Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Here's Ben Gotschall, rancher, teacher and occasional clotheshorse, delivering the broadside at Keystone XL hearing that was quoted in the New York Times

Sorry for the impish headline snark, but self-discipline and tact is not AKSARBENT's strong suit.
     NET made the entire hearing available online (in five parts) for at least a week, but it seems to be unavailable now.
     Update: Bold Nebraska posted a much higher quality video of Gotschall (only) here.

Elkhorn, NE State Sen. Beau McCoy, a homeschooled evangelical gay civil rights foe, now has 'philosophical' issues with scientific evidence of global warming

Beau McCoy, president of Nebraska Roof
Savers and author of failed bill to revoke and
ban local gay rights ordinances throughout
Nebraska. McCoy ()
represents Dist. 39, including parts of
Omaha. During LB912's judiciary
committee hearing last year, McCoy tried
to trick the committee into believing the
Omaha World-Herald approved of his bill.
JoAnne Young of the Lincoln Journal-Star reports from the Unicameral that Lincoln Sen. Ken Haar, trying to be proactive about planning for the climate change manifesting itself already in thousands of record-setting high temperatures nationwide, has introduced LB583 to charge the state's Climate Assessment and Response Committee with examining the future effects of climate change on farming, water and forests.
     But Haar's science-based legislation has run afoul of radical right wing political correctness, embodied by Elkhorn/West Omaha Senator Beau McCoy, of the climate change denial wing of the GOP and a recent featured speaker at CPAC's annual convention in Washington, D.C.
     "I, for one, and this is a philosophical position," McCoy said, "don't subscribe to global warming, to that theory. I think there are normal cyclical and rhythmic climate changes that are not caused by man-made attempts."
     He claims the intent and purposes of the bill walk the state out on a ledge he isn't comfortable with.
     Evidently the dogmatic and reckless blinders which circumscribe McCoy's vision of the future preclude planning for the inevitable — until the state's farmers fall off the ledge, at which point we assume McCoy will be more "comfortable" addressing the issue, although by then it will be far too late, if it isn't already.
     Wrote Young:

     University of Nebraska-Lincoln climate scientists, in a paper passed among senators, said 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists believe human activities are responsible for most of the observed global warming since the middle of the 20th century.
     Nebraska has had warmer than normal temperatures since the 1970s, especially in the past 10 years, they said. And future trends of this century of precipitation show a general drying in summer and autumn and wetter winters. Springs could be wetter in the north and drier in the south.

Another late night fire in an arson-prone Omaha district

This happened today between 4 and 5 am on North 16th St.

NBC's Anne Thompson's excellent explanation of the cost of mining tar sands oil for Keystone XL pipeline

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fellow athletes, including tennis star Andy Roddick, an Omaha native, tweet support for NBA's Jason Collins after he comes out

Zack Ford at ThinkProgress has compiled an impressive list here. The New York Times asked streetball players what they thought about Collins here.
     At Liberty University, the gratuitously nasty legacy of founder Jerry Falwell continued with the tweet below, from faculty member Matt Barber, a member of "Liberty Counsel":


In passing, AKSARBENT notes that hiring graduates of a bible-thumping bigot factory like Liberty University can have costly consequences.

KY Supreme Court tells school officials acting as police proxies to advise students of Miranda rights before interrogating them about illegal activities

A deeply divided Kentucky Supreme court has ruled that school administrators and school resource officers cannot question students without first reading them their Miranda rights. The case arose after a Nelson County student was not informed of the possible criminal implications of speaking with an assistant principal and school resource officer until after admitting to an offense and being arrested.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Obama vs. O'Brien at White House Correspondent's dinner

The White House correspondents dinner has become a top-heavy celebrity schmooze party, earning much grousing from members of the working press, but only the New York Times has actually taken the step of no longer sending anyone in an official capacity to cover what has become a froth fest.
     An elaborately-filmed clip made for the dinner featured  Kevin Spacey as his House Of Cards character, which seems to be a catty imitation of John Slattery as Roger Sterling in Mad Men.
     Many outlets reported that Obama's biggest laugh was when he rued the diminution of his youthful good looks by observing that he is no longer the strapping young Muslim socialist he used to be.
     That isn't true. He got a bigger laugh at Mitch McConnell's expense, which shows how reviled Kentucky's senior senate reptile really is in Washington and why his poll numbers are finally sagging in the bluegrass state. 
Some folks still don't think I spent enough time with Congress. "Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell," they ask. Really? Why don't YOU get a drink with Mitch McConnell?

Conan O'Brien, who has been in front of network television cameras for decades, was unable to deliver his lines as effectively as President Obama, but some of his material, which usually is funnier read than heard, was speaker-proof:
  • I just sold my twitter account to Al Jazeera for $500,000,000.
  • If the president laughs, everyone one laughs. If the Fox News Table laughs, a little girl just fell off her bike.
  • You know, some people say print media is dying but I don't believe it. And neither does my blacksmith.
  • After the election [Paul] Ryan said President Obama was reelected because of the high turnout of "urban" voters. Then when he was asked just how he liked his coffee, Paul Ryan said "No milk. Just urban."
  • Also joining us is a congressman from New York, Steve Israel. That's right. He's from New York, and his name is Steve Israel... Now there's pandering and then there's PANDERING. That's like having a congressman from South Carolina named Jesus Gun.
  • Seriously Mr. President... your hair is so white it could be a member of your cabinet.

