Thursday, June 30, 2016

Omaha's Lambert Bartak wasn't the first or last organist ejected from a game by the ump, but he
played the most creative taunt

Last night's deciding game of the 2016 College World Series of Baseball was postponed until noon today because three weather fronts decided to mess with the CWS by threatening to converge on downtown's TD Ameritrade Park. (A tornado hitting the CWS crowd would be really bad publicity for the city.)
     KMTV and KETV broke into programming for live weather coverage. WOWT, which was airing live NBC coverage of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials a couple blocks away at the CenturyLink Center, did not interrupt Michael Phelp's qualification for the 2016 Olympics for anything so trivial as wall cloud threats of impending cyclonic doom for 24,000 baseball fans and 2,000 of the nation's best swimmers and their fans.
     The delay let us reminisce about the time on May 26, 1988 when umpire Tony Maners ejected organist Lambert Bartak from an Omaha Royals game at Rosenblatt Stadium during an argument between the Royals catcher, manager and home plate ump Angel Hernandez.
     Bartak wasn't the first organist to be ejected from a minor league game. Wilbur Snapp was, in 1985. Nor was he the last, that being Derek Dye in 2012.
     So why was Bartak's ejection so special? Because unlike the other organists, Bartak didn't go with the obvious, Three Blind Mice. He played the theme song from the Mickey Mouse Club.
     Though umpire Maners at first ignored the taunt, when Bartak got to the spelling part, with the crowd shouting out M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, Maners became incensed enough to throw him out.
     Omahans should be proud of Bartak, especially of his later straight-faced denial that it was all a coincidence and misunderstanding.
     We'll miss Rosenblatt. Kevin Costner sure does.

The new venue:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brad Ashford explains why he sat out the sit-in by Dems on gun control

Image: KVNO
The Hill sent emails to the handful of Democrats who didn't join their colleagues:
     Rep. Brad Ashford (Neb.), another Blue Dog, supports both bills, but objected to the Democrats' rule-breaking tactics. 
     "He does not support either Party shutting down Congress on any issue," Ashford's spokesman said Friday in an email.
     One of the rules broken by the Dems who went rogue was the prohibition of the use of cell phones on the House floor. Dems used their cell phones to post streaming video to Facebook and Periscope to break the media blackout Speaker Paul Ryan imposed when he shut off CSPAN cameras. CSPAN telecasted the cell phone video instead.
     Despite Ashford's spokeman's contention that the Dems shut down Congress, the Republicans seem to have got a lot done:
     But you might not have noticed that, while Lewis was leading a civil rights-style protest in this unlikeliest of venues, Republicans passed a bill—one that Lewis has also fought against—to keep the Confederate flag flying on federal property.
     That incredibly inappropriate measure was just one small piece of a big appropriations package passed amid the clamor at 3:10 a.m. on Thursday, with no debate, that features long-awaited funding to combat the Zika virus. Republicans are trying to take advantage of Democratic desperation to secure emergency funding for Zika by pairing it with distasteful policies like the Confederate flag provision. Other pieces punish Planned Parenthood and reward pesticide polluters. Republicans pay for the Zika funding itself by robbing from other public health needs. And they’ve stuffed it all into an appropriations bill for military construction and the Veterans Administration, making it politically difficult to oppose.
(h/t: @Margoandhow)

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Jackie and Dunlap explain the GOP 'Dump Trump' convention scheme

From the video description:
Jackie and Dunlap on the Dump Trump movement – rules changes, delegate unrest, phone calls from Reince Priebus! Nightmare! Will Trump make it out of Cleveland? Will the GOP ignore the will of the people? Which people? Which will? Is Trump ending racism? Why is Paul Ryan pretending he has decency? Why is George W. Bush back on the campaign trail? Whatever happened to Jackie’s favorite TV show Dial-A-Weasel? These questions and more get a answerin’.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Excusing Brad Ashford's tardy, tepid sit-in support. He probably has his reasons.

