Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First grader gets high-fived after facing down street preacher with rainbow flag

(Via Towleroad)

Here's how they do that at Yale:

And at the University of Nebraska at Kearney:

Thomas Roberts, who hosted Trump pageant in homophobic Russia, quietly withdraws from
Miss USA pageant over Mexico controversy

From the Hollywood Reporter:
     Cheryl Burke and MSNBC's Thomas Roberts, who were set to co-host the annual pageant, stepped down Tuesday, one day after NBC pulled the program.
     "In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA Pageant as its co-host," said Burke in a statement. "Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA. Although I will not be there in person, I wish all of the contestants much luck as I know how hard they’ve all been working over the last year to try and realize their dreams."
     Roberts did not issue a statement, but an NBC spokesperson confirmed he was withdrawing. Roberts, who also co-hosted the 2014 pageant, sent out a short tweet after news of his departure broke

We thought Officer Friendly was a stripper cop, but we were wrong

Oh well — we also thought the snake Jane Kleeb posed with for the cover of Omaha magazine was fake and we were wrong about that too. So far this month we are zero for two.
     You can't see it in the video but the sticker that softball guy (was marching with that contingent in the NYC Gay Day parade) stuck on the cop's shirt said "I'd hit that."

Monday, June 29, 2015

NBC to Donald Trump: You're fired

The Apprentice will continue, but Trump (who had already recused himself) won't be on it, as NBC Universal, following Univision, has ended its business relationship with the loudmouthed real estate heir who recently characterized Mexican immigrants as, largely, rapists and drug dealers.

Matt Baume on Justice Alito's gay marriage concerns: Oh, so those who are intolerant of others might be labeled as bigots? How unpleasant for them!

100% of Jews on the Supreme Court supported gay marriage, while 66% of Catholics opposed it. No Chief Justices are Protestants.

Video: Turkish cops fire plastic pellets, water canon at Istanbul Gay Day parade

St. Louis's 2015 Gay Day parade

LGBTs in St. Louis really don't spend much on floats, but they have a LOT of fun.

Chicago's Gay Day floats took three hours to pass

Revelers were warned to "behave" this year because of complaints from some residents about rowdiness — probably unavoidable, given the celebration's size. The is speculation the parade may move downtown.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Second NY prison escapee shot, captured

Attorney General Doug Peterson: Nebraska's very own Antonin Scalia!

A lot of people saw Friday's Supreme Court decision outlawing state bans on gay marriage for what it was — a ruling on equal protection and due process, but Doug Peterson, an ally of the antigay Nebraska Family Alliance, who hired one of its honchos (Dave Bydalek) as soon as he took office, saw it as an ATTACK ON FREEDOM!
     Peterson should look on the bright side. Now he can stop squandering Nebraskans' taxes on stalling gay marriage and instead throw them down the rathole that is the lawsuit Jon Bruning brought against Colorado for legalizing marijuana. Sadly, phony GOP federalists like Peterson and Bruning don't have unlimited state resources to fund their personal right-wing agendas.
"Sadly, the Court stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The Court took that freedom from the people."

At its heart, Obergefell vs. Hodges is about Ohio's mean-spirited refusal to issue a death certificate acknowledging a legal gay marriage

From now until the end of the Republic, Ohio will represent, in the case that outlawed it, petty, bureaucratic anti-gay animus.

The times are still changing

Cartoonist weighed in on the SCOTUS marriage decision. At least two noticed the ascendency of the Rainbow Flag while a politer society simultaneously began to turn its back on that emblem of American treason and racism, the Confederate Battle Flag.

Oh, look, Man in Black Johnny Cash —
Willie Nelson can wear it too

Johnny Cash's daughter Roseanne, did a Discover America tourism ad not long ago which included a gay NOLA couple at the 33-34 mark, but don't blink or you may miss it.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims to drama queen homophobes: Put up or shut up

(Via JMG)

Nebraska's most influential daily covers gay marriage ruling — and then shoots itself in the foot on the web

We thought the World-Herald did a good job in print and a great one on its web page, by posting the County Clerk vows of what was probably the first gay couple in the state to marry.
     Unfortunately for the Herald, the hamfisted decision-makers in its IT department ruined the publicity their paper might have garnered for itself and the community from publishing what was surely one of the most poignant and affecting videos on gay marriage made anywhere in the United States on that historic Friday.
     And how did the World-Herald do that? By coding its video to rudely autoplay, and then trigger the cueing of other, unrelated videos.
     Is the World-Herald ever going to understand the nuances of making video content embeddable?
     It's clear that the crude tyros in its IT department or web department or online department or whatever they call it, are tone-deaf to the needs of bloggers or websites that might want to showcase unusually good work the World-Herald makes embeddable.
     We understand that the paper has every right to limit the availability of its content and to make it available in any way it chooses.
     But if it chooses to a video embeddable, then why doesn't the paper observe the etiquette about embedding that virtually everyone else online seems to understand, except it? 
     Doesn't anyone at the Herald understand that if you choose to make a video available to the Internet by publishing embeddable html for it, and that if you want popular websites and bloggers to give your enterprise free publicity by running said embeddable video, that YOU TURN AUTOPLAY OFF!
     The bloggers and websites who typically run embeddable video don't run autoplay videos. IT ANNOYS THEIR READERS.
     Why does the World-Herald still not get this?
     AKSARBENT noticed, on Friday, that one of the three most popular gay bloggers in the English-speaking world briefly ran a post on the effect of the SCOTUS decision in Nebraska — and then removed the post within minutes. We asked why, and the webmaster told us that he really liked the World-Herald video  and wanted to share it with his millions of readers all across America and Europe (few of whom have ever heard of Omaha's daily newspaper), but he didn't realize that the clip would behave so badly when embedded in his extremely popular blog.
     So he axed the entire post, as he had made the video the post's centerpiece.
     It's sad to see one part of an organization sabotage the first-rate efforts of another part of the same organization while editors remain apparently oblivious to the whole thing.