SFist calls S.F. Pride 'spineless' for backpedaling on naming Bradley Manning a parade Grand Marshal

Underneath a graphic of a man digging himself into a hole, SFist called gay pride in San Francisco being "neither being bold nor taking a risk," and then the website called the San Francisco Gay Pride Committee press release unnaming Bradley Manning a Grand Marshal "bizarre" — but that was only the beginning:

     ...With all due respect to Gay Pride as an institution, this reeks of some seriously straight-up bullshit. Understandable. But still. Too much money on the line for them to act with a conscience.
     On S.F. Pride's official Facebook page, locals reacted with outrage. David Waggoner writes, "Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover would be proud!" While Mark Taylor adds, "Lisa Williams you are a sad person and I'm ashamed of Pride for the above statement. Bradley Manning is a HERO." And Brian Mccaig notes that he won't bother attending Pride this year, saying, "Yes, and we broke the law way back in the Stonewall era. Pride is running scared of their big sponsors and government agencies, and I...and my friends won't be supporting Pride from now on."
     Presumably, the S.F. Pride committee will fill Mr. Manning's empty slot with either a heterosexual celebrity, a Kaiser executive, or a local politician seeking higher officer. Way to go, San Francisco Pride. Shitstorm TK.

Here's what the man kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being too handsome looks like

The NFL-approved ad version of farming vs. what's really happening

The Superbowl stupidos who saw the Dodge Ram / Paul Harvey sucker's fantasy of agriculture and who were so enthralled that they subsequently viewed the YouTube version of the ad 15 million times probably would be singing a different tune if they knew what today's agriculture is really about.

Less romantic than Paul Harvey's cynically sappy delusion is the witches' brew of chemicals now a routine part of agriculture as superweeds become resistant to popular herbicides. If the saps who swallowed the above ad had bothered to watch the scary video below, they'd probably be mobbing Whole Foods like prostate-enlarged geezers rushing stadium men's rooms during half-time.

As another report studies health risks of Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup week killer; 49% of U.S. farms report Roundup-resistant 'superweeds'

French rats fed Monsanto's genetically engineered 'Roundup-
Ready' NK603 — a seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto's
Roundup weedkiller — died early: 50% of male and 70% of
female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30% and
20% in the control group, said the researchers.
A peer-reviewed study published in the scientific journal Entropy says residues of the chief ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, now found in food, enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce diseases such as Parkinson's, infertility and cancers
     The report was written by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc.
     More than 70 percent of all the the corn, soy, and cotton in the US comes from seed genetically altered to withstand direct application of glyphosate.
     The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and will decide by 2015 if glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many comments submitted to the agency.
     Monsanto also sells canola, sugar beet, corn and soybean seeds that are genetically modified to withstand direct dousing in the field by Roundup without dying.
     Roundup, also used on golf courses, lawns, and gardens, is the world's most popular herbicide; 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, twice what was applied six years ago, according to the EPA.
Farmer Jake Conner stands in a field choked by Roundup resistant weeds.
     Forty-nine percent of U.S. farms now report glyphosate-resistant "superweeds." From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.
     According to Mother Jones:
     Monsanto and its peers would like them [farmers] to try out "next generation" herbicide-resistant seeds—that is, crops engineered to resist not just Roundup, but also other, more toxic herbicides, like 2,4-D and Dicamba. Trouble is, such an escalation in the chemical war on weeds will likely only lead to more prolific, and more super, superweeds, along with a sharp increase in herbicide use. That's the message of a peer-reviewed 2011 paper by a team of Penn State University researchers led by David A. Mortensen. (I discussed their paper in a post last year.)
     And such novel seeds won't be available in the 2013 growing season anyway. None have made it through the US Department of Agriculture's registration process. The USDA was widely expected to award final approval on Dow's 2,4-D/Roundup-resistant corn during the Christmas break, but didn't. The agency hasn't stated the reason it hasn't decided on the product, known as Enlist, but the nondecision effectively delays its introduction until 2014 at the earliest, as Dow acknowledged last month. Reuters reporter Carey Gillam noted that the USDA' delay comes amid "opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials" to the new product, and that these opponents have "bombarded Dow and US regulators with an array of concerns" about it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

5 radical right wing Iowa GOP state reps want to slash judicial salaries based on four-year-old unanimous Supreme Court marriage equality ruling they don't like

Apparently the contempt for the rule of law and of Iowa's judicial system held by Iowa Republican state representatives (left to right, above) Tom Shaw, Dwayne Alons, Larry Sheets, Greg Heartsill and Ted Gassman is so overwhelming that they're willing to play games at taxpayer expense to usurp the authority of Iowa's judiciary by attempting to monetarily punish judges who don't rule the way they and their fellow GOP reactionaries want it to. Comments to all five of the above perps can be left via the Iowa House of Representatives switchboard at 515.281.3221. Try to be civil.
     The lawmakers want to reduce by 80% the salaries of those justices still on the bench of the Iowa Supreme court who ruled in Iowa's unanimous 2009 decision on marriage equality, which found that denying civil marriage licenses to same sex couples violated the equal protection provisions in Iowa's constitution.
     This stunt, an amendment (H-1327, below) to Senate File 442, is too laughable to even begin to withstand a court challenge, but evidently no waste of taxpayer time and money in the service of extreme ideology is too petty an endeavor for the nutcase contingent of Iowa's GOP.

