Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Here's a limping Chernobyl fox that can make a sandwich

Don't get your hopes up, Jimmy John's — animals can't sign the non-compete clauses that you require of even your lowest-wage employees.

Scalia tried floating fear that pro-gay marriage ruling would bar anti-gay marriage ministers from marrying anyone — before Kagan and Breyer shut him up

Fellow travelers: some people scream cray cray from the
gallery, some people intone it from the bench.
Shortly after crackpot-with-priors Rives Miller Grogan yelled that gay marriage supporters could "burn in hell," Justice Antonin Scalia pronounced his outburst "rather refreshing."
     Maybe he was mad that Justices Kagan and Breyer had just demolished his ridiculous suggestion that a pro-gay marriage ruling would prevent anti-gay marriage ministers from marrying anyone. (Various news accounts characterized his concern as merely worrying that anti-gay ministers would be compelled to marry gay couples.)
     Here's what he said (transcript links are here):

In response, Justice Kagan pointedly noted:
...there are many rabbis that will not conduct marriages between Jews and non-Jews, notwithstanding that we have a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination. And those rabbis get all the powers and privileges of the State, even if they have that rule, most — many, many rabbis won't do that.
Then Justice Breyer sharply reminded Scalia:
It's called Congress shall make no law respecting the freedom of religion.

The gender bias argument against gay marriage bans gets serious attention from Chief Justice Roberts

The New York Times examined the sex discrimination argument against 'gay marriage' bans in the wake of Chief Justice Roberts's comments in yesterday's oral arguments and suggested that he might be looking for a way to rule in favor of gay marriage.
     Such arguments have been raised in lower courts before. Roberts put it this way:
I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve the case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based on their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?
     Here at AKSARBENT we call refutations of such reasoning the Anatole France dodge — that there is no discrimination against gays in marriage because they are free to marry the opposite sex, just as heteros are, or put another way, that neither gender suffers discrimination in same sex marriage bans because both are equally burdened from a prohibition on marrying members of their own gender.
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain. [In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.]
                                  —Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894), ch. 7
     Of course, citing French literature, no matter how brilliantly sarcastic, will get you nowhere in a U.S. Court of Law, so we wondered how a lawyer would argue against the sex discrimination response by the anti-gay marriage crowd.
     The Times article provided the answer:
     John J. Bursch, a lawyer defending same-sex marriage bans, had two responses in court to the chief justice’s question. First, he said, it is sex discrimination only if the two sexes are treated differently, but the bans place equivalent burdens on men and women.
     Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, wrote on The Volokh Conspiracy, a blog about law, that the problem with this argument “is that, by the same reasoning, laws banning interracial marriage don’t discriminate on the basis of race.”
     Indeed, courts for years justified bans on interracial marriage on such a “separate but equal” rationale.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Justice Scalia: screaming antigay nutcase hauled away at Supreme Court was 'rather refreshing'

Also: How Justices Kagan and Breyer shut down Scalia's blatant fear-mongering

The outburst happened shortly after Justices Kagan and Breyer demolished a Scalia religious liberty objection regarding the supposed disqualification of anti-gay marriage ministers from officiating any marriages should the Supreme Court rule same sex marriage a right. Links to transcripts and audio here.

Listen: Oral arguments for and against gay marriage at Supreme Court

This morning the Supreme Court separately heard arguments on two gay marriage questions:
1) Does the 14th Amendment require states to license same-sex marriages?
2) And does it require them to recognize those marriages performed in other states?
Via SCOTUS blog:

Near the end of arguments on the first question, a gay marriage opponent (apparently an elderly man) was escorted, screaming, out of the chamber shortly after Justices Kagan and Breyer demolished a Scalia religious liberty objection regarding the supposed disqualification of anti-gay marriage ministers from officiating any marriages.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Obama gay jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner

Numbers 10 and 4 gay-themed swipes at Indiana and Rick Santorum, were listed in Politico's top ten Obama jibes.

     10. On former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s declaration that he would not attend a gay wedding if invited: “Gays and lesbians across the country responded, ‘That’s not going to be a problem.’”
     4. On his ever-improving relationship with Vice President Joe Biden: “We’ve gotten so close that in some places in Indiana they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”
     The New York Times stopped sending reporters to the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2007, when it apparently decided that the cozy Beltway schmoozing of journalists, celebrities and politicians had become too unseemly to merit its august presence. We can't say that we disagree.

