Friday, October 31, 2014

Peter LaBarbera waves stunningly stupid antigay message outside Regina courthouse while protesting his trespassing charges

In April, Barbera and fellow antigay activist Bill Whatcott were asked to leave the University of Regina for contravening the U of R’s respectful workplace policy in their demonstration against "homosexualism."
     We at AKSARBENT find his sign far more interesting than his predictable insistence that he is being victimized by Big Gay or Liberal Academics or Political Correctness or whatever.
     The placard, "Nature discriminates against homosexuality," demonstrates why he should probably be barred from institutions of higher learning simply for spreading stupidity.
     Barbera is so dull that his arid, rock-strewn mind seems not to have noticed that homosexuality is maintained by nature in hundreds of species despite the glaring fact that it is the trait least likely to be passed on through reproduction.
    Example: 7-9% of domestic Bighorn rams will have nothing to do with ewes, to the eternal consternation of ranchers. This incidence of homosexuality crops up in generation after generation — in fact, homosexuality is more prevalent in male sheep than in male humans.
     Obviously, rather than discriminating against homosexuality, nature is working overtime to preserve the condition (despite — or perhaps because — of its serious reproduction handicap) a fact Barbera is either too vacuous to notice or too dishonest to acknowledge.
     Perhaps Barbera thinks that sheep homosexuality is learned behavior passed on by queer rams at secret pasture meetings or wild-and-woolly gays-only sheep meadows or during ruminant raves in the highlands.


From the press release announcing the appointment of Drew Heckman as HRC's first-ever Nebraska field organizer:
      LGBT people also actively participate in their faith communities and are raising families. HRC’s survey reveals 66 percent of those surveyed ages 18-25 intend to have children one day and 31 percent are people of faith. In addition, according to a 2010 Census study by the Williams InstituteNebraska has one of the highest rates of same-sex couples raising children of any state in the country.
      “Faith and strong families are essential values in the lives of LGBT people,” said HRC Faith and Religion associate director Joseph Ward. “This survey clearly shows LGBT Nebraskans and their families actively participate in their churches.”
     What HRC's survey clearly shows is that 69% of gay people in Nebraska are NOT very — or at all — religious. And don't get AKSARBENT started on HRC's buy-in of the "people of faith" rubric. Atheists and Agnostics are also people of faith — in science not mythology.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop dead (Part VIII)

In May of 2010, Terry voted against House Amendment 672, a bill to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, after a review by the military.

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop dead (Part VII)

In April of 2009, Terry voted against HR 1913, which
  • Expands definition of a hate crime to include felonies motivated by prejudice based on national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the victim (Secs. 3, 6).
  • Allows federal law enforcement to assist state, local, or tribal governments in the investigation or prosecution of any hate crime (Sec. 3).
  • Establishes grants for state, local, or tribal enforcement of hate crime laws (Secs. 3, 4).

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop dead (Part VI)

In November of 2007, Lee Terry voted against HR 3685, the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which would have amended the federal Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Lee Terry to LGBTs: drop dead (Part V)

In May of 2007, Terry voted against passage of HR 1592, which amended the federal definition of a hate crime to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Allows the Attorney General to provide assistance for the criminal investigation of crimes that are considered a felony and are motivated by prejudice based on the perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim (Sec. 3).
  • Requires that anyone who commits a crime due to actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability can be sentenced to no more than 10 years, unless kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, attempted aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill is involved (Sec. 6).

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop dead (Part IV)

In December of 2010, Lee Terry voted "no" on a concurrence vote (HR 2965) to concur with House amendments and pass a bill repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Lee Terry to LGBTs: drop dead (Part III)

In May of 2012, Terry voted "yea" on House Amendment 1096, which was an amendment to HR 5326, and prohibited the use of federal funds appropriated by the bill to contravene the Defense of Marriage Act.

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop Dead (Part II)

In July of 2012 Terry voted "yea" on House Amendment 1416, which passed the U.S. House and which, as an amendment to HR 5856, barred the use of funds appropriated by the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2013 from being used to contravene the Defense of Marriage Act.

