organization for Marriage keeps making: offspring need a mommy and a daddy. Tiger cubs learn to hunt from their mothers. Being deprived of female role models like like Maggie Gallagher or Sara Palin means the tiger will never have the killer instinct. Sad, ain't it?

Should LGBTs boycott straight weddings?

Nebraska one of the country's six worst states for children of gay parents; a trifecta of discrimination

Nebraska's poor standing has a lot to do with people like this, but most especially with people like this.
Map: Family Equality Council, which has quite a website

Iowa's WHO hate radio: Bradlee Dean blames Elton John for trouble at Dunkerton school; host Mickelson calls educators hosting LGBTQ antibullying confab "varmits"

NOTE: Do you ever hear Mickelson's rants on WHO? Use the comments below and tell us what businesses most frequently sponsor his homophobic diatribes. You can comment anonymously.

Here's the podcast of Mickelson's Friday show. Sixteen Iowa GOP legislators are running interference for him by threatening to financially destroy a Des Moines community college.
The Iowa GOP has a plan to defend WHO Radio's house bully,
Jan Mickelson, from gay schoolkids being taught how to
kick back at radio homophobes: financially destroy the
school that sponsored the seminar that taught them how!
WHO is a 50,000-watt nondirectional AM station whose signal
reaches most of the continental U.S. at night. During the day, its
transmitter power and Iowa's flat land allows it to be heard
in almost all of Iowa, as well as parts of Minnesota, Illinois,
Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wisconsin.
Picture Source
     Mickelson is so sleazy that he called gay and straight Iowa educators supporting Safe Schools' LGBTQ antibullying conference "varmits" within the context of paraphrasing DMAAC student Jake Dagel — as if the slur were Dagel's, not Mickelson's, although, to be fair, Dagel, who wants to work for the Iowa Family Leader and got 16 state legislators to attempt to blackmail DMAAC by threatening to pull $25 million in state funding if it continues to host the conference, may not be particularly offended by the offensive word Mickelson put in his mouth.
     Below is part of what Mickelson said on the air Friday:
Jan Mickelson: Speaking of public arenas and being indoctrinated, there is a youth conference that the Iowa Safe Schools and a gay lobby that has put on and they're calling it the governor's conference. It is not the governor's conference, but they have borrowed it because previous governors have lent their name to it. The Annual Iowa Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth, and one of the students [Jack Dagel, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom] at a local community college said "Hey, fine, go and do your thing but you're using some of my money, using tax dollars and not only using tax dollars,  using tax dollars to beat up on my faith, cause there's a seminar that attacks Christianity" and so this one, he says "Hey, you're not going to do this" — filed a Freedom of Information Act, and he's resisting this. We're gonna talk with him in just a few minutes but he's doing exactly what you're doing, Bradlee Dean, he said, "Hey, you're not going to do this to me, you're not going to do this to my money. I'm going to stand up to these varmits. This isn't diversity, this is an abuse of the tax dollars. It's an abuse of the name of the governors conference and you're not going to do this with my permission. Go do this on your own time with your own stinkin' money, thank you very much."
Bradlee Dean: That's right. Can I give you the quote by Elton John, Jan, as to why we got in trouble in Dunkerton Iowa?
Jan Mickelson: What?
Bradlee Dean: Well this is what was shared with the students in the student body that day and Jake was simply talking about the issue. Is this a good standard to live by? He was talking about musicians. And he brought up the quote by Elton John, and it said this, Elton John said this, he said:

I crave to be loved. There's nothing wrong with going to bed with someone of your own sex. We should be free with sex. We should draw the line at goats.
The homosexual community's attacked us for reciting what Elton John said. And they called us bullies and bigots for simply reciting him. We didn't say it. He said it.
Jan Mickelson: They [gays]were upset because you were drawing a line at goats? [Obviously what's left of Mickelson's mind must tend to wander during interviews, since it was Elton John who allegedly said that.]
Bradlee Dean: That's exactly what they were angry about, but of course it comes out as being a hater or a bigot or whatever else they can contrive in their minds. But people need to realize that this is totalitarianism. They love to smack your face, pull your hair, and then they cry victim.
Jan Mickelson: ...This culture belongs to the people who built it... I want our money back and I want to defund every one of the institutions that have been captured by evil... Kick some butt and take names, Bradlee.
Because, you see, in the nasty, delusional little world of WHO radio's Jan Mickelson, gay people didn't build up Western Culture by producing West Side Story, or A Street Car Named Desire, or Moby Dick, or My Antonia, or In Cold Blood or Leaves of Grass or by painting the Sistine Chapel or sculpting Michelangelo or designing the Enigma computer that cracked Nazi codes, etc., etc., etc.
     In Jan Mickelson's world, Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed slept in the same bed for four years and absolutely nothing ever happened. Because only crudely bigoted, Christian, heterosexual supremacists like himself — only more talented — ever contributed anything lasting to America's political or artistic "culture."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gay schoolkids vs. WHO's bully broadcaster:
These 16 Iowa GOP lawmakers just pledged to ruin
Des Moines Area Community College (DMAAC) for hosting anti-bullying Governor's LGBTQ Youth Confab