The current incarnation of former Republican Brad Ashford is the sort of go-along get-along Republicrat that alternately makes us very glad Lee Terry is gone and disgusted enough to  throw a shoe at the TV (the latter would be for Ashford's contemptible betrayal of Nebraska farmers and ranchers in supporting Keystone XL).
     As a newly-minted Democratic congressman in one of America's reddest states, we imagine he prays nightly to the tightrope-balancing shrine of Senator Ben Nelson.
     Right now, Ashford is being criticized on Twitter for his silence, then tepid support of the Democratic sit-in over gun control legislation.
     As people began to notice the conspicuous absence of his ass from the House of Representatives rug, he tweeted something about "standing" with his Democratic colleagues, which made us laugh almost as much as he must have while tweeting it.
     It's easy to see the practical reason Ashford isn't sitting cross-legged on the floor. He knows that Dark Money Koch Bros. ad agencies — not to mention his September opponent, Air Force Gen. Don Bacon — are drooling at the prospect of ripping him him in TV attack ads as a leftist refusenik stuck in 60s Yippiedom. Obviously, Bradford ain't gonna let that photo op happen.
     But there could also be a principled reason that Ashford isn't willing to go to the carpet on this.
     We remember the Brad Ashford of the Unicameral Judiciary Committee and his cross indignation at contrived and specious antigay testimony. He knows bullshit when he sees it, and within the bounds of political survival, is loathe to suffer it. We're guessing he finds the current no-fly-no-buy bill toxic. (We could be wrong; after all he didn't find Keystone XL chemical horror show toxic.)
     As even people who don't worship at the Church of Glock have noticed, adding weight to the terrorism watch list is an ugly, potholed, rutted road that ends in a civil liberties swamp.
     Secret government lists that effectively limit where you can go and what you can buy are the very definition of 1984 totalitarianism.
     Naturally Republicans in the main only get exercised about this when their assault weapon fetish is reconsidered and they're hypocrites for it, (don't expect to tell you that the Reagan administration put Nelson Mandela on the terrorism watch list, where he stayed until 2008 or that liberal Actor Mark Ruffalo was added to it) but that doesn't mean the convenient excuse of on-the-NRA-take Republicans' is wrong.
     We saw a chart the other day which revealed that 280,000 people are on the mistake-riddled terrorism watch list (no breakdown of how many are U.S. citizens) for which the government can show no link whatever to terrorist organizations.
     Obviously you can still be a dangerous lone wolf without subscribing to the Al Queda Post-Dispatched, (See Omar Mateen, Reps Steve King and Louie Gohmert, and Wayne LaPierre), but without any evidence whatever of links to terrorist organizations, shouldn't you have at least be able to confront your accuser?
     Democrats who want to expand the use of secret government lists, whose dragnets offer little to no recourse to ensnared innoocents ought to be ashamed of themselves. Assault weapons should be banned for everyone except enlisted military personnel, period.
     Conditioning any ban on a secret blacklist compiled by anonymous, unaccountable functionaries at the NSA, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security or the Mayberry PD is a really, really bad idea.
     If that's what's giving Brad Ashford pause, he's right.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In Iowa, Patty Judge's ads are nailing Chuck Grassley to the wall and Donald Trump is the hammer

 From The Hill:
     Grassley has been perennially popular in his home state, where he's built a reputation as a GOP senator with an independent streak.
     But a poll this week conducted by a Democratic-leaning firm for the Constitutional Responsibility Project found Grassley leading Democratic challenger Patty Judge just 48 percent to 41 percent.
     It’s a margin far below Grassley’s past elections, when he’s frequently won at least 60 percent of the vote.

Here's Perry Mason cross-examining the Hill Street Blues pizza man

1966 was Perry Mason's last season (Bonanza roped too many of its viewers) but CBS did what it had to do to distract Raymond Burr from his orchids. Daniel Travanti wouldn't become a star on Hill Street Blues as Captain Frank Furillo for another 15 years. Veronica Hamil's character, public defender Joyce Davenport, called Furillo the pizza man. She slept with him on the down low. By the way, the episode below was called The Case of the Midnight Howler.

