Friday, January 31, 2014

Violence Policy Center: Nebraska the most dangerous state for black Americans

Omaha's mostly black-on-black gang violence vaulted Nebraska, with only about 1.8 million people, into a first-in-the-USA Black homicide victimization rate of 34.43 per 100,000.
     One explanation could be that the city has staggering poverty affecting specific pockets of the population. Omaha has the unenviable position of ranking 1st among U.S. cities for the total number of African Americans who qualify as low-income.
     John Crank, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, points to a clustering of the killings in the city’s most socially deprived areas, mainly in the north.
     “Most Omaha neighborhoods had no homicides,” says Crank. “The majority of violent crime and killings are isolated to specific areas.”
     “A lot is gang-related, a fair amount of retaliation. Then you have crime committed by gang members that are not acting on behalf of their gangs.”
     In reality, the homicide rates for Omaha are dwarfed in comparison to murder data from the tough streets of Chicago or Detroit, since Nebraska has a small population.
Below: aftermath of Omaha's newest black homicide and its effect on an investigating officer:

Human Rights Watch: Kyrgyzstan police have extorted, threatened, arbitrarily detained, beaten and sexually abused gay and bisexual men

(Via Towleroad)

Fatal stabbing of Belize cross-dresser renews attention to hostile climate fostered by foreign activities of anti-LGBT U.S. ministries

The Washington Blade reports Belize accounts of the murder of a cross-dresser whose brother believes was deliberately targeted.
     The Reporter, a Belizean newspaper, reported two men fatally stabbed Joseph Sanchez, 18, in the chest early on Jan. 12 while walking on a street in Belize City, the country’s largest city.
The publication said authorities found Sanchez wearing a blouse, a short skirt and women’s underwear.
     Channel 5 Belize reported police have concluded Sanchez was the victim of what the television station described as “an armed robbery turned violent.”
     Sanchez’s brother, Abner Sanchez, told the Reporter he feels the two men deliberately targeted Sanchez — reports have emerged that Sanchez had previously received death threats from a man with whom the 18-year-old had been previously involved.
“It was a setup because they called him out of his bed,” Abner Sanchez told the Reporter. “He doesn’t normally walk those hours. He was always picked up.”
     ...Caleb Orozco, co-founder of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), an HIV/AIDS advocacy group, expressed concern over the Belizean government’s response to Sanchez’s murder.
     “It is my hope they don’t contaminate evidence in this case,” Orozco told the Washington Blade last week, citing a 2009 murder in which a court released the suspected perpetrator after alleging authorities forced him to confess to killing his partner.
     ...Anti-LGBT violence and discrimination remain a serious problem in Belize in spite of the government’s recent efforts to combat it.
     A Southern Poverty Law Center report highlights U.S. religious groups that have backed Belize Action, a group that opposes efforts to overturn the Central American country’s anti-sodomy law. The organization said these efforts have inflamed existing homophobic attitudes in Belize

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mob attacks Ivory Coast home of three LGBT activists; cops told men to leave neighborhood

