Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orphans of the storm

Last night's winds beneath our blown-off asphalt shingles left 16,000 Omahans in darkness, including those at Rancho Aksarbent, amid three felled power poles and various arbor-impaled domiciles.
     When we went out for batteries, we heard the shrieking of what we thought were abandoned baby birds, freaked out and hungry.
     Returning with a brighter headlamp, we noticed a dark, indeterminate lump on the white mesh of the picnic table, which turned out to be a nest, but no birds were nearby or wailing.
     Minutes later we incredulously pointed out our nest (beautifully made and obviously quite sturdy) to passerbys surveying the wreckage of the hood. As they passed, their headlamps revealed what had really happened.
     A stone cold adult female squirrel lay between a tree limb and concrete and, feet away in grass, two of her good-sized but barely stirring babies, no longer crying for her, or themselves, or for anyone's help.
     At least one seemed to be badly hurt (and twitching) though neither were bloody.
     AKSARBENT went down the street to borrow of cup of advice from the resident Mother Earth.
     Mother Earth was lying down, after having put out a burning utility pole next to her house with a fire extinguisher, in pouring rain, amid the sparks of misdirected electricity and fallen lines.
     Also, her rabbit pens were buried under foilage.
     She had her husband tell us to tell it to the Humane Society, which would give our number to the Squirrel Rescue people, who would probably call us in the morning.
     Put 'em in a box, she said. So we did.
     We laid their nest in a box, and the squirrels in the nest, across from each other, and the box in the bathroom, now off limits to the cat.
     Hours later, when we went to check on them, they had managed to move together, one covering the other. Both were still alive, so we quietly withdrew to the living room, where two candles are burning.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Iowa: New Patty Judge ads rip Sen. Chuck Grassley's refusal to hold hearings on Scalia's replacement

And the last line of this new ad is the funniest, snarkiest and most truthful slam we've seen in any political ad this season.

There's another one, too. In it she reveals Iowans' growing dissatisfaction of Grassley as a politician who has evolved from a senator who works for Iowans into an arrogant Republican Party hack.

Donald Trump's chickens are coming home to roost — in the newest pro-Hillary ad

We'd say they were returning through the negative campaigning airwaves, but chickens don't really fly, much like the current state of Donald Trump's campaign.

The ad isn't from the Clinton campaign but from a supportive superpac, which, for lack of a better phrase, we shall dub the Hounds of Hill.

Your tax dollars at work: activist GOP NE AG Doug Peterson attacks transgenders in ANOTHER lawsuit

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, elected in 2014, has unstintingly spent state funds to oppose every LGBT equality measure he could obstruct.
     Now his jihad against the transgendered continues, fueled by Nebraska taxpayers. After  initiating a 10-state suit over Obama's transgender guidelines for students, he has now joined Texas in another costly federal lawsuit, this time targeting the nondiscrimination health care mandate in Obamacare to screw over the transgendered in that arena.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in a North Texas federal court seeks to block parts of a nondiscrimination mandate of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Republican state officials say the rules could force doctors to help with gender transition against their medical judgment or religious convictions.
Transgender rights advocates called that a far-fetched hypothetical and say the rules simply require doctors to make decisions without bias.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Trump just gave $100,000 to Tony Perkins church, not to relief agencies

Also: Lochte imbroglio — looks like Rio Police have told a few lies of their own 

From Bipartisan Report:
     ...All that information has changed, though, since it was discovered that Trump did not, in fact, make any donations to relief organizations. No, instead, he donated $100,000 to a church whose interim pastor is Tony Perkins. If you don’t recognize the name, Pastor Perkins is the leader of the hate group of anti-gay and anti-choice religious extremists known as The Family Research Council.