Player gets a real (not Gatorade) shampoo in the College World Series Arizona dugout

SB Nation said Cody Deason "received a shower complete with shampoo from Sawyer Gieseke."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Youtube's biggest star evicted for having loud gay sex. He's straight

Scandinavian YouTube megastar "PewDiePie" (Felix Kjellberg, 45 million subscribers, 12 BILLION — you read that right — views), who now lives in Brighton, in the UK, has been kicked out of his flat by his landlord, who called him a faggot and, who, according to Queerty, accused him of having loud gay sex with his production partner. Naturally, Kjellberg made a video about it:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

End mass shootings the Deb Fischer way with the Thoughts and Prayers video game!

Click on the link below the graphic to play.

Vandalized IA gay bar takes church youth group donation, fixes damage itself, sends money to Orlando

On Thursday, for the second time in recent weeks, Blazing Saddles, a gay bar in Des Moines' East Village was vandalized by rocks through through a window. The latest incident will cost $191 to repair.
    This time, a Christian youth group from the Two Rivers Church showed up with a $160 donation, flowers and cards to show their support, accompanied with cards and flowers. (The vandalism was reported by news media.) The Des Moines Register said the bar accepted the money but will not keep it.
     Bryan Smith, a Blazing Saddle employee, said the small act of kindness meant a lot to their community, but they thought the money needed to go someplace else.
"We thanked them profusely but said 'we're actually going to put this in our Orlando fund, OK?'" Smith said.
The bar has been gathering donations to send to the injured victims and families of the 49 people killed in the Orlando massacreat the Pulse nightclub.

Are voters getting fed up with Sen. Fischer's "thoughts and prayers" song and dance on assault weapons?

Senator Deb Fischer has done a lot of obnoxious things so far, including:
     But none of that is resonating more than the increasing glaring gap between her boilerplate "thoughts and prayers" reactions to gun carnage and her actions in the Senate to block attempts to stop such carnage with common sense laws placing large bullet magazines and high-velocity assault weapons out of the hands of civilians.
     (Click on pictures of tweets, below, to enlarge for easier reading.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

The 54 Senators (4 from NE and IA) who blocked law which could have saved 49 people at gay Orlando club

In 2015, a law to prevent persons on the government's terror watch list from buying guns was defeated in the Senate, mostly by the GOP.
     While AKSARBENT doesn't think Americans on secret government lists should have their rights abridged without recourse, the usual suspects below and at right generally do what the NRA tells them, no matter who gets killed or how disturbed their constituents are about high-velocity military assault rifles being sold to civilians with anger issues or crushes on ISIS.
     We did the math for you: Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer got $101.02 from the NRA per dead body at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Joni Ernst got $202.04 per corpse. But Chuck Grassley got a whopping $465.30 for each person shot in the head, heart or who simply bled out during the hours it took for the cops to break into the club. Way to go, Chuck!
     Curiously, Ben Sasse didn't get any money from the NRA.
     Unlike Deb Fischer, he apparently doesn't need to be paid off by
PepĂ© Le Pew Wayne LaPierre of the NRA to do the wrong thing — it just comes naturally to him. 
     Below are all 54 senators with their phone numbers and the amount of blood money they get from the NRA.

Lane Graves wasn't the first child attacked by a Disney alligator; it happened in 1986

Paul Santamaria was eight when he was attacked by a Florida DisneyWorld alligator. His family sued in 1988 and terminated the suit later that year. They won't say whether Disney settled. Smells like a nondisclosure agreement to AKSARBENT.
     Other stories are slowly filtering out about alligator encounters at DisneyWorld. British vacationers were chased, and a lawyer interviewed by CBS yesterday said he had to hustle his son away from two alligators, one of which he said was between six and seven feet long.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nebraska one of 16 states that lets FBI's sloppy facial recognition system 'match' you to criminals

You can thank the Unicameral and Gov. Heineman for this, although the Nebraska DMV didn't tell anyone at the time that it would be sharing Nebraska driver's license photos by the millions to federal agents. It only told the public that its photos would be scanned to stop fraud and identity theft.