Saudis displace 100,000 Yemenis in U.S.-abetted attacks; country was already impoverished

Democracy Now! takes apart the public statement of the Saudi ambassador.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A death in the family

This weekend AKSARBENT attended a memorial in the Omaha area for a friend claimed by cancer. At the right you see his bereft daughter and son consoling the man's companion, a stroke victim who will now have to depend on others for assistance.
     Along with our sadness, we felt an unexpected measure of anger and contempt for politicians who repeatedly raid the public purse to pursue an agenda of making life difficult in ingeniously nasty ways for whomever they happen to feel morally superior to — and collaterally, their relatives, like the ones pictured here.
     One of these types is the current attorney general of Nebraska, Donald Peterson, who we have excoriated in this blog before.
     The same Donald Peterson who filed a motion putting the State of Nebraska on record urging serious judicial consideration of the junk social science research of Mark Regnerus, author of a widely discredited study funded and/or publicized by several right-wing organizations lobbying against marriage equality.
     The same Donald Peterson who is spending Nebraska tax revenue to help the attorney general of Texas block (for as long as he can get away with it) Family and Medical Leave for gay Texas couples legally married elsewhere.
     We left the memorial more determined than ever never to caste a vote for someone who is making a career out of using his staff to kick the stool out from under people who have enough to contend with already and then cynically and laughably complaining about the alleged intolerance and incivility of people repulsed by the calculating animus of himself and his ilk.

Friday, April 24, 2015

NE AG office: judge shouldn't strike LGBT adoption ban as state isn't following it right now

Assistant Attorney General Jessica Forch, according to the Omaha World-Herald, told Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn that he needn't strike down the policy, being challenged by the ACLU, because it isn't being followed now: "We're not arguing that it is constitutional. It is not applied It is not a policy. It's nothing."
     Victims of the guideline, in place since the mid-90s under Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson, would beg to differ about the harmlessness of the policy and did recently, during hearings on LB647, a bill to prohibit the state from discriminating in adoptions because of sexual orientation.

    The notorious memo specifically bars licensing or placing children with “persons who identify themselves as homosexuals."
     Forch said [former HHS children and family services director Thomas] Pristow approved 15 placements with gay or lesbian foster parents from that time until he was let go by incoming Gov. Pete Ricketts...
     In response to questions from Judge Colborn, Forch acknowledged that proposed placements with gay or lesbian foster parents had to go through more levels of approval than other placements. She said the scrutiny was intended to prevent bias.
     Forch also said there was no evidence the couples named in the lawsuit had been discriminated against.
     Claims that two of the couples were told they could not apply to be foster parents amounted to hearsay and should not be admitted as evidence, she said.

Watching this will only make you even more disgusted with NE AG Donald Peterson's anti-marriage equality stalling tactics on your dime

The world is rapidly leaving stubborn bigots like Peterson and the like-minded heterosexual supremacists with whom he has packed the NE AG's office. But the GOP keeps propelling them into office, and they keep spending your money on legal stalling tactics to further their Quixotic anti-marriage equality agenda, which has now failed in 37 states, including every one surrounding Nebraska.

YSU posters tell LGBTs not to reveal their differences

The anonymously-posted flyers tell LGBTs to "...go about your day without telling everyone about how "different" you are."
     The message goes on:

Brought to you by the students that [sic] are sick of hearing about your LGBT pride. Nobody cares about what you think you are, or what you want to have sex with... We just don't give a fuck.

     This looks to us like the work of as few as one jerk purporting to speak for many.

Liberty University hires notoriously antigay assistant football coach

Above, Brown testifying against proposed LGBT antibias
additions to Omaha municipal charter, subsequently passed
In the wake of head coach Bo Pellini's firing by Nebraska, Brown's contract was not renewed.
     Brown followed Pellini to Ohio, but will now coach at ultra-right wing Liberty University, after being hired by head coach Turner Gill, an NU alumnus and former assistant coach at Nebraska, with whom Brown worked for 13 years.
     From Chris Lang, of the Lynchburg News Advance:
      Liberty is set to hire longtime Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown as its new wide receivers coach, according to the coaching industry website was not retained in Lincoln after Mike Riley took over as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.
     ...Speaking of his relationship with Gill in a 2010 Lincoln Journal Star story: “All kinds of things that have gone on in life that you share. That’s the beauty of coaching and friendships. Even when you leave in the coaching profession, and you don’t stay together forever, you can have a friend that you still connect with in a powerful way. That’s very special. And Turner and I have that.”
      Liberty University touts itself as:
...a pioneer in online education, allowing non-traditional learners around the world access to the same quality programs as residential students. Overall enrollment has increased from 64,000 in 2010 to more than 100,000 today. Liberty is now the largest private, nonprofit four-year college in the country, the nation’s fifth largest university, and the largest college in Virginia.
     Left unmentioned in Liberty's self-promotion is the University's huge amount of federal financial aid — $445,000,000 in 2010 alone ($25,000,000 more than the government gave to NPR.) according to Alex Parene at Salon.

KNXV: Beginning of the end for Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

Arpaio's admission of a secret investigation of the wife of judge presiding over contempt proceedings could bring him jail time for intimidating a federal officer — or, in a scenario raised by his remaining lawyers (one quit his defense this week) it could get the judge removed from the case.