Lee Terry to LGBTs: Drop Dead (Part I)

Below is Lee Terry's 206 speech against marriage equality, delivered from the floor of the U.S. House. Today 32 states allow or will shortly allow (due to recent court decisions,) marriage equality:
      Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment.
      Last Friday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nebraska constitutional amendment protecting marriage between one man and one woman, and affirming the legal protections and benefits reserved to this fundamental union. The amendment was approved by an overwhelming 70 percent majority in 2000.
      Nationwide, 45 states have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman or expressly prohibited same-sex marriage. Twenty states approved constitutional amendments upholding marriage; six states will vote on an amendment in November; and eight states are considering sending constitutional amendments to voters in 2006 or 2008. The 16 states that approved constitutional amendments since 2004 did so by an average 72 percent voter majority.
      Even voters in Massachusetts--the first state to have its supreme court unilaterally declare same-sex marriage as constitutional--may have the opportunity to uphold marriage. The state's high court ruled last week that legislative efforts to put a same-sex marriage ban on the 2008 ballot could move forward. Recent court rulings in New York, Tennessee and Georgia have also upheld marriage rights.
      The Federal Marriage Protection Amendment under consideration today would prohibit any governmental entity--whether in the legislative, executive or judicial branch at all levels of government--from altering the definition of marriage. It does not discriminate against homosexuals; it upholds and recognizes the importance of marriage between a man and a woman for the well-being of children and society at large.
      Mr. Speaker, the American people want the Marriage Protection Amendment to be approved. Their will is clearly reflected through the overwhelming majorities voting for marriage protection initiatives in the states. We have a responsibility to children and families nationwide to send a clear message today that marriage will be upheld and protected. We also have a sacred duty to future generations to preserve marriage as the fundamental building block of society.
      I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.J. Res. 88 today.

Jon Stewart welcomes a new advertiser to the daily show: Koch Industries

Bakers supermarket owners bully radio stations into pulling gun control ads

From Shannon Watts' piece in today's Huffington Post, entitled The Message Kroger Doesn't Want You To Hear. Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:
     This week, Kroger executives and investors met in Cincinnati and I was there, along with dozens of Moms Demand Action volunteers from neighboring states, to make it as easy as possible for Kroger leadership to meet with us on an issue that women and mothers care about more than anything: the safety of our families. Rather than agree to a meeting, Kroger bullied radio stations into pulling our ads highlighting the absurdity of their gun policy (you can listen to the ads here and here). And this week, Kroger bussed its investors out of the hotel where they were planning to meet and to an alternate location — probably to avoid the rally of mothers and customers we had organized to spark a conversation with them.
     Evidently Kroger is growing uncomfortable with their gun policy, and frankly, they should be. Kroger is siding with gun extremists, rather than mothers, gun violence survivors, and the majority of Kroger shoppers, who support ending open carry in Kroger stores.

Filthy rich Apple CEO officially outs himself

Tim Cook (2011 compensation: $378,000,000) just came out in an editorial published in Bloomberg Business Week, but GAWKER has been on his case about the gay thing since at least 2008.
I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.
If you're an LGBT youth struggling with your sexuality, don't think for a moment that you too can't someday become wildly successful and personally wealthy by overcharging millions of customers for RAM. YES YOU CAN!!!!

Antigay NE Rep. Lee Terry endorsed by serial killer he exploited in a Willie Horton-style attack ad

KMTV and KETV are reporting that at a hearing yesterday to determine his mental status, Nikko Jenkins shouted "Hey you guys, vote for Lee Terry! Best Republican ever!"
     GOP and Terry (HRC rating: 0%)  Willie Horton-style ads (see below) are blaming Ashford for Jenkins' early "good time" release, but prison officials ignored several infractions by Jenkins when they decided to set him free. In fact, Nebraska's lame-duck GOP governor, Dave Heineman is currently embroiled in a huge scandal exposed by the Omaha World-Herald involving "miscalculations" in which the Nebraska Department of Corrections released hundreds of felons too early from Nebraska prisons, currently at about 156% of capacity.
     The Omaha World-Herald has endorsed Brad Ashford and has excoriated ads supporting Terry (@LeeTerryNE) which have exploited Jenkin's killings:
  • Ashford traveled the country to study successful juvenile justice programs and then did the heavy lifting last year to pass juvenile justice reforms. Those well-crafted reforms could do more than any good-time change to protect Nebraskans from a future Nikko Jenkins, who entered the child welfare and juvenile justice systems at an early age.
  • Terry’s fellow Republicans are the majority in the officially nonpartisan Legislature and have been for a long time. Gov. Dave Heineman, who has held office for nearly 10 years, is a Republican. If the good-time law needed changing, why didn’t they act sooner? At best, this is a bipartisan failure.
  • Heineman in 2014 did advocate requiring inmates to earn their extra time off with good behavior. However, in 2011, his Corrections Department supported a bill to award additional good time to cut criminals’ sentences faster and ease prison crowding. Heineman signed it into law.
  • Jenkins, while imprisoned, begged for mental health help. He threatened to harm people when released. Prison administrators did little to try to keep from releasing him.