HRC and oneIowa just released a little video casually reminding you what a jerk Bob Vander Plaats is

Question: Why do glasses cost so much? Answer: a huge Italian corporation's market share

Want to pay less for glasses? Buy them here or here.
Or, if you don't like measuring your head, go to Walmart or Costco.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Suttle ad busts antigay mayoral candidate Jean Stothert as fiscal fake: 'She's not who she says she is'

This is a terrific ad which skillfully and truthfully demolishes Stothert's #1 campaign talking point.
     Only one thing would make it better: a female narrator. The Suttle Campaign still doesn't seem to grasp the necessity of subtly undermining a subtext of Stothert's campaign: potential first female Mayor of Omaha, yet a hood ornament of a political party which sabotages the political gains of women seemingly at every turn.
     A female narrator could subconsciously give those women who support Stothert on feminist grounds, but who have misgivings about her, "permission" to vote for the male candidate, but Suttle's campaign continues to remain stubbornly and willfully ignorant of that psychology in its exclusive use of male narrators.
     What's up with that kind of tired, self-defeating sexism?

How bill insulating Monsanto from accountability for Frankenfood (genetically modified plants) was sneaked through Congress

More about this bill here, and Monsanto's other products here.

Left: French rats fed Monsanto's genetically engineered 'Roundup- Ready' NK603 — a seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller — died early: 50% of male and 70% of female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30% and 20% in the control group, said the researchers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A 2-minute look at hours of anti-Keystone XL testimony last week at State Dept. Grand Island, Nebraska hearing

(via @JaneKleeb)

TD Ameritrade scion Pete Ricketts finds another antigay candidate to boost: Omaha mayoral aspirant Jean Stothert

In 2008 Peter Ricketts was the largest donor to the campaign of Beau McCoy, who tried to ban all municipal LGBT ordinances in Nebraska in 2012 with his introduction of LB912, which, eventually, was smothered with a pillow in the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee by the troika of Amanda McGill, Brad Ashford and Brenda Council, doing what Ernie would have done all by himself, had he not been temporarily indisposed by a term-limit timeout.
     Now, in 2013, it appears that Ricketts is one of the chief backers of yet another dark money 501(c)(4) "educational" nonprofit called Omaha Tomorrow which is spending at least $44,000 in Omaha's Mayoral election to run interference for Jean Stothert in the form of "educational" ads trashing Mayor Suttle by claiming he raised property taxes by 10%. (AKSARBENT didn't know mayors could do that and still doesn't.)
     Ricketts is also president of the Board of Directors of the Platte Institute, Nebraska's Heritage Foundation wannabe, which is currently agitating for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project which will only occur in many places across Nebraska via hostile eminent domain condemnations of landowners' property by a foreign oil company, TransCanada.
     Another reactionary rich dude, whose political interference kinda makes AKSARBENT want to use that other brokerage firm — not TD Ameritrade — that other one: you know, the one with the adorable spokesman with the Greek name who was in the Three Stooges movie with Will and Grace's Sean Hayes. Oh, yeah — now we remember — Chris Diamantopoulos, seen at right on the beach with his lovely wife Becki Newton. More photos here.

TD Ameritrade Park is the new home of the College World Series. But first, beloved Rosenblatt stadium had to be demolished:

Duckling chased by cat in shark drag riding Roomba

Why are you reading this? Do you think anything could top the above headline?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where will UNO's debate tonight between Mayor Suttle and Councilwoman Jean Stothert be held?

Although the event will be televised by UNO and streamed on the web by the World-Herald, the event is apparently open to the public, although AKSARBENT didn't see the exact location on the World-Herald's web site or on any of the TV station web sites we visited, including the UNO blackboard for today. Odd, that.
     At any rate, it will be held at 7 pm at UNO's College of Public Affairs and Community Service building at 6001 Dodge in the building pictured above.

Keystone XL comment window to State Department now closed, but it won't be the last opportunity

From the State Department's website:
     On April 22, the comment period on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement closed.
     After the comment period, the Department will make appropriate revisions and publish a Final SEIS. Next, the Department will seek the views of other agencies and then make a determination as to whether issuance of a Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline would serve the national interest. The national interest determination by the Department involves consideration of many factors, including energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; foreign policy; and compliance with relevant federal regulations.
     The Department intends to provide an additional opportunity for the public to comment during the National Interest Determination (NID) period that will begin with the release the Final SEIS. This additional public comment period will provide a further opportunity for the public to provide input on this proposed project. The Department will provide the details on the NID comment period at a later date.

#IlFautTuerLesHomosexuels Twitter allows French 'Homosexuals Must Be Killed' hashtag

Obviously Twitter isn't very proactive at enforcing its own rules.

Environmental Protection Agency rips another State Department whitewash of Keystone XL risks

You can read the letter from the EPA here but below are excerpts from Elizabeth Shope's blog:
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency released its comments on the deficient environmental review for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that the State Department published on March 1, 2013. EPA rates the environmental impact statement with a 2 – meaning “insufficient” – and rates the environmental impact of Keystone XL as “EO” for “environmental objections.” EPA expresses serious concerns about the State Department’s markets analysis – which State uses to claim that there would be no significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
     EPA also writes that the differences in tar sands diluted bitumen spills and conventional oil spills should be more fully addressed, and that they are “concerned… that the DSEIS does not provide a detailed analysis of the Keystone Corridor Alternative routes.” These findings by EPA help confirm what we have been saying all along: the environmental review by the State Department is inadequate...