Watch: Lambda Legal's new marriage equality ad

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NE Gov. tells state's Atheists and Agnostics to recognize the need to strengthen religious values

Specifically, Pete Ricketts, in the governor's annual suck-up to showboat piety, the National Day of Prayer, urged:
It is fitting and proper to give thanks to God by observing a day of prayer in Nebraska when all may acknowledge our blessing and express gratitude for them, while recognizing the need for strengthening religious and moral values in our state...
Pete Ricketts is, of course, a wealthy scion of his family's business, TD Ameritrade, which strengthened moral values by ransoming its customers' trades to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to a Chicago high-speed trading firm that engaged in electronic "front-running" in order to inflate the cost of purchasing stock by the amount it pocketed by intervening to up the price.

Five years after BP gulf spill, things AREN'T back to normal

Who cries more on the Internet: Italians or Americans?

Above: various Italians, weeping pitifully
Surprisingly, Americans do. But Italians are in the top five. Of course, by "Americans," we mean U.S. citizens. Canadians, though outwardly polite, actually rival even Australians as online goons. Swiftkey analyzed a billion emojis from all over the world. Its report is here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dieseltec, antigay garage, applied for a city business license today

Although licensed by the state, facebook homophobe Brian Klawiter never applied for a Grandville, Michigan business license because he objected to possible surprise inspections of his shop without a warrant.
     After widespread ridicule and at least one demonstration outside his garage, Klawiter now has applied for a business license, after several critics pointed out that insurance companies generally do not pay claims submitted by unlicensed businesses.
     According to Michigan Live:
City Clerk Mary Meines said the city sent Dieseltec another notice last week, after Klawiter posted to the business' Facebook page that he would not serve openly gay customers. The latest notice gave the business until May 15 to get a city license, she said.
     "We sent him a letter last week and he was in today," Meines said Monday afternoon.
     Dieseltec will not be assessed a $50 fine for non-compliance with the earlier notice, she said.

Hold for release until end of the world confirmed...

John Oliver enlists Martin Sheen to update CNN's Armageddon video. Via JoeMyGod.

Odd new brief signed by NE AG's office against same sex marriage admits states are forbidden from gender discrimination in marriage

Fifteen attorneys-general (all Republicans) are urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to declare state bans against gay marriage unconstitutional, in a new brief. In it is the following:

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
    Naturally AKSARBENT wonders, as have many others, why it isn't gender discrimination when the state allows Jill to marry a man but forbids her brother Jack from doing the same.
     The brief also speculates that declaring bans on gay marriage unconstitutional will result in "incalculable" damage to the civic life of the U.S. (presumably like wrecked social landscape in the damned state of Massachusetts, which has had same sex marriage for over ten years, along with one of the country's lowest divorce rates.) 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Brian Klawiter, antigay Dieseltec owner, ducks TV interview as his Grandville, MI garage is picketed

Brian Klawiter refused to be interviewed by WOOD8 TV during a picket of his business Saturday. An associate said Klawiter was tired of being "misquoted and having his message taken out of context."
     Rev. Robert Teszlewicz, a pastor at Catholic Apostolic Church in Muskegon, organized the protest, which drew about a dozen people. His church is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

     Klawiter's unprovoked facebook rant  attracted the ire not only of the Internet, but of suppliers. He explained that he has "chosen" to remove the trademarks of three diesel engine manufacturers from his website. At least one of those companies, Cummins, said it notified Klawiter to stop using its logo:
     We at DIESELTEC INC hold all of our vendors and suppliers in high regard. Due to the current high level of attention we are receiving from our position on a national topic of debate, we have chosen to temporarily suspend the open display of their company names and logos. We respect that they may have alternative views from ours. We will continue to supply and service all of the familiar automotive diesel products you have become familiar with. Please call us if you have any questions about product availability.
Here's what Cummins said on its facebook page:
     Widespread attention to Klawiter has reveal a criminal record of assault and battery and the fact that he has refused to obtain a business license for his shop.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Video: Omahan who torched lesbian couple's pride flag smirks through lawyer-prompted apology

The accused, Cameron Mayfield, is represented by attorney James Martin Davis, who unsuccessfully defended Gregory Duncan recently against a hate crime charge of assaulting Ryan Langenegger, a straight Marine who was protecting two gay friends.

Reported WOWT:
     Simmons testified that Mayfield called his father approximately three hours after the alleged crime while he was being detained. His father asked him if he burned the flag. Cameron told him that he had. His father then instructed Cameron to tell the police there was no intent of hate.
     Earlier in the evening, Mr. Mayfield told a sergeant investigating the crime at his house that he had several conversations with his son about the flag and what it meant.
     He also told detectives that he raised his son to be "tolerant." He was brought up this way in part because Cameron has two mentally challenged siblings.
     Simmons also testified that the Mayfield family had a sign in their front yard approximately six months prior to the crime that read "Protect Traditional Marriage."

Friday, April 17, 2015

ESPN suspends Britt McHenry for mean girl bullying of towing firm clerk

What a nasty piece of work. Her mandated hiatus will last a week.

Here's her apology:
"In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake."
No one who sees the above video is going to buy that. The bottom line is that she wants people to believe what she said is out of character when her actions betray her character as that of a shallow bitch. Would anyone who isn't, ever resort to the kind of contemptible and revulsive put-downs she employed?