Lochte imbroglio: Looks like Rio cops told a few lies of their own

USA Today has done what NBC news didn't: Get salient and disturbing facts which don't corroborate the Rio cop narrative about Ryan Lochte's bathroom episode and report them. Turns Lochte wasn't the only one "over-exaggerating." USA Today's reporting is thorough, breaks new ground, and puts NBC, which spent millions to "cover" the Olympics, to shame. If you're getting your news about this episode from Matt Lauer, Lester Holt and NBC, you could do better.
     At a news conference Thursday, Rio police chief Fernando Veloso characterized the athletes' actions at the gas station as vandalism. He said they also had broken a soap dispenser and mirror inside the restroom. Reports quickly grew that the Americans had trashed the restroom.
     A USA TODAY Sports videographer who visited the bathroom Thursday found no damage to soap dispensers and mirrors and said none of those items appeared to be new. Some media accounts suggested the men had broken down a door, which USA TODAY Sports also did not observe.
     ...When approached on Tuesday by a USA TODAY Sports reporter who asked to see witness testimony  related to the incident, the Rio de Janeiro civil police declined to give any information, saying the investigation was confidential.
     By Thursday, after police had pulled Bentz and Conger off their U.S.-bound flight and detained them for questioning, police welcomed dozens of camera crews that squeezed into the station to film the men as they were escorted by cops into the office. Immediately after their interviews, police called a news conference – in a nearby theater – to announce the official version of events.
     Shortly afterward the police released their reports of testimony given by Conger and Bentz that included statements casting doubt on Lochte's version of events. However, that testimony was missing a portion of the men's story – their interactions with armed security guards.
     Rio's civil police declined to provide the testimony in its entirety when requested by USA TODAY Sports. By late Friday, even the partial testimony had been removed from the police's social media site.
     Police accused Lochte and Feigen of filing a false police report, a crime punishable by a fine and up to six months in prison. Feigen paid $11,000 to be  donated to a charity in order to not face charges.
     Deborah Srour, an attorney who has practiced in Brazil for 25 years, said the two swimmers’ actions do not constitute a crime based on a strict reading of the Brazilian penal code.
    “This crime only happens when you go to the police and you make a report, you file a report,’’ said Srour, who added that she has represented Americans arrested in Brazil. “This did not happen.’’

Friday, August 19, 2016

World Series champs, KC Royals, have an insect mascot

And its name is Rally Mantis. He's the team's second Mantis Mascot. We think the third should be called Mickey Mantis, but you know how weirdly superstitious baseball players are.

This morning, Ryan Lochte's website listed Mutual of Omaha as a sponsor. Now that page is gone

Mutual of Omaha sponsored Ryan Lochte before and during the 2012 Olympics in London, but dropped its support soon after. Nevertheless, a "Sponsors" page on Lochte's website listed Mutual as recently as this morning. That page has now disappeared.

Collateral damage in Manafort black ledger scandal; Pro-Russian Ukraine party paid Larry King $225,000

Well, well, well...
     TV/Radio personality Larry King appeared on the ledgers of Pro-Russian Ukraine party along with Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.
     King got $225,000 just before he was to interview an ex-Ukranian Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovich.
     King's questions during the interview were uniformly puffball.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Here's a photo of the expansive, expensive and now flooded home of hate group leader who says hurricanes are god's wrath against LGBTs

Tony Perkins makes a very good living trashing LGBTs and probably has great insurance, so this shouldn't set him back much — after all he can use it to raise more money.
     Besides only "a few" of his cars were damaged.
     The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Tony Perkins' organization, the so-called Family Research Council, as a hate group not because (as the FRC falsely asserts) it believes that homosexuality is an immoral choice, but because it publishes junk statistics and studies demonizing LGBTs as a group.
     How unrepentantly nasty could the FRC be to LGBTs, you might ask, to deserve such a label from the SPLC?
     Consider this: the FRC still touts the anti-gay parenting Regnerus Study on its website, even after a member of the editorial board of the very journal that published it, Social Science Research, audited the study after the uproar it caused, and called it "bullshit."

Fake Bo Pelini releases revised Ryan Lochte statement

Clinton, who recently 'reversed' her pro-TPP position, has already chosen two pro-TPP

Sanders supporters who don't trust Clinton's recent conversions on the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership won't be reassured by her appointment of former Virginia Senator and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to run her transition team. Salazar most recently was employed by the powerhouse D.C. influence peddler WilmerHale. From The Hill:
     The choice of Salazar is a pretty good sign that as expected we’ll be seeing the “revolving door” in full force in a Clinton administration. As head of the transition he’ll have enormous influence on who fills thousands of jobs at the White House and federal agencies.
     As Senator Elizabeth Warren has forcefully argued, one of the lessons of the Obama administration is clear: “personnel is policy.” Who Clinton chooses to help her run the White House may tell us more about her true priorities than promises she made on the campaign trail.
     After all, we’ve already seen her choice of a vice president. Once Democrats prevail on Election Day, we’ll have a pro-TPP, pro-Hyde Amendment Vice President. Tim Kaine is the man that Clinton believes is the best person to lead the country, should she for any reason be unable to fulfill the duties of her office.

Vancouver Archdiocese, 2 Baptist churches
rip Graham crusade and his 'bigoted remarks"

Box Turtle Bulletin reports that Franklin Graham's incendiary remarks against gays, Muslims and others have prompted a group of five Evangelical and Catholic leaders in Vancouver to denounce his upcoming appearance there. Read their letter here:

Throwback Thursday #2: Charles Pierce as Mae West

See this face, honey? It's leaving town in five minutes. Be on it.

