Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hypocritical Hillary now attacking GOP for climate change denial — after she ran interference for Keystone XL pipeline

Earlier this year, in Winnipeg at a Q&A, Clinton refused to take a position on the Keystone XL pipeline, a project her State Department secretly encouraged, colluding with TransCanada in emails obtained by Friends Of The Earth and in Wikileaks documents released by Chelsea Manning, now in prison.
     The Clinton State Department twice issued white-washed environmental reports about Keystone XL, both of which were criticized by the EPA.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How radical, right-wing and out of touch is Sen. Deb Fischer? She's backing Big Brother bill opposed by ultraconservative Cato Institute AND the ACLU

Here's what The Hill reported last month on Sen. Fischer's latest legislative assault on your privacy:
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) expressed optimism Thursday about the chances of moving a stalled cybersecurity bill through the Senate.
     “The leader wants to be able to get a bill out,” Fischer said an event hosted by The Hill and sponsored by Visa, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “I think he has the support of the majority of members in our conference and I would hope the American people would continue to push all members to say we need to get this done.”
     Cybersecurity is “at the forefront of discussions that we’ve had in leadership since the beginning of the session,” she added.
     In the wake of the recent blistering cyberattack on federal networks, the upper chamber tried to attach a major cyber bill — intended to bolster the public-private exchange of data on hackers — to a defense authorization measure.
     Democrats rebelled, angry they would not be able to offer privacy-enhancing amendments to the bill, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). With the help of a few Republicans, they blocked the maneuver.
     Civil liberties advocates have argued CISA could shuttle sensitive data to the National Security Agency (NSA), empowering the spy agency weeks after Congress voted to rein in its authority.

22 banks accused of collusion in manipulating U.S. Treasury auctions

Oh, gosh, Merrill Lynch again suspected of being ethically challenged! Even after having been acquired by Bank of America. Imagine that.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Democracy Now!'s remarkable interview with Sandra Bland's sister and lawyer reveal trooper slammed Bland's head into ground before her alleged 'suicide'

And that a Waller County Assistanct D.A. threatened a black preacher who asked to see arrest statistics broken down by race.

Here's paragon of Texas law enforcement professionalism, Trooper Brian Encinia, saying "Good" after Bland said she had epilepsy after he slammed her head into the ground.