Nebraska Family Alliance: Ban gay marriage because children grow up dumber when raised by women

An alphabet soup alliance of antigay "family" groups, (including the Nebraska Family Alliance)  have signed a recent amicus brief citing a who's who of right-wing junk social science, including famously discredited Mark Regnerus.
     Below is an example of the arguments in their brief, which contradicts the stance of virtually every mainstream group of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and physicians lined up on the other side, in support of marriage equality:   
In general, fathers also use a broader vocabulary when interacting with their children, which develops children’s expressive-language abilities. In addition, fathers often engage in peer-like verbal play, which helps older children and adolescents relate to their peers and shape their sense of self. And fathers’ use of more cognitively demanding language, together with their tendency to require children to demonstrate skills and learning, cultivates higher-level thinking and supports educational attainment and academic achievement.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social media spanks antigay MI garage, DieselTec

One assumes a social media backlash has something to do with the fact that DieselTec's facebook page now displays this:

 From a screencap of the post published by MLive:

A $53,000, 750-lb., water-cooled microwave oven

From Wikipedia:

     In 1947, Raytheon built the "Radarange", the first commercially available microwave oven. It was almost 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) tall, weighed 340 kilograms (750 lb) and cost about US$5,000 ($52,809 in today's dollars) each. It consumed 3 kilowatts, about three times as much as today's microwave ovens, and was water-cooled. In 1961, an early Radarange was installed (and remains) in the galley of the nuclear-powered passenger/cargo ship NS Savannah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Legally married NE gay couples must fill out 5 income tax returns, two of them fake

The instructions are so convoluted that the Nebraska Department of Revenue has a special page (actually two) for gay Nebraska couples legally married in other states. One joint return for the feds, then two "mock" (fake) returns — a legally mandated lie on which Nebraska returns are predicated — then two individual Nebraska returns. Thanks, anti-gay marriage Attorney General Don Peterson and Governor Pete Ricketts!

New Irish marriage equality ad

Although polls are running in favor of gay marriage, supporters aren't taking anything for granted and have initiated a #RingYourGranny campaign.

(Via @TLRD)

Denver TSA agents fired over scheme to grope attractive male passengers

According to the Huffington Post:

Huffington Post inducts Colby Coash fundraiser into its 'Dickipedia"

In 2012, Lincoln GOP state senator Colby Coash booked NRA nutbag, Vietnam draft dodger and 21st century hunting law scofflaw Ted Nugent for a fundraiser, then attempted to run from the controversy by making the event "invitation only."

Below, Rosanne Barr goes after Ted Nugent and the politicians for whom he raises money in a video (obviously uploaded by a Teabagger) that claims Nugent got the better of Barr in the discussion. He didn't.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

OK boys, even Bud Anderson fooled around once

Back in 1986, Billy Gray, who played son Bud on Father Knows Best, gracefully endured the usual amount of sexual harassment that comes with being interviewed on Howard Stern's show and, as Hugh Hefner did in his biography, confessed (when asked) to a solitary sexual experience with another guy.
Stern: Ever had any homosexual activity?
Gray: Oh, when I was about 15, I think...
Stern: What happened?
Gray: Oh, you know, just a little under-the-covers stuff... Enough so that I could answer honestly and not be allowed to be in the service.
Stern: ...Really, you went that far!
Gray: Yeah I did.
Stern: ...That was a one time thing?
Gray: Yeah, just a quickie.
     Gray made enough off the show to live modestly, racing motorcycles without ever having to get a regular job again. Although quite talented, he could not get acting work for years after a 1961 marijuana bust. (Father Knows Best ran on CBS and NBC from 1954-1960. After that, ABC ran reruns of the show in prime time for another three years.)
     Costar Elinor Donahue, in an interview, said Jane Wyatt and Robert Young thought Gray had a better career ahead of him as an actor than did she.
     On the Father Knows Best website, producer Eugene Rodney explained how Billy Gray got the role:
Our Bud had to have a teen-age boy’s abstraction, not flipness. More than thirty boys read the test script, but only one could say the gag lines – the Bud-isms- flat, able to resist a “this-is-a-joke-see?’ lilt.” “As an example”, said Mr. Rodney, “when Jim, worried about Betty’s going steady, reads aloud a newspaper story about a girl eloping and taking $200 with which her aunt was to buy a TV set, our Bud had to be able to look up and ask seriously, 'What size screen, dad?' Billy Gray was the only actor that could do it the way we wanted”.
     Like many actors, Gray was no fan of Ronald Reagan, who used to tell voters that he was president of a labor union without mentioning that he sold out that union. From a 1974 AP interview:
     Although Father Knows Best still appears regularly on television, Gray's residual checks have long since ceased.
     "I can thank Ronald Reagan for that," he remarked. "When he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, he negotiated a contract that allowed the producers to cut off residuals after a certain number of reruns. Shortly afterward, Reagan became a producer."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Aerial Game of Thrones plays out between falcons from Lincoln's State Capitol and Omaha's Woodmen Tower

