Saturday, August 31, 2013

Coke, marquee sponsor of Sochi DADT Olympics, takes out print ads claiming sweetner in Diet Coke is 'healthy alternative' to sugar. It's not

Salon says Coke is taking out newspaper ads touting health benefits of aspertame:

     When one of the leading Junk Food Giants says it wants to help fight obesity by selling you more Diet Coke, nothing could be further from the truth. But when it takes that campaign a step farther, by paying newspapers to run full-page ads disguised as scientific articles, that’s deceptive advertising at its worst.
     We should be celebrating a 3-percent decline in sales of Diet Coke. And we should be boycotting any product that contains aspartame, a synthetic chemical compound linked to a host of health issues, including obesity, and brought to market under the shadow of dirty politics.

How Foreign Policy magazine enlarges its readership

It has a blog!

How to spend your retirement

Friday, August 30, 2013

NFL to pay $765 million to 4500+ players and widows for brain damage from hits

Democracy Now! included an ABC news report on the suicide in 2011 of former Chicago Bear and Notre Dame safety Dave Duerson:
CHRIS NOWINSKI: Football players are at a very high risk because they take, studies show, about a thousand hits to the head, each fall some—you know, at least 20 Gs, which is like a small car crash. So, essentially, your brain actually starts falling apart. Ten or 20 years later, you start getting symptoms like memory problems and emotional problems, and they eventually lead to dementia.

From Amy Goodman's report (transcript at Democracy Now!):
     JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you tell us about some of the most damning evidence compiled in the lawsuit that prompted the NFL to decide to settle, especially the role of a doctor who was in the lawsuit, named repeatedly, Dr. Elliot Pellman?
     BILL LITTLEFIELD: Yeah. Well, happily, Juan, a lot of that evidence is going to come out, even though there won’t be a trial, because there’s a book coming out very soon and a Frontline documentary called League of Denial, in which Dr. Pellman is featured. The charge against him, basically, is that, first of all, he was in charge of the concussion committee for the National Football League, and he had no particular specialty in neurology. He’s a rheumatologist. So, why he was even in that position has been brought into question. He was also the sideline physician, the team doctor for the New York Jets, and numbers of members of the Jets have said that they suffered concussions during games, Dr. Pellman looked at them, asked them a couple of questions, and then sent them back into the game. And for years, before this settlement, Dr. Pellman had been saying that there was no evidence at all that suffering multiple concussions would lead to any problems, brain problems, down the line.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Flashback: the Pointer Sisters' Jump

Oddly AKSARBENT had never seen the video for this hit until today. The 15 seconds between :50 and 1:05 contain some of the sexiest editing ever done for a music video — actually more erotic than some porn, without being at all indecent. Ah, the power of expertly-executed suggestion: less is more and a lesson to Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke.

Jean Stothert's less-than-zero credibility vs. reality

Here was Jean Stothert's spin during her March, 2012 rant against the eventual passage of Omaha's LGBT antibias legislation, on account of her opinion that it was unnecessary:
One female pastor testified last week that she become open with her sexual orientation after two years in Omaha — something that she stated could not be done for 36 years in Kentucky.
     Here's the reality: today, Kentucky's capitol, Frankfort, become the fifth community in the state (along with Louisville, Lexington, Covington and tiny Vicco) to pass an ordinance protecting LGBTs.
     Nebraska has only one such community.
     By the way, Vicco has a gay mayor (see video below.) Now that's an idea.


Here's a much better ad for insurance than those ubiquitous, relentless and crummy Berkshire-
Hathaway GEICO spots

See John Lewis' ad here.
Via copyranter, who opined:
"...this spot for John Lewis home insurance actually, you know, SELLS INSURANCE.
     Because frankly, this whole “let’s get ha-ha about insurance” ad movement (I’m looking at you, AllState “Mayhem”) that Geico helped jumpstart is just getting so fucking tiresome."
     AKSARBENT thinks copyranter is wrong about Allstate, right about GEICO, the ATM for Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett's gargantuan holding company, Berkshire-Hathaway.
     How pathetic that GEICO, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, was totally outclassed by an ad for the insurance subsidiary of a British department store.

Putin moves part of Russian Navy toward Syria

Russian prosecutors cover their faces during raid of gay activist's home

(Via JoeMyGod)

Gay teen who won top 2012 Intel Science prize is working on a new project

Andraka accepting the $75,000 top prize at 2012's ISEF
(the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair)
Before he was old enough to drive, Jack Andraka developed detection tool for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer that:
"costs 3 cents and takes five minutes to run. It's 168-times faster, over 26,000-times less expensive, and over 400-times more sensitive than our current methods of diagnosis. But it can also detect cancer in the earliest stage, when someone has close to a 100 percent chance of survival. It has extremely high accuracy, being over 90 percent accurate."
     See video of Andraka accepting his prize in this previous AKSARBENT post.
     If Andraka, who is gay, were to retire before he is old enough to legally drink in a bar (possible, given that he owns the international patent for the above device) he would have contributed more to society than Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, Phyllis Schlafly, Scott Lively, Brian Fischer, Pat Robertson and the rest of the the antigay-for-pay industry will have in the entirety of their destructive lives. If they were honest, forthright people, this would probably cause them to loose sleep, but AKSARBENT suspects that they sleep very well.
    Andraka is now working with other promising teen scientists and engineers to develop a smartphone-sized user friendly device to diagnose 15 conditions in pursuit of the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize. Read more at MetroWeekly.