Friday, July 24, 2015

FBI Director J. 'Edna' Hoover kept files on hundreds of thousands of LGBTs

Supposedly, the reason Hoover's FBI never went after — or even acknowledged the existence of — organized crime is that one syndicate had compromising photos of the Director and his right hand man, Clyde Tolson (the sole beneficiary of Hoover's will.)
     But that didn't keep the FBI from assembling nearly 100 square feet of files on suspected or proven "sex deviates."
     From the book notes, via gay literary website (now on hiatus) Band of Thebes:
     At the FBI, the “Sex Deviates” program covered a lot of ground, literally; at its peak, J. Edgar Hoover's notorious “Sex Deviates” file encompassed nearly 99 cubic feet or more than 330,000 pages of information. In 1977–1978 these files were destroyed—and it would seem that four decades of the FBI's dirty secrets went up in smoke. But in a remarkable feat of investigative research, synthesis, and scholarly detective work, Douglas M. Charles manages to fill in the yawning blanks in the bureau's history of systematic (some would say obsessive) interest in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans in the twentieth century. His book, Hoover’s War on Gays, is the first to fully expose the extraordinary invasion of US citizens' privacy perpetrated on a historic scale by an institution tasked with protecting American life.
     For much of the twentieth century, when exposure might mean nothing short of ruin, gay American men and women had much to fear from law enforcement of every kind—but none so much as the FBI, with its inexhaustible federal resources, connections, and its carefully crafted reputation for ethical, by-the-book operations. What Hoover’s War on Gays reveals, rather, is the FBI’s distinctly unethical, off-the-books long-term targeting of gay men and women and their organizations under cover of "official" rationale—such as suspicion of criminal activity or vulnerability to blackmail and influence. The book offers a wide-scale view of this policy and practice, from a notorious child kidnapping and murder of the 1930s (ostensibly by a sexual predator with homosexual tendencies), educating the public about the threat of "deviates," through WWII's security concerns about homosexuals who might be compromised by the enemy, to the Cold War's "Lavender Scare" when any and all gays working for the US government shared the fate of suspected Communist sympathizers. Charles's work also details paradoxical ways in which these incursions conjured counterefforts—like the Mattachine Society; ONE, Inc.; and the Daughters of Bilitis—aimed at protecting and serving the interests of postwar gay culture.
     With its painstaking recovery of a dark chapter in American history and its new insights into seemingly familiar episodes of that story—involving noted journalists, politicians, and celebrities—this thorough and deeply engaging book reveals the perils of authority run amok and stands as a reminder of damage done in the name of decency.
     Below: Uniquely Nasty, a Yahoo! News documentary on persecution of LGBTs by the U.S. government, in which the FBI's reprehensible behavior looms large. In respect of the rumored homosexuality of Hoover himself, who lived with his mother until he was 40 and willed most of his earthly possessions to Clyde Tolson, his constant FBI companion, the agency intimidated anyone who thought (and/or said)  Hoover fit the profile of the people whose lives and careers he was damaging:
     Ironically, Hoover’s zeal for fulfilling Congress’ wishes came amid persistent rumors about his own sexuality. One of the documents Francis uncovered is an internal FBI memo to Hoover detailing a March 1952 investigation into a federal employee who was reported to have made a comment at a Washington, D.C., bakery: “Have you heard that the director is a queer?”
     The remark prompted Hoover to order a full-scale probe of the federal worker, a budget analyst at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The worker was “vigorously interrogated” by FBI agents and warned of his “criminal and civil liability for the making of such statements,” the memo states. The budget analyst “appeared to be badly frightened” by the questioning and promised to never repeat the remark; the bureau’s No. 2 official, Clyde Tolson, recommended only that the analyst’s “activities” be reported to the “proper officials” at the NLRB.
     (“Yes,” scribbled Hoover in concurrence.)
     The rumors about Hoover, a lifelong bachelor, stemmed from his unusually close relationship with Tolson, his longtime deputy. Hoover and Tolson “had lunch every day together, they drove into work every day together, they took vacations together, had dinners together,” said Charles, the Penn State historian. “When Hoover died, he willed most of his estate to Tolson. So it’s all very suggestive.”

Matt Baume debunks right-wing smear campaign against federal LGBT Equality Act, introduced yesterday

Fresh Air's Teri Gross complains to Jake Gyllenhaal about the one thing in Brokeback Mountain's 'I-wish-I-knew-how-to-quit-you' scene in that bothered her