The beautiful art-deco Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, among its many attractions, hosts a Peregrine Falcon nesting box lorded over by "19K."
     Omaha's Woodmen of the World Tower also has a nesting box, ruled by "Mintaka."
     Both nesting boxes have webcams. Last February, 19K flew 60 miles north to Omaha, to the nesting box of Mintaka, his son. According to Matthew Hansen, of the Omaha World-Herald,
19K was not there to give Mintaka advice about being a dad. He was not there to slip him $20 for gas. He was there to rumble.
     Below is the March 7th engagement of what was thought to be a running battle lasting weeks:

     Added reporter Hansen, who interviewed Joel Jorgensen, a program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:
     In one way, the battle is epic, positively Shakespearean, especially when you know that even wildlife experts are helpless to explain why Lincoln’s established male falcon would fly to Omaha and try to murder his son.
     “It boggled my mind, honestly,” Jorgensen says.
The Woodmen of the World Tower, Omaha's second tallest building, was, of course the starring edifice in Alexander Payne's best film, About Schmidt, which got Jack Nicholson a Golden Globe and and Oscar nomination.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Comma Queen, possessed

Advice from Mary Norris, copy editor of the New Yorker, who, we fervently hope, never encounters this blog.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

30,000+ sign 2 petitions in 24 hours to protest Omaha Catholic school's defacto firing of gay speech coach

One petition got 20,000 signatures in about 12 hours. It now has more than 26,000. Another petition, with more than 8,000 signatures, has been started by Skutt alumni to protest the Archdiocese's refusal to renew the teaching contract of Matthew Eledge who informed the school he is gay and wants to marry his partner. The Archdiocese issued a statement, saying:
All elementary and secondary teachers sign one-year contracts.  Contracts include a code of conduct, in addition to a clause whereby teachers agree to uphold the teachings of the Church.
The 20,000+ signature petition at notes:
Under his leadership, the students have won five consecutive conference and district titles and capped another successful year with its fourth straight state championship this past March. Unfortunately, this legacy will be coming to an end. Mr. Eledge is being fired from Skutt Catholic for being in a gay relationship.
The Omaha World-Herald, as well as Omaha's KMTV (CBS), WOWT (NBC) and KETV (ABC) affiliates have covered the story. The Herald interviewed Dave Gottschalk, a 2010 Skutt graduate who it said helped draft the petition and who said he loves the school but feels its actions contradict one of the institution's core beliefs:
Omaha Archbishop George Lucas
Skutt Catholic’s curriculum is centered not only around theology (but also) social justice and embracing diversity in those that are marginalized by society,” said Gottschalk, who graduated from UNL in 2014. “And here we are watching the institution that instilled these social justice values in us turn around and discriminate against the marginalized.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GOP's RFRA stunt cost Indiana $1.5 billion

The Governator is not amused by GOP attacks on LGBTS
Which Indiana Senators and Representatives voted for RFRA? Find out here.

From NBC affiliate WNDU in South Bend:
     “With all due respect to anyone who says let’s just slow down, let’s take our time, why do we need to do this? In your heart of hearts you know why we're doing this, because there's been economic damage to our state. I think unfairly, but it's real and we have to do something about it,” President Pro Tempore David Long said during a conference committee hearing on the fix.
     “I had a manufacturer from Marshall County call me earlier this week distraught that he had just lost his largest customer who said that they no longer were going to purchase product from them because they didn't want to buy anything from the state of Indiana,” testified Kevin Brinegar with the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce.
     USA Today recently voted Indianapolis the number one convention city in the U.S.
     The convention, tourism, entertainment and hospitality industries there employ 100,000 people.
     “I talked to some of the industry professionals just to get the facts and figures so I didn't just pull them out of thin air,” said Ind. Rep. Terri Austin, (D) Anderson. Convention and meetings, the net present value, the loss to the state is $1.5 billion, meetings and conventions.”

Remember when those Hollywood homofascists almost gay-married Bud on Father Knows Best in 1955?

Bud the Bridesmaid was broadcast February 27, 1955 on the CBS television network.
     It was the 22nd episode of Season One and the script was written by Dorothy Cooper and Barbara Hammer from an original story by Ed James.

Kathy: You're the bride!
Bud: What? ... Do I look like a bride?
Jim: Now... Start with the left foot.
Bud: If this ever gets out I'll never be able to show my face again!
Bud: Have a heart, dad.
Margaret: Stop arguing. Act like a bride.
Bud: How can I try out for the football team if the fellas ever find out I was a bride?

We like the part at the end where (as AKSARBENT spins it) Bud wept over the one who got away.