GOP using sloppy software called 'Crosscheck,' touted by KS Sec'y of State Kris Kobach, to brazenly bar voters surnamed 'Jackson,' 'Garcia' and 'Kim'

Jamie Bouie of Slate reports on a six-month-long investigation conducted by Greg Palast for Al Jazeera exposing a shameless GOP initiative to suppress votes in the forthcoming election:
     Specifically, officials have a master list of 6.9 million suspected “potential double voters.” And in Virginia, Georgia, and Washington the lists are “heavily over-weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel, and Kim,” all common to Democratic-leaning minority groups.
      The process for checking those names, a computer program called Crosscheck—touted by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a vocal supporter for voter identification—is incredibly inaccurate. “The actual lists,” notes Al Jazeera America, “show that not only are middle names mismatched, and suffix discrepancies ignored, even conflicting birthdates are disregarded. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores any Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Live video of legislative hearing: Dept. of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee; Gov. Heineman's testimony

The hearing is over so the feed has ended.

Woman takes a 10-hour stroll around NYC, is photographed being harassed 108 times

WaPo's Gail Sullivan did a piece on a video made last August by Hollaback, an anti-street harassment group in which Shoshana B. Roberts was harassed 108 times — "by her definition."
Clad in jeans and a black T-shirt, Roberts walked around New York for 10 hours following filmmaker Rob Bliss, who had a camera hidden in his backpack.
     What AKSARBENT found even more interesting were the videos recommended by Google after the sexual harassment video ended. They included the two dubious selections encircled below ("Sugar" and "Sweeter Than Candy On A Stick") as well as a Dr. Dre video in the lower right corner.
     If you enjoyed the video you just watched about the objectivization of a women, how about some desert, if you know what our YouTube bots mean?

Stephen Colbert is forced by new words formed by Louie Gohmert's mouth to once again ridicule the idiotic Texas representative

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert again excoriates the dumbest man in the U.S. Congress, elected by Texans living in Lufkin-Nacogdoches, Longview-Marshall and Tyler.
     "I'm with you, sir. People have said to me, 'Steven you've got to understand, you don't even know your history; you're dumb, you're dense, you're a mental midget with the IQ of a butter dish whose mind is a black hole that sucks all surrounding thought into it in an infinite singularity of pure stupidity. Stephen, I'm surprised you can ever dress yourself. I bet you have to rub peanut butter inside your lips to remember to open your mouth to breathe. I have never met and I hope to never meet again a man so pervasively, astoundingly, unyieldingly ignorant.'
    To which I say, 'Well, then you haven't met Louie Gohmert!' "

How Frank Schubert lied to Charlotte, NC TV station about NOM anti-gay marriage ad attacking Kay Hagan

Here's the agreement Frank Schubert submitted to WBTV, Charlotte, NC:

And here's the "noncandidate" ad, which explicitly asks viewers to vote for Tom Tillis and not for Kay Hagan, and which WBTV ran anyway:

KETV will pocket almost $57 a second for letting Lee Terry trash talk Brad Ashford on your airwaves during Saturday's NU game

Less agency commission, of course. Mudslinging has been very, very good to local TV stations, which now report HOW good due to new FCC regulations. (We thought Omaha was exempt but either the population is bigger than we thought or area TV stations are being more transparent than they need to, which we don't believe for a second.)
     Just thirty seconds of Lee Terry bad-mouthing Brad Ashford during next Saturday's NU football game will cost TransCanada's 2nd District pet a cool $1,700. The "K" in KETV obviously stands for "KaChing."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Archbishop attacks Jesuit University for granting benefits to same sex spouses

Add caption
KETV's excellent and comprehensive report is here. Creighton's benefits committee decision was unanimous.
    The Omaha World-Herald quoted Creighton University President, Rev. Timothy Lannon as saying that offering health benefits to same-sex spouses doesn’t mean the university supports those marriages.
The archbishop disagreed, saying that condoning same-sex marriage is “precisely the message the university is giving” with the policy change it announced Monday.
     Omaha's Archdiocese brazenly flouts civil law under the rubric of "religious liberty" with apparent impunity.