Photo: Alternative Cote d’Ivoire
On Jan. 20th, the home of three members of Alternative Cote d'Ivoire in an upscale neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast were set upon by dozens of assailants who shouted death threats and hurled rocks and garbage.
     Soon after returning home from work shortly before 7 p.m., Touré said, the three Alternative CI staff members noticed that a crowd of about 60 people had assembled outside, whistling and banging on pots and pans. They threatened the occupants of the “faggot house,” shouting, “We will kill them,” “We don’t want fags in our city,” “We don’t want people with AIDS in our neighborhood,” “We’ll kill you all,” “We don’t want people working with AIDS and queers here,” “Damn you! We’ll burn your ass.”  Alternatives Cote d’Ivoire reported further:
     The mob kept up the racket as it tried to break down the doors of the house  with rocks and metal bars.  They threw garbage and human excrement, then prepared Molotov cocktails to burn the building and the people inside. The police arrived just in time to intervene...
     On the day after the Jan. 20 attack, the LGBT activists and police met again at the police station and immediately began arguing.
     The argument began after the chief asked a colleague whether he had “handled the case of the queers who disturbed public order.”
     The chief then turned to the Alternatives CI staff and said, “You’re the ones who are  pimping and running a brothel, huh?”
     Touré denied it and added, “You should listen to us first.”
     “But you admitted that yesterday in the presence of the duty officer,” the chief said.
     Touré denied that also.
     The chief responded, “So you mean that the officer lied? In any case, I don’t want to hear about homosexuality in my town.”
     Agence de Presse Africaine (APA) ... [adopted] the neighbors’ anti-gay position in an article that titled, “Eviction of a group of homosexuals in a posh neighborhood of Abidjan.”
     The article begins, “A group of homosexuals, posing a threat to the education of children in a district of Abidjan, was driven off Tuesday evening by local residents.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sean Hannity sarcastically begged by gays, Tim Gunn, Nathan Lane, blacks, immigrant cab drivers and cast of Jersey Boys not to leave New York

Hannity had threatened to leave after his state's governor, Andrew Cuomo,  suggested that far-right politicos running for office are not welcome in New York. At 3:26 a hardhat even promises Hannity that the Keystone XL pipeline will be routed through Central Park if he only agrees not to abandon New York.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Broadway mocks Russia's war on LGBTs in a wickedly funny YouTube video

Tiptoe through the Tulips:
the progression of a twentieth century standard

Baby boomers are most familiar with the version popularized by eccentric musicologist and ukelele star Tiny Tim, whose rendition of the song charted at #17 in 1968, the year in which he performed the standard on the Tonight Show, (below) and a year before he gave Johnny Carson his highest-ever rating by marrying 17-year-old "Miss Vicki" on the host's NBC late night talk show, attended by a studio audience of 268 family members and friends and watched later that night via tape-delay by 45 million Americans.

America was introduced to Tiptoe Through The Tulips in the now-lost 1929 two-strip technicolor talkie, Gold Diggers of Broadway (later remade in black and white as Gold Diggers of 1933) by Nick Lucus. Below is Lucas singing the song 15 years later.

AKSARBENT really likes Robbie Banfitch's cover of Tim's version used in the 2011 horror film Insidious.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chinese-owned AMC Theatres sics Homeland Security on man seen watching movie with turned-off Google Glass; agents searched his personal photos, phone

AMC Theatre photo: Camknows, Flickr
The Guardian reports that a Columbus, Ohio man was rousted from his seat by cops and Homeland Security while he was watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at an AMC multiplex. The man's Glass was switched off during the movie; he was wearing it for its prescription lens. Nevertheless:
     "A guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says 'Follow me outside immediately'," said the man, who was taken into a room for interrogation... After a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean. I repeated for the hundredth time there is nothing to come clean about and this is a big misunderstanding so the [ICE officer] finally connected my Glass to the computer, downloaded all my personal photos and started going though them one by one … Then they went through my phone, and five minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong." He wasn't apologised to, but was offered four free movie passes, which "infuriated" him.
     The ICE's Khaalid Walls confirmed the incident took place, and AMC responded with a statement: "Movie theft is something we take very seriously, and our theatre managers contact the Motion Picture Association of America any time it's suspected that someone may be illegally recording content on screen. While we're huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theatre."
Here's what AMC evidently does consider appropriate behavior at its theatres by its employees:
  • Making false and defamatory statements about the behavior of a customer to government agents who subsequently rifled through the private photos of said customer
  • Not bothering to assess whether a device with a recording "capability" actually was turned on before accusing someone of pirating a film by rephotographing it
  • Thinking it could buy off someone with four free movie passes after humiliating him, detaining him and invading his privacy
     AMC Theatres' 5000+ screens were purchased in 2012 by billionaire Wang Jianlan of China, which only allows about 34 foreign movies to be exhibited in its country per year.
     AMC, the headquarters of which is in Kansas City, MO, was previously owned by several private equity owners (including Mitt Romney's Bain Capital) which, according to a senior AMC executive, allowed the chain's venues to deteriorate physically relative to competitors, even forgoing changing bulbs frequently enough to ensure that exhibited features did not appear dim to audiences.