Monday, April 6, 2015

ND paper prints pictures of every GOP lawmaker who voted against LGBT-rights bill; now a Fargo coffee shop has banned them

The Red Raven Espresso Parlor cut out a picture of the 55 Republicans who did so, and taped it to the window so they know they're barred unless accompanied by LGBTs. The Friday following the shop's ban saw a 10-fold increase in business. (H/T: Talking Points Memo and @DominicHolden)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

After testifying against LGBT bills in at least 2 states, ADF told IRS it didn't lobby in FY covering Spring, 2013

Despite opposing LGBT legislation in at least two committee hearings during the Spring of 2013, the Alliance Defending Freedom, in its 990 form covering that period, claimed to the IRS that it did not engage in lobbying.
     Rhode Island and Nebraska don't appear to consider advocacy before a legislative committee lobbying if the testifier was "invited" by the committee.
     The IRS has its own definition of what constitutes lobbying by 503 (C) (3) entities.

March 2013, Nebraska: ADF's Kellie Feidorek testifies against LB485, an LGBT antibias bill before the Nebraska Unicameral.

March 2013, Rhode Island: ADF's Kellie Fiedorek testifies against marriage equality before the Rhode Island legislature.

Fun facts about the Alliance Defending Freedom!
  • For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, ADF took in almost $40 million, including over $16 million in direct mail fundraising.
  • It raked in almost $8 million from a mystery contributor it didn't identify.
  • It had bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Austria.
  • Its Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff was Wayne N. Swindler.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

GOP attacks on LGBTs are really starting to piss off Arnold Schwarzenegger

The governator is worried that the GOP is pissing off young "economic conservatives" and that if GOP registration nationwide follows the Golden State trend, there soon may not be enough Republicans to carry water for the 1% — not that California has much water left. Here's part of his Washington Post rant:
     I immigrated to the United States in the heat of the 1968 presidential campaign, when the choice — as I heard it through a friend’s translation — was simple. Hubert Humphrey, with his talk of government programs, sounded too much like an Austrian politician. Richard Nixon talked about freedom, getting the government off our backs and giving the people room to grow. I was hooked.
The moment I became a citizen in 1983, I registered Republican, and I’ve never thought about checking any other box...
     Now I’d like to speak to some of my fellow Republicans...who choose the politics of division over policies that improve the lives of all of us...who have decided to neglect the next generation of voters...who are fighting for laws that fly in the face of equality and freedom.
     If we want our party to grow and last, we must be focused on real solutions to problems Americans are facing.
     We could start with infrastructure. Traffic costs our drivers over $100 billion annually. Airport delays cost another $22 billion. Or we could get to work on education. If graduation rates don’t increase, we will have a shortage of 5 million workers by 2020 — not because we lack the manpower, but because the jobs will require education that our students aren’t receiving. We could clean up our air: MIT researchers found that pollution kills more than 200,000 Americans every year — more than traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. There are so many real problems that need solving.
But distracting, divisive laws like the one Indiana initially passed aren’t just bad for the country, they’re also bad for our party.
     In California, the GOP has seen the danger of focusing on the wrong issues. In 2007, Republicans made up nearly 35 percent of our registered voters. By 2009, our share dropped to 31 percent, and today, it is a measly 28 percent. That sharp drop started just after the divisive battle over Proposition 8. Maybe that’s a coincidence, but there is no question that our party is losing touch with our voters, especially with the younger ones who are growing the registration rolls.
     ...Both sides of the Indiana debate used Twitter to voice their support, and the result couldn’t be clearer. According to Zignal Labs, as of Wednesday night, #StandWithIndiana had been tweeted 5,571 times. Meanwhile, #BoycottIndiana was tweeted 430,728 times.
     Take a quick look at Reddit’s r/news top stories for the week — there have been more than 15,000 comments on this issue, overwhelmingly in opposition to the Indiana law.
     Polls show that laws like this are not supported by independents, women, minorities or Americans between 18 and 29. Nor are they supported by big business, as evidenced by NASCAR, the NBA and Wal-Mart’s public, vocal opposition.
     Those businesses are doing the right thing, but they have also done the math...

The Indiana Home Shopping Network

A less creepy use of drones?

Well, not if you're a sheep.

Why a former mayor and state lawmaker threw a jar of Vaseline at Maine's GOP governor

It's all about GOP Gov. LePage's plan to cut $300 in taxes from Maine's budget by lowering corporate taxes and increasing sales taxes. The Bangor Daily News described a controversial aspect of the governor's new personal income tax rate brackets:
While taxing the middle tax bracket a higher percent than the top tax bracket seems to subvert the historically progressive nature of the income tax, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., which released its analysis of the LePage budget before it was made public says the strategy is intended to counterweight the benefits of the tax-exempt bracket.

Shane Vander Hart, Iowa's conspicuously caffeinated right wing blogger, is singing the RFRA blues

It's been a while since we surfed to Shane Vander Hart's blog, Caffeinated Thoughts. 
     Shane, understandably, isn't crazy about this blog. He told us one (just one?) of our posts demonstrated "the worst in political blogging."
     AKSARBENT, for its part, thinks Shane has some extremely creepy friends and/or acquaintances.
     Anyway, Shane is currently mad about the fact that various Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are blowing up in the faces of the conservatives who thought no one notice how different their new versions are from the federal RFRA (Hey, look — ours is just like the one Clinton signed! HEY! You're looking too closely!)
      After claiming that "the media and certainly liberal activists are being dishonest about what it actually does," reliably reactionary Vander Hart purported to do otherwise, or so his headline, like a phony Grindr come-on, seductively promised:
     Vander Hart deplored the "feigned uproar over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act." (Funny, neither the GOP mayor of Indianapolis and its Tourist Bureau nor the Indianapolis Star thought the uproar was feigned.) 