#dumpcoke Not just Russian vodka: Queer Nation pours Coke into Times Square gutters to protest company's 'marquee sponsorship' of DADT Sochi Olympics

McDonalds, marquee sponsor of DADT Sochi Olympics, sued a 5-year-old and banned her from its restaurants after she appeared in a Burger King ad

And the small actress was Sarah Michelle Gellar. As Buzzfeed concluded, don't mess with Ronald McDonald.

Video: Gay comic and ex-NSA employee Wanda Sykes wants Edward Snowden to 'rot' in jail for disclosures of surveillance abuse of Americans

Ex-NSA employee/comic Wanda Sykes on expectations of privacy by U.S. citizens:
'How arrogant are you to think that your conversations are that important?'

NSA alumna Sykes had a lot to say about privacy

It just drives me nuts that people are all "Oh, the government's listening to my stuff." Well then get the hell off Facebook then... Oh, my privacy! Oh, my privacy! Get the hell out of here with that crap...
and about Edward Snowden
"They should get him back here, try him, and he rots in jail."
Sykes was offended that people confuse contracters like Snowden (who dropped out of high school, then got a G.E.D.) with NSA employees like the one she used to be, noting pointedly that she herself has a "college degree," which AKSARBENT supposes distinguishes Sykes from such lower class, intellectually inferior high school dropouts like Kodak founder George Eastman, directors Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino, writer George Bernard Shaw, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, and fellow comedian Richard Pryor, not to mention ABC news anchor Peter Jennings.
     Speaking of ABC News, it reported in 2008 that NSA intercept operators in Ft. Gordon, Georgia, passed around phone sex conversations of soldiers and officers with their wives and girl friends.
     But AKSARBENT is sure that they were all college graduates, and not G.E.D. temps.
     Just like Wanda Sykes!

A few YouTube comments posted in response to the above video:
reelreeler're a funny comedian Wanda, but having the 4th amendment shit on ain't funny, and now you seem just like another government thug talking.
Daniel P
Wow, I thought you were cool Sykes...
For the first time, I don't agree with Wanda.
The NSA has also spied on anti-Vietnam war activists and, during the Iraq war, to have spied on the those who thought we shouldn’t invade Iraq for no reason.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#NSApickupLines — 'I'd tap that'; 'You look way prettier in person than through your webcam'

There's another twitter hashtag mocking the NSA's abuse of America's privacy: #NSAlovepoems. Evidently the habit of surveilling exes is common enough at the agency that they have an gook term for it: loveint, for love intelligence. NPR covered this. So did CNN:

Brother Outsider - the Life of Bayard Rustin, March on Washington organizer

We saw this streamed on Netflix. Rustin, who organized the March on Washington for MLK, and whose homosexuality was exploited by white racists and black rivals, was a remarkable personality.

Team Robertson still trying to chase down a horse which left the barn days ago

Neb. Sen. Deb Fischer gets an environmental award!

Coke issues a press release after Queer Nation rips it for appeasing the intimidation of gay athletes and Russian citizens

Also: How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport's racist coverage of 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'; Sportswriter Frank Deford: Send U.S. athletes to Sochi but keep USOC officials at home  

Coke's response included bullet points like this:
Our Global Supplier Diversity team participates in outreach events such as the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Awards Dinner, the NGLCC Business and Leadership Conference, and the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Sponsors Reception.
     Queer Nation (whose action today in NYC's Times Square was documented here) responded with the graphic at left.
     In its press release, Coke reminded readers that it has been an Olympic Sponsor since 1928. What it did not mention specifically was its cold-blooded support of Hitler's 1936 Nazi Olympic showcase and the fact that it placed ads for Coca Cola in Hitler Youth publications.

AKSARBENT is speechless

We don't much like the mayor now and didn't like her ham-fisted opposition to LGBT equality initiatives when she was on the city council (see our video below) but we never would have thought of this...

1963 March on Washington: Bob Dylan and Joan Baez

Frank Deford on Sochi LGBT controversy: send U.S. athletes to Russia, keep U.S. Olympic officials at home

Also: How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport's racist coverage of 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Today's installment of Sweetness and Light, sportswriter Frank Deford's commentary aired by NPR, will be available later today at 9 am EST. Here's an excerpt from the piece, entitled How About A Gold Medal For Human Rights For Gay People?