      ...Specifically, EPA ...notes that State’s markets analysis is “not based on an updated energy-economic modeling effort” and writes that State should “provide a more careful review of the market analysis and rail transport options...
     Regarding pipeline safety, EPA writes that following the rupture of Enbridge’s pipeline in Marshall, Michigan:
[O]il sands crude sank to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River, mixing with the river bottom's sediment and organic matter, making the oil difficult to find and recover. After almost three years of recovery efforts, EPA recently determined that dredging of bottom sediments will be required to protect public health and welfare and the environment. This determination was based in large part on demonstrations that the oil sands crude associated with the Enbridge spill will not appreciably biodegrade. We recommend that the Final EIS more clearly acknowledge that in the event of a spill to water, it is possible that large portions of dilbit will sink and that submerged oil significantly changes spill response and impacts.
EPA’s comments also request that the State Department address the additional risks that tar sands releases pose to public health – such as high levels of benzene in the air that could require evacuation as was required following the Kalamazoo spill.

WOWT, KMTV report 33k NE signatures favoring Keystone XL pipeline; they didn't report 'signatures' were from robocalls and that even callees who responded 'no' were thanked for signing petition

If you smell a rat in respect of TransCanada and the Keystone XL pipeline and want to know the real score, the first thing you should do is visit BoldNebraska.org, which is what we did when we started seeing news about 33,000 Nebraskans petitioning for the Keystone XL pipeline. Our suspicions were confirmed:
To view the 13,004 public comments submitted, please email info@boldnebraska.org. We will make those available to press to verify our figure. We dispute TransCanada’s nonprofit, Nebraskans for Jobs, submission since they used robocalls to gather the “signatures” but even if you pressed a button saying you were against the pipeline, the call thanked you for signing their petition. The "nonprofit" group was founded by TransCanada staff, TransCanada lobbyists and a member of the Laborers.
UPDATE: One comment sent AKSARBENT to WOWT was sharply critical of the station for what was left out of its report — that comment was never "approved" for publication on the station's website. Here's one that was:
Compare this organizations "Check the Facts" page and then compare it to the following that was released by TransCanada last June 2012.
     Check the Facts:

     TransCanada's Know the Facts:

     Seems to me that a lot of the material on Nebraskans for Jobs and Energy Independence website was lifted almost exactly, there are a few differences in choices of words, from  information directly from TransCanada's website.
     Especially down in the section headed "Business Practices" and "Economic Development" where they start to refer to TransCanada by using the word "we".
     Makes me wonder who is actually hiding behind the anonymous registration of that website and who is funding this organization.

     Just sayin'

Kearney, Nebraska loses $1.5 billion Facebook data center to Altoona, in gay-friendlier Iowa

In minutes, Iowa and Facebook officials will announced the future construction of a hugely expensive Facebook data center in Altoona, which borders northeast Des Moines. The highly automated facility will consume a massive amount of electricity and receive millions in Iowa economic incentives despite employing only about 100 Iowans.
     Below, gay facebook cofounder and recent buyer of the New Republic, Chris Hughes takes a dim view of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's stance on marriage equality.

Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

Sadly, A.J. Clemente has been fired for opening his first newscast with the words "Gay... F*cking Sh*t"

AKSARBENT should be offended by this but we were laughing too hard. Cheer up A.J.: As Roger Sterling said, "When God closes a door, he opens a dress," and maybe that dress will take the form of an opening at WOWT or Fox 42. We would LOVE to have an anchor like A.J. in Omaha.

(Via Towleroad)

After nasty attack on gay Iowans, GOP State Senator Dennis Guth plays the victim

ALSO: Millionaire TD Ameritrade scion finds another antigay candidate to boost.

Guth complained to the Des Moines Register at the 2:24 mark in the video below about "vehemenent"* opposition to his statistical cherry picking and also wondered why fellow senator Matt McCoy, who is gay, called him ignorant.
*"Vehemenent" isn't a real word, so AKSARBENT can spell it any damn way we like.

Here's an insight into what sort of propaganda fuels Senator Guth's animus:

After responding to Guth's attack, gay Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy uploaded a video which has been seen over 10,000 times and he is leveraging that to drive people to his facebook page.

Jean Stothert's new dual-edged lie: blaming Mayor Suttle for consequences of closing Rosenblatt Stadium

The construction of TD Ameritrade Park and the demolition of Rosenblatt Stadium happened on the watch of the Fahey Administration and mostly at the behest of the NCAA, but that didn't stop Jean Stothert from tweeting this:
The background of Stothert's bizarre fabrication is the predictable attenuation of business activity along South 13th Street in the wake of the relocation of the College World Series venue. The subject of Stothert's lie is Zestos, which a) has a new, very profitable location at the TD Ameritrade Park (seen near the end of this CWS video) and b) isn't closing its South 13th Street store in the first place:

     Zesto, the iconic ice cream stand at 13th and Bert Murphy streets and a favorite of CWS fans and zoo patrons, will not open this season.
     “Last winter, we had some major problems," owner Mike Kelley said.  "We had a faulty heater, which caused us a bunch of leaks--so now, we're having issues.”
     Kelley doesn’t think plumbing repairs will be completed in time for summer, but he plans on reopening the store next year and hoping for more foot traffic then.

     So, even though the city isn't losing a Zesto's location and even if it were, there would still be the new one, and even though the Suttle Administration had nothing to do with this and even though Stothert isn't talking about where she stood concerning the demolition of Rosenblatt stadium, she has no qualms about breaking new frontiers in shameless prevarication.
     Well at least she's efficient. Why misrepresent one thing in a single statement when you can lie about three or four things?

Beatles record producer George Martin shows how he mixed A Day In The Life, last track of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Now AKSARBENT understands why 'Accidental Racist" has suddenly disappeared from YouTube

Yikes! Cell phone video of Texas fertilizer plant explosion near Waco

IA State Sen. Dennis Guth exploits suicide of gay NY therapist Bob Bergeron; urges gay kids to visit website touting therapy now banned in CA

On Wednesday, taking advantage of a point of personal privilege, GOP Iowa State Sen. Dennis Guth, of Klemme, delivered a diatribe exploiting the suicide of severely depressed New York gay therapist Bob Bergeron as a cautionary tale for gay Iowa kids, whom he urged to visit a web site set up by a virulently right-wing splinter group of pediatricians dissatisfied with their mainstream professional organization.

     That website acknowledges the contributions of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, (see videos below) whose practice of treating minors with sexual orientation "conversion therapy" is now banned in California, and of NARTH, whose now ex-board member George Rekers, was photographed at the Miami Airport in the company of a professional male escort whom he had taken to to Europe.
     ThinkProgress reported Guth's speech here, and the West Des Moines Patch reported the disgusted reaction to said speech here, which elicited criticism from five other Iowa lawmakers, including two fellow Republicans, as well as stern rebukes from from the Iowa Democratic Party Chairman, from the state's largest gay rights organization and from some of Guth's own furious constituents.
Listen to audio of Guth from Radio Iowa
Liston to response from Sen. Matt McCoy from Radio Iowa

Nicolosi seems to have learned a thing or two about anger management and not lying on camera since his 2007 CNN appearance, below.

Statement: One Iowa and District 4 Residents Strongly Condemn
Senator Guth’s Lies about the LGBT Community

April 17, 2013
Contact: Molly Tafoya


Statements from One Iowa and Senator Guth’s constituents
(Des Moines, IA)—Today, Senator Dennis Guth, a Republican from Senate District 4, took advantage of the “points of personal privilege,” where he made vitriolic and misleading comments about the LGBT community, describing how he feels he and his family have been hurt and how civilization has fallen by what he describes as the “homosexual lifestyle.” Not only did Sen. Guth dismiss the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as a “lifestyle,” he then went on to say that it was “a lie.”

One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing responded:
“These disgusting and outrageous lies have no place in the Iowa Legislature. Senator Guth is nothing more than a puppet regurgitating the rhetoric of the well-funded anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family. Don’t we, as Iowans, deserve better than this?
Iowa has stood as a beacon of justice and equality, the third state in the nation to offer marriage equality. More than 6,000 loving and committed same-sex couples have made that lifelong commitment to marriage here in our state. We live here—we work, we pay our taxes, we vote, we raise our families, we go to church and we contribute a great deal to our neighborhoods and communities. Senator Guth, today you chose to infect the business of the legislature with your hurtful and homophobic rant. Shame on you, Senator Guth!”

Married couple Heather Yeoman and Rachel Olson, District 4 residents from Lake Mills responded:
“It is clear that Senator Guth, our so-called ‘representative’ does not value our family nor the love and commitment we have for one another. I am disgusted and ashamed of my Senator for spreading such ignorant and hurtful lies about our family and countless other Iowa families. Make no mistake, Senator—our marriage and our love is not a lie.”

Joy M. Newcom, District 4 resident from Forest City responded:
“As an Iowan, a former educator and a mother, I am ashamed of my Senator and his horrific comments about the LGBT community. LGBT people are a part of my extended family. They are my friends and have been my coworkers. They are students I have taught and continue to respect for the manner in which they live their lives today. These comments, parroted from erroneous ideology from anti-gay groups, are beyond outrageous. They are dangerous lies.
Senator Guth, we, the Newcom family, are your constituents and your fellow Iowans. You claim to be our public servant, but you are hurting our community by spreading lies posed as science. You are breeding a culture of injustice for people we live with and work alongside. Please stop. You were not elected to legislate your morality or to spread falsehoods.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kiwi lawmaker Maurice Williamson to constituent linking gay marriage, drought: bill caused downpour and a "big gay rainbow across my electorate"

(Via JoeMyGod)

New Zealand passes marriage equality with 77-44 vote

Listen, starting at about the 2:35 marker, to John Banks explain to the chamber that his gay Kiwi friends changed his mind on marriage equality in New Zealand and that he will vote for the measure instead of against it.

A domain name that got away from the Stothert campaign

Below: JeanStothertFreshIdeas.com (noticed by Progressive Oasis):

If Stothert wins, here's how her concierge service to the 1% will probably be remembered, decades into the future.

InsideClimate News wins Pulitzer Prize for
National Reporting of Kalamazoo tar sands oil spill

From the website:
     The trio (Elizabeth McGowan, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer) took top honors in the category for their work on "The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of," a project that began with a seven-month investigation into the million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. It broadened into an examination of national pipeline safety issues, and how unprepared the nation is for the impending flood of imports of a more corrosive and more dangerous form of oil.
     The Pulitzer committee commended the reporters for their "rigorous reports on flawed regulation of the nation's oil pipelines, focusing on potential ecological dangers posed by diluted bitumen (or "dilbit"), a controversial form of oil."
     The recent ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Arkansas, which also involved heavy Canadian crude oil, underscores the continuing relevance of this ongoing body of work, as the White House struggles with reaching a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Other InsideClimate stories:
Exxon Didn't Know Its Pipeline Ruptured Until
Called by Arkansas Authorities. Or Did It?

Police transcripts show Exxon employees arrived on the scene an hour after the emergency was first reported by a resident dialing 911.

Arkansans Want Exxon Pipeline Moved Out
of a Watershed, and Nebraskans Take Note

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

GOP doubles down on marriage equality opposition to its base even as it soft-pedals that stance to moderates

By Ned Flaherty

     The Republican National Committee has again aggressively affirmed its party’s permanent opposition to marriage equality. On Friday the RNC unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that mixed-gender marriage is holy, but same-gender marriage is un-holy. 100 percent of the Republican Congressional leadership – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-California), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) – and 98 percent of all other Republicans in Congress – oppose marriage equality.
In Douglas County, the GOP doesn't even
pretend to appeal to moderates
     During a three-day business meeting in Los Angeles that began on Thursday, RNC officials, in a nod to Christian-like religions, unanimously adopted a resolution stating, “The Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further resolved, the Republican National Committee implores the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.”
     Republican party leaders have never made any progress on marriage equality. In early 2012, the defining of their values and the setting of their goals was turned over to the religious and social conservatives who control the party’s official platform. That 62-page Platform includes a vow (drafted for the RNC by the Family Research Council) to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. If passed, all existing same-gender marriages would be revoked, future same-gender couples could never marry, and same-gender couples and their children would always be denied the 1,138 federal marriage-related benefits that other Americans take for granted.
     The increased opposition to marriage equality ensures that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will continue spending millions of taxpayer dollars trying to protect the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, also drafted by the Family Research Council. The U.S. Department of Justice found DOMA to be impossible to defend — because it is unconstitutional — but the Republican party’s outside lawyer has butted into 14 DOMA cases nationwide anyway. Not surprisingly, the party is losing nearly all of its motions, trials, and appeals — and at taxpayers’ expense...
     Even after nearly four decades of trying, the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay community’s only long-standing Republican political membership organization, remains unable to help the party free itself from the grip of evangelical Dominionists [like Al Riskowski, of the anti-gay Nebraska Family Council], whose avowed goal is to replace democracy with theocracy.
     ...Anti-LGBT forces, from outside and inside the party, have again taken it over, just as they did in 2009 and 2011.
     Republican officials called the business meeting to establish budgets, rules, internal coordination, voter outreach, and a political strategy for enlarging Republican voter rolls with more ethnic minorities. But the party still shows zero desire to attract LGBT people, couples, families, and their allies, despite the fact that together they represent more voters than Asians or African-Americans or Latinos do, now that 63% of Americans want the federal government to recognize same-gender marriage in every state where it becomes legal.

“Couples do not jump into higher economic brackets merely by throwing weddings for themselves.”

     Republicans who fight for social conservatism invariably try to tie their policies to imaginary economic benefits. For example, in their latest resolution, party leaders claimed that the best way to end poverty is via mixed-gender marriage, on the assumption that early marriage among mixed-gender couples is what prevents fathers from abandoning their families later on. But there is no data proving that it is a couple’s marriage that creates any wealth. Also, because most wealthy couples stay wealthy and most poor couples stay poor, there is no data proving that couples who are poor before marriage become wealthy after marriage. Couples do not jump into higher economic brackets merely by throwing weddings for themselves. Finally, there is no data showing that banning same-gender marriages increases mixed-gender marriages, or increases birth rates, or reduces divorce.
     Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus has decreed that his party must become competitive in all 50 states, but the party can’t enlist any new voters unless and until it makes three overdue changes.
  1. The Republican party needs to abandon its permanent, official discrimination against LGBT individuals, couples, and their children.
  2. The Republican party needs to stop using false economic theories (“marriage makes money”) just to excuse unconstitutional discrimination (“mixed-gender couples are holy; same-gender couples are profane”).
  3. The Republican party needs to stop wasting taxpayer dollars trying to save the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.
     Without these three changes, Republican officials will unhappily discover — during their next post-election autopsy — that not only are no new voters joining up, but former Republicans are increasingly jumping ship.

Conan O'Brien show now doing software reviews?

Here's an incontrovertible refutation of the conventional wisdom that Hollywood is Apple's bitch. At the Conan show, the staffers now seem to be Adobe's bitches.
     Although Final Cut Pro X was a jarring departure from the previous version, Final Cut Pro 7 (there were no 8 and 9 versions) with many treasured features left out (X was a total rewrite of the software), Apple has been restoring beloved features in subsequent updates.
     Also, X is $299, about 1/3 the price of 7 and of competitor Adobe Premiere Pro 6's suite.
     In light of that, some editors are reevaluating their initial assessment of X, especially educators, who have taken note of how much more quickly film stu­dents who have never worked with a nonlinear editor before, take to version X.
     For now, take a look at the Conan show's take on Apple Final Cut Pro X vs. Adobe Premiere Pro 6...

#johnadobe from rob ashe jr. on Vimeo.

How climate change became a liberal hoax

Kinetic typography

Most of this stuff is done with Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion. (Apple motion is 1/20 the cost of Adobe After Effects.) This used to be called animated text, and the first film to employ it in a modern sense was Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest.

Here's how it's done:

Jean Stothert's GOP pollster predicts she'll win!

The polling firm, the Tarrance group, is considered by almost everyone to be a Republican-skewing public opinion researcher, although the Leavenworth St. blog prefers to call it a "nationally renowned" pollster.
     (On October 29, 2012, a "bipartisan" poll conducted by the Tarrance Group's Ed Goeas, along with Celinda Lake, predicted a Romney win, 52-47%, with Goeas telling reporters that "Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory.")
     Although the poll of 300 likely Mayoral runoff voters was conducted April 7-9, with a magin of error of almost 6%, the Terrance Group says Stothert holds a "commanding" 8% lead, 50-42%.
     Other findings assert that Stothert:
  • has 53% of women voters
  • will get 80+% of Nabity voters
  • will get 66% of Welch voters
  • will get 33+% of Ashford voters
  • leads independents by 19%
  • makes a favorable impression on 62% of voters
    (These would be voters who, we guess, have never witnessed in its entirety, one of her performances at the City Council, which typically ensues only after the jejune spectacle of Stothert sanctifying her forthcoming machinations by reciting a pious, opening prayer to her personal savior, Hal Daub Jesus Christ.)

Gay slur by San Jose player Alan Gordon answered by Timbers' Will Johnson's kick of game-winning goal

Gordon will probably get the same three-game suspension that Mark Burch, of the Seattle Sounders, did when he made an identical slur against Johnson during last seasons playoffs. Johnson held up three fingers at Gordon after the verbal insult, indicating a three-game suspension. Gordon had already picked up a pair of yellow cards during the game; he also has a red card suspension to serve.


Below you see Gordon grinning after being warned by Johnson that he just got himself a three-game suspension. Evidently Gordon doesn't understand the reach of video zoom lenses.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston cell phone service was NOT shut down after Boston Marathon bombings, say wireless companies

The erroneous AP story quoted an unnamed law enforcement official who claimed authorities didn't want someone to detonate a bomb via a cell phone. Both Sprint and Verizon have released statements saying that cell service never was discontinued but that call completions are "spotty."
     If you have trouble getting through to friends or relatives in Boston (or elsewhere in any emergency), use text messaging, which is a different system and requires much less bandwidth. Texts are far more likely to get through during digital congestion.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Exxon everywhere!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Stothert ad drops: 'It's Morning in West Omaha!' — Look ma, no antigay activists in this one!

Here's everything you need to know about Omaha's "Objective Conservative" blog

We're not even going to bother with a link. Go wallow, if you're that curious.

We know our liberal detractors are saying that we are saying the sky is falling.   Well, we think it is or certainly will when it comes to creating special classes for gays, lesbians, transgenders, cross-dressers, aka., queers and perverts..." 

Blah blah blah Tony Perkins blah blah blah crucified heterosexual supremacist florist blah blah blah.

Seventh-Day Adventists put on a nasty antigay show at Portland's North Pacific Union Conference

The video, posted by anti-gay for pay hustler Todd Gessele, advances the damaged goods theory of homosexuality.

     Here's part of what Eliel Cruz, President, Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition; student, Andrews University wrote in the Huffington Post yesterday about the Portland, Oregon "Gays in the Family" conference:
     The "Gays in the Family" conference headlined pastors, a therapist and five ex-gay* and/or now-celibate (all older) presenters handpicked by the North Pacific Union Conference to represent the official stance of the Seventh-day Adventist Church...
     The weekend wasn't a dialogue; it was a presentation. All five of the ex-gay/now-celibate speakers had traumatic childhood experiences to which they attribute the cause of their "same-sex attractions," most of them having been sexually abused or even raped. One speaker stated that he had had up to three partners a day for over 20 years. Lives of drug use, prostitution and promiscuity were presented as the norm for LGBT people.
     There was little diversity: All were in their 50s or 60s, all had had incredibly sad and traumatic childhoods, almost all had lived very broken and destructive lives when they were accepting their gay identities, and all now live the "ideal lifestyle" as a "person redeemed from the homosexual lifestyle."
     ...But one of the most disturbing parts of the whole weekend was the presentation by the licensed therapist, Dr. Lucille Ball (and no, she doesn't joke about her name)...

     Sadly, it just perpetuated the worst myths out there, and from a "scientific" perspective, which made it all the more damaging. The premise of her presentation was that homosexuality comes after a traumatic experience in childhood, most likely sexual abuse. Dr. Ball said, "We are not born gay," alleging that there is a "negative environmental factor which leads the person to think, 'I am gay.'" She added:
The bad news about that is that when we have that attitude that "I am born this way, and there is nothing I can do about it," it become so fatalistic: "I might as well give in to it. I might as well live the gay lifestyle, because there is nothing I can do about it." And you know what's something I discovered? It's that gay activists actually use that to get money from people, to fight for the gay agenda.
     Dr. Ball continued her hour-long presentation with a string of statements that are shocking to anyone who has read any real research on homosexuality. She insisted that "67 percent of gay men were sexually abused," and that once gay people are able to cope with whatever traumatic experience they encountered in childhood, they would be "healed" of their homosexuality. I couldn't believe my ears. It was as if I had stepped back to the 1950s, when such propaganda was used to institutionalize LGBT people.
     During the Q-and-A portion of the event, my question was selected and directed to Dr. Ball. I had asked, "What do you say to the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the rest of the legitimate scientific community, which believes that same-sex relationships can be healthy, and that attempting to change someone's sexual orientation is in fact damaging?"
     She responded, "[The professional organizations] receive much pressure to conform to the gay rights activists. I'd tell them that I take the Bible above any man-made organization."