New evidence that John Cleese (in drag as Anne Elk) is much better than Ru Paul in drag

Some drag queens are funny and smart. (Charles Pierce,* for one, though the renowned female impressionist rejected the term "drag queen.) But all Americans get is Ru Paul. Ugh.

*Charles Pierce quote (as Bette Davis): Darling, I only drink to pass the time until I'm drunk.

ABC: Cops say U.S. swimmers broke down bathroom door at gas station, 'fought' with security

Brazilian police claim at least one U.S. swimmer "fought" with security, but none of the security video so far leaked to the web shows much of a fight, if any any, though what we've seen of the bathroom footage seems to start after the bathroom door was allegedly broken down.
     Ryan Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint, then quickly left Rio, leaving his teammates (Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz) behind to deal with authorities. ABC says the swimmers offered $20 and 100 reals (about $31) to pay for the damage. From CNN:
ABC News has more.

Three anecdotes about Tiffany's involving a tabloid ad salesman, a five-fingered discount, JFK, Truman Capote and a very drunk marine

Audrey Hepburn window-shopping during Breakfast at Tiffany's
Number One:
     Years ago, a Young Turk ad salesman decided to make his pitch to Tiffany & Co.
     Someone he wangled a meeting with an executive empowered to place ads and regaled him with the burgeoning circulation figures of his paper and the relative low costs per thousand readers of ads placed therein.
     The executive listened patiently and when the salesman tried to close, with "Well, how about it?" soberly informed him that Tiffany's could never advertise in his newspaper.
     Exasperated, the salesman could only muster (in the face of his well-reasoned appeal), "Well, why not?"
     The executive's response: "Because your readers are our shoplifters!"

Number Two:
In the early sixties, JFK, became fascinated with Lucite, (a Product of the Space Age!) So enamoured, in fact, that he had an aide contact Tiffany's to inquire about having engraved desk ornaments made for his staff as Christmas gifts.
     Shortly thereafter, the leader of the Free World received a letter from the President of Tiffany & Co., informing him politely, but firmly, that Tiffany's did not execute objets d'art in plastic.

Number Three:
     Everyone knows "Breakfast At Tiffany's, the book by Truman Capote made into the Audrey Hepburn / George Peppard movie, but the title wasn't taken from the opening scene from the movie.
     It was actually a sly allusion to an anecdote that had circulated for years in Gay New York.
     The story: During World War II, enormous troop movements to and from Europe, together with scarce and expensive hotel accommodations, reduced the challenge of hooking up (for gay bachelors with their own apartments) to something akin to shooting fish in a barrel.
     During one night on the town, one very such gay bachelor found himself seated next to an incoming or outgoing Marine who was already well on the way to drinking himself to that point at which horny jarheads forget that they're primarily heterosexual.
     At closing time, the serviceman, who had nowhere to go, cheerfully accept Gay Bachelor's invitation to sleep things off at his place.
     The next morning, after the both of them had had a Real Good Time, jarhead's host was so enervated that he expansively declared he would treat his guest to breakfast anywhere in New York City that he wanted eat.
     The Marine, not from new York, had only heard of one establishment in the City that was renowned as really top-drawer, so he picked Tiffany's.

Throwback Thursday: photo of handsome U.S. Ambassador to Mexico wearing only a towel at bathhouse with bisexual movie star

Every word of the shamelessly click-baiting headline above is technically true! Movie star John Gavin, shown at right with Laurence Olivier in Spartacus, served as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1986. (Gavin was fluent in Spanish.)
     His benchmate, Sir Lawrence Olivier, was widely rumoured to have had a long affair with actor Danny Kaye.
     Disclaimer: Olivier's most authoritative biographer, Terry Coleman, an English journalist, novelist and historian who had access to Olivier's collection of letters and other memorabilia and who interviewed Olivier many times as correspondent for the Guardiansaid he could find no evidence of an affair between Kaye and Olivier.
     Fortunately, for the sake of the veracity of our headline and tweet, Coleman did find evidence of an affair with Henry Hinchliffe Ainley (21 August 1879 – 31 October 1945) an English Shakespearean stage and screen actor. Whew! That was close.
     Bonus: Below is Gavin in 1960's Psycho, in bed with Janet Leigh. This was made just before the complete breakdown of the Hollywood Production Code, which, among other things, stipulated that if a man and woman were in bed together, one foot had to be on the floor. As you can see, Alfred Hitchcock followed the rules even as he demolished their spirit.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

CNN: IOC, Civil & Military Police, & US Consulate at first denied Ryan Lochte & 3 other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint

Now the civil police have opened an investigation.