Update — WHO radio bully Jan Mickelson on Friday's show:
"I'm going to stand up to these varmits... The gays were upset because you were drawing a line at goats? ...This culture belongs to the people who built it... I want to defund every one of the institutions that have been captured by evil.

Last Thursday, the Iowa Family Leader held a press conference, including several of the 16 Iowa GOP legislators who have pledged to blackmail DMAAC by threatening to cut $25 million of state funding unless it ceases support of the Iowa Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth, which is organized by Iowa Safe Schools.
     Here was their statement:
     Based on our desire and commitment to be faithful stewards of our tax dollars, we cannot in good conscience vote to give taxpayer dollars to people or to groups who pervert the Bible, teach our youth to engage in dangerous behavior, and target individuals like Jan Mickelson for hatred and bullying.
     We have proof that the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Diversity Commission is using tuition and taxpayer monies to sponsor the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference, as a result of information obtained by the DMACC Young Americans for Freedom chapter, through a Freedom of information Act (FOIA) request.
     Therefore, we Representatives of the people of Iowa, will vote against appropriations for DMACC unless they withhold taxpayers’ dollars from the Governor’s LGBTQ Youth Conference.
 WHO's Jan Mickelson, to a highly amused Tom Latham: Can you [GOP
congressmen] just pull a busload of those nuns over and pistol whip them? Source
     The evidence that the DMACC Diversity Comission is teaching kids to "target" defenseless WHO broadcaster Jan Mickelson was a workshop description on the conference website:

The Iowa GOP has a plan to defend WHO Radio's house bully,
Jan Mickelson, from gay schoolkids being taught how to
kick back at radio homophobes: financially destroy the
school that sponsored the seminar that taught them how.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Right Wing?
     Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa
     Learn messages and methods to fight back against propaganda from the extreme right wing, from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to Bob Vander Plaats and Jan Mickelson. Discover resources to get the most up-to-date information available and work toward a more progressive Iowa.
     Evidently the 16 Iowa legislators below are so terrified that a workshop might teach gay kids how to defend themselves against broadcast bullies like WHO radio's Jan Mickelson, that they are willing to financially destroy a community college to stop it.

Above, left to right, by row:
Sen. David Johnson, Sen. Dennis Guth, Sen. Mark Segebart, Sen. Mark Chelgren;
Sen. Bill Anderson, Sen. Kent Sorenson Sen. Rick Bertrand, Rep. Dwayne Alons;

Gun nuts troll Indiana gun control group, Moms Demand Action — with loaded assault rifles

From ThinkProgress:

At least two or three men showed up at the rally site before the event began and engaged in a discussion about gun regulations with the group, two participants in the action told ThinkProgress. The armed men — who were later joined by another man carrying a hand gun and a woman who runs Indiana Moms Against Gun Control — insisted that they had a right to carry the loaded weapons.

The quickest green return on investment around

You can put three loads (about 36 cents per load to dry in a dryer) up at once on a clothesline, which saves about a buck in the time it takes to hang the garments. You could hang about ten clotheslines full in about an hour, saving $10.
     Few green investments (about $20 for a clothesline kit, including tensioner) have as quick a payback. Go for it.

Another Texas landowner battles TransCanada

Via Jane Kleeb at Bold Nebraska.

A McDonald's advertisement that Copyranter likes (!)

More here.

Graffiti artists also love McDonalds ads:

Chris Hayes and Alex Wagner on Keystone XL and infrastructure budget in Congress

A blatant falsehood and some crude sexism from the Douglas County GOP chair, now on warpath against Brad Ashford

There's an old joke about the difference between a used car salesman and a computer salesman, that being that a used car salesman knows when he's isn't telling the truth.
     Here at AKSARBENT, we think that the radical right-wing Chairman of the Douglas County Republican party, Bryan Baumgart, does know when he's advancing a falsehood, but either A) doesn't care or B) thinks people who read what he writes are too stupid to see what he's up to.
     Lately, as the conservative field challenging Mayor Jim Suttle self-destructs due to dark money chicanery, the only candidate who isn't in the mud pit, Brad Ashford, apparently has emerged as a threat to GOP business as usual.
     Enter Baumgart, who has been working his twitter thumbs to the bone savaging Ashford, lately:

Oh look! Bryan Baumgart, in his private twitter account, is retweeting quotes from himself in the capacity of Chairman of the Douglas County GOP!