Bait and Switch? Gay exec recruited to small NE town, then axed after abuse by coworkers, townspeople

Lila Shapiro of the Huffington Post relates the economic devastation of a Massachusetts retail product manager who was recruited by "an outdoor sporting-goods company" hq'd in a small Nebraska town.
     In February 2012, Paul, who is 59 years old and asked that his real name be withheld out of fear that using it would further damage his career, got an attractive and lucrative offer from an outdoor sporting-goods company for a job in product development and sourcing, a field he has been in for about 30 years...
     There was just one hitch. The job meant that he, his husband Peter and their teenage son James, who also asked that their real names be withheld, would have to leave Massachusetts and move to a small town in Nebraska, a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage and has no laws that restrict employers from firing an employee just because he is gay.
     Paul did not hide his sexual orientation in the interviewing process...
     The recruiter was not troubled by this revelation, Paul said. He told Paul that "we are a very affirming company."
     ...The problems began soon after they moved in. First, the company denied health insurance to Peter after initially promising to take care of him. Then there were the homophobic jokes in meetings -- and the company's indifference to Paul's complaints. Someone began sending Paul anonymous emails at his company address, daring him to step out into the parking lot. Finally, the company decided to do something about it. His boss called Paul into his office and fired him.
     The piece says Paul, whose family includes a husband and son, is now out $124,000 or 70% of their liquid savings, having been compelled to sell their property quickly, at a steep loss and having had to abandon Peter's spouse's antique/art shop in town
     ....Colleagues at the sporting goods company made snide jokes about what gays did on camping trips. Paul mentioned an incident where one of his son's football teammates announced in front of the other players that James had two dads. Paul recalled what his son said then: "Yeah, I have two dads, that's common in Massachusetts." "Well, it's not common here," the teammate replied.
     One day, after losing his job, Paul heard from the company's lawyer, who asked him the same question that his boss had already raised. "'What did you think was going to happen in this community?'" Paul recalls the lawyer saying. "'We're a Republican town, we're a conservative town and we're a Christian town.'"
The piece didn't name the firm in question, but apparently did not need to as hundreds of commenters on the HuffingtonPost story seem to have had no trouble deciding who the sporting goods retailer is:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What GoPro means by 'wide,' 'medium,' and 'narrow'

Here are the 35mm equivalents, straight from the horse's mouth:
Wide: 14mm
Medium: 21mm
Narrow: 28mm
     The equivalency listed above is between GoPro's nomenclature and actual focal lengths of wide-angle lenses for 35mm film cameras or full frame DSLRs. A normal field of view (FOV), approximating that of a human eye, would be produced by a 50mm lens in such cameras.
     What GoPro calls "narrow" is only so, relative to other GoPro FOVs; in conventional terms it would be considered a moderately wide-angle FOV, which would include 35mm film camera lenses up to 35mm in focal length.
     The photo below (source) compares 14, 20, 28 and 50mm FOVs. Click photo to enlarge.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bill Maher: Kansas, you do understand that Paul Davis didn't touch that stripper but that Sam Brownback fucked your entire state

     This week, the New York Times explained how Brownback and other politicians have acted as Robin Hoods in reverse, citing Kansas' lavishing millions in incentives on AMC, a theatre chain now owned by billionaire Chinese mogul Wang Jianlin, founder of Dalian Wanda Group Corporation Limited.
     Billionaire Wang Jianlin is one of China's richest men.