     It was the IOC that got us into this mess, lying down with fleas. Has the outgoing IOC president, a cipher named Jacques Rogge, stuck his neck out? There are six men running to succeed him, including Thomas Bach of Germany, the odds-on favorite. Only one has had the guts to speak out for gay rights: Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico.
     If there was any courage or decency in what is so smugly called the Olympic movement, there is one noble way to handle this. Simple: every country which opposes Russia's ugly anti-gay laws should refuse to send its officials to the Games in Socchi.
     Oh, the Games will go on, all the athletes will be there to compete. NBC will still get its ratings. Big Macs will still roll over the counter. Everybody outside Russia will enjoy the Games, but Vladimir Putin and his thuggish cronies will be sitting alone, shamed, rejected by the decent nations of the world. And thereby will one more gold medal be visible for all to see: the one for human rights for gay people.
     Would our USOC have the guts to lead that way? Well, I'll drink to that dream. A double Stoli, with tonic and a lime, if you please.

'64 Impala for sale. White, 2dr HT. 327 V8. Manual. AM-only radio. Miles: 4

For years, Ray Lambrecht, of Lambrecht Chevy in Pierce, NE, put all of his unsold new cars into storage at the end of each model year. Now 50 of them will be sold, along with 400 trade-ins. Most of the cars have been sitting in a field for years to decades, but the ones left inside are in pretty good shape.
Although the auction isn't for 31 days, the Impala is already up to $15,250 as of this writing. The car's sticker price (still on the window) is $3,254.70.

NE Gov. Heineman, through spokesman, blames state's antigay adoption policy on memo by 1995 HHS director, though he recently refused gay couple a waiver

Nebraska GOP Gov. Dave Heineman, pictured with a weasel.
Heineman is on the right.
Tuesday, the ACLU and ACLU of Nebraska sued on behalf of Joel Busch and Todd Vesely and two other gay couples in Lancaster County District Court over Nebraska's policy ban on gays becoming foster parents, a policy it shares with only one other state — Utah.
Jen Rae Wang
     Ever faithful to his habit of stabbing gay Nebraskans in the back without leaving any fingerprints, the state's GOP Governor, Dave Heineman, hid behind the skirt of his disinformation director, Jen Rae Wang, who saved him the humiliation of once again attempting to blame somebody else by doing it for him.
     Wang attributed the policy to a 1995 memo by an unnamed HHS director in Democratic Governor Ben Nelson's administration, even though Heineman has had the power to reverse the unjust policy for close to a decade.
     Instead, Heineman recently turned down a waiver for Busch and Vesely.
Dave Bydalek of Family First of Nebraska
     KETV's always-excellent Andrew Ozaki (who could probably explain quantum mechanics in a 2-minute segment if he had to) reported the story for KETV.
      Dave Bydalek, of Family First of Nebraska, who recently tried to sell the discredited Regnerus Study to the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee and was properly dismissed by Brad Ashford, weighed in: "Cohabitating couples provide a less stable home for kids in a foster care environment."
     Then he pretended to be even-handed and not a toxic antigay-for-pay bigot by adding: "So it doesn't matter if it's a same sex couple or a cohabitating heterosexual couple."
     Reporter Ozaki then stated the obvious: "But Nebraska doesn't recognize same-sex marriages or unions — even from other states. The always-precise Ozaki probably said "unions" rather than "civil unions" because Nebraska refuses to recognize either civil unions or domestic partnerships, much less same-sex marriage.
     Reliably homophobic Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who once compared gay marriage to a man marrying a chair, said he would "vigorously" defend the state.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Koch Carbon's petcoke whac-a-mole game; dusty, uncovered toxic pile moved from Detroit to Toledo

The reckless storage of Koch Carbon's mounds of toxic petcoke was ended in Detroit when authorities threatened to padlock the facility unless something was done. Now OccupyCleveland claims to have spotted the stuff moved to similarly uncovered piles in Toledo, Ohio.
     Koch family members fund ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has legislative puppets introduce "model" legislation favorable to corporations in state legislatures and Americans For Prosperity, a teabagger astroturf front. In Nebraska, ALEC counts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Janssen among its boosters, though Janssen tried to mislead KMTV about his ALEC ties, and Americans For Prosperity, a pro-Keystone XL pipeline group in Nebraska headed by Brad Stevens.

ACLU files suit on behalf of three Nebraska couples against state ban on gay foster parents

From James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project:
Greg and Stillman Stewart have a knack for nurturing children with serious needs. The two men have been together for over 30 years and are parents to five children that they adopted out of the California foster care system. Most of the kids came to them after suffering years of abuse and multiple foster home placements. When one of their children first came to live with them, at five years old, he was still in diapers, didn't know how to use utensils, and suffered from severe speech impediments. By 17, he brought home a report card with all As and one B. Another child, who had been through 17 foster home placements and three failed adoptions in three different states, is now a college sophomore.
      The whole family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 2011, when Greg, a United Church of Christ minister, took a position at First-Plymouth Congregational Church there. As their kids have grown and some have moved out of the house (their youngest is 13, their oldest 20), Greg and Stillman realized they wanted to open their home to more children in need. When they applied for a foster parent license in Nebraska, however, they were turned away because they're gay men.
     Nebraska bars gay people from being foster parents and also bars any unmarried couple that lives together from being foster parents. Since Nebraska screens all foster care applicants by doing a home study, checking for criminal history or past child abuse, reviewing medical and mental health records, and evaluating the family's stability and ability to care for children, this ban simply means that Nebraska is kicking out lesbians and gay men who would pass the regular foster parent screening. And it's depriving kids in the Nebraska foster care system (there are 3,854 children in that system now, 48 percent of whom have been there for more than a year) of what could be just the home they need. After all, there aren't many foster parent applicants with a record like Greg and Stillman's.
     Today the ACLU filed a constitutional challenge, on behalf of three couples to Nebraska's ban on foster parenting by gay people...
Read more on ACLU's blog. (Via