Now let's examine the actual headline of the Nebraska Watchdog article to which Baumgart linked, shall we?
Not exactly the same thing as "Ashford bad for Omaha", is it? But wait, there's more! The very Nebraska Watchdog post to which Douglas County GOP Chairman Baumgart linked, busts his falsehood:

The "He" above is Baumgart himself, who published the imaginary Kerry "backing" of Ashford in a signed post on dcrponline, which is where Nebraska Watchdog got the quote.

Baumgart's own twitter account is a rich mine of right-wing flimflammery (Andrew Breitbart, WordNet Daily, etc.) and even a crudely sexist photo meme.

Baumgart, head of the Douglas County GOP helpfully illustrated his tweet with the following pictorial guide to when to strip search guys and dolls, in the link to his website within the tweet:

More unhinged agitprop written or retweeted from Douglas County GOP Chair, Bryan Baumgart:

Jon Stewart on DOMA oral arguments

Bees are dropping like flies; farmers blame new pesticides

Though scientists have drawn no conclusions yet, farmers, preliminary studies, and scientist Pierre Mineau are already pointing the finger.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Richard Griffiths, of History Boys and Harry Potter fame, dead at 65

From Matthew Norman's Telegraph obituary, worthy of the man considered by many to be the best character actor of his generation, who died Thursday of complications from heart surgery:

When asked by an interviewer about his choice of gravestone epitaph, the most gifted British character actor of his generation needed barely a moment to rattle off a response so delicious it can’t be read too often. “Richard Griffiths. Actor,” he said, “Born 1947. Died 2947.”
     ...However excellent he was as the sadistic Uncle Vernon, countless actors could have played the part. Few, if any, could have done what Griffiths did with the earlier avuncular role in Withnail And I, or as the grammar school teacher Hector in The History Boys, who lunged at his Oxbridge candidates’ crotches while giving them a lift on his motorbike. Griffiths became apoplectic when anyone called Hector a paedophile, furiously pointing out that all the boys were of age. Even so, in an era of screeching hysteria about men preying on youths, he made Hector so sympathetic that there was no whisper of a campaign to discredit Alan Bennett’s play. As with Withnail’s Uncle Monty, who so memorably told Paul McGann’s “I” that “There is a certain je ne sais quoi – oh, so very special – about a firm, young carrot”, he made a predatory homosexual a figure of such appeal that even the sternest of media moralists steered clear of the sermonising.
     ...What was so unusual about Griffiths, if not unique, is that he was a determinedly private man (who used his verbosity as a defence mechanism and would not say a word about his wife) whom you somehow felt you knew, and wanted to know better. I certainly did.

A cable commercial that tells it like it is

This rip does not apply to Kansas City, which has America's fastest Internet service.

Conservative Colorado dark money group behind GOP infighting in Omaha mayoral race

A series of flyers attacking antiLGBT rights (see Editor's Choice links at left) mayoral candidate and current city councilwoman Jean Stothert, is apparently being funded, to the tune of $25,000, by a Colorado organization, "Set It Straight," connected to Patrick Davis, a Colorado Spring-based political consultant, according to KETV's I-Team investigator Ryan Luby.
     The born-yesterday local organization at the receiving end of the bounty is called the "Omaha Alliance for the Public Trust."
     Omaha Political insider has discovered that the Omaha organization:
  • uses a burn phone as its listed phone number
  • the physical address is a UPS store physical address and a P.O. Box (250) can't be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request
     Omaha Political Insider also discovered that Omaha Alliance for the Public Trust treasurer Laura Paulson sent a campaign statement to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission from a fax machine at Semaan Engineering Solutions, in Elkhorn, where she has a voice-mail address.

Quote of the day:
Zach Wahls dips his toe into Dan Savage's pool

Photo: Storm Farnick, Daily Nebraskan
The bon mots below, from Zach Wahl's What Makes a Family appearance last night at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln student union, is probably a part of Wahl's lecture circuit patter and therefore not new, but we haven't heard it before, and it's much funnier than the "I'm really good at putting the toilet lid down" line.
“I’m always asked two questions when people realize I have two moms,” Wahls said. “It’s ‘Dude. You have lesbian moms,’ which isn’t actually a question. And then, ‘Are they hot?’”

The subtext version of SCOTUS Prop 8 oral arguments

Justice Scalia: Tell me, Counsel. Gay marriage: Bad for children, or the worst for children?

Cooper: We really don’t know. Gay marriage is so new. We have no evidence. It could be that gay marriage will cause aliens to descend on this planet and eat the flesh of all children under the age of sixteen. Or maybe not. We just don’t know. We have to think of the children.

Justice Kennedy: This is extremely persuasive to me.

Don Draper would never have signed off on this

(Via JMG via Copyranter)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Samsung's Galaxy S4 dog-and-pony show

Some cell service providers are charging more for this than current iPhones.

Jon Stewart rips Alioto's purplexed take on gay couples

This is probably why the Supreme Court is so skittish about allowing electronic devices, like microphones, into the chamber. It's more effective to mock audio of a dumb statement than a transcript of it.

Short Takes: biggest Internet attack yet; Willie Nelson fakes the rainbow, physician accused of mass murder, Bob Casey asked about his marriage equality silence

Pennsylvania House member Brian Sims writes an open letter to Sen. Bob Casey, who defeated Sen. Rick Santorum, about why he is conspicuously silent about the gay marriage debate. (Six senate Democrats have endorsed same sex marriage in the last week.)

Willie Nelson playfully trolls Texas Monthly by declaring he'd never marry "a guy I didn't like"

Brazilian Doctor on trial for killing seven patients, but authorities suspect as many as 300 victims. Possible reason? Increased turnover in profitable private hospital intensive care unit

Fight between shady Dutch web site hosting service and group fighting spam which blacklisted it results in biggest distributed denial of service attack in Internet history; a data stream reaching 300 billion bits per second with collateral damage to Netflix, other mainstream sites  

Law enforcement authorities have been withholding information about the nature of StingRay cell-site simulators from courts in order to obtain search warrants to use device, which penetrates walls of homes and scoops up cell phone data from bystanders as well as suspects

Obama administration has stopped throwing good money after bad by refusing to defend constitutionality of DOMA after two federal courts said it was unconstitutional. But Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith have spent $3,000,000 of your taxes defending DOMA, even though Congress may not even have standing to do so

Why you should never tell the checkout clerk your zip code

ThinkProgress: 13 offensive things to which Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has compared gay people; Mother Jones only lists seven

David Badash has a bone to pick with Tovia Smith's marshmallow piece on NOM's "Mary" (Maggie) Gallagher on NPR's All Things Considered aired locally on KVNO last Friday. Meanwhile, Gallagher is still flogging discredited Regnerus study on gay parenting and three dubious others

The clamor grows louder for an audit of the Texas Enterprise Fund, a taxpayer funded program to attract business to Texas and used, critics contend, as a Gov. Perry slush fund. Texans for Public Justice found that by the end of 2010, companies getting cash from the fund were only creating about 37 percent of the number of jobs promised.

Now the FBI want to spy on you online in real time

Gawker goes to New York City's Black Party

Thousands of gun deaths since Newtown killings

Zach Wahls speaks tonight at 7:30 in Lincoln

Click on flyer to enlarge

80-year-old SCOTUS justice starts an internet meme

How Tom Osborne and Lee Terry helped GOP try to block Supreme Court review of antigay DOMA law

In 2004, Doug Bereuter voted on the right side of history,
against defending DOMA. Lee Terry and Tom Osborne didn't.
In Nebraska, both Tom Osborne and Lee Terry (but not Doug Bereuter) voted for the so-called 2004 Marriage Protection Act which laughably tried to prevent judicial review of the Defense of Marriage Act, which cost widow Edie Windsor $363,000 in estate taxes because the federal government refused to recognize her legal, 2007 Canadian marriage to Thea Spyer.
     Shame on both Osborne and Terry for 1) disrespecting the courts by voting for a court-stripping law which did nothing to prevent the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments this week on the constitutionality of the law they arrogantly tried to put beyond judicial scrutiny and for 2) supporting the DOMA effort to compel the federal government to undermine some marriages as well as the sovereignty of states and other countries to decide the issue for themselves.

Pelosi: GOP knew DOMA was unconstitutional in 2004 and tried to put its thumb on judicial scale with the Marriage Protection Act

From her op-ed in USA today, earlier this week:
     In 2004, the Republican-controlled House passed the so-called Marriage Protection Act to try to prevent federal courts from ruling on challenges to DOMA. They even claimed that the landmark case, Marbury v. Madison, was "wrongly decided."
     Their idea, known as "court-stripping," betrays one of the cornerstones of our system of checks and balances: that our judiciary must be independent, free from manipulation by Congress and the president, so that our Constitution and individual rights are always safeguarded. Indeed, defending individual rights and equal protection are core functions of judicial review.

