Saturday, November 30, 2013

11/30/2013: The day the Omaha World-Herald published the word 'chickenshit' on the front page, above the fold

Quentin Crisp once opined that you should never try to keep up with the Joneses when it's so much easier to drag them down to your level, but we swear that our corrosive influence had nothing to do with any of this, as we detect only occasional visits from them, presumably when they Google themselves to see what cranky bloggers saying about them.
     We at AKSARBENT (well, some of us) hope elderly former CEO Harold Andersen didn't get his Saturday paper before he got his morning coffee. The rest of us can tell our grandchildren we witnessed the evolutionary event. We're not criticizing the Herald, we're merely amused.
     Publication of the colorful vulgarity was more than justified by its news value and perfectly defensible, no matter what usual rules of decorum prevail in the paper's newsroom.
     The utterer, Bo Pelini, in hot water again because of his hot temper and a loss to Iowa, yelled at a ref over a pass interference call, which elicited another penalty, against NU's head coach himself, for unsportsmanlike conduct. Later, Pelini was "terse" with an ABC reporter at halftime and swore at a postgame press conference. His vocational future at Nebraska looks thickly overcast.
     Here at AKSARBENT, we think, when called for, i.e., when a blue word is more than peripheral to the story, you should always use the complete, unmodified term in question and never an allusion with asterisks or underscores.

Richard Simmons amps up the strange on Fox News

Neil Cavuto gave Simmons a cupcake, but the Sweatin' to the Oldies mogul and ex-David Letterman poodle didn't eat it. Instead he smeared part of the frosting on his face and started to crawl across the Fox anchor's desk.
     Simmons appeared on Cavuto's show rather than Bill O'Reilly's because he says O'Reilly does not like him. We've not a clue why.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

BBC saw Beatles' potential before record companies

The conservatively-run BBC passed the Beatles on their first audition — and passed on better-known groups like Gerry and the Pacemakers. To mark the occasion, Fresh Air interviewed Kevin Howlett, whose 2-CD boxed set of 53 Beatles appearances on the BBC has just been released.

Unfortunately, Fresh Air's NPR page tagged two of the four vintage black-and-white photos in the slide show accompanying the post with incorrect information.
     Any Beatle fan of a certain age would have known that the first picture, showing the group with short haircuts and bearing a captain dating the picture to 1964, is just wrong, as by then John, Paul George and Ringo all wore mop tops — and signed their first management contract with Epstein early in 1962. As for the second picture, well, the nonBeatle in the top photo, incorrectly id'd by the cutline as manager Brian Epstein, obviously is NOT manager Brian Epstein, shown in 1963 with the fab four in the photo at bottom.

Video: Graham Norton tells Philomena star Dame Judi Dench she lies like a rug, but Elton John leaps to her defense by calling her a fag hag

Dench's new film, opening around the country, has a gay twist.

Al Riskowski says kids in gay marriages are harmed because they all need a mom and dad; quotes Barack Obama, who supports gay marriage and was raised by a single mom

Riskowski is the head of the Nebraska Family Alliance, formerly the Nebraska Family Council, and gathered thousands of signatures to stop implementation of a gay antibias ordinance in Lincoln. His strange logic was published in the Omaha World-Herald.

Story of gay NJ food server who says homophobic customers stiffed and insulted her may not add up

Native American Larry Omaha: Thanksgiving's upside

And Omaha confirms that yes, Virginia, there are gay Indians, lots of them.
(Via Huffington Post)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lady Gaga, queen of all media, visits the Bro Show

When we watched it was preceded by a 30-second ad for a 2.5 minute clip. Ugh.

(Via Towleroad)

2/3 gay Brit Band, The XX, will sue antigay Croatian group, In the Name of the Family for using its music in anti-marriage equality TV ads

The antigay group wants to enshrine marriage equality in the constitution of Croatia and has collected 700,000 signatures (about 25% of Croatia's entire population) to put the referendum to a vote.
     In The Name of The Family is thought to have spent the equivalent of $8.5 million on its campaign against marriage equality.
     Over 700,000 people, nearly a quarter of all people in Croatia, have signed their name to a petition calling for the ban.

     From the Croatian Times:
The association used the music of the band when filming a clip to support the YES vote. Confusion was raised after the news website Index reported about the absurd situation.
     Below: the music  that the antigay group ripped off is from the group's popular composition, "Intro."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Steubenville rape case coverup: grand
jury indicts four more school officials

From CNN comes the news of more grand jury indictments in 2012 rape of 16-year-old Kentucky girl in Steubenville. Charged:
  • Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey: one felony count of tampering with evidence and two of obstructing justice. Also two misdemeanor counts; making a false statement and obstructing official business
  • Elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman and wrestling coach Seth Fluharty: 1 count each of misdemeanor failure to report child abuse;
  • Volunteer assistant Steubenville football coach Matt Belardine: four misdemeanor counts of allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child
In October William Rhinaman, 53, the Steubenville City Schools director of technology was charged with perjury, obstructing official business obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. His daughter Hannah

We're Not Broke, documentary about $2.4 trillion in corporate tax avoidance since 2000, now streaming on Netflix

Miss Coco Peru has three Bronx words for her alma mater, Cardinal Spellman High School

What three words? Here's a clue: GFY.
     Peru used social media to kick back at the Catholic group Courage and guest speaker Father Donald Timone who has a 12-step program for gay teens. Her efforts sparked a backlash which may affect alumni funding.

Wingnut antigay NE state senator to try again to force state's teachers to obtain concealed carry gun permits

Imperial, NE State Senator Mark Christensen
Photo: Nebraska Unicameral

Christensen says his new proposal would include even more stringent requirements than a failed earlier version of such a bill he sponsored in 2011.
     From WOWT:
The new measure would first require teachers to hold a concealed-carry permit. They then would have to take additional training, possibly with a simulator. After that, the local school board would have to approve them to carry the weapon.
Previously in AKSARBENT:
Christensen was the sole Judiciary Committee vote against LB385, allowing gay foster parents. Christensen introduced two bills limiting the rights of Nebraska property owners. Christensen introduced an antiabortion "justifiable homicide" bill creating a defense for violent attacks on abortion providers. In the video here  at the 17:25 mark, Christensen was accused by a fellow senator of possibly outing a rural gay neighbor during a legislative hearing, and at the 7:47 mark Christensen accused Sen. Ernie Chambers of talking about the "bad genetics" of "homersexuals." Chambers, a fierce defender of gay civil liberties never used such a phrase.

KPTM reports new revelations about Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's duplicity regarding same sex spousal benefits in union contract

Why keep this story to yourself? Share it with friends via the Facebook,
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You need look no further for an example of Mayor Stothert's shameless homophobic deceptions  than KPTM's report, which clearly shows that, despite Stothert's disingenuous protestations about not being able to unilaterally change the definition of "spouse" in health insurance contracts, the city did just that when it switched administration of its self-insured program from Blue Cross to Coventry. The Police Department will file a grievance.

     From KPTM:
"When our contract passed, Blue Cross Blue Shield was our carrier and in the master contract, if you look under eligible dependent, it says the spouse of a subscriber. Since that time the city has gone to Coventry and in their contract they have substantially altered the definition of spouse to say 'except same sex couples. Based on the language, this is a substantial change and we are going to file a grievance," said John Wells, Omaha Police Officer's Union President.
Omaha evidently switched from Blue Cross to Coventry administration in 2012 while Jean Stothert was on the City Council and Jim Suttle, her Democratic predecessor, was mayor. AKSARBENT would love to know more about exactly who narrowed the definition of "spouses" in 2012.

Jean Stothert to LGBTs in 2012:
"You don't have to be in a protected class to be important to us and for us to want to provide for your health and your safety and your security at work."
Jean Stothert to LGBTs in 2013:
"...the city's health insurance summary plan descriptions make clear that the definition of 'spouse' does not include same-sex married spouses.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bill Maher: Dan Savage lets loose on Mary Cheney

On the presumed moral high ground of Catholicism in the Hawaiian marriage equality fight:
Maher: Their Catholic bishop there, I think his name is Bishop Silva, said something about how children who are in gay, you know adopted by gay parents have a greater chance of committing suicides. That must be bullshit.
Savage: That's total bullshit. He must be confusing children with gay parents with children who are raped by Catholic priests... Sorry, I am just done being lectured about children and their safety by Catholic fucking bishops, priests, cardinals... The pope himself has let it go... the new pope, who I kind of dig, has let it go, but it hasn't sunk down...

On Alec Baldwin:
Maher: Let me ask you one more question. Alec Baldwin this week was suspended from his MSNBC show because he called the papparazzi guy a
Savage: cocksucking faggot. I can say it.
Maher: You can say it. Oh, I could say it too, c'mon.
Savage: But I can do it.
Maher: I'm warning you. People are going to know you're out after tonight.
Savage: God, I hope my son isn't watching!

On Mary Cheney and her wife:
They're wealthy dykes who until 10 minutes ago couldn't give a flying fuck about the rights of same sex couples in the state where they live or any other state. $2500 check to Mitt Romney in 2012. Voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, who unlike her sister, Liz (...saying it's a state issue, states should be able to decide) Romney wanted to rewrite the constitution to ban gay marriage in every state, even then overturning them in states where they'd already been legalized. Romney was a thousand times worse than Liz and Mary wrote that fucker a check.

On the GOP empathy problem:
Maher: He [Dick Cheney] turned on this before Obama did.
Savage: That's right.
Maher: And this, to me, is one of the big problems with Republicans. They only seem to have empathy
Savage: When it happens to them.
Maher: When it happens to them.
Savage: Nancy Reagan is for stem cell research because Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's disease. Rush Limbaugh is for drug treatment as opposed to incarceration because he got his ass addicted to drugs. Megan Kelly on Fox News is for maternity leave after she pushes out a brat, but not before.

CT HS football captain held
in fatal stabbing of boyfriend

WFSB 3 Connecticut
(Via Towleroad)

JFK to best gay friend: 'I'm not that kind of boy'

Although the Kennedys loved to play touch football, JFK wasn't on the field when he deflected a very forward pass by a gay friend; nevertheless they stayed friends and "Lem" Billings (who grew into his surname by becoming an adman) later worked on his campaign for the presidency.
      We're guessing that Kennedy was not one to crucify a guy for trying, which would figure, given his history.
     From Greg in Hollywood's post about the book chronicling the enduring friendship between JFK and adman Kirk "Lem" Billings:
     Kennedy knew Lem was gay early on.
     The book Jack and Lem: John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship (by David Pitts) tells of when Jack casually wrote at the end of a chatty letter to Lem after his friend made a sexual advance: “I’m not that kind of boy.”
     But Jack didn’t end the relationship.
     From the time he and Kirk LeMoyne “Lem” Billings met at Choate, until the President’s assassination thirty years later, they remained best friends.
     Lem was a virtual fixture in the Kennedy family who even had his own room at the White House.
     The book about their friendship draws on hundreds of letters and telegrams between the two, Billings’s oral history and interviews with family and friends like Ben Bradlee, Gore Vidal, and Ted Sorensen.

Will Forte at Alexander Payne roast: Nebraska isn't a black-and-white movie, it's pretty much all white. 'I don't recall a single black person in this movie'

His remarks were made at the Omaha Press Club roast of two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne, director of Nebraska, Sideways, The Descendants, About Schmidt and other features. Payne, accused during the roast of being both obsessed with cats and becoming the most famous Nebraskan, is now the 139th face on the barroom floor of the Press Club.
     On the one hand, if the white characters in Nebraska are any indication, AKSARBENT seriously doubts that a black presence in the movie would have done much for the image of African Americans.
     On the other hand, it doesn't seem as if Alexander Payne has exactly bent over backwards to be inclusive in any of his films. And no, we're not suggesting that the dearth of black (or gay) characters in his work indicates a personal bias. Payne did, after all, testify in favor of the LGBT ordinance last year, doing much to counteract the widely-publicized antigay opinions of NU football coach Ron Brown.

Wrote Bob Fischbach:
     Kurt Andersen, a fellow Nebraska native and host of NPR's “Studio 360,” reminded Payne he was not the Omaha Press Club's first honoree of Greek heritage. In 1972, a year before he resigned as vice president of the United States, Spiro Agnew was the club's fourth Face on the Barroom Floor.
     ...Andersen complained about how a recent feature he wrote for the New York Times, about a road trip he took across Nebraska with Payne, was edited. “There's a vast conspiracy in the American press to protect Alexander Payne because they love him and his movies,” Andersen said
     Payne joked that he cast Forte in Nebraska because “I needed an actor I was sure would not overshadow Bruce's performance.”

More press on Nebraska, now in wider theatrical release

From the New York Times: (Nebraska author Kurt Anderson took a road trip across the state with Payne in his 1988 station wagon in an assignment for the newspaper):
Driving through Seward (population 6,964), we pass the Rivoli Theatre, where “Blue Jasmine” and “The Grandmaster” are playing. “They’re showing Woody Allen and Wong Kar-wai in Seward, Nebraska! Hip little town.” Out in Ogallala (population 4,737) a decade ago, he recalls, “I met a guy who remembered Coppola shooting ‘Rain People’ there in 1968!”

From the New Yorker:
The loveliest, most poignant scene in the film takes place in the sleepy office of the town’s newspaper, where David goes in quest of information and chats with the elderly editor (Angela McEwan), who, it turns out, has history with the family. It’s the scene that quietly wrenches the movie apart and makes the distant, unspoken past vibrate with a revived passionate power. It’s a scene that Payne doubles with another, of Kate’s own long-silenced reminiscences; the two women’s performances—McEwan’s, tremulously discursive, and Squibb’s, brashly so—are the true heart of the movie. 
 From the Daily Beast:
Out of nowhere, the year’s funniest female performance comes courtesy of 84-year-old journeywoman actress June Squibb, whose turn as an expletive-hurling mom in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska will have you in stitches.

From Salon:
     June Squibb steals scenes from two very funny guys Will Forte and Bob Odenkirk.  Were you immediately confident that she could nail those really bawdy punch lines? 
     Yes. I was immediately confident when I saw her audition. That character has the most flashily written part, so I needed an actress who would really be able to go to town with that dialogue.
     Black-and-white serves as a beautiful backdrop to what is essentially a dying Midwest. Was it difficult to view your home state in this blighted light? 
     Over time, not just in Nebraska but everywhere, younger people leave small towns, and the small towns begin to be populated more by their older citizens. At the economic times we’ve been living in recently, and especially for this film, black-and-white acquires a kind of Depression-era feel. That aspect had not existed when the screenplay first reached me nine years ago. But the fact that it was in the air when we turned the camera on in 2012 added, I feel, a very interesting comment. Not just on small town Nebraska or small town America, but on the state of the country in general. It’s not a devastating critique in the film by any means. It’s a gentler film than that, but I’m glad it’s there. Even lightly.
From the AP:
Payne: Growing up in Omaha in the '60s and '70s, we could see foreign films all the time. ... Then when we were teenagers, because it was in my neighborhood, we could walk to the university and see 16mm prints of second-run foreign films on Friday nights. At 16, we were watching "The Night Porter" and "Amarcord" and "Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie." I was always in search of silent film.
AP: Why is that?
Payne: Because they're so good. Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd are like Da Vinci, Giotto, Michelangelo. The first comedy that really knocked me out was "Modern Times."
AP: Some critics have questioned whether there's sometimes an ironic distance between you and your characters.
Payne: Not in my heart. I find often, not always, that those who accuse me of making fun of the characters are themselves the most arrogant. Not always, but often.
From Esquire:
     I won't criticize Hollywood for the other films it makes, but I do lament that we don't have more intelligent, literate, human films about Americans. I wish there were more than eight or ten films made by studios, which all get pushed into distribution in the last quarter of the year and are expected to gird for awards battles, and I don't think that's very fair. I want to see good human movies throughout the whole year. I lament the loss of — let's call it the $20 to $40 million adult comedy and adult drama like we used to have frequently. I'm very proud to be an American filmmaker, it's a rich heritage, but it's just that today quality has dropped...
     Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando. Monty Cliff, Fred Astaire, Dorothy Maguire, and Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett both — they're all from Nebraska. We have talent! Tons of talent. But I really don't know why

Friday, November 22, 2013

John and Chris talk to a passive/agressive Air Force Academy representative

After John Aravosis, of Americablog, broke the story, earlier this week, about the Air Force's hiring of an ex-gay zealot to oversee the counseling program at the USAF Academy, questions were raised about how baked-in LGBT hostility at the Air Force Academy really is.
     To assuage these fears (or massage the perception of them) the Air Force set up a conference call, about which Aravosis blogged at some length. "ME" is he:

ME: But you just told us the cadets cannot answer questions about what concerns were raised at a meeting, when you are holding this press conference to convince us that no concerns were raised. That’s a little odd.
ACADEMY MEDIA REP: Okay, if you’re going to be unprofessional, we can end the call for you and let the other reporters get what they need, cuz we’re trying to help out a number of reporters here sir, and you’re only one of them.
BUZZFEED’S [CHRIS] GEIDNER: There are two of us asking the same sort of questions.  And the question wasn’t answered. I mean [garbled] you’re saying that there were concerns raised, but then indignantly saying we’re not going to get into their personal lives. Make up your mind. Is the call about transparency or not?

Fox News and Elisabeth Hasselbeck evidently think snakes and burning bushes can talk

(Via JMG)

Wrestler Mad Dog Vachon dead at 84 in Omaha

Vachon, known for his generosity to younger pro wrestlers, died in his sleep in his Omaha home yesterday.
     He wrestled for Canada in the 1948 Olympics and was the first competitor to talk directly to television cameras.
     Vachon's greatest stunt happened after he retired, following some 13,000 matches.
     He was watching a pro match at the Civic Auditorium in 1996 when wrestler "Diesel" charged into the audience, ripped off Vachon's artificial leg, and returned to the ring to beat an opponent with it.
     Vachon denied to World-Herald columnist Michael Kelly that he had anything to do with the 1996 exploit.
     Kelly didn't believe him, so he called up another Omaha wrestler, Jim "Baron Von" Raschke (who now lives in Minnesota), who told Kelly that, yes, the scenario was totally Vachon's idea.
     Vachon lost his leg after being hit by a car.

Sex abuse: Omaha archdiocese defrocks one priest, sentences another to "a life of prayer and penance"

Rev. Alfred J. Salanitro, 54, has been returned to the lay state and cannot ever serve as a priest again. Rev. Franklin A. Dvorak, 69, will be allowed to retired next February and has been sentenced to a life of prayer and penance, whatever that means. The archdiocese has reported the allegations which resulted in its investigation to civil authorities, but the reports, even if required by law, will mean little, as the statue of limitations has run out on those offenses the diocese has reported.

Stephen Colbert mocks OK Gov. Mary Falin for ordering Nat'l Guard units to defy Defense Sec'y Hagel's order to obey DOMA ruling

USAF Academy hired ex-gay quack who used to work at Focus on the Family to run mandatory cadet counseling program, then denied it had any records relating to that hiring process

Follow-up by Rachel Maddow to John Aravosis' Americablog story about the USAF academy hiring an ex-gay quack to counsel cadets, and the Academy's subsequent claim to Stars and Stripes that it didn't have any records pertaining to that hiring process.

After the story blew up, the Air Force held a meeting with out (only) gay cadets and then a press conference. Aravosis, who broke the story, said that the Academy "falsely" denied concerns expressed by the cadets, attributed concerns about bad publicity for the Academy that they didn't express, and appeared to be...
engaging in a classic “blame the victim” strategy in order to stifle any potential whistleblowers. The academy claims it wants to hear any concerns that gay cadets have, while at the same time making clear that those cadets will be “harming the academy” if they express their concerns.
After the Air Force press conference, a closeted Air Force cadet was so disgusted by the dishonesty of Air Force brass that he wrote this letter to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:

I am writing this to you today as a client of the MRFF. I happen to be gay. Please keep all of my information confidential as you always do.
     I happen to not be out and have no intention of ever being out while I attend USAFA. I am a current cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. I am a Christian. I am also an athlete on one of USAFA's most publicized NCAA intercollegiate teams here. I have been a client of the MRFF for a while now. It's the only help we have and it's a great source of security for me and other gay cadets. So thank you always for that.
     I saw USAFA's self serving press release today about how "happy" all the gay cadets are here. How nice of all of the powers that be to meet with the Spectrum Club all of the sudden now that they're in the shits with the media and getting jacked up everywhere for hiring Rosebush. Of course to be in Spectrum you have to out yourself. If I and the many other cadets I know who are LGB came out it would be devastating for our cadet and future Air Force careers. I could never stay on my intercollegiate team. Being LGB here is like not being an "all in" Christian. You're finished.
     What a crock that press release is. What a crock the academy leaders are for keeping Rosebush here. Anyways, I don't have time to elaborate. Mikey you know how bad it is because we tell you and you have seen it. Those of us who are LGB live in the worst fear of being outted at any moment and suffering for it. Maybe Rosebush can magically make us all "ungay"? Do you know how it makes us feel to know that our school has a man like that here? And how many other Rosebushes are here? If people can't see it now they never will. Having USAFA keep a person like Rosebush on staff at CCLD here shames all of us. He believes we made a choice to be LGB. He believes us to be "sick" with that gay disease. He believes we are sinning and will go to hell if we don't repent through Jesus and "choose" to be straight. And he has a "counseling" plan to make us all straight? Doesn't anyone of the highger ups here know how that makes us feel? It takes away our dignity as human beings. It takes away everything of value.
     MIkey, I have to go study. Have finals. Hope this helps explain how so many of us feel destroyed now. Thank you and the MRFF for calling on the Air Force to fire Rosebush. As if that will ever happen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jehovah's witnesses bother gay man at home, then laugh at him after he explains he's gay

Omaha cop union rips antigay mayor, Jean Stothert, for refusing benefits to legally-married same sex spouses

Why keep this story to yourself? Share it with friends via the Facebook,
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Jean Stothert to LGBTs in 2012:
"You don't have to be in a protected class to be important to us and for us to
want to provide for your health and your safety and your security at work." 

Jean Stothert to LGBTs in 2013:
"...the city's health insurance summary plan descriptions make clear that
the definition of 'spouse' does not include same-sex married spouses.”

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Mayor Stothert's administration has asserted, in a Wednesday press release, that its review has “determined the city's health insurance summary plan descriptions make clear that the definition of 'spouse' does not include same-sex married spouses.”
    Stothert claimed, “We have an obligation to negotiate with all seven collective bargaining units should they desire to expand health care and dental benefits to same-sex spouses.”
     Police Union President John Wells isn't buying Sothert's duplicitous insinuation that her hands are tied and that officials need to go back to the bargaining table to extend benefits to same-sex couples:
     Because the city is self-insured, he said, it retains the right to set its own health plan descriptions and definitions.
     Wells said the added benefits would affect a handful of his union's members and result in a “negligible” cost to the city.
     “(City officials have) decided that they're not going to do the right thing by these folks, that they're going to play politics,” he said. “Most other corporations and other entities have these types of benefits in their health care plan.”
Below (click to enlarge) is part of a letter Wells sent to the Stothert Administration:
     GOP Mayor Stothert has never publicly opposed any antigay policy or law nor has she ever publicly proposed any policy or law that ensured equal treatment of LGBTs.
     In 2012, a disingenuous, then-councilwoman Stothert argued (in vain) against adopting subsequently-passed extensions to Omaha's civil rights provisions covering LGBTs; in doing so, she told LGBTs in the City Council Chamber (with a straight face) that her alternative, a nonbinding resolution, proved "You don't have to be in a protected class to be important to us and for us to want to provide for your health and your safety and your security at work." 

New HRC website exposes junk science behind antigay testimony of Nebraska Family Alliance's Dave Bydelak to Unicameral

Here's Dave Bydelak trying to con Sen. Brad Ashford with the discredited Regnerus Study (at about the 2:55 mark) back in March of 2012, when he was the director of Family First, which subsequently merged with the Nebraska Family Association to form the Nebraska Family Alliance.

Watching the video above might cause you to think Sen. Ashford was being dismissive, and even downright rude to Bydalek — if you didn't know how rigged the Regnerus Study was and what a large hairball of pseudoscientific bunk Bydalek was trying to get the Judiciary Committee to swallow, in which case Ashford's clear annoyance becomes quite understandable.

Here's more about the Regnerus Study:
     The Regnerus study has captured the imaginations of anti-gay activists throughout the world. But in reality, it is complete bunk. Shortly after Regnerus published his work, the narrative behind it unraveled.
     It turned out that Regnerus had relied on a slew of flawed methodology and had only studied two people raised by same-sex couples. As one sociologist charged with auditing Regnerus’ study for an academic journal put it: “Since only two respondents were actually raised in gay or lesbian households, this study has absolutely nothing to say about gay parenting outcomes. Indeed, because it is a non-random sample, this study has nothing to say about anything."
And even more about the study:
A critical look at the article, also in Slate, by William Saletan, makes this note:
Regnerus calculates that only one-sixth to one-quarter of kids in the LM sample—and less than 1 percent of kids in the GF sample—were planned and raised by an already-established gay parent or couple. In Slate, he writes that GF kids “seldom reported living with their father for very long, and never with his partner for more than three years.” Similarly, “less than 2 percent” of LM kids “reported living with their mother and her partner for all 18 years of their childhood.”
In short, these people aren’t the products of same-sex households. They’re the products of broken homes.

Iowa AG, Tom Miller, urges John Boehner to act on LGBT job discrimination act; NE AG Jon Bruning
can't be bothered

On Monday, Attorney Generals in 14 states, including New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling on him to stop obstructing a vote on ENDA, the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, recently passed by the U.S. Senate. 73% of Americans and majorities in every state support the bill's intent.
     Said New York's attorney general:
“Allowing for a vote on a bill that would make it illegal to fire someone from their job simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity should be an easy decision for Speaker Boehner. Equal opportunity for all should be a top priority for Congress and ENDA provides an historic opportunity to take one step closer to that goal.”
      HRC says that "Despite the widespread support for workplace protections, House Republican leadership is refusing to allow an up-or-down vote on the legislation. Instead, Boehner continues to use his bully pulpit to propagate false and factually inaccurate explanations about the bill and its impact."
     Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is not among those AGs lobbying Boehner for the interests of their gay constituents.
    In November 2003, Jon Bruning said Massachusetts' Supreme Court ruling against that state's ban on gay marriages was ridiculous. "Does that mean you have to allow a man to marry his pet, or a man to marry his chair?" Bruning said. "I mean, at some point, it needs to stop." [Associated Press, 11/18/03]

Ram with anger issues vs. dirt biker: part 2

Several months ago a New Zealand dirt biker's YouTube video of his encounter with an excessively territorial ram went viral. So, naturally the biker went back. (Wouldn't you?) And somehow, someway attached a GoPro to the animal. And tried to ride past him again.
     AKSARBENT thought New Zealanders were more sensible than notoriously-crazed Australians but obviously we know little about the denizens of the Southern Hemisphere.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jessie Tyler Ferguson and George Takei put
The Bachelor on a spit and roast it with a gay take

Medals of Freedom ceremony: gay partners of honorees Sally Ride and Bayard Rustin sat next
to each other

Walter Naegle, Bayard Rustin's partner, & Tam O'Shaughnessy, Sally Ride's partner, sat together at today's ceremony. (Via @ChrisGeidner)
     If you don't know who Bayard Rustin was or why President Obama is honoring him, watch the video below. (Hint: Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the March On Washington. Rustin organized it.)

Queer Nation convinces NYSE not to let Russian Investment promotors ring its bell

Instead the "honor" went to an employee group which volunteers for the Humane Society in New York.
(Via JoeMyGod) 

What is most interesting to us about this is that Queer Nation praised Russian media for their reporting of the protest:
We are especially pleased it received a great deal of attention in Russian media outlet, the tone of which which was without exception a fair, even sympathetic representation of our message.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Simpson-Cheney rift preceded gay marriage flap; Simpson's shameless double-standard

Back in September, there was a he-said-she-said between Alan Simpson and Lynne Cheney over a football for her granddaughter that he refused to sign because the 15-year-old couldn't confirm that it wouldn't be used to raise money for Lynne's daughter Liz's Senate campaign. (Simpson is backing Cheney's GOP primary opponent, Mike Enzi.)
     Lynne says the football was to be auctioned off for cancer fundraising and that Simpson was rude to her granddaughter.
     Simpson says Cheney told him to shut up.
     There are no heroes in this nasty GOP political soap opera.
     Slippery Alan Simpson's candidate, Mike Enzi, is being backed by arch-homo­phobe Mike Huckabee, in a SuperPac ad (right, top left) with a Huckabee voiceover pointing out that that Enzi has always backed traditional marriage (meaning opposed marriage equality.)
     But the contemptible Simpson is trying to have it both ways, criticizing Cheney for burning bridges with the gay household in her family even as he backs a candidate who has always taken the same position that Mary Cheney is now: an insistence that gay couples remain strangers to the law. Double standard, much? 