After Florida PD ran PR interference for Ofc. Lee Coel, whose K9 mauled a bicyclist, he killed a 73-year-old Citizens Academy volunteer in front of 34 witnesses

Mary Knowlton
Last Tuesday, Punta Gorda K9 cop Lee Coel, formerly of Indianola, Iowa, shot 73-year-old Mary Knowlton to death during a Chamber of Commerce "Citizens Academy" Shoot/Don't Shoot demonstration at Punta Gorda police headquarters. He wasn't supposed to be using live rounds.
     The Fort Myers News-Press quoted Punta Gorda police Chief Tom Lewis on Thursday:
"As your chief of police, I accept full responsibility for the actions of my department, my officers. And the bottom line, I'm 100 percent accountable."
     Then Lewis and Public Information Officer Lt. Katie Heck and Punta Gorda City Manager Howard Kunik all refused to answer questions.
     Officer Coel resigned his position at the Miramar, Florida PD during two simultaneous internal affairs investigations into his alleged use of excessive force.
     In Punta Gorda, Coel had his German Shepherd maul a bicyclist he stopped, Richard Schumacher, for two minutes. Schumacher spent 11 days in the hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a latissimus dorsi muscle ripped apart by the dog. Then he spent almost three months in the county jail.
     His crime: riding a bike at night without a light.

Left to right: Officer Lee Coel and German Shepherd; Richard Schumacher
     He is now suing the Punta Gorda Police Department. In the dashcam video (below), Coel is heard yelling at Schumacher to "stop resisting" as Schumacher screamed in agony. Coel gave the dog commands to keep biting. The Punta Gorda PD never disciplined Coel for the incident.
     Schumacher's lawyer, Scott Weinberg, had this to say:
     Similar to his time in Miramar, his arrest stats were high: He’d filed more than 300 charges in a year and a half. Weinberg says that’s where he first grew concerned about Coel, saying he saw a pattern of aggressive tactics in his arrests.
     Records provided by Weinberg, but not independently verified, show more than a third of those charges were dismissed by prosecutors.
     “That’s an astronomically high number and those cases are being dismissed very early on… which means people are seeing he is violating people’s rights, illegally searching them and arresting them for bogus reasons,” he said.
     ...After Weinberg went public with his concern, he says Punta Gorda waged a counter-publicity campaign. A few weeks after the dashcam of the K-9 attack was released, PGPD posted a photo on its Facebook page showing Coel with a dog it says he rescued. A few weeks later, Coel is shown in a video with his K-9 on a helicopter ride.
     "For what purpose that would serve, I have no idea, other than to get people to like their Facebook page and say, 'oh, isn't that nice,'” Weinberg said. “I assume that's why he was involved in this training program as well, because they were trying to soften his image."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

2016 Omaha Triathalon bicycle video. Zoom, zoom, zoom

Turns out the bikers used only half the intersection at 16th & Storz; vehicles west could turn south and vehicles south could turn west, a fact that maps didn't make clear.

     On Thursday, Race Omaha and the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored an untimed skivvy dash across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to;
"...welcome national competitors to the area for the 2016 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships and to get local residents out in the community... Runners dressed in their undies and costumes will start in the Council Bluffs park, head across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, turn around at the trail on the Nebraska side and head back over the bridge to Council Bluffs. Judges will choose the most unbelievable undines worn by runners as part of a costume contest..."
     We didn't walk across the bridge to Iowa to see who won, but we would have voted for Tabasco Underpants, seen below at the very bottom:

Omaha Triathalon to cause severe traffic disruptions to Eppley Airfield

If you were planning on getting to or from Omaha's Airport this weekend via 680 and or Sorenson/Storz, dream on. Here's the bad news, via Click map to enlarge.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

NE State Senator vows to read entire State Patrol cybersex sky transcript of disgraced colleague into NE Senate's record if he doesn't quit

If you don't want to wait, you can see lowlife highlights here or peruse the entire Nebraska State Patrol report of Sen. Bill Kintner's adventures with a cybersex blackmailer at the bottom of this AKSARBENT post. Click on the graphic below to embiggen it if you wish to read Chambers' letter.