Transphobia: what's worse, Fox News or Public Radio? AKSARBENT reports, you decide

Koch Carbon ordered to move huge pile
of toxic pet coke blowing into Detroit homes

Viral Breaking Bad video parody: Hank and Marie, stupified, watch Miley Cyrus

Also: best Breaking Bad gag reel: Mr. White lectures Jesse with a dildo; later they make out

Here's the original scene.

Donald Trump throws up a site defending his "university" but the copy is a few sandwiches
short of a picnic

Donald Trump has set up a web site excoriating New York State's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is suing Trump for $40 million, claiming that "Trump University" is a bait-and-switch scam.
      But the copy in Trump's site seems to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Shouldn't a published defense of its practices by a "university" be letter perfect?
     We've highlighted two obvious blunders (in a single paragraph) in red.
But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself.  Unlike reading a newspaper article, here you can find all of the evidence to substantiate the facts: more than 10,000 handwritten surveys [images of the more than 10,000 handwritten survey's are nowhere on the site] filled out by former Trump University [students? PR reps? What?] showing a 98% approval rating, video of former Trump University students, including Tarla Makaeff, who despite stating on video that “I thought today was great.  All of the speakers were really good”, is now the named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit in California demanding a refund, and news articles documenting Eric Schneiderman’s abuse and misuse of the New York Attorney General’s Office for his own political gain. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Atlantic: When will solar get cheap enough for everyone to use?

Link to The Atlantic here.

Breaking Bad: evil genius Walter White turns tables on DEA bro-in-law with twisted 'confession'

Also: best Breaking Bad gag reel: Mr. White lectures Jesse with a dildo; later they make out

This probably won't be on YouTube long... AKSARBENT laughed its head off. Outrageous.

U.S. Skater Jeremy Abbott comes out of the quisling closet, gets spanked by gay twitter: 'I hope the bastard falls', 'Too bad Tonya Harding isn't on the team'

Also: How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport's racist coverage of 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Jeremy Abbott at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating
Championships. Photo:
Tweets to U.S. Olympic figure skater Jeremy Abbott's twitter account turned from laudatory boosting to angry booing after his remarks to the Denver Post about Russian and IOC threats to athletes considering speaking out about abuse of LGBTs in Russia and draconian new laws targeting them:
"Russia is hosting us," Abbott said. "I'm not going to go into somebody's house and be like, 'Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I'm never coming back.' It's a little rude, so I don't want to say bad things about a country that's hosting the world, essentially. "Maybe I don't agree with their policies, and maybe I don't agree with some things, but that's for them to sort out. My speaking out just makes me look like an ass."
Below are a few samples posted to Abbott's twitter account in the last 24 hours:

  • Jeremy Abbott is an accommodationist douchebag
  • @jeremyabbottpcf just may have won the dumbass of the century award
  • @jeremyabbottpcf Don't worry about Putin; he's fine. Worry about Russian #LGBT teens
  • ...Fucking knob jockey.Wake up ASSHOLE!
  • @jeremyabbottpcf  ...I still can't believe that Rosa Parks messed with the bus driver's lovely seating arrangement.
  • @jeremyabbottpcf "My speaking out just makes me look like an ass." Well,he's got one thing right.
  • Jeremy Abbott mixes human rights & interior decorating, and loses an opportunity to STFU.
  • @jeremyabbottpcf the word you need is, "synchophant." Say, "I am a..."
  • @jeremyabbottpcf Are you for real? I am going to petition the USOC to have you banned for life for being a homophobic asshole
  • people like @jeremyabbottpcf are disgusting. Comparing whats going on in Russia to interior decorating. I hope the bastard falls.
  • @jeremyabbottpcf too bad Tanya Harding isn't on the team
  • ...Jeremy Abbott, US skater and a fucking idiot...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lady Gaga, the intellectual Madonna

Buzzfeed, which exhaustively purports to explain the cultural references in Gaga's new video, Applause, notes that she has a degree in comparative literature.
     The post is called Every cultural reference you probably didn't catch in Lady Gaga's new video. We could quibble about Buzzfeed's identification of the silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as simply Dr. Caligari, but we can't quarrel with the omission of the Norma Desmond allusion, which we caught, and therefore was properly left out by the apparently psychic staffers at Buzzfeed.
     Those who don't have a college degree may simply revel in Gaga's raucous, anarchic sense of humor, something lacking in the slew of truly terrific music videos made by Madonna in her prime, because she took/takes herself way too seriously.

Dawson's Creek star disses machismo poseur
Vladimir Putin over Russian anti-LGBT laws

By inference, of course. Still...