Here's the hypnotic anthem for the #FuckYouPutin online action

The Swedish organizers want you to photograph yourself flipping a bird to Vlad. The website is here.

Robert De Niro's gay, abstract expressionist painter/father subject of family documentary to be shown by HBO in June

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Intentional goofiness of Norway's curling team uniforms trumps bizarre Ralph Lauren U.S. Olympic Team attire

Preposterously pretentious Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz and now worth about $6.5 billion) is currently famous for his unrelenting Downton Abbey commercials on PBS, and must either hate jocks or has entered into a secret pact with Queer Nation to punish athletes who aren't boycotting Sochi, if his Team USA opening ceremonies outfits are any indication.
     Norwegian curlers, unlike "Lauren," obviously don't take themselves seriously or expect anyone who sees their getup to do anything but grin, which, if you think about it, is a pretty good strategy to win over spectators.

Jon Stewart: Team USA lagging in quest for homophobia gold

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vladimir Putin: Russian must 'cleanse' itself of homosexuality to improve heterosexual birth rate

In an interview last Sunday with Russian and foreign television, Putin:
...noted with pride that Russia saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. Population growth is vital for Russia's development and "anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up," he said, using a word usually reserved for military operations.

Sochi Olympic 'Security' clad in Coca-Cola logos jumps Russian holding small rainbow flag in his hometown as Olympic flame passed

John Aravosis did the requisite Google searches and connected all the dots in his blog. Coca-Cola, of course, has a long Olympic history, some of which you will never, ever see at the company's museum in Atlanta. From America
     Pavel Lebedev was jumped by officials in official Olympic gear, later identified by the Associated Press as “Olympic security officials.”
     What was not known at that time was that the standard uniform of the Olympic security officials who assaulted the civil rights advocate appears to sport the Coca-Cola logo.  Keep in mind that no one sports the Coca-Cola logo, or any other logo of an Olympic sponsor, without Coke’s explicit permission.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Two shockingly effective ads: one disgusting,
the other heartbreaking

Both of these examples come from Copyranter. If the ad below, one of a string of stellar efforts made for the New Zealand Transport Agency, can't get leadfoots to slow down, then there is nothing mere advertising can do for them.

The second ad, for a publisher of men's magazines, actually ran in 2007, although where was tactfully not mentioned.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Omaha gunfight claims 5-year-old relative of author of city's LGBT protection ordinance

Five-year-old Payton Benson, the grand-niece of Councilman Ben Gray, was killed by a stray bullet this morning from a gunfight a block away from her home at 45th & Bedford just after she had put up her breakfast plate.
     A $5,000 reward from Crimestopper's general fund has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
     Benson is the latest victim of the unrelenting (and frequently unsolved) number of violent crimes in Omaha that caused a neighbor of Benson's to tell KMTV that he is ready to leave town.
     (AKSARBENT did not embed KMTV's coverage because it is coded to autoplay, which annoys blog readers.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Redneck alcoholics now worsening U.S. trade deficit: Japanese buy Jim Beam; Bud also foreign-owned

Suntory just paid $16 billion for Jim Beam. Budweiser was acquired years ago by the Belgian/Brazilian conglomerate InBev. Miller isn't a U.S. beer either.
     Related: Dry drunk Phil Robertson discovered that Satan and a permissive 60s culture — not himself — were responsible for the eight years of liquor and substance abuse in his 20s that caused him to savagely beat a bar owner and his wife over a rent dispute, sending them to the hospital and forcing his wife and small sons to fend for themselves while he hid in the woods of a neighboring state from the Louisiana State Patrol for four months.
     After repeatedly kicking his wife and kids out of the house, Robertson finally straightened up.
     Nowadays, the only people Robertson assaults are LGBTs, with biblical clobber phrases from the Apostle Paul.
    Curiously, Robertson avoids Corinthians, even as he recites Romans with both relish and Johnny-come-lately sanctimony.