     To borrow a seque from George Takei, we can only say to Shane, "My, my! What an expansive definition of "individual" you seem to entertain when you equate Indiana's RFRA with the one Bill Clinton signed!" Here's what Vander Hart conveniently omitted from his defense of Indiana's unamended RFRA:
     As you can see, Indiana's unrevised RFRA was so broad that it "protected" an entity whose religious feelings were allegedly hurt by marauding mobs of homos even if that entity was actually a for-profit corporation in which most of the stock was held by atheists, provided the firm was actually "controlled" by pushy Christers who had a "substantial" amount (but not even necessarily a majority) of the stock.
     How's that for a loophole, huh kids?
     But wait, there's more that seemed to escape Shane's sacred spin:

     Oh — so it's all about the GOV'MINT abasing and abusing Christian cake bakers who are pitifully reduced to depending on the kindness of benevolent strangers, like the multimillion-dollar Christian legal steamroller, the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom, right?
     Well, not exactly. What Shane didn't mention is that the act helps protect the "piety" of, say, a hospital corporation, if a homophobic Christian doctor or nurse invokes "next-of-kin" rules to isolate a critically injured patient while while cruelly relegating his or her frantic life partner to a lobby because their legal marriage was in a different, more liberal, state or country.
     Nowhere did Vander Hart bother to mention what the actual Indiana RFRA plainly states (below)  that the law provides a defense "regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding."
     In fact, ThinkProgress, for one busted Vander Hart's specious (or maybe just dishonest) argument before he even wrote it:
     But while RFRAs advanced in previous years were designed to prohibit the government from burdening the religious beliefs of citizens, Indiana’s bill would allow individuals to use their religious beliefs to defend themselves in court even if the state is not party to the case. Thus, this would allow a business owner to use their religious beliefs to justify refusing services for a same-sex couple’s wedding. As a state law, this would supersede any municipal nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people.

     In a follow-up article, Shane Vander Hart even busted his own duplicity in a post called Indiana Just Gutted RFRA Making It Meaningless:
In their “clarification” they neglect that language so basically we have a RFRA which is meaningless for anyone except those in religious organizations and they were mostly already covered by an exemption in most Civil Rights Codes that I can think of.
     Are you following this? Vander Hart argues that because clarification of a bill called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" now grants exemptions only to actual religions, not for-profit corporations, it has been "gutted."

     Kinda makes you wonder if the terrible liberals and oh-so-naive corporations like Apple, Lilly, Levi's, Marriott, Nascar, Walmart, etc., who wanted the act amended to make it do only what its name said, were onto Indiana Governor Mike Pence's song and dance about how he wasn't sneaking a stealth right-to-discriminate law into Indiana's statutes — even after he invited a Who's Who of Indiana's professional homophobes into a "private" signing ceremony.
     Maybe Vander Hart should lay off the caffeine. Dressing a right-wing agenda of enabling homophobes in the drag of religious freedom just got a lot harder because the old tricks aren't fooling as many people as they used to.
     For a more honest and sensible explanation than you'll ever get from the Shane Vander Harts of the world of the alarming new generation of RFRAs and how the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision turned even relatively benign older RFRAs from freedom shields into right-wing swords — read this expose at the Daily Beast.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fox News' popup utilitarian lesbian friend attacks gay 'mob' now 'terrorizing' pizza bigots

Tammy Bruce on Fox and Friends
Tucker Carlson set up the fake narrative in his introduction by claiming that an Indiana pizzeria "had to close its doors" after receiving "death threat after death threat" for its support of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
     The truth is that the restaurant has attracted widespread Internet contempt after a co-owner told a TV station that the establishment would not provide pizza for a gay wedding. The self-created notoriety has also resulted in a gofundme campaign set up by sympathizers of the group which so far has collected nearly half a million dollars on behalf of the antigay establishment.
      Maybe the owners really closed their doors to take a vacation in Tahiti?

Esquire: David Brooks condescending advice to gays is a 'dog's breakfast'; he's 'Bull Connor in a $500 suit'

And after Charles Pierce of Esquire was finished with David Brooks, he went after Brooks' dog. (Someone's gaining on you, Maureen Dowd)
     "Morality is a politeness of the soul"? What kind of dog's breakfast is that? Jesus His Own Self said he brought not peace, but a sword. If Brooks wants to stand with religious-based bigotry, with the Micah Clarks of the world, he should just do so and stop wasting all of our time as a sewage-treatment plant for the worst instincts in our politics. "Neighborly problems"? If Brooks wants to say that discrimination against LGBT citizens is not really discrimination worthy of the law's attention, he should just say so, and stop wasting all our time putting Bull Connor in a $500 suit. Here's a "creative accommodation" for you. Don't be a bigot.
     I have to go now. Moral Hazard, the Irish setter owned by David Brooks for photo-op purposes, is laying on his back out in the yard, without even the energy or inspiration to lick his own balls. I'm worried about him, frankly.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Equality Matters documents Fox News' promotion of antigay RFRA Jim Crow laws

Equality Matters says, "The emergence of a national push for expanded state RFRA laws hasn't occurred in a vacuum -- it's happened in the context of a steady drumbeat of fear mongering by conservative media, led by Fox News, over the plight of anti-gay business owners."