How to live dangerously

Steve King, Tom Latham cosponsor Israel-first bill giving it perks in U.S. that it won't give our citizens

King (left), Latham
Iowa representatives Steve King, Tom Latham and Bruce Braley are cosponsoring H.R. 938, which Glenn Greenwald, of the Guardian, explains here:
     In order for the US to permit citizens of a foreign country to enter the US without a visa, that country must agree to certain conditions. Chief among them is reciprocity: that country must allow Americans to enter without a visa as well. There are 37 countries which have been permitted entrance into America's "visa wavier" program, and all of them - all 37 - reciprocate by allowing American citizens to enter their country without a visa.
     The American-Israeli Political Action Committee (Aipac) is now pushing legislation that would allow Israel to enter this program, so that Israelis can enter the US without a visa. But as JTA's Ron Kampeas reports, there is one serious impediment: Israel has a practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls; it also bars those who are critical of Israeli actions or supportive of Palestinian rights. Israel refuses to relinquish this discriminatory practice of exclusion toward Americans, even as it seeks to enter the US's visa-free program for the benefit of Israeli citizens.
     As a result, at the behest of Aipac, Democrat Barbara Boxer, joined by Republican Roy Blunt, has introduced a bill that would provide for Israel's membership in the program while vesting it with a right that no other country in this program has: namely, the right to exclude selected Americans from this visa-free right of entrance. In other words, the bill sponsored by these American senators would exempt Israel from a requirement that applies to every other nation on the planet, for no reason other than to allow the Israeli government to engage in racial, ethnic and religious discrimination against US citizens.

Kmart now resorting to scatology in its advertising

Sales must be on the skids.

Is Tennessee the meanest state in the U.S.?

(As long as there's a Tennessee and an Oklahoma and a Kansas, Nebraska is relatively safe from the above designation, despite considerable evidence for Cornhusker nastiness in this very blog...)
From Les Leopold in Alternet:

     If you’re worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. Its lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you believe deeply in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It’s what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.

     Tennessee starves what little government it has, ranking dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low-income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes, which rank 10th highest among all states as a percent of total tax revenues. (For more detailed data see here.)
     As you would expect, this translates into hard times for its public school systems, which rank 48th in school revenues per student and 45th in teacher salaries. The failure to invest in education also corresponds with poverty: the state has the 40th worst poverty rate (15%) and the 13th highest state percentage of poor children (26%).
     Employment opportunities also are extremely poor for the poor. Only 25% have full-time jobs, 45% are employed part-time, and a whopping 30% have no jobs at all.
     So what do you do with all those low-income folks who don’t have decent jobs? You put a good number of them in jail. In fact, only Louisiana, Georgia and New Mexico have higher jail incarceration rates...
     By the way, the Tennessee legislature is lily-white: One percent is Latino, 6% AfricanAmerican and 91% Caucasian. But the complexion of poverty is darker. Nearly 80 percent of Tennessee’s poor children are black and brown.
     Read more... 

Zambian gay activist appears on TV, is arrested, and now government plans new antigay laws

Paul Kasonkomona, a well known gay activist, was arrested last Sunday directly after appearing on Zambia’s MUVI television channel,and was charged (after being held for three nights) with being 'idle and disorderly in a public place.'
     Following his arrest, Zambian Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili told Radio Phoenix’s Let The Talk program that the government would introduce stiffer laws to curb what he termed ‘gay-ism.’
     Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo confirmed the government’s plans.
     ‘We will not tolerate homosexuality in Zambia - in fact as government we will push for legislation to stiffen punishment,’ Kampyongo said.
     Kampyongo told the Times of Zambia that the government had met with religious groups including the Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, the Council of Churches in Zambia, Seventh Day Adventists and the Islamic Council of Zambia to assure them of the government’s opposition to LGBT rights.
Zambia is officially a Christian nation, according to its 1996 constitution, and one of the world's poorest countries. The country's high birth rate and high number of AIDS deaths (overwhelming among heterosexuals) have contributed to a per capita annual income two thirds of levels prevalent at independence.

Wrestling fans now chanting ballroom dance tune without lyrics, and it's spreading to baseball fans

ChaChaLaLa, an unbelievably cheesy tune that has become the entrance theme of Fandango, a WWE wrestler who embraces a ballroom dancer schtick, has, according to Sunshine Coast Daily, hit #3 on the Top Soundtrack Charts in America and almost cracked the UK Top 10, behind Taylor Swift's "22."
     It is now being played at Kansas City Royals games (which gives you an idea of how that team's demographics must skew.)

Hose your brain off with this:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Corporate zombie of the day: Cox Cable's Gail Graeve

The Omaha World-Herald just ran a story on Century Link's planned roll-out (in some parts of Omaha) of a new fiber-optic cable service powered by Microsoft software (wonder what the privacy agreement for that looks like.)
     Anyway, although the Cox SpokesZombie interviewed by the Herald refused to comment on Century Link's product, she did give the paper her bestest PowerPoint spiel:
“The marketplace for video has evolved with an increased number of entities offering a product,” Graeve said. “With the growth of online offerings, consumers have more viewing options than ever before. To be competitive, our overall business strategies are driven by innovation in technology, providing the products customers are seeking and delivering superior customer service.”
     Wow! Hulu, Netflix and YouTube give people new choices! How insightful! And so interestingly put! And so au courant, n'est-ce pas?
      And Cox wants to make money by embracing modern technology, not giving customers what they don't want, and solving their problems! But phrased in an eye-glazing, narcotic infusion of biz-speak to the readers of a general interest newspaper!
     How much does Cox pay this PR wizard woman?