Best satire of anti-gay marriage activists you'll ever see

(Via JoeMyGod)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kansas bill allowing HIV/AIDS quarantine: Equality Coalition says Dept. of Health & Environment pushed for HB2183 rewrite; head is Brownback appointee

Dr. Robert Moser, head of Kansas agency
which pushed for legislation allowing HIV+
Kansans to be quarantined, even though
HIV is not spread through casual contact,
like TB. Moser is a 2011 appointee of Gov.
Sam Brownback, one of the nation's most
homophobic governors. Kansas law currently
forbids HIV+ people from being quarantined.
The Kansas Equality Coalition, which is urging the defeat of the substitute for HB2183, is blaming disturbing new language in the bill, targeting HIV+ Kansans, on pressure from the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment.
     House Bill 2183 started as a bill that would make it easier for first responders to find out if they had been exposed to HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases. When HB 2183 was introduced, KEC and the ACLU reviewed the bill. Both organizations initially had concerns that patients’ 4th Amendment rights were at risk, but after consultation with other stakeholders, agreed that as written the bill posed little to no risk to people living with HIV, and would help protect first responders.
Days after the public hearings on the bill, however, officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment proposed entirely new language that removes key limits on the authority to quarantine people with communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis. They want the authority to address quarantine through administrative regulations. The bill was “gutted,” and replaced with the language KDHE wanted. Most significantly, the current law that exempts persons exposed to or suffering from HIV/AIDS from quarantine is being repealed.
      Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said by including HIV/AIDS in this updated law, Kansas legislators are harkening back to the ‘earliest, darkest days of the AIDS epidemic.
      He said: ‘At best, it is short-sighted of Kansas legislators to reject Senator Francisco’s amendment. It either shows how little they understand about HIV and how it is transmitted—it is not spread through casual contact such as TB or other airborne communicable diseases—or it shows that they want the ability to quarantine people, and/or discriminate against them in other ways as they see fit.

Below: Positive Directions Inc.’s Cody Patton

Courting Cowardice: New York Times' Maureen Dowd acidly rips Supreme Court timidity on gay marriage

Maureen Dowd. (Fred Conrad photo)
...The fuddy-duddies seemed to be looking for excuses not to make a sweeping ruling. Their questions reflected a unanimous craven impulse: How do we get out of this? This court is plenty bold imposing bad decisions on the country, like anointing W. president or allowing unlimited money to flow covertly into campaigns. But given a chance to make a bold decision putting them on the right, and popular, side of history, they squirm.
      ...Charles Cooper, the lawyer for the proponents of Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, was tied in knots... His argument, that marriage should be reserved for those who procreate, is ludicrous. Sonia Sotomayor was married and didn’t have kids. Clarence and Ginny Thomas did not have kids. Chief Justice Roberts’s two kids are adopted. Should their marriages have been banned? What about George and Martha Washington? They only procreated a country.
      ...While Justice Alito can’t see into the future, most Americans can. If this court doesn’t reject bigotry, history will reject this court.

Omaha GOP mayoral candidates continue their expensive circular firing squad on TV airwaves

And the only conservative candidate who hasn't dived into the Republican mud-wrestling pit seems to be Brad Ashford.

Best marriage equality signs seen in DC outside Supreme Court's DOMA, Prop 8 oral arguments

Matt Stopera of Buzzfeed posted lots of photos he took of the best signs made by progay demonstrators outside SCOTUS during DOMA and Prop 8 oral arguments. Go to Buzzfeed to see bigger versions of all 60 of them. AKSARBENT's favorite, hoisted by an incorrigibly opportunistic flirt, is at the upper right: "If god hates gay people, then why are they so cute"

Supreme Court DOMA oral arguments: transcript, audio and plaintiff Edie Windsor's reaction

Below is the full (but unofficial) transcript and here is audio of oral arguments, directly from the website of the court.

Here is Edie Windsor, outside the court, speaking to reporters:

DOMA oral arguments SCOTUS 3/27/2013

DOMA oral arguments: SCOTUSblog says court 80% likely to strike down Defense of Marriage Act

Vaguely related:

Today, Supreme Court OKed suit of male inmate raped by a Lewisburg, PA prison guard

Lost in the pro/anti-gay marriage circus at the Supreme Court was the court's favorable decision today on a hand-written petition by Kim Lee Millbrook, a prisoner at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., who had accused guards of sexually assaulting him in May 2010.