The Nebraska DMV said, at the time, that it had 1.5 million faces. The Government Accounting Office says the State of Nebraska now shares 8 million faces.

How sloppy is the FBI's facial recognition matching?

How sloppy is Nebraska's own facial recognition system?  Who uses it? What is it used for? Those would be good questions for the Nebraska ACLU, wouldn't they?

NE U.S. House candidate Don Bacon:
the definition of crass opportunism

If we were cynical, we'd say, after seeing Don Bacon's campaign graphic, that the massacre in Orlando happened in order to bring Nebraskans his run at House District Two.
    His tweets on the bloodbath mention neither the role a military assault rifle played in the mayhem nor who was targeted, a slap in the face to 50,000 LGBT Nebraskans.
     They say the opposite of love isn't hate, but indifference. Here's Bacon's calculated refusal to acknowledge who got killed in Orlando:
     Our thoughts and prayers are w/ the victims and families affected in #Orlando. It is time that we get serious about defeating ISIS for good.
(Tweeted by Bacon 6/12)
And how's this for good old reactionary GOP condescension?
We are all Americans. Our lives deserve protection regardless of our political differences. #OrlandoUnited
(Tweeted by Bacon, 6/13)
     And how about his exploitation of murder to blame Obama for ISIS, a creation of George Bush (43, the idiot) who destabilized Iraq by removing Saddam Hussein, a despot who squashed Islamic terrorists as ruthlessly as Hillary Clinton's people challenged the credentials of competing Sanders delegates.
     As for Bacon's exhortation to "pray" for people who are already dead, is that anything but the hollow bullet point, standard-issue GOP distraction from efforts to ban high-velocity military assault rifle sales to civilians?
     Democrats spent $400,000 trying to knock Bacon out of the primary in favor of a Tea Party candidate who used to be a Douglas County Commissioner with a record they thought would make him more vulnerable in a general election. They might as well have thrown that money down a rathole, as Bacon demolished Maxwell in the primary.

     Evidently Dems don't think they can beat a military man with no political record.
     If Republicans could take out Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam vet who lost two legs and an arm, in favor of one of their chickenhawks, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, then Nebraska Dems could easily defeat the tone-deaf Bacon, marinated in the pork culture of the Pentagon.
     Don believe it? Google "Air Force boondoggle" and then ask yourself if Air Force Gen. Don Bacon would recognize fiscal responsibility in government if it sat on his lap and called him daddy. (It wouldn't; no child called Government Fiscal Responsibility would ever try to claim Bacon paternity.)
     Dems could hold Bacon's feet to the fire regarding his conspicuous silence about Sen. Deb. Fischer's sleazy vote to hide the allegedly outrageous development costs of the Air Force B-21 from taxpayers.
     Bacon is a poseur and a fiscal hypocrite. Nebraska Democrats can't figure out how to win with that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Your idiot GOP: U.S. House rules chairman says Pulse wasn't a gay club — it was actually mostly Latinos!

We're betting that Rep. Pete Sessions, whose Dallas district (32) evidently isn't the home of Texas' smartest voters, has never met a Venn diagram that he could understand.
     But not to worry! AKSARBENT has a movie, Plata Quemada, for him to watch. It has lots of gunfire! Unfortunately, the shootin' involves two boyfriends wasting a lot of cops (based on a true story!), but still...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Yesterday, the NRA had to delete one of its tweets...

Seen at Omaha's 2016 Summer Arts Festival

Why, the disembodied heads of Casey Bridges' garden sculptures were so mesmerizing to us that we forgot to include the head of the only human subject in our picture of the Grass Valley artist's work.

Pictures from Omaha vigil for Orlando shooting victims

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Why did you name your cat Oops?

That frequent question was one of many reminiscences at Friday's memorial of Tom Rudloff, proprietor of the Antiquarium Bookstore. His answer was, "Well, he doesn't seem to mind." The 1989 photo below was rerun by the Omaha World-Herald in 2015 and may be purchased from the newspaper, less the text overlays you see below.
     AKSARBENT will post video from the memorial later this week when it becomes available to us.