Warren Buffett, your voter chauffeur

Practical billionaire Warren Buffett doesn't just get mad at Donald Trump, he gets even. In his appearance with Hillary in Omaha, he promised to personally drive 10 vehicularly-impaired people to the polls on election day. (He has also chartered Omaha's Ollie The Trolley get even more people out.) But wait, there's more: he's promoting in the hope that a large Omaha turnout will give Trump a little November Surprise in the Blue Dot State.*

*Nebraska is known to political junkies as the Blue Dot State, because it, like Maine, is not winner-take-all in presidential elections. The presidential candidate who gets the most votes in Nebraska gets the electoral votes corresponding to the state's two senators, but such a candidate must win a majority in each of the state's three congressional districts to get all three electoral votes corresponding to them. In 2008, Obama peeled off an electoral vote in Nebraska's second district, (mostly Omaha.) Before that, no Democratic presidential candidate had received an electoral vote from Nebraska since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

What's in a name?

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, named after the Nebraska Senator who lost a leg in Vietnam and who used to date Debra Winger when he was governor and who, when asked about this, told a reporter that she swept him off his foot. The bridge is supposed to be the longest pedestrian bridge in the U.S., although there's a bridge in Chattanooga which is now relegated to pedestrian traffic which is pretty long. This post isn't about the bridge, it's about the river that it spans, between Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo: Ali Eminov, Flickr
What's in a name? That depends on to what the name is attached.
     If the moniker names a piece of legislation proposed by GOP lawmakers, probably nothing in the name accurately describes the bill's actual intent.
     GOP bills really don't have names worthy of the name, they have aliases.
     If the name is of a cat, the joke's on you. Cats have their own names, which are on a need-to-know basis, and no matter how much you spend on shredded furniture, cat food, litter or Vet bills, you will never be deemed deserving of the need to know your cat's real name, else "Fluffy" might be compelled to acknowledge you for uttering it. (If you're now wondering what your cat's real name is, forget anything cute. It's probably Dexter.)
     Human names are usually a reflection of the vanity of the parental or grand parental units, or their drug intake at the time they were risking the chromosonal integrity of their fetus by dropping acid ("Moon Unit") or their pretensions ("Apple") — unless the child-namers happen to live in France, where the government can and does sensibly refuse to register stupid kid names, for their own damn good.
     AKSARBENT's interest in this topic, however, isn't about people, animal, or thing names; it's about river names. You heard that right. Grave injustices have been visited on many people's rivers by willfully deaf petty dictators with rubber stamps.
     Take Norfolk, Nebraska, where Johnny Carson spent his childhood. Did you ever once hear him on TV refer to his hometown as anything other than "Norfork"? Of course you didn't, because nobody in Norfolk pronounces that town's name any other way.
     Why is this so, you might well ask.
     AKSARBENT will tell you! The community was named after the North Fork of the Elkhorn river, but some idiot federal postal authority transmuted the community's submission to "Norfolk."
     (In respect of town names, Nebraska has its own little shibboleth: Beatrice, the town in Southeast Nebraska. We've seen several new TV anchors pronounce it BEE a tris. But never more than once, after which they said Bee AT tris.)
     None of the above compares to the worse river-naming injustice ever committed in North America, that being what was done to the waterway between St. Louis and New Orleans now misnamed the "Mississippi."
     We don't know who screwed this up and don't care, because they're already dead and can't be killed again, but the wrong is EGREGIOUS!
     It's not about length bragging rights. The Missouri river, even just to St. Louis, where it meets the Upper Mississippi, is already the longest river in North America, by several hundred miles.
     It's about justice. It's about correcting stupidity, not enshrining it.
     You see, before the Missouri, a much wilder river than the pacific Mississippi, was sedated by huge dams, it emptied (in the 19th century) TWICE as much water into the St. Louis river confluence than did the upper Mississippi at the join.
     This means that the upper Mississippi is a tributary of the Missouri river, which rightfully ends in New Orleans, not St. Louis, no matter what poison so-called educators are dripping into young impressionable minds.
     Were AKSARBENT elected president, our first action would be to remove all federal signage south of St. Louis referring to the "Mississippi" river.
     Our second would be to send federal troops to force ignorant warmed-over rebels in Louisiana and Mississippi to get with the program (in respect of uncooperative state signage), because you know they would never part with any "heritage," no matter how phony, unless it were pried from their cold, dead, red necks.
     Our third action, inevitably, would be to resign the presidency amid hoots and assassination threats, and retire to a state along the banks of the upper Missouri, where sensible, fair-minded people would welcome a geographical Social Justice Warrior.
     Also, screw Mark Twain, the traitor from Hannibal, Missouri and his epic lie, Life on the Mississippi.