Soon after Kansas recruited AMC Entertainment with a $36 million award last year, the state cut its education budget by $104 million. AMC was moving only a few miles, across the border from Missouri. Workers saw little change other than in commuting times and office d├ęcor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gay chrous vs. gay chorus: If SF wins World Series, SFGMC will send Heartland Men's Chorus a box of See's candy

Evidently the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus director doesn't know that anyone in KC who wants it can buy See's candy at their local Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Like sharks warning tourists of bears, Nebraska gaming officials warn patrons of lottery scam

The odds of winning the powerball jackpot are one in 175,223,510. Megamillions is even worse; one in a quarter-billion. Warren Buffett was right when he called the lottery "a tax on stupidity."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple's Tim Cook gives the finger to mac mini customers

Apple has become even more contemptible in its pricing games under Tim Cook than it was under Steve Jobs. For example the just-introduced, $2500 iMac with the 5k display does not come with a stand. That's extra — 39 more dollars please.
     Correction: The iMac 5k retina display does come with a stand (though Apple's description is vague about the inclusion), as pointed out by a reader and confirmed by another web site. It's also (with or without an included stand) a genuine bargain considering its impressive specs, user-upgradeable memory (an endangered feature at Apple) and the fact that there is nothing out there which can match the display. Even the $250 graphics upgrade cost is cheap, considering that ATI's card version of that subsystem will run you over $900. The new Mac Minis remain a ripoff, however and we are grateful that we won't have to change the headline.
But the cruelest joke Apple played on its users was the introduction last week of 2014 Mac Minis, which, until the October 16th announcement, were the oldest Macs in Apple's line. Here's what ZDNET had to say about the minis, which can no longer be upgraded with more RAM and the top model of which is a dual CPU machine, slower than the quad-CPU 2012 mini it replaced:
     Lower performance, more expensive RAM, reduced storage capacity, worse repairability. Apple's product management has done everything short of cancelling the Mini to kill it.
     And there was no need. With the same form factor, they had plenty of room to use SODIMMs. They could have handled a quad-core i7 without thermal problems.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Omaha mayor now pressuring librarians to give out patron information to cops

Roseann Moring of the Omaha World-Herald reports that Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's chief of staff, Marty Bilek, wants the Omaha Public Library Board to require libraries to give police access to personal information from library cards. Bilek raised the spectre of "hostage situations" to justify the request, which stemmed from an incident involving a belligerent drunk.
     Board member Freddie Gray said she worried about officers using library information to conduct a background check.
     “You’re going to get this name and address and use it to also look up whether they have a criminal record?” she asked.
Bilek said background checks are a routine part of officers’ interactions with people.
     Other board members said they worry about the logistics of notifying about 300,000 patrons that their privacy rights had changed.
     The board is scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the issue at its November meeting.
     The Omaha Library Board of Trustees who will decide this issue at the board's November 19th meeting at the Milton R. Abrahams Branch at 5111 N. 90th St. are: Terry Bull, Lenora Isom, Mike Meyer, Caitlin Davis, James D. Fogarty, Freddie J. Gray, Anna Hernandez-Valencia, Dianne Jelden and Carol Wang.
     The Omaha library doesn't say when the meeting will be held (!) but previous meetings have convened at 4 pm. There will be a public hearing at the meeting, November 19th.
     Here are the email addresses of the nine library board members:;;;;;;;;

PAC of Ben Sasse's biggest endorser is mostly a scam

From Open Secrets:
Out of $1.4 million the PAC had available in the third quarter — $978,000 sitting in the bank at the beginning of the July 1-Sept. 30 period, plus another more than $433,000 raised during that time — SarahPAC managed to donate just $45,000 to fellow Republicans running in the midterms. That’s a little more than 3 percent...
What did SarahPAC spend most of its money on, then, in the third quarter? Many of the same consultants she has used all along — for speechwriting, fundraising, logistics and research. There’s even someone paid to consult on “coalitions.” Travel, presumably for Palin, is part of the equation; a PAC like this is useful for keeping a high profile nationally without having to pay those pesky airline and hotel tabs out of personal funds. And the PAC sent $10,885 to... read more
(Via JoeMyGod)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