What this is all about. Here is Miller's letter.

New book on rural gays opens with quote from former Nebraska senator and governor Bob Kerrey

The things AKSARBENT discovers by reading the push-content blog list on its own blog!
     We noticed gay literary blog Band of Thebes posted about a new book (left) so we surfed there to see what quote from the publisher's promotion it would spotlight:
"...Johnson argues instead for a queer historicist approach. In so doing, he uncovers a startlingly unruly rural past in which small-town eccentrics, "mannish" farm women, and cross-dressing Civilian Conservation Corps enrolees were often just queer folks so far as their neighbours were concerned. Written with wit and verve, Just Queer Folks upsets a whole host of contemporary commonplaces."
     Band of Thebes went on to note that Publishers Weekly says he [author Colin R. Johnson] "doggedly decodes" passages of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Stegner's The Big Rock Candy Mountain "that hint at gay sex."
     Here's the pithy, tough-love-for-his-home-state, Kerrey quote (not forward) with which the introduction starts:
Here are a couple excerpts authorized for public viewing by the author:

#DumpCoke — Queer Nation will hold Times Square demonstration against Coke, a 'Marquee Sponsor' of 2014's DADT Olympics in Sochi

Also: How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport on 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Queer Nation, disgusted that Coke and other major Olympic sponsors (like Panasonic), along with the International Olympic Committee, did nothing to attempt to dissuade Russia from recent antigay legislation, will hold a demonstration against the soft drink company next Wednesday. From the Facebook page:
"Coke: Don't Sponsor Hate! The Coca Cola Company is sponsoring Russian government hate at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In June, Russia enacted its anti-gay propaganda law that bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. The Russian government has made being out and proud a crime. Coke is a World Partner and a major sponsor of the Games. Join Queer Nation NY and RUSA LGBT. Hashtag: #DumpCoke"
(Via Towleroad)

Is your Windows 8 computer spying on you? German government tells agencies not to use PCs with 'Trusted Platform Module', a spy chip which may be an NSA back door, courtesy of Microsoft

Business Insider says leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security warn key entities not to use Windows 8 PCs with TPM 2.0 chips because of possible NSA links. The article says Apple phased out the surveillance chips in 2009 and Linux designers deliberately chose not to comply with the TPM scheme and therefore cannot use the spy technology.
     While TPM allowed users to opt in and out, TPM 2.0 is activated by default when the computer boots up. The user cannot turn it off. Microsoft decides what software can run on the computer, and the user cannot influence it in any way. Windows governs TPM 2.0. And what Microsoft does remotely is not visible to the user. In short, users of Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 surrender control over their machines the moment they turn it on for the first time.
     It would be easy for Microsoft or chip manufacturers to pass the backdoor keys to the NSA and allow it to control those computers. NO, Microsoft would never do that, we protest. Alas, Microsoft, as we have learned from the constant flow of revelations, informs the US government of security holes in its products well before it issues fixes so that government agencies can take advantage of the holes and get what they’re looking for.
     Experts at the BSI, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Federal Administration warned unequivocally against using computers with Windows 8 and TPM 2.0. One of the documents from early 2012 lamented, “Due to the loss of full sovereignty over the information technology, the security objectives of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘integrity’ can no longer be guaranteed.”
     Elsewhere, the document warns, “This can have significant consequences on the IT security of the Federal Administration.” And it concludes, “The use of ‘Trusted Computing’ technology in this form ... is unacceptable for the Federal Administration and for operators of critical infrastructure.”
Read more.
     Rüdiger Weis, a professor at the Beuth University of Technology in Berlin, and a cryptographic expert who has dealt with Trusted Computing for years, told Die Zeit in an interview that Microsoft wanted to completely change computing by integrating “a special surveillance chip” in every electronic device. Through that chip and the processes of Windows 8, particularly Secure Boot, “users largely lose control over their own hardware and software.”
     But wouldn’t it contribute to higher levels of security? Certain aspects actually raise the risks, he said. For example, during production, the secret key to that backdoor is generated outside the chip and then transferred to the chip. During this process, copies of all keys can be made. “It’s possible that there are even legal requirements to that effect that cannot be reported.” And so the TPM is “a dream chip of the NSA.”
     Perhaps even more ominously, he added: “The other realistic scenario is that TPM chip manufactures don’t sit within reach of the NSA, but in China....”

Buzzfeed: As the US and British governments gang up on The Guardian, the New York Times agrees to help publish more Snowden leaks on domestic spying

Update: the Guardian's official announcement of the joint effort is here.
Glen Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story, lives in Brazil because his boyfriend is a native.
Here is what Brazilians think of his reporting.

From BuzzFeed's Ben Smith:
     The London-based newspaper has been under intense British government pressure this summer, its editor, Alan Rusbridger, revealed earlier this week.
He quoted a top government official as telling him last month: “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.” Officials then demanded that the paper physically destroy files of which it in fact had other copies in other countries — a surreal demand Rusbridger described as “one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history.”
     The decision to publish the revelations concerning the British intelligence service jointly with the Times may give the Guardian leverage in its battle with the British government, which is trying to prevent the stories’ publication. It may also relate to the stronger protections for free speech and press freedom under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; Britain has no such protections, and its Official Secrets Act is aimed at keeping government secrets secret.
    Sources at both papers declined to discuss the motives beyond the spokeswoman’s reference to the “climate” of pressure.
     The Guardian’s Rusbridger has used the Times’s megaphone before, to spectacular effect: When the British paper’s coverage of the phone hacking scandal at News Corp. appeared to hit a dead end, a collaboration with the the Times revived it, and helped lead to criminal charges against top News Corp. executives.

Friday, August 23, 2013

In case you were curious about what Super Bowl-winning Steelers coach Bill Cowher might look like with eye black mascara, your wait is over

Cut to the chase: his girlfriend made a music video and he likes to keep her happy.

Nebraska football coach punks his entire team

Also: TMZ baits billionaire Warren Buffett again; How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport on 2013 IAAF defeat of U.S. 4x400 relay team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Memo to Omaha Chamber of Commerce:
how places which are not Omaha promote
tourism by acknowledging their gay visitors

Some years ago, an Omaha visitor called the Chamber of Commerce to try to find out if there were any gay clubs in town. The organization was unable to identify any, even though the downtown Chamber offices are within three blocks of two gay bars, including one of the biggest gay discotheques in the Midwest. In fact the land on which the downtown Chamber of Commerce was built used to be the site of one of Omaha's more popular (for a while) gay clubs, The Hollywood.
     The Chamber lobbied against Omaha's recently-enacted LGBT antibias ordinance, until the organization's younger professionals revolted against Chamber president David Brown's interference.
      During councilman Ben Gray's second, successful attempt to pass the law, Chamber officials reluctantly changed their posititon — to neutrality but not support.

The official U.S. Tourism ad aired in other countries to promote visits to the U.S.A. is also gay-inclusive (at the 1:14 mark below, but don't blink or you'll miss it.) However, even that brief acknowledgement was too much for the serial liars at the Family Research Council, who said this about the ad (starring Roseanne Cash!):
When Congress passed the Travel Promotion Act, people thought it'd be a great chance to highlight American attractions. What they didn't know is that it would highlight same-sex attractions. That's right. The commercial invites people to America-not to see the Grand Canyon, but to celebrate homosexuality.
Tony Perkins, left, of the Family Research Council and Dave
Bydalek, of Nebraska's Family First, which describes itself as
"associated" with the FRC, an SPLA-designated hate group
     Cultural warrior conman Tony Perkins tried to sell the idea that a 1-2 second nod toward the existence of millions of gay people in the USA is an invitation to "celebrate homosexuality" and that it "highlights" same sex attractions?
    Uh, the ad is right here. Watch it and judge for yourself the extent of Tony Perkins' dishonesty.
     Perkins and his Family Research Council right wing pressure organization are the national associates of Nebraska's Family First, headed by Dave Bydalek, who, earlier this year, tried to run a little antigay con of his own — attempting to trick the Nebraska Judiciary Committee with testimony quoting the widely-discredited Regnerus Study.
     Even though Committee Chairman Brad Ashford was obviously unfamiliar with the study, his innate common sense smelled a rat and he didn't buy it. Hit the link in the previous paragraph to see his reaction to Bydalek's snake oil salesmanship.

Nebraska rancher betrayed by state's GOP congressional delegation speaks out about
Keystone XL threat to Sandhills' pristine water

Chelsea Manning (nee Bradley Manning) was just sentenced to 35 years in prison for, among other things, passing to Wikileaks documents revealing outrageous secret U.S. government behavior, including the shocking extent of collusion between the Clinton State Department and TransCanada during its attempts to construct a tar sands oil pipeline across the environmentally vulnerable Ogallala Aquifer in the Sandhills region of western Nebraska, resulting in eminent domain condemnation of the land of farmers and ranchers even in the absence of a pipeline permit, which still has not been granted to TransCanada.

The emails released today are a smoking gun that show how oil industry lobbying money has corrupted the State Department’s review of Keystone XL. They come out just after it was revealed that the State Department relied on a major TransCanada contractor to conduct its environmental review and public hearings on Keystone XL, and Wikileaks cables showed that other officials at the department gave the company tips on how to get the pipeline approved.

Lee Terry: 2331 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4155 phone
(202)226-5452 fax

Jeff Fortenberry: 1514 Longworth House Office, Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4806 phone
(202) 225-5686 fax

Adrian Smith: 503 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6435 phone
(202) 225-0207 fax

Deb Fischer: 825 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

TMZ baits Warren Buffett again: I want Warren Buffett in a little outfit too.