CNN panelist questions Omaha police union
behavior in reposting child "thug" video

The video appeared one day after the ACLU sued Omaha police over what it contends were civil rights violations in the raid of a North Omaha house in which a wheelchair-bound woman was knocked to the floor and a cellphone, as well as the memory card and the video it contained, disappeared. A video taken by a neighbor unbeknownst to the police went viral on the Internet and four cops were subsequently fired.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ford Exec: “We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”

The New York Times, in a new article, The Next Battle for Privacy May Be Waged Inside Your Car, reports that at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas:
Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company’s top sales executive, who is known for making off-the-cuff comments, told a panel at the CES: “We know everyone who breaks the law. We know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.” Although he quickly added, “By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone,” and later issued a full retraction, the comments, even if overblown and meant to be provocative, fueled the concerns.
     Google, which earns money by tracking computer users' habits (and scanning their emails) and brokering ads targeted at them, recently announced a partnership with G.M., Audi, Honda and Hyundai to bring Android to vehicles by the end of 2014.
2015 Corvette Z06, via Jalopnik
     G.M. has introduced a camera in 2015 Corvettes which will be one facet of a so-called Performance Data Recorder that records speed (via GPS), gear selection and brake performance, going much further in recording driver habits and location than already-intrusive, government-mandated Event Data Recorders, the "black boxes" in new cars.
     Obviously, all the data in these new devices could be subpoenaed in litigation by adversaries or by insurance companies and used against either the drivers or owners of the vehicles, or both.  
     Kahliah Barnes, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told the Times: “Consumers should decide what level of surveillance they want to be under. None of that should be on default. You should have to opt in.”
     The EPIC is quite disturbed about the potential of Event Data Recorders, Performance Data Recorders and technologies like GM's OnStar to compromise personal privacy:
Automobiles are integrating computing technology that enhance the ability of others to collect location and operation data in near real time. In the data driven economy this data is of value. There are only 13 states with laws that address EDRs and vehicle operators.
  • Lack of consumer knowledge of the technology's presence in vehicles
  • Driver Access to EDR data
  • Security of EDR data to assure chain of custody and accuracy
  • Transparency on each type of event that would trigger data collection
  • Universal law that outlines the purpose of the data collection and limits the use of EDR data to the purpose of the collection
  • Driver control (ownership) of data
  • Integration of EDR data collection with non-vehicle operation related features
  • There are no limits on the number of data elements that NHSTA may require in the future
  • There are no limits on EDR data collection, retention and use by third-parties

Politico discovers yet another Koch Brothers
ultra right-wing political slush fund

Politico says the Arlington, Va.-based group, called "Freedom Partners," was unknown to nearly everyone in politics; it "raised and spent $250 million in 2012 to shape political and policy debate nationwide," cutting checks as large as $63,000,000 to conservative advocacy groups:
The group has about 200 donors, each paying at least $100,000 in annual dues. It raised $256 million in the year after its creation in November 2011, the document shows. And it made grants of $236 million — meaning a totally unknown group was the largest sugar daddy for conservative groups in the last election, second in total spending only to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which together spent about $300 million.