Stephen Colbert on gay marriage ruling: If you're a homosexual in North Dakota, ALL YOUR PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED!

Even though his CBS show replacing David Letterman hasn't started, Colbert, who looks very well rested (ahem) couldn't wait to post this cheery snark.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Did a closeted gay troll just jump the fence @LeavenworthSt prison?

This sounds just like something a closet case GOPer would say, though its author probably had nothing to do with that reactionary website.

Friday, June 26, 2015

TD Ameritrade fortune fueling referendum to reinstate death penalty in Nebraska

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts (right) with father Joe.
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty reports it has raised $244,866 so far from 12 donors, including $25,000 from Michael Cassling, an Omaha CEO, $10,000 from the Omaha Police Union, and $100,000 each from Joe Ricketts (reputedly worth $1.6 billion), the founder of TD Ameritrade and his son Peter, Nebraska's current governor.
     Last month the Nebraska Unicameral repealed Nebraska's death penalty, Ricketts vetoed the bill, but the Legislature overrode his veto
     Two appalling miscarriages of justice involving eight innocent Nebraskans charged with murder persuaded even many Republican's to abandon GOP death penalty support.
     Nebraskans for the Death Penalty said it paid roughly $192,000 to Lincoln Strategy Group, an Arizona-based consultant that is using paid circulators to gather signatures. Peterson estimated that the petition drive could cost his group $900,000, roughly the same amount spent by a petition group that sought last year to raise the minimum wage.

How Nebraska TV covered today's gay marriage ruling

KETV has a longer report here.

From Lincoln:

How to decode a press release from NE Sen. Ben Sasse

Sasse Statement on Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling:

Today’s ruling is a disappointment to Nebraskans who understand that marriage brings Margaret and Jim Anderson a wife and husband together so Betty, Bud and Kathy their children can have a mom and dad. As for single and gay parents, they don't matter because they're not part of the 50s family fantasy I'm using to distract people from the fact that the corporations I really represent are screwing them into the ground as they decimate jobs and what's left of upward mobility in America.
     The Supreme Court once again overstepped its Constitutional role by ruling on an equal protection / due process matter brought to it acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing civil rights to be voted on like the Miss Congeniality contest in a Trump Beauty Pageant voters to decide in the states.
    “As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids. Unless they were adopted by gay couples because their straight parents were fuckups, in which case screw them.
     As President Obama has said, there are good people on both sides of the issue. Obviously I don't personally believe this or I wouldn't kick 50,000 Nebraska gay constituents to the curb every time there's an issue. It's just a rhetorical fig leaf.
     I hope we all can agree that our neighbors deserve the freedom to live out their religious convictions by cherry picking which laws they want to obey. This does not apply to the moral or ethical convictions atheists or agnostics, of course.

Catholic Bishops: Gay Marriage still doesn't exist in Nebraska

The Archbishops of Omaha (George Lucas), Lincoln (James Conley), and Grand Island (Joseph Hanefeldt) spoketh thusly:
     The Catholic bishops of Nebraska remind all people of good will that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman. Marriage, as ordained by God, is the cornerstone of every human family, an ancient tradition in every culture. No one can change that reality. The truth about marriage is written into the complementarity of men and women in the context of the family. We encourage all believers to be witnesses to the goodness and beauty of marriage as God has revealed it, and by their example to foster peace, love, mercy and joy as a witness to that truth.
     The Catholic hierarchy in Nebraska worked tirelessly in NE to kill a gay rights ordinance in Lincoln, deny gay clients service and even referrals to mental health professionals (and then lied about it) and to torpedo a statewide LGBT anti-bias job bill by flooding the legislature with identically-worded emails.
     The RCC didn't work nearly as hard against the death penalty.

First NE gay couples to get license, marry

ALSO: Even after the anti-gay-marriage GOP governor and attorney general capitulate, several Nebraska counties are finding excuses to continue to stall gay couples.


AKSARBENT rushed to the Douglas County (Omaha) courthouse when it heard that the first gay couples were on their way. So quickly we forgot the memory card for the good video camera, but the spare GoPro did the job. We couldn't remember where the County Clerk's office was but we didn't need to. We just ran toward the tripods in the hall.
     The TV people (before they started bumping into doors and each other) said a couple in Lincoln (Lancaster County) had already got hitched (turned out they got a license but won't get married 'til later at home) but we were there in time to get the first Douglas County couple, a charming pair of ladies who are probably the first gay couple to get married in Nebraska, although not the first to be issued a marriage license. Congratulations Kathy Pettersen [in purple],  and Beverly Reicks!
     KETV reports that County Clerk Tom Cavanaugh said the couple's seven-year wait was long enough and paid their license fee ($15; certified copies are $5 more) for them as a wedding gift. He said it was a pleasure to finally be able to say "yes" to everyone.
     From the World-Herald:
     The first couple in line in Lancaster County was Judith Gibson, 74, and Barbara DiBernard, 66, of Lincoln. It is believed they received the state’s first same-sex marriage license at 10:17 a.m., beating a couple in Douglas County.
     Gibson and DiBernard, who have been together nearly 27 years, embraced and cheered when they got the paperwork. They said they planned to exchange vows later in a ceremony at home.
     In Douglas County, Kathy Pettersen [in purple], 61, and Beverly Reicks, 52, were the first in line, saying they made a dash for the courthouse after the Supreme Court’s opinion was released. “We have never run so fast,” said Reicks, to a round of cheers and laughter.
     As they filled out the license, Pettersen began reading excerpts from the Supreme Court ruling about equality and love.
     “It is a historic day for civil rights in America,” she said.
     Unlike the Lincoln couple, Pettersen and Reicks were married at the courthouse. Chief Deputy Clerk Kathleen Hall officiated at the wedding.
      Douglas County Clerk Tom Cavanaugh couldn’t have been happier. He said he’d long wanted to issue a same-sex marriage license.
     “There’s equality in the state of Nebraska, and it is about time,” Cavanaugh said. “We don’t have to deny licenses anymore, and it’s a good feeling.”