Recent reports indicate that Yahoo! websites actually beat Google's sites in traffic recently, for the first time in years. (Maybe Google Russia could contribute more to the parent company's hits if it weren't allegedly blocking gay news sites from its search engine results.)
     In the wake of the Yahoo! news, TMZ did a segment on whether Vogue's feature on CEO Marissa Meyer "objectified" her.
     Apparently the fashion arbiter didn't sufficiently do so, according to one TMZ staffer, who wanted pictures of Meyer in a bikini. But he didn't stop there:
(@42:25) You know what? I want Warren Buffett in a little outfit too. I want Warren Buffett abs... on the beach... chillin'.
     TMZ must be unaware that "Oracle of Omaha" tycoon Buffett isn't at all copasetic with being objectified by dudes.
      The entertainment-news-program-with-an-attitude last ridiculed Buffett by asking him if he was a "rainmaker," which, evidently, is a gentleman's club patron who showers lap dancers with money.
     It also opined that his wife, Astrid Menks, looks like a "drag queen."
     Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog has been Buffett-baiting recently too: Witness his recent post ripping the Berkshire-Hathaway founder and CEO for his "dirty deeds done dirt cheap" stock play in tar sands oil profiteer Suncor.
     Horn reminded his readers that Buffett was fingered by Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson as one of 17 "Climate Killers"

Russian authorities discover their LGBT propaganda law is a world-wide image problem that a $300 million TV propaganda network, Russia Today, can't fix

How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony;
Sovietsky Sport on 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Russian LGBT journalist Masha Gessen told All In host Chris Hayes the following on MSNBC last night:
“As long as the pressure is on, it’s not going to make them reconsider those [existing] laws. But it will possibly make them dial back the campaign of hate, and it can prevent the passage of further laws, including the law on removing children from same-sex families.”

Homophobic Russia's enduringly popular gender-bending entertainers

Below: looks like a Russian Boy George underneath that dead yak piled on his head.
Also: Why Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony
The Atlantic examines the curious contradiction of 88% of Russia's population approving of draconian antigay legislation, and of only 16% saying LGBTs should be "accepted by society" but of that same population wildly embracing gender-bending pop stars like openly gay Boris Moiseev, a beloved 60-year-old (!) institution (middle video) and Philip Kirkorov (top and bottom videos (top video loops until you click on it to stop it). Kirkorov isn't openly gay, which only means he hasn't come out and actually said the word.
     Stephen Amico, a professor of music and media studies at the University of Amsterdam who is writing a book about homosexuality and Russian pop, said Russians in smaller cities have told him that they like the pizazz of gender-bending acts, which seem to brighten an otherwise dreary provincial existence. Older women in particular seem to love Moiseev for his emphasis on beauty and tenderness -- two aspects that were lacking in Soviet life.
     Amico's personal theory, though, is that Russians simply need an outlet to escape the binary heterosexuality that's been imposed on them. The law says you can't promote gay rights, but you sure as heck can rock out to a indefatigable drag queen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Video: Louisiana's Texas Brine sinkhole swallows another row of trees

From Mother Jones:
On August 2nd, Louisiana sued Texas Brine, the company that mined the salt cavern that experts have identified as the trigger for the sinkhole. Every few weeks the sinkhole burps—this is really the term the geologists use—and somewhere between 20 and 100 barrels of sweet crude bubble up to the surface.
Video: Assumption Parish emergency response office

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Russia Today network tells taxi company carrying guest critical of its Russian LGBT coverage to leave him on the highway en route to Stockholm airport

Josh Vorhees reports in Slate (excerpt below) that journalist James Kirchick, went rogue during taping of a program on Russia Today, and instead of talking about the sentencing of Bradley Manning, he hijacked the segment to take RT to task for ignoring the plight of LGBTs in Russia.
     Zack Ford at ThinkProgress has a list of ways RT contributors have spun Russia's war on LGBTs.

The video largely speaks for itself, but two quick points: 1) Setting the topic of Kirchick's remarks aside for one second, any network control room would have likely made the same decision to cut off a guest once it became clear he was hijacking the segment (others, however, might not have gone as far as to allegedly try to cancel his taxi ride that followed mid-trip to the airport). And, 2) RT hasn't technically ignored Russia's anti-gay law. It's more an issue of how they've chosen to cover it, as the AtlanticWire pointed out earlier today. A small sampling of RT headlines will give you an idea of the pro-Kremlin tilt on display: "Russian Jews outraged after Stephen Fry compared gay propaganda ban to Nazi Germany"; "Russia's 'gay propaganda' law causes outrage abroad but finds support at home"; and "Anti-gay law controversy ‘invented by media’ – Russia’s sports minister."

Bradley Manning gets 35 years in prison for exposing Clinton State Dept. collusion with foreign oil company against U.S. farmers and ranchers, video of U.S. killings of journalists and kids, other revelations

Manning, sentenced to 35 years today by an Army Judge, Col. Denise Lind, will be eligible for parole in about 9 years when he is 33, with credit for time served and more credit for harsh treatment.
     Several years ago, the Pentagon ignored Freedom of Information Act requests to release the video of U.S. soldiers laughing as journalists and children were shot from an Apache helicopter, so Wikileaks and Bradley Manning released the video above.
     Other Wikileaks documents revealing outrageous secret U.S. government behavior are summarized here, not including the shocking extent of collusion between the Clinton State Department and TransCanada during its attempts to construct a tar sands oil pipeline across the environmentally vulnerable Ogallala Aquifer in the sandhills of western Nebraska, resulting in eminent domain condemnation of the land of farmers and ranchers even in the absence of a pipeline permit, which still has not been granted to TransCanada.