From Wednesday's Fresh Air interview with Jake Gyllenhaul, star of the forthcoming boxing movie, Southpaw.
     GROSS: That's a scene from "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005 with Heath Ledger and my guest, Jake Gyllenhaal. When you made that scene, did you think I wish I knew how to quit you would become a famous line?
      GYLLENHAAL: I mean, no, not in any - not in any form anywhere. And anywhere in my mind, all I could think about was the love between these two people, you know? And it has since become something, you know - you know praised and mocked and many other things. And it's very interesting.
      GROSS: So can I ask you a question that I'm not sure you can be honest about? The music that swells up at the end of the scene that we played - I'm going to be honest, it bothers me. 'Cause I think we know how we should feel hearing that. We - the emotion is being very clearly expressed. It's a very emotional scene. I feel like we don't need that kind of oh, isn't it sad music to cue us about the emotions being expressed.
      GYLLENHAAL: Well, I didn't direct the movie so I don't (laughter).
GROSS: No, I know that. I know that. But I wonder as the actor who's like doing your best to convey this very like deeply-felt emotion. And Heath Ledger's trying to convey this very, very like repressed emotion. Listening back to it, can I ask you honestly if you ever wish that there wasn't music? I'm sorry, I feel like I'm putting you on the spot.
      GYLLENHAAL: No, are you kidding me? No, I mean - I mean I would point out - I'd preface this by saying this is an Academy award-winning score. But I would say that I often feel like it's interesting in films because, you know, we - I think people feel manipulated in films sometimes. I often hear that particularly with music where they say stuff like oh, we're being - I feel like we're being told how to feel here or this is what I'm supposed to feel and - and I think that's - I think that that's true. I think the experience of a movie should be your own experience. And I don't think you should be forced into any feeling. And I think whatever feeling you have about it is important. That's - I mean, particularly with something like "Brokeback Mountain." It's like I respect just as much the naysayers as I do the people who support the film. I respect their opinion. You know, and I love that about art in general. I mean, people have come up to me many times in my career and said just openly like I just didn't like you or that film, you know? And I go man, like thank you for that expression. I mean, and it's not done in a way that's preferred not to be like aggressive but I - I love the expression of that whatever it might be. And with music in movies, I think sometimes people can feel that way. For me, listening to it brings me back to, you know, it brings me back to thinking about doing that scene with Heath, you know? And the honor it was to work with him and the beauty of his work and I miss him as a human being. And I miss working with him. And what an unfortunate thing it is that we won't be able to see the beauty of his expression. And, you know, hearing those things really gets you. And so I don't - I didn't hear the music as much to be honest (laughter). I just thought about the feeling.
     GROSS: This might be too personal so you just tell me 'cause I don't want to...
     GROSS: ...Intrude. Was Heath Ledger the first peer, the first friend you were close with who died?
     GYLLENHAAL: Yeah. Yeah...
To read/hear Gyllenhaul's reflection on his late co-star, go here.

In IA, Slick Scott Walker equated homosexuality with pedophilia; In WI, he deflected questions from an immigrant while repeating an Obama attack 3 times

Think Progress notes:
     Last December, Walker requested Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen join the multi-state lawsuit led by Texas. At the time, Walker condemned the president’s executive actions for exceeding “the limits of his administrative powers.”
     But in the past, Walker twice signed resolutions backing programs that would have granted legal status to undocumented immigrants as a county executive in Milwaukee County. And in 2013, Walker endorsed legal status for undocumented immigrants.
In Iowa, on Tuesday, Walker slyly equated homosexuality and pedophilia:
     IJReview asked Walker, an Eagle Scout, how he felt about Boy Scouts of America’s expected reversal of its ban on gay troop leaders:
     “I was an Eagle Scout, my kids have been involved, Tonette (Walker) was a den mother.
     “I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”
     Promoting bigoted views that equate homosexuality with pedophilia? Breathe a sigh of relief, Iowa evangelicals: His wife hasn’t softened him one bit.

Rachel Maddow outs herself as the purchaser of

Apparently Ms. Maddow likes to buy funny domain names which evoke media accounts of moments politicians might want to forget and then gift said URLs to the affected parties when they agree to be interviewed by her. This sounds like a fun way to practice legal, low-level extortion to us.

75% of public believes federal law prohibits firing people just because they're gay. That's not true

Below Rachel Maddow discusses the Equality Act, introduced yesterday by 195 House and Senate cosponsors, not one of whom is a Republican.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

195 Reps. and Sens. cosponsor law to add LGBTs to 1964 Civil Rights Act. Not one is Republican

This is a Democratic response to a number of initiatives by GOP lawmakers to pass so-called "religious freedom" statutes, a.k.a. bigot protection legislation for homophobes. The Equality Act would expand the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act to include LGBTs. Not a single Republican cosponsored this law.
     James Esseks, director of the LGBT Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, had this to say:
"Today is a historic day that has been decades in the making.  The Equality Act would transform the lives of countless women and LGBT people. Our country’s most basic promise of equal treatment under the law will never be real if you fear losing your job, being kicked out of your home, denied access to healthcare or turned away from a business because of who you are. Both the lack of clear and explicit federal protections for LGBT people and the lack of protections for women in core areas of American life are unacceptable. We urge Congress to take up this landmark bill and make our country a more just nation for all.”
 Other responses came from Lambda Legal, HRC, and Apple.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Groot Nation and a light pole come to Jesus