NE gay marriage sore losers: Washington, Cass, Dodge Seward and Butler counties

KETV says the Washington County Clerk is footdragging waiting to hear from the county attorney. Cass isn't issuing licenses yet. Dodge, Seward and Butler counties are waiting on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Vital Statistics.
     Waiting for what? State bureaucrats to approve the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America? The right forms that you should have stocked weeks ago? What is your continuing problem?
     The state's two biggest counties, Lancaster and Douglas, were issuing licenses and even marrying gay couples within an hour of the Supreme Court Decision. They were prepared with the correct forms. They didn't invent excuses blaming either the Office of Vital Statistics or the Department of Health and Human Services. They cleared everything with the county attorney within minutes of the Supreme Court's decision.

Statement from Governor Ricketts:
The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken and ruled state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. While 70 percent of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples. We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.
     Today five Supreme Court Justices created a new constitutional right based upon sexual choices.
     The Constitution doesn’t speak, one way or the other, to the question of same-sex marriage. Under our system of federalism, the definition of marriage as a male-female union is properly a matter of state law. I agree with Chief Justice Robert’s contention that “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”
     The Court overstepped its proper role in our system of government. Instead of interpreting and applying the law, the Court invented a new constitutional right. Nothing in the Constitution mandates a nationwide redefinition of marriage. Sadly, the Court stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The Court took that freedom from the people.
     In addition to Nebraska, Americans in 30 other States have voted to affirm marriage in their constitutions, while the people of only 3 states have voted to redefine marriage. Of the states that now issue same-sex marriage licenses, more than 2/3 had it imposed by court dictate. The Court’s decision represents a profound loss of freedom. It shows a lack of faith in democracy for the Court to force this decision on every state.
     Nebraska has until today’s decision in Obergefell relied upon the 8th Circuit’s 2006 opinion in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, which specifically upheld the constitutionality of Nebraska’s marriage laws. Obergefell has effectively reversed the 8th Circuit’s sound decision in Bruning and effectively renders the state’s case in Waters v. Ricketts, currently pending in the 8th Circuit, moot.
     Recognizing the rule of law, the State of Nebraska will comply with the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell. Nebraska officials will not enforce any Nebraska laws that are contrary to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell.

NE gay marriage sore losers: State Sen. Bill Kintner

Gay Marriage Sore Loser: Ben Sasse

WOWT live-stream of NE gay marriages, license applications at Douglas County Clerk's office

Read historic Obergefell vs. Hodge ruling legalizing gay marriage in U.S.

From KETV:
Douglas Co. Clerk Tom Cavanaugh said he waiting on the go-ahead from the County Attorney's office to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Nebraska County Sheriff whose underling fabricated evidence to frame retarded man for murder wants death penalty restored

David Kofoed, Douglas County, Nebraska Sheriff Tim Dunning's CSI commander, went to prison for falsifying blood evidence in the murder of Wayne and Sharmon Stock of rural Murdock, in order to frame Matthew Livers, who implicated another innocent man, Nicholas Sampson, when the Nebraska State Patrol elicited a coerced, false confession from Livers, who has an I.Q. of 63.
     Later, lawyers for Livers sued Nebraska officials, including Douglas County and received a judgement of $2.6 million.
     According to Nebraska Watchdog, the Omaha World-Herald reported that Kofoed wasn’t the only investigator in Sheriff Dunning's staff "who crossed the line, noting the $2.6 million settlement required Douglas County to undergo special interrogation training."
     In six elections since first winning office in 1994, Dunning, a former Omaha policeman, has run unopposed except in 2002.
     In 2010, KETV reported on how, in the above-mentioned case, Nebraska State Patrol investigator Bill Lambert and Cass County investigator Earl Schenk badgered Livers through 11 hours and 109 denials before successfully conning and threatening him into making a phony confession. Creighton University law professor Raneta Mack said people do confess to crimes they didn't commit in order to end a harsh interrogation. Livers' lawyer, Locke Bowman added,
"When you tell a suspect if he doesn't confess, you're going to hang him from the highest tree -- that crosses the line into malice, as far as I'm concerned."
     Although Sheriff Dunning's in-house investigation originally cleared Kofoed, he is suspected of falsifying evidence in at least two other cases. Sheriff Dunning has said he has no plans to reexamine the county's role in those prosecutions.
     In April, Ada JoAnn Taylor, one of six people falsely accused and prosecuted for murder in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1985, joined members of the Innocence Project to tell lawmakers that prosecutors and law officers constantly told her she would be the first woman executed if she didn't confess, which is why she urged the Unicameral to repeal Nebraska's death penalty. It did so last month over Gov. Pete Ricketts's veto. The Beatrice Six, including Taylor, served more than 70 years in prison before being exonerated. Taylor spoke up,
"...so that no other innocent Nebraskan would be threatened with the death penalty, causing them to confess to a crime that (they) didn't commit and allow the actual murderer to murder again," Taylor said.
Forensic testing in the Beatrice Six case was done by discredited Joyce Gilchrist,
     ...a former forensic chemist who had participated in over 3,000 criminal cases in 21 years while working for the Oklahoma City police department, and who was accused of falsifying evidence.
     Her evidence led in part to 23 people being sentenced to death, 11 of whom have been executed. After her dismissal, Gilchrist alleged that she was fired in retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct.
Nebraska Public Television produced a sobering documentary about the Murdock case, for which neither Sheriff Bruning nor the Nebraska State Patrol would agree to be interviewed on camera.

Rachel Maddow revisits bizarre questions posed by Justice Alito duriong gay marriage oral arguments

In some respects, Alito's questions out-Scalia'd Scalia in terms of slippery-slope creep-mongering, which takes some doing.

Dear Heterosexual Supremacists: which version of traditional marriage are you defending?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

If people stop buying cars, Ford has a plan B: bicycles

Self-driving cars and increased, as-needed rental transportation could wreck car sales, so Ford is looking at making electric, folding bicycles. Really.

Day Drunk Seth Meyers

Funny: Seth Meyers goes day drinking without a script:

Funnier: day drunk gays get stoned:

Out gay actor Drew Droege trashes confirmed bachelor Lindsay Graham in hilarious new video

(Via NowNewNext)

Impending Supreme Court marriage equality decision: Nebraska civil rights advocates vs. Omaha's Roman Catholic Archdiocese

In the second video a not-very-articulate priest explains why Catholic dogma should dictate civil marriage eligibility. Try to stay awake.

Virginia wins first College World Series ever — but its coach's likeness has been memorialized in "Road To Omaha" statue for 16 years

Photo source

Below: Fans, sober and not, exit the College World Series, and the Virginia Cavaliers leave the venue with their trophy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PETA goes after New York's horse-drawn carriages with a nasty, but effective ad hominem ad

Not sure if kicking Hansom cabs to the curb and possibly putting the drivers in motorized cabs would really make New York streets less hateful, but it's always nice to see homophobes busted on video.

(Via JMG)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fluffy, the wing walker

This inadvertently adventurous longhair is evidently the mascot of a flying club in Kourou, French Guiana

GOPers scream "Organized Voter Supression" over NE death penalty initiative Decline to Sign ads

LeavenworthSt., the leading exemplar of GOP hypocrisy in Nebraska, just threw a blog fit about efforts to ensure that the Unicameral's revocation of Gov. Pete Ricketts's license to kill stays revoked. Such efforts are in the form of a persuasion campaign to keep people from signing petitions to allow voters to reinstate the death penalty, this time ensconcing it into Nebraska's constitution.
     The tantrum ran under the headline "Organized Voter Suppression." Yeah, we know: GOP cheerleaders complaining about voter suppression is like germs complaining about disease.
     LeavenworthSt's schtick is that it is terribly troubled that an Alliance of the Nebraska ACLU and Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty got a $400,0000 grant to run Decline to Sign TV ads. AND THE $400,000 GRANT WAS GIVEN BY A GROUP FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS!!! (How much Soros funding was involved, LeavenworthSt. does not say.)
Pro-death penalty Gov. Pete Ricketts, called a "dollar store
Lex Luther" by HBO's John Oliver. Is the TD Ameritrade
fortune funding efforts to reinstate Nebraska's death penalty?
     Why is advertising on this issue voter suppression? Because Democrats are doing it! Persuading the body politic not to overrule the actions of a legislature it directly elected is not only voter suppression, it's Organized Voter Suppression!
     Never mind the GOP creation in various states of sloppy computer databases that suspiciously disenfranchise voters with ethnic names and GOP-engineered termination of early voting and the cutting back of voting hours and the hiring of corrupt voter registration firms which deposit Democratic voter registrations not to election commissioners but to dumpsters and requiring IDs of people who vote in elections but allowing anonymity to billionaires who buy elections via 501 (c) (4) "social welfare" organizations. None of that sort of genuine GOP voter suppression is anything LeavenworthSt would be caught dead talking about.
     LeavenworthSt. is far more perturbed by $400,000 in anti-death penalty ads than the $900,000 that death penalty proponents will spend in a paid petition drive, and the $600,000 more they expect to spend in an ad campaign should the question reach the ballot.
     Or, more importantly, where that 1.5 million bucks is coming from.
     We have our suspicions of where the money trail ends and we bet they could be confirmed by Gov. Pete Ricketts's privately-paid staffer advisor, Jessica Moenning, who is coordinating the campaign to restore the death penalty after the Unicameral overrode Ricketts's veto of death penalty reform. Ricketts is a wealthy former TD Ameritrade executive and a son of the $1.6 billlionaire founder of same.

Below are both of the Decline To Sign Ads on YouTube, which weren't easy for us to find because apparently $400,000 doesn't buy a staffer who is willing to code a few obvious search keywords to make his or her YouTube video more discoverable. Bother.

Decline to sign ad 1:

Decline to sign ad 2:

Below, a Death Penalty petition circulator plays peek-a-boo with AKSARBENT's video camera:

Monday, June 22, 2015

West Point soldier hit by ax thrown by Fox News host Pete Hegseth

The broad side of the ax hit West Point drummer Drummer Jef Prosperie, causing only superficial injury. Prosperie explained what happened on Facebook. Now do you believe Hegseth is an idiot?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

State senator's leg broken in bizarre attack in restaurant bathroom

We've no idea what to make of this weird story and the very odd way it was reported.
     KETV used the phrase "claimed he was assaulted" in its YouTube headline.
     A police spokeswoman said she couldn't "really think of anything that would lead up to this [attack]."
     The restaurant, Blatt Beer & Table, owned by the Flagship Restaurant Group, strongly insinuated that Senator Harr was lying about the circumstances which led to a hospitalization and two broken bones in his left leg.
     Blatt Beer & Table is across the street from the south facade of TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha, where the College World Series is played. "Blatt" refers to Rosenblatt Stadium, the Omaha CWS venue for decades preceding the construction of TD Ameritrade Park.
     Sen. Harr, a Democrat, is progressive and votes to support women's and LGBT rights legislation.

Below: AKSARBENT video taken from TD Ameritrade Park six days before the incident, of the rooftop patio at Blatt, where Sen. Harr was hanging out. Harr said he was by himself and hadn't had any problems with any fellow customers.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Upward mobility in Omaha? Not much if you're poor

Complete map with legend here
Lighter color = more upward mobility
The Equality of Opportunity Project has published statistics of the 100 largest commuting zones in the U.S. Omaha's poorest kids can expect to make a whopping 6.4% more than the average household income of $26,000 at age 26, not enough to appreciably better their circumstances.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Duncan says gay hate crime conviction "ruined my life"

Gregory Duncan seems to have little remorse about sucker-punching Ryan Langenegger* (10 inches shorter and 90 pounds lighter than Duncan) in 2013, chipping three of Langenegger's teeth and putting a gash in his face. When asked by Douglas County District Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf at his sentencing yesterday if he had anything to say, Duncan responded:
“Just that this whole thing destroyed my life ... as far as my job, my career. I have a felony on my record ...”
Duncan was late returning to court after almost every break in his February trial, nodded off at times and had to be re-arrested and delivered to court in Omaha from Kansas City after skipping his sentencing hearing in May.
“Absolutely in no way was it to harm someone because of someone’s sexual orientation. I was protecting a friend,” he said.
     Like many bullies who lie to themselves and others to bolster their self-esteem, Duncan claimed he was protecting someone — his friend — after one of Duncan's buds called one of Langenegger's friends a faggot and menaced him by sneering asking, "Should I? Should I?"
     Langenegger had interposed himself between Duncan's antagonistic buddies when Duncan sucker-punched him:
     “I was under a lot of stress. ... No one ever heard my side of the story.”
     Masteller scoffed at the notion. He noted that Duncan testified on his own behalf at trial. Twelve jurors listened to and rejected Duncan’s contention that he acted in self-defense.
*Langenegger is not gay and no one maintained in court that Duncan uttered any antigay disparagement before belting him; nevertheless, Omaha prosecutors got a jury to agree that his actions constituted a hate crime because of he ran interference for his friend or friends who homophobically harassed Langenegger's gay friends. They didn't buy defense attorney James Martin Davis's contention that the Duncan's attack was akin to a bar fight between two heteros. Remember that the next time you hear a DA argue that successfully prosecuting gay hate crimes is extraordinarily difficult.

Below: surveillance video of part of the incident aired by KMTV last February, showing Duncan's friend menacing Langenegger's party inside an Old Market Pepperjax:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An obituary of sorts for the rabbit I offed this morning

Aside from injuring a dog decades ago, yours truly has avoided hitting any animals at all — until this morning, when a rabbit crossing Saddle Creek Road couldn't decide whether to go left or right as my vehicle bore down on him.
     I'd curse his dumb indecisiveness, but human pedestrians do the same thing all the time with less than fatal consequence.
     There was no bump, but I thought I heard a very abbreviated yelp. (Rabbits are not always silent, as anyone who has ever heard one being torn apart by a dog knows.)
      "Oh jeez, I don't want to know how this turned out," said I, but a few blocks later the specter of the animal, half crushed, writhing in agony and fear on the pavement as more cars whizzed by made me turn mine around and look for him.
     I've only seen abject fear in an animal once — on Dodge St., after an outdoor concert when thousands of bumper-to-bumper cars snaked toward West Omaha. I was a passenger in the right rear seat and chanced to look down — into the eyes of a panicked collie who had somehow made it into the middle lanes of Omaha's main street. His remaining seconds of life were racing to zero, but he spent part of one looking directly back at me in frantic desperation.
     As for my hunt for the rabbit, I could not immediately find him, which elated me, as I thought he had made it, as animals often do who seem to vanish under the chassis of one's car .
     But that hope was dashed when I spotted Mr. Bunny motionless, next to the broken-stripe lane marker. Lucky — if you can call it that —for him and luckier for me that there was no merciful need to finish the job.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Robbie Banfitch's Shell Arctic Oil Spill Tutorial

Not as funny as Banfitch's biggest and most hilarious YouTube video, Gay Cure, but HE'S IN THE TUB, for Pete's sake! Suspicious heteros will undoubtedly note the repeated references to "otters" in this video. The Code dictates that AKSARBENT can't reveal gay slang to unscreened visitors, so they'll just have to go to Urban Dictionary.

First Omaha man convicted of antigay hate crime sentenced to 12-18 months in prison

Also: Tragically, the two handsomest teams in the College World Series of Baseball were the first to succumb to double elimination at TD Ameritrade Park during the NCAA tournament finals this week in Omaha. 

Langenegger (left) and Duncan
Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf has sentenced Gregory Duncan to a 12-18 month prison term for sucker punching a straight man who accompanied two gay friends to an Omaha restaurant. KETV says Duncan will be eligible for parole in six months and has already served 53 days.
      Duncan, of Kansas City, was convicted in February of third degree assault with discrimination in an October 2013 attack on straight, now-former Marine Ryan Langenegger outside a Pepperjax restaurant in Omaha's Old Market.
     Duncan skipped his sentencing date last month, was re-arrested, and brought to court today.

PETA scorches Sea World with nasty fake ad

(Via JMG) 

The video above rips the following real SeaWorld ad, for which, as of this writing, there were 2258 thumbs down votes and 208 thumbs up. Though commenting on the video is enabled there was not one comment listed on a video with nearly 90,000 views. Nothing suspicious about that, huh?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Death and baseball: CWS fans solicited to reinstate Nebraska death penalty (video)

College World Series 2015 fans are offered referendum petitions to reinstate death penalty after the Nebraska Unicameral repealed it over the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, former chief of family-founded business, Ameritrade. No one seems to know who is actually funding the cost of paid petitioners seeking to place a reinstatement of the death penalty on the ballot and, possibly, in Nebraska's constitution.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Video: Autograph day at CWS 2015; LSU, TCU, Arkansas, Cal State Fullerton, Virginia, Florida,
Miami & Vanderbilt

AKSARBENT's 2015 College World Series video is of Autograph Day (the first day) where we photographed every member of every team who attended the ball signing sessions.
     If you know someone in the series this year, he's almost certainly in one of the first two videos below.
    Our footage was much better than usual (don't ask), except for the occasional shakiness of the cameraman and the rare focus hunting of one of the two cameras.
     By "better" we mean the players were amazingly lit.
     The reason for that probably is the photographic astuteness of CWS facilitators who set up the tables in a covered concourse, high above but open to the field, thereby softening ballcap visor shadows caused by overhead interior lights via natural daylight from outside and below the players, augmented by white tables reflecting light up.
     You don't see many pictures of faces under the bills of caps lit this evenly.
     (TCU was videoed outside the stadium preparing for its team photo, but even there the heavily overcast sky helped diffuse shadows.)
     The third video is a spin around the CWS venue that we made a couple years ago.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Shocker: Outsports "outs" American Pharoah, but hides photo of boyfriend that AKSARBENT found

Busted: American Pharoah, left, with "buddy" Smokey
exposed by photographer Adam Coglianese
Jim Buzinski, that sad, tabloid wannabe at Outsports, claimed that American Pharoah "exclusively" came out to him, but we're here to inform you that Buzinski failed to go the extra quarter mile in tracking down the three-year-old colt's six-year-old boyfriend, who, we found out, hides behind the alias "Smokey."
     AKSARBENT has relentlessly tracked down what the racing world —  and Outsports — are so desperately trying to hide.
     To do it, we had to glance below the fold on the front page of Wednesday's Omaha World-Herald, but no sacrifice is too great for our readers.
     We immediately saw through the laughable headline: Meet American Pharoah's Horsey BFF.
     Do those two look like "friends" to you?
     Buzinsky and Outsports may have been thrown off the track but AKSARBENT didn't come down with yesterday's rain. Or Monday's. Or Sunday's. Or Saturday's. Or Friday's. (What the hell is happening with this climate change shit, anyway?)
     "Smokey's" actual, for-real name is The Whiz Shines. He's a gelding quarter horse purchased for $41,000 from the Dan Twombly ranch in Byard, Nebraska
     Now here are some lines from the World-Herald you can read between:
     The horses became pals, and it was unusual to see a stable photo of Pharoah without Smokey nearby.
     “That horse (Smokey) was very friendly,’’ Twombly said...
     When Pharoah headed to the racetrack for a workout, Smokey was alongside.
     When Pharoah was placed in a van or aboard a custom-made Boeing 727 dubbed “Air Horse One” to travel between racetracks, so was Smokey.

     In short, the two were inseparable.
     “I don’t think there’s any question that Smokey made Pharoah feel more comfortable,’’ Twombly said. “There’s a connection between horses, and those two made one.’’
     ...“When you saw one horse, you’d see the other,’’ [Twombly] said.
Below: Outsports packages a coverup as an outing. Shameful, just shameful.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Animal abuse of GoPros

The first video shows a hungry fox trying to snack on a GoPro Hero3+, managing to tear off the faceplate but, oddly, not stop the recording which shows many of his/her teeth at an angle from which you would never want to see a fox's teeth.

The second video is of a squirrel eating bread somehow attached to a GoPro, then running up a tree with it before dropping it at the feet of its owner. Interesting how a squirrel warily approaches even an inanimate object that is unfamiliar to it.

Watch: awesome barehanded line-drive catch from the stands

From Micah Graves's YouTube description:
Biloxi Shuckers first home game on June 6, 2015 at the MGM park in Biloxi, Mississippi. A line drive hit into the right field side stands by Biloxi Shuckers pitcher Tyler Wagner was caught by me barehanded. Footage was captured on my GoPro Hero 4 with the head mount.
The Biloxi Shuckers. Could there be any more evocative name in sport?

This week football-mad Omaha goes baseball-mad with the start of the College World Series. Here's a 2012 ride around the venue:

Usual antigay suspects buy print ads vowing to disobey any Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality

2015 USA Today rate card
JoeMyGod found this in the WashingY­ton Post. We saw it in a USA Today distributed here in Omaha.
     If the ultimatum is running nationally rather than in a regional edition, then the hate groups and their affiliated reverends have just made Gannett $125,600 richer.
     Among the signatories: Iowa ex-WHO radio homophobe, Steve Deace, American Family Association's Donald Wildman, Billy Graham's heir, Franklin, San Antonio Baptist antigay divorcĂ© and ideological honey badger John Hagee, David Benham of NC, and our favorite, ex-exterminator, ex-U.S. House Majority Leader and ex-Baylor University student (before being expelled for drunkenness and vandalism), Tom "Hot Tub" Delay, indicted in Austin TX on criminal charges of conspiracy to violate election law in 2002.
If you click on the ad it will enlarge just about enough to read. Otherwise, go here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What to do if you drop a scrambled egg into your Nikon DLSR when the lens is off. You're welcome

You should not use compressed air to clean your sensor, as many such products use liquid propellants which can leave a residue on the sensor — and the force of compressed air can blow a sensor off its mount.

Small town Omaha baseball

Boyd park is a jewel of a baseball diamond recently renovated after metal thieves vandalized it. Seeing the place lit up on a summer night causes even someone indifferent to all sport to smile indulgently if not to park and take some video, as we did last night during a high school game between Omaha Central and Elkhorn South teams.
     The College World Series starts this weekend in Omaha.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Indiana Walmart shopper in store scooter gets up, brawls with another woman

The YouTube description said Scooter woman (who looked robust enough to us not to require a ride) was complaining about carts in the aisle as her nemesis defended Walmart employees, so Scooter woman stood up and challenged her to a fight, during which a little boy got in a few licks of his own on Scooter woman after being instructed by his combative mother. Flip flops and shampoo littered the aisle.

(Via JMG, to which you should go now, just for the comments)

Monday, June 8, 2015

New "model" law bans SC firms that boycott Israeli occupation profiteers from receiving state contracts

This recently-enacted law passed the South Carolina Senate 44-0. An Illinois version passed that state's senate 49-0, although the bill is on hold.
     There's an interesting "such a deal" loophole in the SC law: a waiver if a business boycotting Israel is the lowest bidder by at least 20%.
     Some ball-spiking from the Israeli Allies Foundation:
      “Our work on this issue has only just begun. IAF’s team of experts have merged South Carolina’s H 3583 with Illinois’ SB 1761 into one piece of model legislation. IAF has now proven its preparedness to help lead the legislative battle against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) in all fifty states. We are offering all of the supporting resources legislators need to accomplish this important point of public policy. IAF is pleased to announce that a bloc of sponsors across 18 states has already committed to introducing similar legislation in their next legislative cycle.”
      “Moving forward, IAF is in the process of finalizing a partnership with another major pro-Israel organization in the United States. The collaboration will produce a network with over two million members and will go a long way in ensuring the success of the upcoming legislative effort."
      “We call upon the community of interested pro-Israel organizations to immediately reach out to us in order to organize and coordinate supportive efforts. Together we will defeat anti-Jewish bigotry, BDS and national-origin discrimination.”
The Carolina Peace Resource Center tried to stop H 3583, calling it:
  • An unconstitutional violation of First Amendment rights
  • Unnecessary red tape for businesses
  • An attempt to stifle a legitimate civil society movement to end Israel's oppression of Palestinians
Below, commentary on the similar bill requiring state sanctions against BDS supporters in Illinois:

     Why are Israel lobby groups and their allied groups resorting to government coercion, the heavy fist of government?
     Remember that many of the strongest supporters of these kind of laws are people who claim they want government out of the way. They don't want government standing in the way of business.
     If lawmakers — if a pizza parlor in Indiana doesn't want to make pizza for a gay wedding, that should be their right according to the people who support these kinds of laws.
     But what they're saying is if you make the free choice as a citizen, as an academic, as a business owner, to support the Palestinian struggle for human rights, you should be punished. You should be divested from. Your free speech rights should be limited. You should be maligned as a bigot. So we see these incredible double standards when it comes to Israel...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Anti-gay marriage NE gov. leaves state to attend gay sister's Chicago wedding

Today, attorney Laura Ricketts, daughter of Joe Ricketts, the billionaire GOP founder of Omaha's TD Ameritrade, is marrying Brooke Skinner, a Twitter brand strategist.
     In attendance will be her anti-gay marriage brother, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, before he leaves for Europe for 10 days.
     Laura Ricketts actively pushed for marriage equality in Illinois, is a leader of LPAC, a lesbian-backed PAC, and is on the National Leadership Council of Lambda Legal. In a family of Republicans she was a top Obama bundler. She's also a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.
    Last month, she was profiled in New York Magazine.
    Best wishes, Laura and Brooke!

Friday, June 5, 2015

How GoPro says "Screw You" to the environment: a battery package nearly 30x bigger than the product

We don't know how many millions of batteries GoPro sells or whether it has changed its packaging (we hope so) since a friend bought, some time ago, the obscenely over­packaged battery shown here.
     We were appalled.
     Seeking to quantify our disgust, we hauled out a measuring tape (all measure­ments approximate; depth of product and packaging ignored) and discovered this: the company used 54 square inches of packaging to encase a product that is less than 2 square inches.
     If shoplifting is the excuse, then keep the stuff in a glass case — batteries aren't selected by fondling them.
     Geez. "Be A Hero" my ass.

Plastic: 6x6.25 (37.5 sq. inches)
Cardboard: 6x2.75 (16.5 sq. inches)
Battery: 1.25x1.5 (1.875 sq. inches)

Here's the pilot of the new cable TV series that wants to burn Facebook down

Mr. Robot mesmerized SXSW audiences and now it's a USA series starting June 24.
The show unfolds from the point of view of misfit hacker Elliott (Rami Malek), whose wrath is aimed at the Facebook drones who click “like” boxes without ever thinking about how corporations are controlling every aspect of their lives.
Gizmodo interviewed the show's creater, Sam Esmail. As for ruining Facebook, as laudable a goal as that might be, we can only say "Good luck, old media."

ABC names Hastert sex abuse victim

Brian Ross, who seems to scoop up more of the salacious, low-hanging fruit for ABC than anyone else, said Hastert's victim's sister contact ABC and other outlets 9 years ago, "off the record" about Hastert before deciding to come forward now.

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rep. Jared Polis prompts CO school to outsource review of its ban of gay grad's commencement speech

Longmont, CO's Twin Peaks Charter Academy will now have outside lawyers review its decision to stop Valedictorian Evan Young from coming out in a commencement speech after Polis called for an independent investigation.
     The events in Longmont, near Boulder, contrast with a decision by a school in the Colorado mountain town of Carbondale to allow its valedictorian to come out in a graduation speech that earned a standing ovation. That valedictorian's principal, expressing concern about the high rates of suicide and other problems encountered by teens labeled as different, praised her courage and said her speech would help all students feel accepted.
     In Longmont, Twin Peaks board president Kathy DeMatteo wrote to Polis earlier this week that officials do not "believe that a discussion of a student's sexual orientation — no matter what that sexual orientation happens to be — is a proper matter for a commencement address."
     DeMatteo said Evan Young was barred from delivering his speech not because he is gay but because of his "apparent intention to make a mockery" of the ceremony.

Oscar Wilde: amusingly mystified about why Lincoln, Nebraska's founders named the main drag Zero Street

Savaged by the press in England and lampooned as the fop Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience (on the verge of a tour in the States) Wilde, in 1882, decided to seize the moment and use a tour of his own to polish his new Dandy image and "reflect it back to London, imbued with a new American glamour."
     An account of Wilde's stop in Lincoln, Nebraska by Phillip Hoare, who reviewed the new biography Wild in America: Oscar Wilde and the invention of modern celebrity:
In the early 1990s, I took a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska – a city in the “flyover” states that, ostensibly, might be said to hold little claim over the collective identity of the United States. A century earlier, Oscar Wilde had called there on his somewhat surreal 1882 tour of North America. I think the place was still recovering from the shock. One academic proudly related to me Wilde’s wonder at the city fathers who had seen fit to name Lincoln’s main thoroughfare “0 Street” – as in zero. The story summed up the contrast between the emptiness of the prairies around us and the orchidaceous cynosure of decadence who had appeared here, as if teleported from some other universe.

TMZ mocks ABC's phony 'Brokeback bachelors'

ABC even made a promo for the bachelorette featuring the two faking the rainbow. But it was all a joke they thought up, you understand, not suggested to them by the realty show's producers, OK?

(Via Towleroad)

Chick-fil-A franchise to supply free chicken sandwiches to Iowa City gay picnic

Via Queerty, KCRG, and USA Today. We were going to say something about this, but we decided not to.

Watch: the first televised gay documentary aired in U.S.

The video, from a 1961 program with a budget of $100,  can be seen here.  From Back2Stonewall:
This copy of The Rejected was lost for many years and has been restored as much as it could. The Library of Congress states that there were several problems with the edited 2-inch quad videotape master. Many different tape stocks were used to create this program and the quality of these was often poor. The base of the tape is slippery at times, which causes an unstable control track. The stock was also physically heavy, which causes tension during take up. The audio quality is consistent throughout but there are three extended sequences – noted onscreen by subtitles – which feature bad picture quality. The Library’s Recording Laboratory remastered these 2-inch tapes onto digital. You can watch The Rejected in its entirety here.
 (H/T: Nebraskans For Equlity)

Hey gay tourists! Ride a cool tank in Minnesota
or collect stamps at Nebraska tourist traps!
The choice is yours...

More on the backstory of the two in the Minnesota Tourism ad...

The following, sadly, is the featured video on Nebraska Tourism's YouTube channel, because remember: Nebraska's 3rd largest industry exists to bring Gov. Pete Ricketts more media exposure.

As you can see, the dynamic tourism video featuring Ricketts has attracted SIX HUNDRED TEN views in only one month of exposure on YouTube.
    Boy — your GOP governor and mine really knows how to market the state, doesn't he? Good thing we have a savvy businessman at the helm, huh?

Commenter of the week: UNL's Right Wing Professor

Well, it was the comment of the week to homocentric us anyway. We always get a kick out of desperation by conservatives stricken with the gays-no-longer-know-their-place-and-now-the-walls-of-modern-morees-are-closing-in-on-us blues.
     This week's sad variation on that theme came from none other than Gerard Harbison, UNL's famous Right Wing Professor.
     Harbison's new beef was that the blogmaster at LeavenworthSt., the sadly popular Nebraska conservative blog, walked back a homophobic epithet directed at heterosexual John Oliver because he hilariously savaged Gov. Pete Ricketts on his HBO show:

     Gerard, you disappoint us! After all, blog comments are not limited to 140 characters, like your tweets. You had plenty of room for an entire laundry list of epithets referring to gays, not just four! We know you wanted to, so why didn't you knock yourself out exploiting a rare, if flimsy, opportunity to spew a few more slurs before the final day of reckoning when the liberal PC police show up at your door with a multi-colored tank and take your liberty, your food, your guns and your freedom to behave badly on the Internet by gleefully reciting class-insults?
     Harbison was reacting to the disclaimer below, by Streetsweeper, who blamed what he wrote on an old book by P.J. O'Rourke, and who preposterously asserted that "poofter" somehow morphed into a gay insult after O'Rourke began publishing his garish right-wing drivel (a proposition not even Harbison believes) and who also, in a tweet, asserted that "poofter" is gay slang (instead of invective invented by straight homophobes.)

What bullshit. Webster's (hardly an "urban" dictionary) says "poofter" has been a disparaging term for gays since 1903, long before the lamentable appearance of either P.J. O'Rouke and his over-the-top, too-clever-by-half rants or Jerry Kratochvil.

Sure Jerry. "Poofter" is gay slang because gays invented it as a gift to bigots, just the way Czechs invented the word "Bohunk" in order to insult themselves.