More of the Funk Brothers, less of The Girls

The Funk Brothers were, of course, Motown's in-house wrecking crew whose backing propelled act after act to stardom.
     The Girls, as Ed Sullivan familiarly referred to them, since they were practically regulars on his massively popular Sunday night CBS variety show, were, of course, The Supremes.
     The repeated CBS exposure goes a long way toward explaining why the Supremes had more successive #1 hits than the Beatles, although another reason might have been that at their peak, some Beatles hits kept other Fab Four singles from reaching the top.)
     Here is the backing only of the Supremes' 1964 smash, Come See About Me. Wikipedia says the record "topped the chart twice, non-consecutively; toppled by and later replacing The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" in December 1964 and January 1965."
    This is why we love, love, love YouTube.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Facebook reacts to Justice Dept's creation of fake account using info from seized cell phone

Buzzfeed broke and followed this story:
     Facebook has bluntly told the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stop using phony accounts and posing as real people in its investigations.
     The company’s rebuke, delivered Friday in a sharply critical letter to the law enforcement agency, comes after BuzzFeed News disclosed that a DEA agent had created a bogus Facebook account, impersonated an upstate New York woman, and posted racy photos of her and an image of her young son from her seized cell phone — all without her knowledge. The agent used the account to contact suspected criminals.
     Recently, another branch of the U.S. Justice Department, the F.B.I., complained about encryption offered by Google and Apple to customers, that the companies would not attempt to unlock, and that would make it inconvenient for federal agents to monitor citizens.
     The F.B.I. wants Congress to stop Google and Apple from offering such encrypted privacy protection to customers, but only because the feds need to protect America from criminals — not because they would ever dream of using such power in an unethical way.
     Here's part of Facebook's indignant letter to the DEA:

American Family Association now equating 'gay' and 'ebola'

Toxic, reckless Christian defamation of LGBTs by the AFA is broadcast almost daily on the public airways in Nebraska and Iowa via the following stations, which do not give equal time to opposing viewpoints because now they don't have to: broadcasting's Fairness Doctrine was abandoned during the Reagan era.
     Religious freedom — in the service of smearing minorities using publicly allocated radio frequencies without accountability!

The American Family Association, based in Tupelo, MS, rakes in more than $20,000,000 per year demonizing LGBT people in print and on the public airwaves. You can complain about the latter at you know. Surely there are other entities who could broadcast content more in keeping with the public interest than the cynical propagandists at the American Family Association.

Pope demotes unusually homophobic cardinal

AKSARBENT always though Cardinal Burke looked
rather gay friendly, but obviously pictures can lie.
Cardinal Raymond Burke has been taking potshots at Pope Francis since 2013 and has declared that children should not be exposed to their always-evil gay relatives. He used to be the head of the Vatican's highest court of canon law (technically, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura of the Holy See.)
     Now he is the patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Rome's mayor defies Italy's interior minister, registers 16 gay marriages performed in Spain, Portugal and U.S.

Same sex marriage remains illegal in Italy and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano recently warned local prefects in a letter that registrations of gay marriages performed outside Italy would be voided.
     Nevertheless, Rome's mayor, Ignazio Mariono registered 16 gay couples within walking distance of the Vatican at the city hall reception room. Above: Mariono (center) with Andrea Rubera, left, and Dario de Gregori.
     Unlike vulgar Americans, Italians always put on a suit and tie for important stuff.

Twitchy retweeted something AKSARBENT liked

It was the clever, charming birth announcement by NASCAR circuit star Kyle Busch and his wife. Michelle Malkin must have momentarily run out of bile and have been compelled to post something before refueling.

Susanna Reid, blissfully ignorant of American slang, asks Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens how he, um, edged out other actors for his role in The Guest

GOP revives Willie Horton-style attack ad to save embattled NE Rep. Lee Terry

One or another of the GOP's national hit squads has now resuscitated the 80s Willie Horton ad attacking Michael Dukakis, with Nebraska State Senator Brad Ashford standing in for Dukakis and Nikko Jenkins substituting for Willie Horton.
     Jenkins, who was improperly freed from the Nebraska penetentiary early — not by Brad Ashford's "good time" legislative formula but by a judge who made a big mistake —  killed four people after being let out.
     Shortly thereafter, the Omaha World-Herald uncovered a huge and still-evolving scandal involving the state's GOP Governor, Dave Heineman, and his Department of Corrections. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
The state had improperly cut years off the sentences of at least 200 prisoners; many had already been released, and others were set for early release. This, Cooper told me, was a conservative estimate. State officials would later revise the total to a whopping 873 prisoners, 306 of whom had already been released. 
     Now the GOP is attempting to convince Omaha voters that the early release of dangerous inmates is a Democrat-driven problem:

     The Willie Horton revisitation isn't a Lee Terry ad, but his campaign has refused to disavow it, and in fact defended it to KETV in the above video.
     Lee Terry is running the following ad which excoriates Brad Ashford and asks voters that if Ashford won't protect Americans from "bad guys" in Nebraska how would he in the rest of the world?
     In 2010, Terry tried to block a U.N. investigation into the killing of an unarmed, 19-year-old American citizen in the Middle East.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entire U.S. Ebola capacity in biocontainment units now 36% full with just four patients

University Tower UNMC, Omaha
The U.S. has just four facilities with special biocontainment units; together, they can accommodate 11 people.
  1. The largest, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center here in Omaha, has ten beds but can currently accommodate only three Ebola patients because of equipment and staffing limitations
  2. The National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda has two beds 
  3. St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, can handle three patients.
  4. Emory University Hospital's biocontainment unit, in Atlanta, Georgia, has three beds
Related: the first Ebola patient treated in Omaha, Dr. Rick Sacra, now says he thinks he contracted the virus “getting out of my surgical gown and my gloves and my boots and stuff" after performing surgery in Liberia.

An innovative suicide prevention PSA

What really frightens Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher a founder of the National Organization for [the prevention of gay] Marriage, isn't worried about Ebola, but the following, in a recent National Review piece. (Find it yourself; we aren't linking to it) does worry her:
"Second, after spending $250,000 to give my son a college education, learning that he won’t be able to find a job that allows him to support himself and a family."
     Presumably this refers to Gallagher's second son, who, if he takes after his older step-brother, won't have to bother finding a job remunerative enough to support a wife and kids.
     Another thing that doesn't scare Gallagher is being ridiculed for teasing a future National Review piece by linking to a YouTube video of Michael Stipes singing about an unrequited gay crush. The source of Maggie's concern ("tears streaming down my face") is NOT the recent Catholic synod, we are informed.
     Damn straight:  Maggie's weeping isn't about "objections to welcoming gay people."
     Maggie had to made that clear because, you see, she has this unfortunate homophobic reputation.
     Not that we would believe she would cry about the Roman Catholic Church going easier on teh gays. We always knew she was more cold-blooded than that.
     Related: Below, her successor at the National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, debating Evan Wolfson on CSPAN. Wolfson, we think, is the most articulate spokesman for marriage equality around and worth his weight in gold, which he proves every time a TV camera is pointed at him.
     To watch him is a master's class in how to demolish an opponent's arguments without offending his supporters watching at home while simultaneously effectively persuading undecideds.

Bawdy outtake of Craig Ferguson and Tim Daly comparing sizes

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shia LaBeouf explains his nightclub arrest and why he grabbed Alan Cuming's butt

Basically, because it was within reach of whisky-soaked LaBoef's grasp, although Shia claimed that Cuming winked at him, which Judge AKSARBENT finds entirely plausible and will take into account.
    Actually the context (see second video) of LaBeof's misbehavior makes his drunken, antic and uninvited participation quite a bit more understandable than, say, Lindsy Lohan's various escapades.


Flashback: Keith Olbermann reminds us of Lee Terry selling out Nebraskans by 'whoring himself out' to the cell phone industry

Monday, October 13, 2014

When Nebraska brought out Dexter's inner redneck

Nebraska nice: speeding in a fast car on rural highways... shooting up road signs... oh my!

Joni Ernst sinks in Iowa polls and guess who's dragging her down? Sarah Palin and the Koch Bros.

Iowa Dems have been intensively canvassing the state and anti-Ernst groups have created an smorgasbord of attack ads. Still, her affiliation with Palin and the Kochs is turning off even Republicans. Sarah Jones at Politicus USA has been reading the latest Des Moines Register polls and other political tea leaves:
     By more than 2-1, the Koch Brothers affiliation hurts Joni Ernst. According to a new Iowa poll analyzed by the Des Moines Register, the Koch Brothers’ support for Republican Senate candidate and castration expert Joni Ernst is a big fat negative, with 50% disapproving and only 21% approving. Even Republicans are disgusted, with 36% finding the Kochs to be a noose around the castrator’s neck and only 27% approving.
     You know who else hurts Joni Ernst? Sarah Palin, with only 30% saying her support of Ernst helps and 56% saying it hurts. We’ve been trying to explain this to Republicans, but they are so desperate to cater to the extremist wing of their party that they still believe the mainstream belief in the power of Palin. Newsflash: This isn’t 2010.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ben Sasse brags about leaving 'No Voter Behind'
but his marriage equality stance kicks 50,000 gay Nebraskans to the curb

Sasse's web site reprints a puff piece by the far-right Weekly Standard that dutifully reports the number of pushups Ben can do, but doesn't explain why stiff-arming 50,000 gay Nebraskans won't leave those voters among them behind.
     Sasse has proven totally obeisant to the most homophobic pressure groups in Nebraska, including the Nebraska Family  Alliance, the renamed version of the Nebraska Family Council, which was instrumental, in 2000, in gathering signatures to put Initiative 416 on the state ballot, which banned gay marriage, civil unions AND domestic partnerships in the state, even though gay marriage was already against the law. (How's that for all-encompassing, scorched-earth animus?)
     Recently, the same group of Star City homeboys and girls that Sasse sucks up to gathered 10,000 signatures to kill Lincoln's LGBT fairness doctrine, passed 5-0 by the Lincoln City Council.
     If you didn't get the message implicit in Sasse's pilgrimage to the Nebraska Family Alliance's video studio in Lincoln to pander to Nebraska's most hardcore heterosexual supremacists, you can read it on his web site:

     The contrast between Sasse's indifference-to-outright-hostility, in respect of legitimate gay concerns, versus the sensitivity of his opponent, David Domina, to those same concerns, couldn't be starker.
     Here is what Dave Domina thinks: (Click to enlarge if need be.)

How the GOP won the gay marriage battle, then lost the cultural war it started

Go ahead Mike! Leave a GOP you deem to be insufficiently
heterosexual supremacist. Take your radio/TV audience with
you and start a third party, just like John Anderson,
Ross Perot and Ron Paul did.
In 2004 the GOP panicked over the 4 million Christer conservatives who stayed home on election day because they felt betrayed and ignore by George W. Bush. Since many Republicans had already gone bananas after Massachusetts' Supreme Court established LGBT marriage equality, the GOP incited  antigay referenda in 11 states and every one passed.
Republicans won the battle, but they soon lost the war. All 11 passed handily, and another seven passed in 2006. However, the mean-spirited anti-gay marriage campaign actually failed to increase Republican turnout, while alienating the younger generation of voters. American youth who had grown up treating gays equally soon propelled Barack Obama to the White House and invigorated the marriage cause. Ten years after that first round of anti-gay initiatives, same-sex marriage is on the verge of being legal in 60 percent of the country.
Read more:

SNL: Stefon lives! And weekend update sympathizes with deadbeat gay boyfriends who don't wanna get married

Said Michael Che: "After the Supreme Court declined to rule on the issue of same sex marriage, it is now legal in 30 states. I'm happy for same sex couples, but I feel bad for a group of people that still get ignore in this country, and that's gay dudes who really, really don't want to get married and had a really good excuse not to for so long. I know there are some deadbeat gay boyfriends out there like 'Yo, Carl, you know I wanna marry you, but SOCIETY, man... just won't let us. Oh well. I guess we just gotta keep boning casually 'till the world gets its act together.' "

Did Pepsi sneak a gay blue-collar couple into a TV ad 45 years ago?

Tom Gilbert, who uploaded the ad to YouTube, said: "One of earliest of the "You've Got a Lot to Live" spots that ran from 1969-72. Note the blue collar gay couple. Don't you think?"
     One commenter said the couple were the racial integration poster characters — but two schoolboys appeared later in the ad who punched that ticket.
     AKSARBENT will reserve judgement on whether the pair were construction buds — or more — until we knew whether they were going to a job site together —  or leaving together. (The black half of the duo does seem to have a girlfriend — or sister — or beard.)
     In any case, we don't expect 2014 PepsiCo to return any calls on that question since there's a good chance the ad's art director has gone to that big focus group in the sky if the drinking habits of 60s admen are accurately reflected by Don Draper and Company.