The emails released today are a smoking gun that show how oil industry lobbying money has corrupted the State Department’s review of Keystone XL. They come out just after it was revealed that the State Department relied on a major TransCanada contractor to conduct its environmental review and public hearings on Keystone XL, and Wikileaks cables showed that other officials at the department gave the company tips on how to get the pipeline approved.

In a statement, Ben Wizner director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, wrote:

“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability.”

Sovietsky Sport editor: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Also: Why Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony

Stuart Williams of Agence-France Presse revealed a side dish of racism accompanying Russian homophobia in his piece, Anti-gay row may tarnish Russia's sporting glory:
     The depth of anger was shown by a bizarre nationalist eulogy penned Monday by Sovietsky Sport editor Yury Tsybanev about the exploits of the 4x400-metres female quartet who beat the United States for the gold.
     "They were standing on top of the pedestal, our four little blondes, four Russian birch trees, and it was as if the blood of our ancestors boiled in my veins," he said, boasting that our "fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones".
     He said the Russian quartet had "genes picked up from Russia's centuries of historic struggle and upheaval". He added: "Consider this my answer to those 'rights activists' who started pestering and insulting Lena Isinbayeva."
     Interestingly, the respected head of Russia's Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnichev was among the few Russian officials to criticise Isinbayeva on the issue.
Below: the US 4x400 Women's relay team (Natasha Hastings Jessica Beard Ashley Spencer and Francena McCorory) won the silver medal  at the 2013 IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on August 17, 2013. The U.S. won 25 medals, Russia 17.

Lincoln: Westboro Baptist Church protest of Ke$ha with sarcastic cover of We R Who We R is itself satirized when pop star sends her backup dancers to accompany protest

(Towleroad via Queerty via Jezebel)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Adorable new British Heinz ad

Quote of the day, on watching the watchers

By William Saletan in Slate. Should be required reading for the anchors, managing editor and news consultants on the CBS Evening News:

     ...Defenders of the NSA, like defenders of the NYPD, plead that their errors are largely inadvertent or well-intentioned. That’s a fair and important point. But their claims of adequate oversight are self-refuting. When you respond to evidence of infractions by telling us that everything you’re doing is OK and that you already have internal control mechanisms, that doesn’t show us the extent to which those mechanisms are working. It shows the extent to which they’re failing. It tells us you need better independent oversight.
     Spare us the Cheney scare tactics. Appointing a civil liberties advocate to argue before the FISC won’t cripple national security. Nor will full reporting of compliance incidents to the FISC and the intelligence committees. Body cameras on cops won’t ruin policing, either. They’ve helped other police departments, vindicating accused officers and reducing misconduct complaints. When agents of the government are closely watched, compliance is verified, noncompliance is reduced, and citizens become more confident that our rights are being respected. Everybody wins...

Monday, August 19, 2013

CBS's Bob Schieffer and former FBI agent John Miller continue their Snowden spook-spin on a lickspittle network

AKSARBENT thinks CBS's coverage of NSA disclosures has been contemptibly and obviously biased (especially its incessant reliance on Washington spook mouthpiece and FBI apologist John Miller). Here's what The Nation thought of Miller's coverage of the various FBI accounts of why it killed Boston Bomber acquaintance Ibragim Todashev in an interrogation room:
     Read the details of that version and you almost have to laugh. One of the cops texted the FBI agent to tell him the suspect was getting agitated? And it was when the FBI guy was reading the text that all the action started? And the “samurai sword” that became a “pole” that became a “broomstick” had now become the metal part of a broom, perhaps to make it sound more like the original “knife.”
     John Miller of CBS, the longtime reporter who later became an FBI hack, recounts the latest here, as usual bending over backwards to accept the official story. You’ll see that like many others he makes no mention of how the agency could claim this was a knife attack for a week before the broomstick appeared. That’s some kind of tough reporting.
     Today, friend-of-the-NSA Bob Schieffer, who made a fool of himself a week ago on the issue of domestic spying, asked puffball questions of John Miller on the CBS Evening News, which they used as a platform to try to con viewers into seeing Glenn Greenwald as some sort of petulant fag intent on exacting revenge on Britain's spy agency, GCHQ, for inconveniencing his Brazilian boyfriend at the airport.

Some journalists were outraged by what happened at Heathrow.
Here's what Rachel Maddow said yesterday:

Here's what the Brazilian government and Amnesty International had to say:
     The government of Brazil issued a statement in which it expressed its "grave concern" over the detention of one of its citizens and the use of anti-terror legislation.
     It said: "This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation. The Brazilian government expects that incidents such as the one that happened to the Brazilian citizen today are not repeated."
     Widney Brown, Amnesty International's senior director of international law and policy, said: "It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his partner has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance.
     "David's detention was unlawful and inexcusable. He was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be abused for petty, vindictive reasons.
"There is simply no basis for believing that David Michael Miranda presents any threat whatsoever to the UK government. The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analysing the data released by Edward Snowden."