TMZ interviews Alec Baldwin's hair stylist,
isn't terribly impressed

Evidently, Nick Berrios doesn't understand that part of being famous, even for five minutes, is that you might be asked some rilly, rilly hard questions, like "So you're saying that it's ok for a man [his client, Alec Baldwin] to use the [gay] f-word and that it's for a good reason... What is a good reason that a man can say that?"
     Berrios brilliant comeback: "No comment with that one."

Carson Daly reveals People Magazine's sexiest man of 2013 on The Voice

"Ladies, don't touch that. It's mine." Ok. Whatever.

A playful Bob Dylan punks TV, ADD couch potatoes, commercialism and himself with brilliant new video of his 50-year-old classic; also, it's loaded with cute boys

Most interactive gimmicks have to be taken with a grain of salt. This fantastically wicked anarchist sendup of everything will make you laugh yourself silly. You need to change the "channels" as the song plays. Go here to see the video and click the "channel" buttons on the screen if your up/down keyboard arrows don't do the job.

Russia Forum organizers call 911 in New York to have gay protest broken up, get rude awakening

Queer Nation reports that Russians are mounting an invest-in-[corrupt]Russia initiative in New York, but the road has been bumpy. First, the president of the American Bar Association cancelled his keynote address at a Russia Forum conference in New York City, which was to have been hosted by the law firm of Goodwin Procter — until it bailed too.
     Russia Center hastily moved the event to the Kosciuszko Foundation, which was subsequently caught by surprise by the ensuing Queer Nation protest at its offices; it sent a rep downstairs with the following statement:
“The KF is a non-partisan, non-denominational organization that raises money for scholarships. We have members of all views, religions, and sexual orientation. We understand and respect your opinion. The rental of our gallery is by no means an endorsement of intolerance toward any group.”
Alex Storozynski
Executive Director
Kosciuszko Foundation
At this point, the fed-up Russian organizers called the cops, apparently thinking U.S. police, like their Russian counterparts, exist to insulate heterosexual supremacists from the righteous indignation of people disgusted by their actions. They found out they were wrong:
     Conference organizers called the police—911 the cops told us, apparently it was a gay emergency! Cops responded, spoke to us and organizers and explained to the Russian organizers that our protest was breaking no American laws, and the First Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed our right to protest on a public sidewalk.
     He didn’t seem too happy he wasn’t able to have us arrested like in the old country.

We were just over a dozen but we seem to outnumber attendees.
     Few people not recognizable as organizers of the conference passed through the entrance. A table of 40 or 50 preprinted lanyards still sat unclaimed 90 minutes after coffee greeting time began, a half hour after the seminar was scheduled to start.

Liberty University 'Emergency Services Officer' shoots male student dead

Below, WSET breaks into Rachel Ray at the 1:10 mark to report the incident and the unrelated stabbing of Creigh Deeds, a one-time Democratic opponent of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald, by his son, who subsequently shot himself. - ABC13

NPR analyzes Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS 'Social Welfare' 501(c)4: 90% of donors in first 18 months gave at least $1 million

Karl Rove, Wikipedia
From Huffpost:
Crossroads did provide the FEC with a list of amounts given by its donors, but excluded their names. The list shows that the dark money largely comes in million-dollar denominations. The group received 53 donations of $1 million or more, accounting for 89 percent of the total amount raised last year. Four donations of $10 million or more, including one $22 million contribution, accounted for one-third of the group's 2012 funds.
From NPR:
Both Crossroads GPS and its associated American Crossroads superPAC were created by Rove and his Republican allies following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a section of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. In their first year, the two groups raised roughly comparable amounts — $35.5 million for American Crossroads and $48.4 for Crossroads GPS.
     The percentage of total money donated to American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS has continued to move toward the latter, where donors can remain anonymous.
     In the first three months of this year, the figures are $9.7 million for American Crossroads and $39.3 million for Crossroads GPS...
     The liberal organization Democracy 21 has asked the IRS to reject the Crossroads GPS application for formal nonprofit status because of the political nature of many of its ads.
     Many of Rove's Crossroads GPS campaigns failed miserably in the 2012 elections, but a notable success were the attack ads against Bob Kerrey, the popular Democrat who ran for his old Nebraska Senate seat in 2012 and was beaten by Deb Fischer, a Tea Party favorite.
     Fischer survived her primary by defeating her GOP rivals after a wave of primary attack ads paid for by Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, still based on Omaha, although Ricketts himself now lives in Wyoming.
     Below: an anonymously-funded Crossroads GPS attack ad which claimed that the application of a Kerry company for bailout funds was called a "disturbing trend" by an "independent watchdog" — an accusation which could well be applied to the machinations of Rove himself to sway elections with money from anonymous multimilllionaires.

Here's a Rove radio attack ad: 

Monday, November 18, 2013

The City Lights scene Charlie Chaplin filmed 342 times

Although Chaplin was, apparently, known as King of the Retake, this took the cake. The YouTube clip is from a DVD release from Criterion, whose treatments of classic films (especially commentary and extras) are the most sought after by cinemaphiles.

Army Corps of Engineers exercised eminent domain authority over Texan's land on behalf of foreign oil company — without public hearings, risk assessments or following Corps guidelines

Bloomberg's Brad Weiners reports on Texas landowner Michael Bishop's fight against Keystone XL pipeline owner TransCanada and its use of a U.S. government agency to run roughshod over  property he owns, in order to lay pipe across his 20 acres, through which several creeks run.
...Over the following year, Bishop looked into the process by which the Army Corps had claimed control of his land and determined that the agency had not completed the necessary public hearings or risk assessments before issuing permits to TransCanada. “They hadn’t followed the law,” he says. “They hadn’t even followed their own regulatory guidelines.” Instead, he says, the Army Corps had helped a foreign company help itself to the private property of a law-abiding U.S. taxpayer. Insult to injury, “Obama flew to Cushing for a photo op, to claim credit for fast-tracking the project,” he recalls. Incensed, Bishop eventually sued the government for what he alleges remain “illegal” permits. To save on legal fees, Bishop represented himself. “It’s really very simple,” he says of his case. “They didn’t have the right to issue the permits.”
     Because the pipe has already been laid, Bishop heard from people who say he’s doing too little, too late. He finds that take ridiculous. “[The pipe's] in there illegally! That’s like arguing that if a burglar is already in your house, well, now they have a right to be there.” Bishop wants the court to suspend the use of the pipeline until a risk assessment can be completed; he wants the Army Corps to restore his property to its pre-construction state; and he wants to get reimbursed for the cost of filing his suit.
     For a few hours at least, Bishop appeared to be winning. On Nov. 6, U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin, in Lufkin, Tex., granted an Entry of Default in his case—essentially because no one from the Army Corps or U.S. Attorney General’s office bothered to contest Bishop’s allegations. After Giblin’s ruling, however, the U.S. government finally did submit a motion to dismiss his suit. Bishop quickly filed a counterclaim, and it’s up to Giblin now to decide if the matter should proceed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Breaking Bad season 5 part 2 gag reel comes
close to story arc AKSARBENT wanted all along

SNL introduces Jebidiah Atkinson, who panned Gettysburg Address: 'Four snores and seven yawns ago. And don't get me started on that beard, Mary Todd'

Actually, last week, Pennsylvania's Patriot-News retracted its 1863 editorial panning the Gettysburg address.

Urban League of Greater Atlanta explains why it gave a trophy to one of America's leading heterosexual supremacists

Mikkel Hyldebrandt and D. David Kinney of reported that as part of this year's Equal Opportunity Day Dinner (held yesterday; theme: “Celebrating Champions of Justice and Equality”) the organization's plan to give an award to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy, who has given millions over the years to some of the most relentlessly antigay pressure groups in the country.
     Cathy says he has stopped giving to the most overtly homophobic of his previous beneficiaries, but he is still unremittingly hostile to marriage equality.

     This summer, after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, (which dictated that one Edie Windsor was socked with a $600,000+ estate tax bill that she wouldn't have owed had the spouse she married in Canada been a male), Dan T. Cathy, was so outraged by the injustice of treating an 80-something lesbian fairly in respect of estate taxes that he tweeted this:
“Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.”

     The Urban League now has released a statement defending its choice of Dan Cathy as an honoree. Cathy, a billionaire, has supported a number of programs favored by the League; its laundry list includes "Youth Education Programs" and Covenant House, which runs shelters for homeless teens.
     Although though up to 40% of homeless teens identify as LGBT, Cathy evidently has never been caught making a donation to a gay youth homeless shelter like the Trevor Project, Larkin Street Youth Services, Ali Forney Center, etc.
     The board of the Urban League of Atlanta includes such luminaries as Carl A. Tims, of GEICO insurance, a subsidiary of Berkshire-Hathaway, Warren Buffett's huge, Omaha-based conglomerate (HRC score: zero,) and Mr. Mark Pitts, of Coca-Cola, sponsor of the 2013 DADT Sochi Olympics.
     At the very bottom of its statement, the Urban League wrote:
Please be assured that the Urban League of Greater Atlanta supports and works for equal rights for all people, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. This includes the recent Employment Non-Discrimination Act that was passed out of the US Senate this week.
Tangentially related: Sick of Berkshire-Hathaway subsidiary GEICO's ubiquitous and adolescently stupid insurance ads? Here's some relief from a classier outfit which may be, um, less ethically-challenged than GEICO's corporate siblings.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Alexander Payne on why he filmed Nebraska in black and white

From Mike Ryan's Huffington Post interview with Alexander Payne:

It's interesting you filmed this in black and white because the look did remind me of the cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska."

     Was there any influence?
     [Laughs] No.

     I guess my point is that the perfect image of Nebraska is in black and white. Why does Nebraska work so well in black and white?
      I don't know. My mom said -- my mom saw it last night -- and she said in the car driving home, she goes, "Now I see why you had to make it in black and white. It would have been stupid in color." I said, "Mom, I'm going to use that line." [laughs]

     ...Speaking of subtle jokes, there's an entire sequence of the family discussing a character because "his foot's been bothering him." This would for sure be a topic for my family at any holiday gathering.
      You know who played that uncle? It's Rance Howard, that's Ron Howard's father. Another excellent actor I feel, who I was lucky enough to find.

Hysterical Nebraska clip: the joy of kids

CBS' The Crazy Ones shows car dealers how to sell used vehicles to gay couples

AKSARBENT is still moping at the cancellation of The New Normal, a much better gaycentric sitcom than either Partners (axed by CBS) or Sean Saves the World (so-so, but improving.) However, whenever a door closes, a window opens, and there is plenty of gay winking and nodding on the cleverly-written The Crazy Ones.
     The setup for last night's episode is that Simon Roberts (Robin Williams, in his first TV sitcom in 31 years) is told by gay business partner Gordon Lewis (Brad Garrett, the cop in Everybody Loves Raymond) that they have to get rid of their first account, a used car lot, to avoid a conflict of interest with Ford Motor Company.
     So, after Gordon gives the client the bad news, the agency employees decide to take a field trip to the lot and sell every last car on it to give the client a big retirement sendoff to Boca Raton.

 "The horsepower in this little beaut is higher than Mike Ditka's cholesterol..."

(After realizing the male couple is a couple:) "And you could fit a
mid-century vanity in the hatchback while antiquing!"

It's got responsive steering, a capable chassis, perfect safety scores,
the box seats are on the small side, but we should all have that
problem, am I right?

We weren't thinking about buying two cars
but there's just something about this one...

AKSARBENT would have thought stressing the lack of a cruise control
on a used vehicle would be a gay selling point, or at least a funny line,

Later, Simon to Gordon
: I've always wondered, "Are you
attracted to the tops of guys' heads? Does Timothy go up on you?"
Gordon to Simon: "You see, I would consider that a hate crime, but
I think the real hate crime is what we got going on right [gives Robin
William's outfit a once-over and tries to do a drag queen snap] —
yeah, I can't do it. Timothy is so much better at the read."

Oh, for several examples of how to sell new cars to gay customers: scroll down here.

Ad agency mocks self-promotion of competitors, wins

From copyranter, here.

Antigay Rep. Mele Carroll had worst attendance record in Hawaii house; here's her nasty House floor speech before she voted against marriage equality

According to Honolulu Civil Beat, the three islands with voters Carroll "represents" (Lanai, Molokai, uninhabited Kahoolawe and parts of Maui) actually had no representative at all in almost 25% of floor votes of the last Hawaiian House session. Here she is trashing LGBTs, courtesy of video uploaded by Occupy Hawaii.
     Carroll, a Democrat whose younger sister is gay, read antigay testimonials from two of her constituents, which evidently moved her deeply.


From the first constituent testimony:
     We Hawaiians have so much taken from us.  And just when you think there is no more that can be taken, this happens. We don't appreciate people coming into our hale, robbing us of our religious freedoms, trying to destroy our families, restricting our voting rights and polluting the spiritual lands by dismantling what God has instituted: marriage between one man and one woman...
     You need to understand what aloha is... Most people do not know what aloha is. [Or it's Carroll who is using aloha in vain — AKSARBENT.] Aloha is everything that is pono. Everything that is righteous, correct. And everything that is in the light. Anything else is "other"; is dark. So if you want to talk about love, kindness, and compassion, and all of those things that what it is (sic), Aloha is the most sacred word in the Hawaiian culture. And it is being frivolously used by people utilizing my culture, my aloha. And to pass what we all know is wrong...
     How would you feel if someone came into your halai and robbed you of your culture and your lifestyle? If they stripped you of your lands, language, queen, hula, which keeps the history of Hawaii and its people, and other rights, to say the least, how would you feel if your children, relatives and friends were... punished at school for speaking their Hawaiian language, or at home by a nonHawaiian spouse?
     How about all the diseases brought to Hawaii, killing thousands of Hawaiians? This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Put yourself in our shoes. I now have a very small eke or bag of rice. Taking my religious freedoms, restricting my voting rights, parents' freedom of speech, destroying our families and imposing this bill on our vulnerable children will not have a positive effect on Hawaii. My small eke has now become much lighter... This bill is a hanaho of theft for the Hawaiians. Theft always leaves a horrible impact on its victim.
     Carroll then read from more testimony, this time from a woman from a neighbor island:
Our people have suffered through genocide and indignation under the yoke of foreign aggression. Again, we face aggression from afar that threatens our culture and the very essence of who we are: the ability of the people to determine what is pono: what is in the light; what is aloha. And the people's plea has fallen on deaf ears.
     After that, Carroll went on to improbably proclaim that she supports "equality for all people."
     As she droned on, being ceded time occasionally from other anti-SB1 representatives, she was being ridiculed on twitter:

John Boehner lends government facility to group whose speaker, Austin Ruse (and wife) once smeared the Girl Scouts; group actively encourages Russian pogrom of LGBTs

AKSARBENT photo-illustration of Boehner, published on the
occasion of his audio/video cutoff of CSPAN's coverage of
an up/down vote on a payroll tax holiday extension.
After Senator Mark Kirk kicked the so-called World Congress of Families out of a U.S. Senate meeting room, booked for it because, according to a spokesman, “Sen. Kirk doesn’t affiliate with groups that discriminate,” John Boehner stepped in to provide a space in the government meeting
Not-so-fun couple: aptly surnamed
Austin and Cathy Ruse
     Several years ago, Austin Ruse, a far right homophobe who runs the Catholic organization C-FAM, presided over that group's false accusation that the Girl Scouts were distributing HIV+ sex guides to their members. Despite the fact that the lie (below) was thorough debunked (here and here), Ruse's wife, Cathy, a functionary at the Family Research Council, continued to spread the rumor there and has repeatedly attacked the Girl Scouts on other counts. The Ruses ruse is still posted at the Family Research Council:
The Girl Scouts have been "pro-choice" for years, but now they've been caught supporting promiscuous sex for girls. The Planned Parenthood sex guide offered at that "girls only" U.N. meeting offered this advice on Page 11: "Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs. This is your choice. ... If you want to have sex and think you might get drunk or high, plan ahead by bringing condoms and lube or putting them close to where you usually have sex."
This has caused the Girl Scouts fundraising problems:


The Billerco Project says WCF member groups support legislation in Russia that:
  • prohibits families from discussing sexual orientation
  • prohibits public discussion of sexual orientation
  • silences religious groups that oppose antigay discrimination
  • bars adoption and child custody by gay parents
  • subjects violators to long stays in prison