The Federal Torts Claim Act waives the United States' immunity against lawsuits for civil wrongs intentionally caused by federal representatives, including federal law enforcement officers. But the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said immunity is only waived when the law enforcement officer is executing a search, seizing evidence or making an arrest.
     Clarence Thomas, writing for a unanimous court, said those terms describe what federal law enforcement officers can do, not what they can be sued for. Millbrook's action can now proceed.
     It's bad enough that nonviolent offenders have to worry about inmate predators (as the Australian video below documents) without them having to cope with the specter of guards doing the same thing.

Bill O'Reilly on gay marriage: 'The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals'

(Via JoeMyGod)

Live: Outside Supreme Court during oral arguments challenging DOMA, federal Defense of Marriage Act

C-SPAN's live coverage is here.

30 huge bolts on San Francisco Bay Bridge have snapped

All 288 will be replaced. Some of the bolts are 17 feet long.
     Unlike the Chinese-built deck sections, the bolts - some as long 17 as feet - were produced in the United States.
     "It appears to be a type of materials problem - the presence of hydrogen in the metal..."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Slate: anti-gay marriage 'concern trolling'

Slate discovers a new subset of anti-gay marriage activists:
...Concern trolls are largely people who know that they can't argue their viewpoint on its merits, so instead they try to undermine the persuasively argued viewpoint with their "concerns..."
     The Sunday morning news shows were littered with concern trolls this past weekend. Karl Rove, Peggy Noonan, and David Brooks all suggested that if the court rules that same-sex marriage is a right, it will somehow set back the cause of same-sex marriage by making the homophobes very angry. "Americans don’t take it well and don’t accept it as a resolution when their black-robed masters in Washington decide to put on them what they decide is the right thing," said Noonan, claiming that this is what happened with Roe v. Wade.
     The claim is a specific subset of concern trolling, popular with conservatives: the "too soon" troll. The idea behind it is that if you're gentle with the bigots and let them get their way long enough, they will eventually soften and cave on an issue. But if you push progress through the courts, their resentment will poison them against you forever. This argument has been forwarded in defense of everything from slavery to bans on abortion...

Prop 8 audio and transcript of oral arguments before US Supreme Court in Hollingsworth vs. Perry

To download the oral argument audio directly from the US Supreme Court website, go here.

The Supreme Court gay marriage drinking game

From Atlantic Wire: For any permutation of "standing" in the Court audio, from Roberts or otherwise; or and adaptation of "Why the Supreme Court Might Not..." in a speculative headline, take four drinks. If the Court doesn't allow ProtectMarriage to argue its case and successfully trolls the United States of America, take the day off, and flip on Beaches with a bottle of rum.

SCOTUS blog: Supreme Court will punt on Prop 8

Looks like gay couples in California will start marrying again soon, meaning sometime after June, when the Supreme Court is expected to render its decision. Tom Bernstein's more verbose prognostication of Prop 8 oral arguments is here.

Live video outside Supreme Court
during its marriage deliberations

NBC's live coverage is over. CSPAN's is still going, here.

Paris antigay marriage rally: 33 police injured in scattered violence; toddlers used as human shields

About 100 anti-gay marriage protesters, bused into Paris from all over France and even adjoining countries, were arrested last weekend when some of them rushed cops preventing them from spilling onto the Champs Elysee, on which city officials had prohibited them from marching. Some used toddlers as shields.
     One, according to John Aravosis, hurled what appeared to be a pick axe at gendarmes. Supporters, including the National Organization for Marriage in the United States, estimated the crowd at 1.4 million. Authorities said it was a fifth of that.

Iowa Senate Ethics Cmte dismissed biz disclosure complaint against Michele Bachmann aide, State Sen. Kent Sorenson, isn't acting on theft, money laundering charges

Below: Sorenson explains why he ditched the failing Bachmann compaign to work for Ron Paul.

The three-count complaint against Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, who sits on the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee, was filed by former Michele Bachmann presidential campaign staffer Peter Waldron.
     The Senate Ethics Committee, a bipartisan group of six that deliberated for 30 minutes, dismissed the money laundering charge for lack of evidence and said it wasn't "appropriate for the Senate Ethics Committee to insert themselves into ongoing litigation" in the alleged theft charge of a homeschooling database still being investigated by the Urbandale PD. Said alleged theft is the subject of a lawsuit by Barb Heki, who has accused Sorenson of complicity in the data's unauthorized duplication.
     Only Sen. Joe Seng, D-Davenport voted against delaying action on the two and dismissing the one complaint.
He said a better option would have been to ask the Iowa Supreme Court to open an investigation into the allegations.
     “It wasn’t a presumption of innocence or guilt,” Seng said. “The (investigation) seemed a more, better alternative where a Supreme Court justice could give us a reason to see if there was a probable cause for this to go forward.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anonymous posters target HIV status of student candidate, with stolen medical data printed on back

The Dallas Voice reports a nasty, anonymous flyer targeting the HIV status of Student Body President Kristopher Sharp candidate at University of Houston-Downtown has been posted around that campus.
     On the back of the flier is a copy of a medical document from one of Sharp’s recent doctor appointments that contains his home address, phone number and HIV status...
     This isn’t the first time Sharp has faced adversity on the campus. A few years ago his political science class was discussing same-sex marriage and someone called him a faggot. His professor didn’t address it, so he spoke to Tommy Thomason, dean of students, but nothing was done, he said.
     He also spoke to Thomason about the flier incident, but was told the university likely wouldn’t find who was responsible and the flier couldn’t be considered hate speech since AIDS and homosexual are “proper words.”
     Commentors to the Dallas Voice weren't amused by Thomason's inaction:
     D. Williams: Dean Thomason needs to understand that revealing the result of an HIV test without the consent of the tested person is a class A misdemeanor in Texas, regardless of how that result was obtained. That's the same class of offense as assault with bodily harm. I wonder if Dean Thomason would be nearly as blase about assault on the UHD campus.
     S. Hrenchir: In response to the dean, "faggot" is a "proper word" too, as it appears in dictionaries. He needs a lesson on hate speech. It isn't about which words are used, it's about what those words are saying. I absolutely see that flier as being hate speech, whether the words used are "politically acceptable" (politically correct be damned) or not.

Justin Timberberlake and Jonathan Ross trade golf, tequila shots

Ross: That tequila is loosening me up!
Timberlake: Well, that's the point, luv.

(Via Towleroad; see blog list)

Shane Vander Hart gets no love from Des Moines Register readers for column about alleged victimhood of Robert Cramer, Iowa Family Leader honcho

Shane Vander Hart's recent column for an online Des Moines Register Town hall, extolling the supposed victimhood of Robert Cramer, Board Chairman of viciously dishonest Iowa hate group, The Family Leader, turned out to be a troll piece, as adjudicated by the responses so far.
     Cramer was nominated by GOP gov. Terry Branstad for Iowa Board of Regents.
     Vander Hart's piece, Vander Hart: Must regents favor gays?, built a sob sister crucifix and nailed Cramer to it.
Cramer’s crime? He’s the chairman of the board for the Family Leader, an organization that is well known for its stand against gay marriage and has addressed concerns about the advancement of an LGBT agenda.
     NOT A SINGLE COMMENTER, as of this writing, wrote in support of Vander Hart's stance. Some samples:
     R Whitten: ...Believing the universe is 6000 years old isn't just outside the norm. It defies scientific evidence by a factor of 2 million times. If someone doesn't even believe in science, why would we appoint them to oversee institutions that are the heart and soul of science?
     J. Clothier: Senators Quirmbach and McCoy might have put questions rather than made statements at said hearing. Having not seen a transcript, who's to say they did not? This article's selected quotes are certainly not definitive.
     Those questions might have included, "Mr. Cramer, in what ways do you believe your public stance against Iowans and others who happen to be homosexual is congruent with serving the needs of a diverse, international and cosmopolitan student body?"...
     D. Auld: How can someone as closed minded as Crame actually be good for the board of Regents? He cannot and shouldn't be considered.
     P. Patton: ...Why would Iowa consider a Regent who does not view all students equally and fairly? Would we appoint a racist or an anti-Semite? Cramer's free to hold his own beliefs, but he is not a good fit for the Board of Regents.
     J. Finamore: Thank goodness there are clear-headed, logical minds like Vander Hart's and Cramer's at work on the LGBT "problem." I myself am at work on the "right-wing backlash" problem.
     Below are a couple examples of the fine organization for which Vander Hart's GOP heart so bleeds, in action.

Crackpots: Conservative Ann Coulter vs. Liberal MeMe Roth debate 'nanny state' on Fox's Geraldo At Large