Bold Nebraska's fracking video goes viral

More here.

Here's Jane Kleeb, of Bold Nebraska, listening with tangible annoyance to the same arguments she's heard a thousand times before, from an oil industry stooge Heritage Foundation representative before periodically demolishing his excuses.

What's the point of boycotting Indiana?

Matt Baume explains. Aside: people are starting to understand that it was the Roberts Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that has turned RFRAs (Religious Freedom Restoration Acts) from shields into swords that allow "religious" freedoms of for-profit corporations (!) to trump freedoms of individuals.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gay etiquette on the basketball court

Cyd Zeigler at Outsports has written another fascinating piece —on Kentucky high school basketball player Dalton Maldonado, who outed himself with a snarky retort to an epithet voiced by a member of an opposing team, causing that entire team to chase Maldonado's team bus. Pretty horrible. But the following was amusing:
     ...One particularly meaningful moment came a few games later. Unbeknownst to most of the players, Betsy Layne was playing against another team that happened to feature Maldonado's ex-boyfriend. During a rough play, Akers knocked the opposing player to the ground. When he helped the player off the floor, Maldonado shot him a dirty look. At the next timeout, Akers asked him about it.
     "I don't want you helping him up," Maldonado said. Their relationship had not ended well and there was animosity on both sides. "Would you like it if I helped your ex-girlfriend?"
      The team got a chuckle out of that...

Indiana RFRA: David Letterman says Gov. Mike Pence 'threw a wrench into the monkeyworks'

And that is just about right. Even Republicans (like the mayor of Indianapolis) are disgusted by what the GOP did last week. (No Democrat voted for Indiana's RFRA).
     AKSARBENT expected this to happen yesterday when NPH was on the show, but what do we know?

Warren Buffett says Indiana should protect LGBT rights by law; his company got a zero from HRC

Charity begins at home, Warren.

Indiana State Tourism website pretends nothing is wrong; makes no attempt to convince LGBTs to visit state; quite a different story in Indianapolis

Are Visit Indiana honchos really that clueless — or is the state agency being intimidated by Mike Pence's administration to shut up about the controversy the GOP has created?
     We could find no mention of the firestorm scorching Indiana tourism on the home page or even on the state's tourism blog, "Indiana insider," which was about as forthcoming as the 1950s Soviet Politbureau was about inconvenient truths.
     We couldn't find a single gay destination promoted by Visit Indiana or any evidence at all that Indiana's tourist bureau acknowledges that gay tourists even exist.

Contrast the attitude of state tourism officials with those in Indianapolis — which isn't fooling around and certainly isn't taking the GOP's tourism wrecking ball lying down:
No legislation can take away the ethos of Indy, its "Hoosier Hospitality." Indy is built on its people, who are warm, welcoming, and inclusive of all. Visit Indy proudly joins Mayor Greg Ballard in opposing RFRA.

Visit Bloomington isn't addressing the controversy but acknowledges gay visitors with a link on the home page:

NE senator accuses Barack Obama of misleading two senators and a governor on Keystone XL

Two years ago the president came to a Republican luncheon at the capitol, just about exactly two years ago, and he was asked by two different senators, Sen. Barrasso and then Sen. Hoeven, "When are you going to make a decision on the [Keystone XL] pipeline?" This was in March of 2013. And he said, "I'll make a decision in a couple months." Well, we haven't heard anything. And I know when Governor Heineman was there a couple months later, he asked the President, "When are you going to make a decision?" and he said, "I'll have a decision by the end of the year." Well, that was the end of 2013. We still haven't heard anything.
— Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer
KLIN podcast posted 3/31/2015 8:05:00 AM

Guy loses iphone in NYC; traces it online to China; goes there to get it back; gets famous...

Megyn Kelly badgers Tony Perkins: 'But, but, but, but!'

As opposed to its hate/loathe relationship with Sean Hannity and hate/laugh relationship with Bill O'Reilly, AKSARBENT has a hate/love relationship with Megyn Kelly, seen below bugging Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

     Our appreciation for Kelly's sense of fun is not unalloyed; we weren't amused by this:
Let's just assume for purposes of this hypothetical that discrimination against gays is illegal in Indiana, WHICH IT'S NOT.
     Apparently Megyn doesn't know that anti-LGBT discrimination IS illegal in South Bend, Indianapolis and Bloomington, all of which, the last time we looked, were cities in Indiana.