Omaha's Big Mama's Kitchen gets a show on the Food Network

After a stint in the military and 30 years at the phone company, Patricia "Big Mama" Barron, started what has become the city's best-known soul food restaurant, where she and her manager/daughter Gladys serve delicacies including [pig] ear sandwiches at the converted kitchen/cafeteria of a closed Nebraska School for the Deaf she bought in the 90s.
     AKSARBENT does not opine, it just reports.
     Below is a segment (at the 13 minute mark) introducing Big Mama's Kitchen from Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. More information about the new show is here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Iowa's Heidi Cullinan won't let daughter read her explicit gay romances but her husband may edit them

USA Today interviewed Heidi Cullinan, who said that her pharmacist husband reads all her explicit male/male romance novels and does initial editing.
AKSARBENT would love to know what husband Dan edits and why.
     Cullinan's 12-year-old daughter isn't allowed to read the books in her series, all of which which come with teasers warnings.
     Our mom just sold Avon, but then she never went to one of those Iowa City writer's workshops.

TX Rep. introduces bill to cut off federal benefits to married gay couples; here are all 27 co-sponsors

Rep. Weber and the Texas district that elected him,
including Arlington, Galveston, Port Arthur and
Freshman U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), a former HVAC repairman who won the seat vacated by retiring fellow crackpot Ron Paul, has introduced H.R. 3829, which will alter the United States Code by redefining "marriage" and "spouse" and "simply" requiring all federal agencies to check the legal residences of married same sex couples when determining marital status and application of federal law (including, of course, benefits).
     Weber's aim is to deny federal benefits and rights to legally married gay couples who live outside the jurisdiction that married them if that jurisdiction doesn't allow gay couples to get married.

Here are the 27 (so far) cosponsors of Weber's law:

Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] - 1/9/2014
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 1/9/2014
Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1] - 1/9/2014
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] - 1/9/2014
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] - 1/9/2014
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] - 1/9/2014
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] - 1/9/2014
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] - 1/9/2014
Rep Gohmert, Louie [TX-1] - 1/9/2014
Rep Granger, Kay [TX-12] - 1/9/2014
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 1/9/2014
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] - 1/9/2014
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] - 1/9/2014
Rep Jordan, Jim [OH-4] - 1/9/2014
Rep LaMalfa, Doug [CA-1] - 1/9/2014
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] - 1/9/2014
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5] - 1/9/2014
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 1/9/2014
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] - 1/9/2014
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] - 1/9/2014
Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9] - 1/9/2014
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 1/9/2014
Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4] - 1/9/2014
Rep Rice, Tom [SC-7] - 1/9/2014
Rep Webster, Daniel [FL-10] - 1/9/2014
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 1/9/2014
Rep Yoho, Ted S. [FL-3] - 1/9/2014

Zagat picks Nebraska's best pizza

Zagat, is celebrating Pizza Week by naming what it considers to be the "standout" pizza in every state.
     According to Wikipedia, Zagat was acquired by Google on September 8, 2011 for a reported $151 million after it withdrew an 2008 IPO which failed to attract the $200 million the company sought.
     Google planned to use the acquisition to provide more content and reviews for its locally oriented services. Google had initially planned to acquire competing site Yelp instead. 
     On May 30, 2012, Zagat was officially integrated into Google's services, with its reviews now appearing on Google Maps and Google+ Local pages for relevant restaurants. Additionally, the service became free to use, but now requires a Google+ account to register.
      In December, 2012, Google informed most of the former Zagat employees, who had been hired as temporary contractors, that their contracts would expire as of June 30, 2013.
In the absence of comments to the contrary, AKSARBENT will assume everyone in the state agrees with Zagat's selection. LOL.

Intel now encouraging workers to destroy company computers so it can sell more new chips

It's not sabotage, it's salesmanship!
From the ad:

"You've been asking for an new computer for years! Are you going to watch things happen? Or make things happen?"

ABC: just 2-3 gallons of spilled coal chemical caused water emergency for 300,000 in 9 W VA counties

Update: later reports from other sources say 4,000-5,000 gallons of the
below-mentioned chemical were released into West Virginia's water.

Freedom Industries, which was unavailable for comment, allowed, according to ABC News, just 2-3 gallons of a coal preparation foaming agent, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, to overflow a containment facility and spill into the Elk River, near a huge West Virginia American Water plant nearby, one of the largest in the Eastern U.S.
     300,000 people are affected in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties.