Here's a lovely HDR photo of antigay Salem Baptist Church, taken by AKSARBENT from Walgreen's parking lot the other day.
     In 2012, Salem joined other heterosexual supremacist churches in attempting to overrule the Omaha City Council's vote to protect employment rights of LGBTs by demanding that the measure be put to a referendum vote. (It wasn't.)
     Naturally, we would never imply that Salem ministers to a flock of homophobes as dumb as a bunch of Groots and the occasional electrical device. That would be leading the "witness", so we'll just let the Nikon do the talking.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Glamour puss Lucille sits for her closeup

A new camera, a 30-year-old lens, and a matronly 12-year-old who keeps herself up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brent reviews new GoPro4 Session, a $400 Polaroid Cube lookalike, advises you to pass

Mr. Rose allows as how, due to its diminutive size, that we're going to see it in some interesting new places in porn. "Yeah."

Married Nebraska gay couples may now file amended returns as far back as 2011

Legally married (elsewhere) Nebraska couples can file amended returns back to 2012 and even 2011 under certain conditions, acting Tax Commissioner Leonard Sloup has announced.
     SCOTUS' gay marriage decision has ended the tax nightmare that gay couples in Nebraska previously faced.

Conservative actor Tom Selleck busted for stealing public water for use on his private ranch — after he was caught and warned to stop

The L.A. Times says Selleck was spotted personally driving the white tender truck used to rip off the water. Here is the cease-and-desist letter.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sole NE gay marriage refusenik among state's 93 county clerks just got a sharp letter from the ACLU

Michelle Zimmerman: Sioux County, NE clerk,
assessor, district court clerk, register of deeds,
election commissioner, budget authority, zoning
administrator and theocratic heterosexual
supremacist. Photo source.
Sioux County Clerk Michelle Zimmerman told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald on Tuesday that she would refuse licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs.
     On Wednesday, she refused to talk about her willingness to put herself above the law and expose her county to an expensive lawsuit, telling the Omaha World-Herald, that the issue is a "moot point."
     “I have not had anyone come in and ask for a same-sex marriage license and I’m not going to comment because it hasn’t happened,” Zimmerman said.
     She also seemed to believe there wasn’t much of a chance that a same-sex couple would walk into her office seeking a license.
     Ha! If she continues her autocratic ways, we at AKSARBENT strongly suspect that some gay couple in Nebraska will be making a road trip to her little fiefdom very, very soon.
     Heterosexual supremacist Zimmerman wields a great deal of power in Sioux County, where she serves — or rules — as the assessor, county clerk, district court clerk, election commissioner, register of deeds, budget authority and zoning administrator.
     Several county clerks in Nebraska have decided not to marry any more straight or gay couples (which they are not required to do) and several county clerks will refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples but say they will delegate that task to a deputy.
     Apparently, gay couples' ability to get a marriage license on a particular day in those counties will depend not on whether the office is open but on whether a particular person willing to serve them is available. This sounds legally indefensible to AKSARBENT, but we're not lawyers.
     Below is the letter that the Nebraska ACLU just sent Zimmerman. (We have no idea what Ms. Miller meant to say in the second sentence of the second-to-last paragraph.)

Old Spice model now appearing as cop or in hausfrau drag, your choice

Old Spice, wastefully-packaged body wash vendor, is now marketing itself with a video-game-like clickable torso of spokes­model Terry Crews (What happened to Isaiah Mustafa?), shown at left in the persona most appealing to fans of Tyler Perry.