The discussion was supposed to be about NYC Mayor Bloomberg's new initiative to hide cigarette brands from view in stores. It turned out to be a farce.
     Ann Coulter used the duel as a springboard to portray gays as HIV-ridden economic parasites.
     Her opponent, MeMe Roth, used it to portray smokers as pulmonary-disease-ridden economic parasites.
     Both guests proved themselves to be full of shit.
     As for Coulter, a known bigot, AIDS is far less expensive than, say, Alzheimers, and hardly limited to gays.
     As for MeMe Roth's argument, smoking — despite laughable CDC "economic impact" studies purporting to measure the cost of tobacco, but completely ignoring huge tax revenues generated by cigarettes — the habit actually benefits the country economically, albeit in a ghoulish way.
     A 1989 study, The Taxes of Sin: Do Smokers and Drinkers Pay Their Way?, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded: On balance smokers probably pay their way at the current level of excise taxes on cigarettes.
     Since then, obviously, skyrocketing cigarette taxes have left even medical inflation in their dust.
     More smokers-as-economic parasites agitprop: CDC "economic impact" studies claim smokers die, on average, 14 years earlier than nonsmokers, but don't include the enormous Medicare and Social Security savings entailed in that fact (assuming it's true).
     The government benefits smokers don't live long enough to collect go to subsidize the equally — if not more — expensive deaths of nonsmokers when they kick, and all of them do, after collecting many more government checks on their way to the grave.

New York Times flowchart of possible Prop 8, DOMA outcomes and states affected by SCOTUS ruling

To see the entire flowchart on Prop 8 and on DOMA, go here.
(Via JMG)

Rewind, 2006: Dan Savage talks about reluctantly granting his four-year-old son's wish for a poodle

This is Dan Savage at his most inspired, which is Bill Cosby-level hilarity, except that Bill Cosby doesn't swear on stage.

Cross enough to bear having fag parents. You don't want a poodle too... Eventually he'd be angry at us for letting him, on impulse get a poodle. And I'm looking at my boyfriend and going: "We gotta get him like a Doberman Pincher or something if we're going to get him a dog at all. A poodle, we might as well send him to school with a pinafore and Mary Janes and a sign that says "Kick me" on his back. "These are my gay dads and... my poodle." And so we get a goddamn poodle.

Keystone XL tar sands pipeline: Nebraska landowner models T-Shirt critical of Deb Fischer, the senator who is betraying his interests

And it's not the first time Deb Fischer has worked against the interests of her neighbors and constituents.

Ford "deeply regrets" bondage ads featuring four male Formula One drivers, Sylvio Berlusconi, Paris Hilton and Kardashians

Seyth Miersma of Autoblog reports that, in a statement, Ford Motor Company said it (and its ad agency, J Walter Thompson India) "deeply regrets" a series of bondage ads touting the cargo space of the company's Figo hatchback.
     Miersma noted that the ads came to light days after new anti-rape legislation was passed by the Indian Parliament.
     (AKSARBENT thinks that the non-Berlusconi ads, at least, were more about revenge or envy than sex and that those two were pretty funny.)
     Ads showed Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi kidnapping scantily clad women with ball gags, Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher kidnapping competitors Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, and Paris Hilton absconding with three Kardashians. Ford said the "Leave your worries behind" print ads "never should have happened."
     The ads never ran, but were submitted to an ad award contest in India.
     Said Adweek: " It's just too bad for Ford that the brand will suffer for ads it didn't even approve. It's a good reminder that the Internet doesn't know the difference."
     Said Ad Age: "The posters, showing women bound and gagged in the trunk of a Ford Figo hatchback, drew international condemnation when they were uploaded to the website Ads of the World, and both JWT and Ford quickly apologized. Neither mentioned that the ads, including a letter of approval from the client, had been entered at Goafest by a senior JWT India executive. "

Scott Fujita explains why he's for marriage equality

I support marriage equality for so many reasons: my father’s experience in an internment camp and the racial intolerance his family experienced during and after the war, the gay friends I have who are really not all that different from me, and also because of a story I read a few years back about a woman who was denied the right to visit her partner of 15 years when she was stuck in a hospital bed.
      My belief is... grounded in the fact that I was adopted and know there are thousands of children institutionalized in various foster programs, in desperate need of permanent, safe and loving homes, but living in states that refuse to allow unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians, to adopt because they consider them not fit to be parents...
      Years ago, my wife and I became friendly with a young woman whose teenage brother committed suicide after coming out to an unsuspecting and unsupportive father. This woman explained that her father was a football guy, a “man’s man” — whatever that means. She challenged me to speak up for her lost brother because, as she said, the only way to change the heart and mind of someone like her father was for him to hear that people he admires would embrace someone like his son.
     I hope that soon after Tuesday’s arguments in front of the Supreme Court, people like me won’t have to speak up for those sons or daughters. No one owns the definition of love. It comes in all shapes and sizes. As Toni Morrison wrote, “Definitions belong to the definer, not the defined.”

— NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, in an essay for the New York Times

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Evan Wolfson to Tony Perkins: "Gay people are not going to use up all the marriage licenses"

It's unfortunate that mainstream news organizations like CBS are still inviting people like Tony Perkins to pontificate on their air.