Dramatic video of Molokai, Hawaii plane crash released

Don't tell Fox News, but socialism just made everyone in Norway a millionaire

Norwegian cross country skier Petter Northug Jr., 28, double
Olympic champion with one silver, one bronze and two gold
medals won in individual and team events at the 2010
Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
In Norway, due to generous farm subsidies, dairy cows in the Arctic live in heated barns.
     One in five people of working age receives some kind of social insurance instead of working, even though the "official" unemployment rate is 3.3 percent.
     Why is the country so well-heeled when others are struggling under a mountain of debt?
     Because in 1990 the country set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest and distribute the profits from Norway's share of the North Sea oil bonanza, officially called the Government Pension Fund Global, which is now so large it's beginning to affect the tides.
     Recently the counter of Norway's central bank displayed a fund total of 5.11 trillion crowns ($931.87 billion), fractionally more than a million times Norway's most recent official population estimate of 5,096,300, according to bank's website.
     The fund owns about one percent of the world's stocks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Betty Bowers: How to pray

(Via JMG)

Emails bust GOP NJ Gov. Christie's lies about his aides not punishing political opponents: Kelly: 'Time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee'; Wildstein: 'Got it' just published a trove of Chris Christie administration emails busting months of denials by the GOP governor that hours-long traffic tie-ups on the George Washington Bridge were the results of a "study" by the state's Port Authority and not political payback using commuters as pawns to the mayor of Ft. Lee for not being loyal enough to Chris Christie's administration. From the website:
     Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.
     The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how local officials tried to reach the Port Authority in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world’s busiest.

Even Niagra Falls is iced up

It may not be "frozen solid." Others say mist is clearly visible in the photo and note that the Canadian section, Horseshoe Falls, isn't frozen.

Omaha police union reposts obscene toddler video on its website; 2nd viral video in 10 months to draw fire

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, above, who has no
control over what the police union posts on its web site,
said this: "I strongly disagree with any postings that may
cause a divide in our community or an obstacle to police
community relations."
Some cops are chagrined, starting with police chief Todd Schmaderer.
     After KETV asked him why the post was still up after stirring up controversy on CNN, Omaha Police Officer's Association President John Wells defended the video by saying "We gotta find a way to address this," meaning a criminal culture.
     From where AKSARBENT sits, Wells and his fellow officers could start addressing crime by finding out who attacked Ryan Langenegger months ago, after an assault on him by Pepperjax' Grill patrons in Omaha's heavily trafficked Old Market when he stood up for two gay friends, a case still unsolved.
     The Omaha Police Union posted the video of a black toddler Tuesday, one day after the Nebraska ACLU sued the department over an incident depicted in a viral video last spring.

Monday, January 6, 2014

ACLU sues Omaha cops over March incident recorded on video over which 4 officers were fired

The Nebraska ACLU has filed its lawsuit against the Omaha Police Department over arrival of some two-dozen police at a North Omaha home during the investigation of a parking violation complaint and the subsequent invasion of that home, which was recorded by a neighbor and which was widely viewed on the Internet. Four officers were fired and two were criminally charged.
     Officer Bradley Canterbury, recorded punching a restrained Octavius after first checking for witnesses (at about the 2:55 mark in the video below), has not been criminally charged by Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who claimed three national use-of-force experts reviewed the video and concluded that Canterbury's actions did not merit criminal charges.
     The Omaha Police Officers Association has assisted Canterbury in his efforts to get his job back.

Some excerpts from the complaint:



Florida State University whores out its academic integrity to the Koch Bros.

From The Raw Story:
As the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2011, a foundation funded by Koch gave $1.5 million to the school’s economics department in 2008, in exchange for Koch having the power to select members of an “advisory committee” that screens prospective new hires. A year later, Koch reportedly rejected 60 percent of job candidates suggested by FSU faculty. 

Here's what happens when you shoot boiled water out of a super-soaker in -41 degree weather

This was in Northern Ontario:

And this was in -21°F weather with a wind chill of -51°F Viroqua, WI

Christian writer: Fox News' Todd Starnes 'consistently deceives and manipulates facts in order to exaggerate or fabricate incidences of Christian persecution'

Even conservative evangelists are getting tired of Starnes' screeching dishonesty. Below is an excerpt from a piece by Allan Noble entitled Todd Starnes sold us a war on Christmas. We bought it.
The bottom line here is that Starnes clearly claims that Christmas Cards are banned by the VA’s policy when they are not. And he clearly edits the VA’s official statement to deceive his readers.
In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.
The bolded section was removed from Starnes’s report.

Because, hey: what could be scummier than being gay, right?

Brad Dickson is a humor columnist for the Omaha World-Herald and a former gag writer for Jay Leno.

Barbara Lawrence, who played Gertie in Oklahoma, dead at 83

Her death, of kidney failure, on November 13, 2013, was not reported until January 3, 2014. After retiring from acting (she also did TV, having been cast on four Perry Mason episodes) she became a publicist, author and real estate agent.
     In the Oklahoma, clip below, Lawrence affects a terrifying laugh while obsequiously chatting up Gordon MacRae. Nearby, a worried Shirley Jones watches from the porch under a glorious New Mexico sky, where most Oklahoma exteriors were filmed.

The McDonald's Diet? Iowa teacher drops 37 lbs. in 90 days eating solely at Mickey D's. Cholesterol dropped from 249 to 170

He ate everything on the menu, but limited himself to 2,000 calories per day in a program designed by his students, who used the chain's online nutritional information. He also began a 45 minutes-per-day walking regimen.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Quote of the day about Aaron Shock: 'Can someone be outed by a belt?'

Note: We were going to accompany this post with a funny picture of a constituent sizing up Aaron Shock, but for the third time in six months Blogger prevented us from posting a photo. Instead we got the following Google Blogger error message: "There was an error! Details: The feature you requested is currently unavailable. Please try again later." The message appeared in a dialogue box with no 'close' or 'exit' buttons. The last two times we encountered an unexplained temporary Google blogger refusal to post pictures the embargo lasted from 12-48 hours, with no official apology or acknowledgement from Google, just the reappearance of the feature.

In his post today, GOP Congressman Aaron Schock Locks Down Instagram Account Amid Gay Rumors, Andy Towle seems to have drawn a line between evidence of stereotypical behavior accompanied by a heavy dose of insinuation and hard facts in respect of Illinois Congressman Aaron Shock's purported sexual orientation and the hypocrisy of his house votes against the legitimate civil rights aspirations of LGBTs, were he to be a member of said group:
     Hod's post to Facebook appears to have been inspired by a post blogger John Aravosis posted to Americablog on Thursday which hypothesized that Schock might be gay based on interpretations of photos from his Instagram account.
     What is lacking so far in any of the discussion, as amusing or voyeuristic as it may be, is any sort of direct testimony or evidence of Schock's sexual orientation.
     Can someone be "outed" by a belt? Or for the care they take of their body? Or something heard from a friend of a friend of a friend? Is determining someone's sexual orientation based on how they look an appropriate avenue because the person is a villain, or is it simply undercutting the LGBT community's arguments against stereotypes and defamatory phrases like "that's so gay"?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How three Utah Attorneys-General failed to stop marriage equality

(via JoeMyGod)

Iowa Rep. Steve King calls LGBT slurs by Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson 'objectively true'

Robertson's abridged comments are from Romans 1:26-32, an attack by
the Christian Apostle Paul on shrine prostitution repurposed by Robertson
to clobber modern LGBTs
In a fund­raising email, Iowa Rep. Steve King com­pared his enemies to critics of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, saying his views are:

“contrary to views held by those with loud megaphones, including the liberal media and PC police…
the leftists who disagree with him made it clear with their attacks that conservatives are to be driven from public life if they express their opinions, however objectively true they might be.

     Duck Dynasty illustrates faith, family and good, old-fashioned American values. And this attack illustrates the left’s unspoken rule that tolerance is a one way street. Conservatives are to be tolerant of liberal ideology; however, the left need not be tolerant of conservative Christians.
     I have been in similar situations to the one Phil Robertson finds himself in now. I have learned to navigate their intolerance while holding firm to our values. Whether it’s the Robertsons or anyone who finds themselves in the crosshairs of the media or a leftist hyperventilater sitting across the table at the local diner, employ this strategy:

     “Don’t back down. If you are right and you are standing on principle, whatever you do, don’t back down. The second you back down, they win.
     “Don’t apologize. John Wayne said, “Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.” I agree, unless we are wrong and we are not wrong.
     “Double down. Americans recognize courage and conviction. If the left attacks our conservative beliefs, I say, “If you don’t like that, here’s some more.”
     “Never waiver from the truth. This includes taking on all the left’s false premises before they become the perceived truth. The left is not held accountable to the truth — it is our duty to expose them. Objective truth is a shield protecting us from the left.
     “Tolerance has never been a two-way street with the left. Time and time again conservatives are lambasted for stating their opinions, the opinions derived from faith, family, and an understanding of history. Once again the left encourages a double standard to advance their agenda.
     “As you know, I have not and will not back down. And like other conservatives who stand their ground, I’m always a top target of the left.
     “Last election cycle, Col. Allen West, Michele Bachmann, and I were the three top targets of the liberals throughout the country. With Col. West’s defeat and now Michele’s retirement, I’m the last one standing.

     Jim Mowrer, a Boone native and Iraq war veteran will challenge King next November for the 4th Congressional District, covering northwest/north-central Iowa Sioux City, Fort Dodge and Ames.
     Mowrer told the Des Moines Register Thursday that if he is elected to Congress he won’t feel a need to comment on “every silly story of the day,” but will work to find solutions to very real problems the country is facing. He said King’s remarks are an example of why Washington, D.C. and Congress are “broken.”
     “I will work to focus on ensuring job opportunities, investment and infrastructure, clean American energy and getting a farm bill passed,” Mowrer said. “I don’t have a comment on Congressman King’s comments on a reality TV show actor’s comments.”

Younger Everly Brother Phil dead at 74 of smoking-induced COPD; career began at 6 on parents' Shenandoah, IA radio show

     Phil, the son of folk singers Ike and Margaret Everly, was born Jan. 19th 1939, two years after his brother Don. Between 1957 and 1962 the Everly Brothers scored 19 top 40 hits and are in both the rock and roll and country music halls of fame.
     The squabbling siblings broke up for 16 years at a 1973 Knott's Berry Farm concert in California at which Phil threw his guitar on the stage and walked off.
     Everly's son Jason said the COPD that killed his father never seemed to affect his voice. 

From Nashville...
     ...while Elvis Presley was the king of rock 'n' roll, Phil and Don Everly were its troubled princes. They sang dark songs hidden behind deceptively pleasing harmonies and were perfect interpreters of the twitchy hearts of millions of baby boomer teens coming of age in the 1950s and '60s looking to express themselves beyond the simple platitudes of the pop music of the day.
      The Everlys dealt in the entire emotional spectrum with an authenticity that appealed to proto rockers like the Beatles and Bob Dylan, who gladly pass the credit for the sea changes they made in rock to the ruggedly handsome brothers. The Beatles, the quartet whose pitch-perfect harmonies set the pop music world aflame, once referred to themselves as "the English Everly Brothers." And Dylan, pop culture's poet laureate, once said, "We owe these guys everything. They started it all."
      Two generations later, artists are still finding inspiration in the music. Most recently, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones lovingly recorded a tribute to the Everlys and their unique album "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us."