Texas ACLU warns antigay county clerks that AG Ken Paxton's opinion won't protect them from removal from office and liability for damages

Here's the excerpt from a long letter sent by the Texas ACLU to recalcitrant county clerks in Fayette, San Jacinto, Hamilton, Irion, Loving and Winkler counties.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Homophobes unite! Red Army Choir sings Sweet Home Alabama

Former UVA swimmer files 10-count complaint against five teammates over "violent" hazing

ABC US News | World News

Anthony Marcantonio, 19, who currently swims for Northwestern University has filed a lawsuit against five of his former University of Virginia teammates over "violent" hazing in which he says they engaged. The 10-count complaint against upperclassmen Kyle Dudzinski, Luke Papendick, Charles Rommel, David Ingraham and Jacob Pearce alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment, hazing, tortuous interference with a contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and two counts of conspiracy to commit those acts.
     From the Charlottesville, Virginia Daily Progress:
     On the night/early morning of Aug. 27/28, Marcantonio claims in the suit that he and other first-years arrived at a Wertland Street house commonly referred to as the “Swim House,” and repeatedly were blindfolded and subjected to false imprisonment, forced drinking (of beers, liquor, milk and prune juice), verbal abuse, forced sexual contact and a variety of intimidation tactics — including the threat of forced sodomy — at the hands of the five upperclassmen.
     Among other alleged hazing activities that night, the suit claims that first-years were told to chew live goldfish and grab one another’s genitalia... The suit claims there was physical harm done to one of the other first-year swimmers, whose eye was injured when a glass bottle was smashed on the ground.
     The suit claims the hazing activities continued into the following week, with members of the first-year class receiving threatening emails from a joint account created by the defendants under the name “Mr. Mean.” The suit says the messages, filled with harrowingly derogatory and degrading insults, compelled the first-year swimmers to complete a “scavenger hunt” that required them to steal items from a retail store, the university and another teammate.
     The complaint alleges that coach Augie Busch, asked Marcantonio to protect himself by only swimming when other members of the team weren’t around, and on Sept. 15, 2014, stated that Marcantonio’s “physical safety could not be guaranteed.”
     All five of the accused were suspended for half a season. Dudzinski, Papendick and Ingraham did not rejoin the team; Dudzinski and Papendick subsequently transferred to the University of Michigan.
     Ingraham was also suspended from UVA's swimming team in the 2013-2014 season, along with 7 others.

Anti-gay Omaha mayor, a BS genius, claims SCOTUS marriage ruling "allows" city to offer health benefits to gay couples

Covergirl Jean Stothert
Now that the Supreme Court has forced her to, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert will finally "sign an executive order Tuesday that will provide health benefits to the same-sex spouses of eligible full-time employees of the city," reports KETV.
     Stothert, who is a disinformation genius, said:
The Supreme Court decision allows the city to offer these benefits to all employees and their same-sex spouses without negotiating. I believe it is important to act quickly and appropriately following the Supreme Court decision.
     Translation: If I stall any longer, the city will be sued by married gay couples, so it's important to act quickly, now that my little con is up.
     The World-Herald put it this way:
     The City of Omaha will offer health insurance benefits to all married same-sex spouses of city employees after being one of the last local holdouts on the issue.
     Mayor Jean Stothert previously argued that city employees should bring up the issue during contract negotiations if they wanted such benefits.
     Translation: Even though my administration could have done this unilaterally, like La Vista, Bellevue, Douglas County, Sarpy County, OPS, Creighton, University of Nebraska, the VA Medical Center, Methodist Health System and Alegent/Creighton/CHI, and even though Blue Cross Blue Shield changed its definition of spouse to include same-sex couples last year after the DOMA/Windsor decision, it was more fun to me to ransom benefits for gay employees in exchange for other concessions in labor negotiations because that's how homophobic, divide-and-conquer GOP politicians roll!

Below: Mayor Stothert when she was a City Council member, opposing a gay rights ordinance in Omaha shortly before being outvoted: