Friday, March 31, 2017

The campaign issue Jean Stothert is probably glad Health Mello missed

You've seen that Mello ad in which he ticks off property taxes, sewer taxes and the restaurant tax, ending with him brandishing a restaurant bill and saying "It's all too much!"
     This is weak, because Mayor Stothert isn't solely responsible for any of those taxes, not even the restaurant tax she deplored when running against Suttle, then ignored when her administration benefited from it — however badly she may be handling their imposition.
     Even the extension of the restaurant tax to food trucks on Stothert's watch is defensible. Why should Whoppers handed out the window of a Burger King be restaurant-axed, but not tacos handed out the window of a food truck?
     What Mello totally missed is the one increased fee, affecting hundreds of thousands of Omahans, that Stothert totally owns: a hugely irritating expansion of parking meter fees.
     We're not historians, but we'd guess that thousands of Omahans who grew up here and are old enough to be on Medicare never in their life had to feed a parking meter on a Saturday or after 5 on a weekday — until Jean Stothert became mayor.
     This is a provocative political issue and something Team Mello is apparently completely blind to.
     Here's how that ad which ended in a restaurant with Mello's disapproval of his restaurant-taxed tab SHOULD have ended:
Family exits restaurant to find a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wiper. Mello picks up the ticket, looks at his wife, and says: "On a SATURDAY?"
Then Mello's wife, instead of being a voiceless political prop in her husband's campaign ads (in this respect Mello is just too, too traditional) should have said, with wry, sarcastic resignation: "Welcome to Jean Stothert's world!" Last image in the ad, with the vote for Mello verbiage, should have been of a parking meter.
     And don't get us started on the fact that in Lincoln, people summoned for jury duty can park in a their own free lot, unlike here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

KETV's invoices show how much it made from false ads touting TrumpCare

We wondered how much KETV and its parent, Hearst, has banked from all those American Action Network Superpac ads propping up Rep. Don Bacon's attack on ObamaCare, so we tried to decipher the various contracts and seemingly overlapping (to us) invoices dumped by KETV into the FCC's political ad disclosure folders.
    They were about as indecipherable as a hospital bill, but we'd guess KETV alone (heaven only knows how much WOWT and KMTV are making from this) has made $20-30,000 since January airing American Action Network ads praising Trump/RyanCare. Here's one contract we found (click to enlarge):

Below is the worst of the ads, showing just how loose KETV's truth-in-advertising standards are. The spot is filled with obvious lies and half-truths. This is broadcasting in the public interest, for which the FCC issues licenses to TV stations?
     The nicest thing you can say about KETV's greedy behavior in this matter is that the ads it ran for fly-by-night Omaha real estate seminars that followed the fraudulent business model of Trump University (bait, switch, upsell) may have been even worse.

Monday, March 27, 2017

3 ways to resist today's American fascism, as told to Bill Maher by a Yale history prof

What the world's best-preserved mummy shares with Madonna, Elton John and Lauren Hutton

Ötzi (not his real name) lived on the Italian/Austrian border 3,300 years ago near the crest of the Ötzal Alps.
     He was 45, plus or minus 6 years and had a 3mm gap  between his two upper front, teeth a condition which Madonna, Elton John, Lauren Hutton and Alfred E. Neuman also have, called diastema.
     Investigators know a lot about his murder, the coldest of cold cases, since he was on (well, in,) ice until 1991, when global warming thawed him and he was discovered by two hikers.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump approves Keystone XL; it'll raise midwest gas prices up to 40 cents per gallon

Cindy Myers photo of Keystone 1  leak in S. Dakota.
Donald Trump has given TransCanada a permit denied it by President Obama for its Keystone XL pipeline, an extension to Keystone 1, which leaked 12-14 times in its first year of operation. The pipeline, touted as a guarantee of energy independence for the U.S., will actually raise oil prices in the Midwest, according to TransCanada's own internal documents.

     Keystone XL will raise Midwest oil prices up to 40 cents per gallon, according to Consumer Watchdog.
     TransCanada's own figures show the company expects Keystone XL to jack up Midwest oil prices $2 to $3.9 billion per year:

     Keystone XL isn't actually an oil pipeline; it is diluted bitumen ("dilbit"), an abrasive pipe-destroying goo which won't flow unless thinned with carcinogenic solvents whose exact composition TransCanada refuses to disclose to the landowners it has threatened with eminent domain condemnations.
     Also, the stuff must be pressurized up to 1600 PSI (conventional crude flows at 600 PSI) and heated up to 160 degrees.
     Because unusually toxic dilbit isn't technically oil, TransCanada (and Exxon, for that matter) refuse to kick in eight cents per barrel to the Treasury Department's Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
     The current route of Keystone XL crosses the northeast edge of the Ogallala aquifer, the largest, purest underground aquifer in North America, which, in Nebraska alone, is literally the wellspring of a $20 billion ag industry.

     Apologists have claimed that the pipeline will create lots of U.S. jobs.
     It won't; few of the jobs will be permanent. And despite Trump's repeated promises that he would stand up to TransCanada and insist that all the steel pipe will be made in the U.S., it won't be. From USAToday, quoting White House spox Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
"The way that executive order is written," Sanders said. "It’s specific to new pipelines or those that are being repaired. Since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there; it would be hard to go back."
      Deena Winter reported that 230 miles of the pipe had been sitting in a pasture in North Dakota for five years. That was in 2013!
     Boosters claim that the pipeline will create energy independence for the U.S.
     That is nonsense; the pipeline is through the U.S., not to the U.S. The product will be refined in Houston and sold on the world oil market to the highest bidder.

How senators voted on S.J. Res. 34 — the bill letting Internet providers sell your browsing history

First, an explanation of what the Senate did yesterday, from PCGamer:
     Well, this is bullshit. Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate just voted to overturn a set of privacy rules that were written in 2016 to prevent Internet service providers from sharing (selling, really) your Internet usage information, including your browsing history, The Washington Post reports.
     Oh, it gets worse. The rules only existed in the first place because the FCC implemented them last year, then under the leadership of chairman Tom Wheeler. As written, ISPs and wireless carries such as Comcast and AT&T must get permission from customers in order to share their personal information, including which websites they frequent. Today the Republican-led Senate voted 50-48 on a joint resolution that would not only rescind those rules, but bar the FCC from passing similar consumer protections in the future.
Who voted how? With two nonvotes (Thank you Rand Paul and Johnny Isakson) the short summary is this: no Dems or Independents voted for this outrage, only Republicans. Two GOP senators didn't vote:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In new biopic, murdered American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair claims bible was written by faggots

Also: Jesus was as queer as a $3 bill. Which proves that she hated at least some of the same people that Jerry Falwell did.

Neil Gorsuch's imperious disregard for employees surfaced in TransAm Trucking decision

During his confirmation hearing, Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch claimed that a fired trucker in his notorious TransAm opinion had driven an unsafe vehicle against his company's wishes (in order to seek shelter and warmth in subzero temperatures after having waited for hours for help from his company).
     That was a damn lie. The brakes on the trailer had frozen, but not on the (unheated!) tractor, which the trucker unhitched before driving away to seek a warm place to avoid hypothermia and probable death. He returned, reattached the trailer, and completed his assignment but was fired anyway.
    Gorsuch was the only one of seven judges who sided with the company.

Fordham University Law School's Jed Handelsman Shugerman ripped Gorsuch apart in Slate:
     Gorsuch’s opinion in what’s known as the “frozen trucker” case also demonstrates an arrogant and cold judicial personality. I have read very few modern opinions that were more callously written than Gorsuch’s TransAm dissent.
     ..In a long footnote to its opinion, the majority writes that Gorsuch has decided to change the text of the law from operate to drive, and they quote Gorsuch back to him from oral argument: “Our job isn’t to legislate and add new words that aren’t present in the statute.”
     ...After I had been so enthralled with Gorsuch’s critique of Chevron, his TransAm opinion serves as a powerful warning against overturning it. Such a move would open the door for judges like Gorsuch to oversimplify cases, take statutes out of context, and serve ideological interests. Moreover, his lack of self-awareness of his theory’s flaw plus his acerbic dismissiveness of real-world conflicts are not a good sign that he has the appropriate judicial temperament for the Supreme Court.

19-year-old Iowan Jacob Beaton demonstrates the greatest cup trick in history

'Failing' Rachel Maddow is now clobbering Fox News in key audience demographic

That key demo is the 25-54 age group, where Maddow has pummeled Fox for the second consecutive week, besting it by 25%. Yes, MSNBC is crowing:
“The Rachel Maddow Show averaged 2.91 million total viewers and 756,000 A25-54 viewers last week (vs. CNN’s 1.2 million total viewers and 420,000 viewers A25-54, and FOX News’ 2.94 million total viewers and 604,000 viewers A25-54). This is the program’s best week ever in total viewers and the best week in A25-54 since October 27, 2008. Compared to the week of March 6, “The Rachel Maddow Show” was up +11% in total viewers and +21% in A25-54. Among all cable and broadcast networks, “The Rachel Maddow Show” ranked in the top 10 in the time period every day last week – finishing in the top 10 for 21 out of the previous 26 days.”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Gaydar myth busted by U of WI, Madison psychology researchers — with math

So which one is gay? Well, Queerty ran this picture and none of the
commenters opted for the guy on the left with reasons ranging from
nonbaggy pants to smile to being cuter. This picture also appeared in a
Reddit thread. There, someone who claimed to know both in school said
Saul (if we remember correctly), on the LEFT was actually the gay one.
This photograph was NOT used by Wisconsin researchers!
University of Wisconsin at Madison Department of Psychology researchers found that “Those who were told gaydar is real stereotyped much more than the control group, and participants stereotyped much less when they had been told that gaydar is just another term for stereotyping.”
     But what was really fascinating is the way they jumped on the methodologies of various studies in which the "gaydar" of test subjects was scored in evaluating groups in which half were gay and half were striaght.
     From The Conversation:
     But as we’ve been able to show in two recent papers, all of these previous studies fall prey to a mathematical error that, when corrected, actually leads to the opposite conclusion: Most of the time, gaydar will be highly inaccurate.
     How can this be, if people in these studies are accurate at rates significantly higher than 50 percent?
     There’s a problem in the basic premise of these studies: Namely, having a pool of people in which 50 percent of the targets are gay. In the real world, only around 3 to 8 percent of adults identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
     What does this mean for interpreting the 60 percent accuracy rate? Think about what the 60 percent accuracy means for the straight targets in these studies. If people have 60 percent accuracy in identifying who is straight, it means that 40 percent of the time, straight people are incorrectly categorized. In a world where 95 percent of people are straight, 60 percent accuracy means that for every 100 people, there will be 38 straight people incorrectly assumed to be gay, but only three gay people correctly categorized.
     Therefore, the 60 percent accuracy in the lab studies translates to 93 percent inaccuracy for identifying who is gay in the real world (38 / [38 + 3] = 92.7 percent). Even when people seem gay – and set off all the alarms on your gaydar – it’s far more likely that they’re straight. More straight people will seem to be gay than there are actual gay people in total.
H/T: Gay Times (UK)

56 days into his presidency, Trump's approval rating sank to 13 points above Nixon's nadir

No president since Gallup started recording presidental approval ratings (during the Truman presidency) has polled as low as this early in their presidencies. Trump, as of March 18 (the 56th day of his presidency) was at 37% (approval) and 58% (disapproval.) Among Jews Gallup says he polls at 31%.
     Truman bottomed out at 22%, Nixon at 24% and W at 25%, but each took years to sink that low.
     Gallup's HQ is in Princeton, NJ, but polling is conducted from its operations center (below) is in Omaha.
     The organization's bread and butter, of course, is market research. One former Gallup employee told me that during a beer survey for a well-known St. Louis brewer (think Clydesdales) he had to ask people what beer they would choose to serve their gay acquaintances. He said the brewer was worried about overmarketing itself at gay day parades and was concerned about the over-the-shoulder perceptions of straights regarding the brand.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sen. Sara Howard's LB438 would tax Nebraska smokers (but not drinkers) $545 more per year

Do you smoke? Then share this via social media icons below this post.

NOTE: An earlier version of this post referred to LB438 as LB448. 
In 2012, the most impoverished of nicotine-addicted New Yorkers spent 25% of their income on tobacco.
     Apparently Senator Howard would like to see that happen in Nebraska.
     Her new bill, LB438, would more than triple cigarette excise taxes paid by the state's 240,000 adult smokers (a rise to $2.14 per pack from 65 cents).
     That 229% increase would boost the state's $57,000,000 in cigarette tax revenue to nearly $188 million—an increase of almost $131 million per year, or $545 per year per cigarette smoker. (Howard's bill also would raise taxes on other tobacco products, to 65% from 20% of the wholesale price.)
Chart Source
     LB438 is extremely regressive and sharply at variance with Howard's posture as a champion of the downtrodden. Poor people, for various reasons, (stress, perhaps?) have a much tougher time kicking butts than do the wealthy.
     The excuse for raids on the wallets of smokers is always the same: a) discouraging young people from taking up the habit (Howard obviously cares not a whit about the collateral economic damage to adults) and b) covering the supposed extra health care costs incurred by smokers.
    An inconvenient truth for Senator Howard is that smokers probably cost society less money on their way to the grave than nonsmokers.
     In 1989—even before cigarette taxes became as stratospheric as they now are—JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, published a study on sin taxes, and found that it was drinkers, not smokers who didn't pay their own way.
     Despite that, cigarette taxes were subsequently raised 120 times in various jurisdiction just from 2000-2012 alone. (Thank you for that self-serving fact, Phillip Morris, aka Atria!)
     Remember the S-CHIP program for children and its later extension that Hillary Clinton took credit for (even though Ted Kennedy did the heaving lifting for the 1997 original, before Hillary took her Senate seat)?
     Well guess what? It cost smokers—and only smokers—in Hillary's village a total of 90 billion bucks and not a dime was spent toward smoking cessation.
     Because smokers die on average 14 years earlier (claims the CDC), they leave a lot of Social Security, Medicare and pension money on the table for nonsmokers, as well as dozens and dozens of billions in tobacco taxes every year!
Tobacco tax buccaneer
Sen. Sara Howard
     Frequently, smokers die cheaper (not just earlier) than nonsmokers: fewer of them perish from that most expensive fatal illness of all, Medicare budget-busting Alzheimers (smokers don't live long enough to be afflicted as often as nonsmokers.) Smokers are have more heart attacks, and since at least 1/3 of heart attack victims die when first stricken, and dropping dead of heart failure on the first try is a relatively cheap way to go, smokers save society even more money!
     You'd think Sen. Howard would be grateful to smokers! Alas, she just wants to shaft them more.
     For once, AKSARBENT agrees with the right-wing Platte Institute, specifically Nicole Fox, as quoted in Unicameral Update:
Omaha Senator Howard's ninth Unicameral district. If you
live there, and smoke, why not call Howard's office at
(402) 471-2723 and tell her what you think of LB438, her
bill to make you pay $545 more per year in taxes?
     She said 31.6 percent of Nebraskans who earn less than $15,000 a year are smokers. Additionally, Fox said, the cigarette tax is a relatively unreliable source of funding.
     “If Nebraska is to rely on this tax to fund necessary services for the state’s most vulnerable populations, it will create long-term funding shortfalls that will have to be paid for with other budget revenues,” she said.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Omaha's ShotSpotter costs $65k to $90k per square mile per year and cops don't own the data, says Forbes. How effective is it?

Police departments that subscribe to shotspotter don't own its data, which may explain why the Omaha Police Department doesn't (evidently) publish statistics on illegal gunfire in Omaha, numbers gun control groups in Nebraska would probably love to know.
     Although the technology works quite well, Forbes says it produces "few tangible results" and characterized the company as "plodding along as it navigates a gun tech industry closely tied to law enforcement and beset with political pitfalls" and further noted that "Some cities are opting out of their contracts, using the savings to hire additional police officers and fund more traditional technologies such as surveillance cameras."
     Forbes took a critical look at ShotSpotter in an exhaustive and painstakingly researched 2016 piece published here. An excerpt:
   ...Creating a blueprint for success when traditional crime measurements are missing isn’t easy. One way Clark has done this is by tightly limiting access to ShotSpotter’s data, while at the same time highlighting anecdotal success stories from key customer cities. “Sometimes,” Clark explained, “the things that are most impactful are the most difficult to measure.”
     To see what could be measured, FORBES obtained ShotSpotter data and supporting records, including public contracts and maps of existing systems, from dozens of customer cities. ShotSpotter has aggressively fought the release of this information in response to both state and federal Freedom of Information Act requests. The company sent out a nation-wide memo to customers last summer, urging cities to issue blanket denials to such requests or disclose heavily redacted information, “in a form that would not harm SST’s business and allow the customer to respond from a public goodwill point of view.”
     In a fawning local TV report aired in January, which could have been issued by ShotSpotter's PR people, WOWT quoted OPD Captain Scott Gray maintaining that the overall number of gunshots in Omaha has been steadily decreasing since ShotSpotter was installed four years ago.
     Aside from begging the question of whether gunshots have been reduced in areas not monitored by ShotSpotter, Capt. Gray neatly skirted the issue of whether the gizmo actually reduces gun violence by putting perps behind bars. Said Forbes:
     While officers are responding to more illegal gunfire, they rarely catch the shooter. And evidence that could be used to build a case and bolster a prosecution--such as shell casings left behind or witness testimony--isn’t often attributed to ShotSpotter in police or court records. The question now is whether the technology is worth the millions of dollars it's costing taxpayers each year...

Right wing super pac running interference for Don Bacon on KETV with ads that are almost total bullshit

Count the lies in this ad. This is broadcasting in the public interest, for which the FCC issues licenses to TV stations? Apparently KETV, which also runs ads for real estate seminars that follow the fraudulent business model of Trump University (bait, switch, upsell), has incredibly low standards, if any at all, for the ads it runs.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

After a heavy snow, you should probably tear yourself away from your cell phone as the train pulls up to the platform, OK?

Douglas County Election Commissioner's dubious voter registration instructions

Update: Shortly after AKSARBENT criticized the Douglas County Election commission, we noticed that Election Commissioner Brian Kruse started following us on Twitter. So we revisited the commission's web site and noticed that the ID requirements section had quietly been changed, with the highlighted section added. The commission even corrected its grammar ("who register" replaced "that register). Good! We like government agents who listen to legitimate criticism and respond appropriately.


Look at at this unnecessarily vague explanation of voter ID requirements when registering by mail:

     We assume that only one of the enumerated documents is necessary and that most people would share that assumption. However, nowhere in the voter ID requirements are voters explicitly told how many of the enumerated documents are necessary to verify identification!
     An apprehensive person could easily conclude that ALL the documents are necessary, decide that s/he can't provide the necessary documentation and be discouraged from registering.
     In an era in which court cases are decided by the absence of the Oxford comma, there's no excuse for this.
     Also, it's "for those WHO register," not "for those THAT register."
     The Douglas County Election Commission could learn a lot from the Nebraska DMV, which isn't sloppy about specifically describing required documents necessary to obtain a driver's license:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Delta Airlines slyly tucks a gay couple into new TV ad

Blink and you'll miss it, but Delta sneaked a gay couple into its terrific new "4:00 am" ad, which also features a racoon and a dwarf choir singing Heigh Ho, (from Disney's 1937 classic, Snow White.)
We certainly hope neither the racoon nor the gay couple association will cast aspersions on the romantic aspirations of the seven male dwarfs who lived happily together without human female companionship.
     The gay couple sequence was so brief, we didn't even notice it until we rewatched the ad on youtube. We love a good ad! (How about making one, GEICO?)
     Here are the deets, from
Delta Air Lines: 4 a.m.
Client: Delta Air Lines
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Production Company: Arts & Sciences
Director: Matt Aselton
Director Of Photography: Mihai Malaimare Jr
Voice Over: Viola Davis
Actress: Gabrielle Porter (Blue dress)
Music: Heigh-Ho by The Dwarf Chorus
Here's the wonderful ad, followed by the original rendition of the song:

Delta '4AM' from BOLD on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Straight NYPD cop who partied in viral video at 2015 Gay Day parade is dead at 44

His name was Michael Hance and he was on a bucket brigade in the aftermath of 9/11, which is thought to have led to the brain cancer that spread and killed him. The Daily News said Hance, who worked out of the 111th Precinct in Bayside, Queens, was diagnosed in November "after he fell in front of his home and complained of feeling dizzy, his brother said. As he fought the disease, the cancer spread to his lungs, liver and chest." (h/t:

New GOP bill lets employers who don't offer health insurance dock your pay if you don't submit to "wellness program" gene testing

NBC News: Nobody's business — 5 things to know about genetic testing.

 HR 1313 lets employers who don't provide health insurance dock your pay unless you participate in a"wellness program" (for which your employer can charge you) and the program might compel you to submit to genetic testing, the results of which can be sold to marketeers. If the company offers health insurance, it can charge you up to 50% more if you don't "voluntarily" participate in its wellness program. Such programs are frequently administered by third parties who are virtually unregulated.
     No Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee voted for this outrage but every GOP rep. (below) did:
     Foxx, NC; Wilson, SC; Hunter, CA; Roe, TN; Thompson, PA; Walberg, MI; Guthrie, KY; Rokita, IN; Barletta, PA; Messer, IN; Byrne, AL; Brat, VA; Grothman, WI; Russell, OK; Stefanik, NY; Allen, GA; Lewis, MN; Rooney, FL; Mitchell, MI; Garrett, Jr., VA;
Smucker, PA; Ferguson, GA
     From Sharon Begley, writing for
     Rigorous studies by researchers not tied to the $8 billion wellness industry have shown that the programs improve employee health little if at all. An industry group recently concluded that they save so little on medical costs that, on average, the programs lose money. But employers continue to embrace them, partly as a way to shift more health care costs to workers, including by penalizing them financially.
     ...Under the House bill, none of the protections for health and genetic information provided by GINA or the disabilities law would apply to workplace wellness programs as long as they complied with the ACA’s very limited requirements for the programs. As a result, employers could demand that employees undergo genetic testing and health screenings.
     ...While the information returned to employers would not include workers’ names, it’s not difficult, especially in a small company, to match a genetic profile with the individual.
     That “would undermine fundamentally the privacy provisions” of those laws,” said Nancy Cox, president of the American Society of Human Genetics, in a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce the day before it approved the bill. “It would allow employers to ask employees invasive questions about genetic tests they and their families have undergone” and “to impose stiff financial penalties on employees who choose to keep such information private, thus empowering employers to coerce their employees” into providing their genetic information.
     ...If an employer has a wellness program but does not sponsor health insurance, rather than increasing insurance premiums, the employer could dock the paychecks of workers who don’t participate.
     ...Employers, especially large ones, generally hire outside companies to run them. These companies are largely unregulated, and they are allowed to see genetic test results with employee names.
     They sometimes sell the health information they collect from employees. As a result, employees get unexpected pitches for everything from weight-loss programs to running shoes, thanks to countless strangers poring over their health and genetic information.
Genetic testing is not an exact science and such labs are largely unregulated.
In one quality test, researchers gave genetic variants related to nine common conditions to nine labs. The labs disagreed 22 percent of the time, meaning one thought a genetic variant was a problem and another did not, said geneticist Heidi Rehm of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who helped lead the study.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another Omaha brush fire — in March

March's continuation of virtually unheard-of February brush fires in Omaha is more evidence of global warming for @SenatorFischer and @SenSasse to ignore until they are voted out.

Deb Fischer, 22 other GOP senators want to let ISPs like Cox & CenturyLink sell your private browser history

From Caleb Chen (AKSARBENT changed 23 to 22, the actual number of sponsors—22 plus Senator Jeff Flake). Senator Fischer has a long history of betraying consumers in favor of Internet service providers.
Protection of your Internet history is up in the air thanks to new, pending legislation. A new bill coming before Senate aims to completely dismantle the FCC’s ability to enact data security or online privacy protections for consumers under the powers of the Congressional Review Act. Senate Joint Resolution (S.J.Res 34) was introduced by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and cosponsored by 22 other Senators. Its goal is to remove all the hard-earned net neutrality regulations gained to protect your internet history from advertisers and and worse.

– John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
– Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
– Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
– John Boozman (R-Ark.)
– Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
– Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
– John Cornyn (R-Texas)
– Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
– Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
– Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
– Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
– Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
– James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
– Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.)
– Mike Lee (R-Utah)
– Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
– Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
– Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
– Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
– Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.)
– John Thune (R-S.D.)
– Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
– Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Screw the future! Jose Cuervo gets with the Fischer/Sasse global warming program!

Advertising Age has the rundown here. We just like the ad, but denounce ourselves for doing so.

Meanwhile in Kansas, home of those climate-change-denier-funding Koch Brothers, the worst prairie fires in the state's recorded history just happened.

Here in Omaha, we ALWAYS respect the law!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Well-reviewed American Honey, partly filmed in Grand Island and metro Omaha, is now out on DVD

Rotten Tomatoes gave it four juicy ripe ones (79%), A.O. Scott of the New York Times said: "long and messy as it is, is by turns observant and exuberant, and sweet in a way that is both unexpected and organic," and Dave Sims, of The Atlantic, said "American Honey is a long journey well worth taking, a singularly magical experience that’ll echo in the brains of its viewers for months no matter what they think of it."
     The pool scene was lensed in Bennington, south of Omaha. Neighboring Missouri Valley, IA was also a location, as was Grand Island, NE.

Another fire in NE Omaha, near 14th & Fowler

There is a ridiculous number of suspicious fires in Northeast Omaha, but no suggestion yet that this was among them (although @meanstreetsOMA did say it was a "creepy abandoned house.")
     We would add: but not as creepy as the lowlife who torched it, if that's what happened.
     AKSARBENT tried to get a much better angle from the deserted rear alley, about 100 feet from the fire trucks on the street in front of the residence, but a photography prevention officer from OPD objected to that, even though people were walking past trucks and fire hoses in front of the home, snapping and videoing away.
     Officer Friendly also didn't like that we stood between the sidewalk and a fenced yard 1/2 a block away to take the following (zoom compressed appearance of distance), but he didn't shoo us away, which was awfully nice of him.

Here's a YouTube video from @MeanStreetsOMA, which probably does not approve of our snark righteous indignation.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A 3rd entry in AKSARBENT's important ongoing coverage of pro golfers stripping to wade into water hazards

This time it was Shawn Stefani in the 2017 Honda Classic.

Andreas Harto did the same thing at the Trophee Hassan II European Tour event in Morocco in 2013.

In May of 2016 English pro golfer Greg Owen rescued a baby Blue Jay from a pond while playing a practice round at TPC Sawgrass.

Watch a robot 3D print tiny home, with foundation,
for $10,000 in less than 24 hours, in Russian winter

We live in an age of disruptive technology. Looks like the drivers displaced by self-driving vehicles won't be getting jobs in construction. No wonder Bill Gates says robots should be heavily taxed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Argentine Coke ad: bro vs. sis in pursuit of pool guy

Santo, of Buenos Aires, made the ad and is one of three WPP agencies (the others being Ogilvy New York and Madrid's SRA Rushmore) chosen by Coca-Cola to create its next global campaign. We doubt you'll be seeing this ad on U.S. broadcast television. (Via Towleroad.)

Sheriff vs. Mayor: he said she yells at him on the phone so he blocked her; she said she didn't know because she doesn't call him

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nebraska Family Alliance attacks LB173, LGBT fair employment bill, in podcast sponsored by Walker Tire and CBSHome realtor

The Nebraska Family Alliance (@NebFamily) really has its claws out for Senator Adam Morfeld's LGBT equal employment bill, LB173, attacking it in a podcast for the second consecutive week.
     This time, they chatted up Kellie Fiedorek, one of several ADF attack dogs "national experts" who fly around the country testifying against bills which seek equal treatment of LGBTs. (AKSARBENT did a WHOLE POST about Fiedorek's Traveling Bullshit Roadshow, yes we did!)
     @NebFamily is on a mission to convince its patsies listeners that legalization of gay marriage and fair employment laws will bankrupt Christer florists or cake decorators who refuse to sell gay couples matrimonial stuff because that would make them "participate" in gay weddings. even though such refusals are regulated by nondiscrimination statutes affecting public accommodations, not marriage or employment laws like the bill Morfeld is proposing.
     In the service of the above mission, @NebFamily relentlessly repeats its version of The Crucifixion of Baronelle Stutzman, that nice grandmother florist nailed to her cross by Washington State and Big Bad Gay. They want you to believe she's a martyr. You can, if you wish. Or you could read this.
     It's not all gay fear and loathing, though! @NebFamily often interrupts its horrifying tales of homosexual legislative predation to remind listeners of the good news (Have you heard the Good News, friend?)— that being that @NebFamily's dark tales of pervert political manipulation are sponsored by Walker Tire and The Bill Black CBS Home Real Estate Team! 
     So, if you can't stand homos and think they're sneaking anti-discrimination laws through legislatures in order to financially ruin Gay-fearing Christians who wouldn't hurt a godamn fairy, be sure to visit Walker Tire for all your vehicle needs and and list your home with The Bill Black CBS Home Real Estate Team.
     Also, watch Fox News, whydoncha, ya rummy.
     The Nebraska Family Alliance's friends at ADF (a far right legal outfit which used to stand for Alliance Defense Fund and now stands for Alliance Defending Freedom) once launched a nasty, dishonest Internet campaign against the ACLU's Don't Filter Me campaign.
     That ACLU initiative sued right-wing public school administrators who used software to block gay students from accessing NONPORN antibullying gay websites like the Trevor Project and the It Gets Better project while allowing access to Christian antigay websites which purported to "cure" homosexuality through aversion "therapy" (frequently employing electroshock "treatments.")
     The ACLU suit had nothing to do with porn filters, per se.
     In 2013, an ADF attorney, Lisa Biron, was slapped with eight felony convictions of manufacturing child pornography featuring her daughter.
     @NebFamily also interviewed Jonathan Alexandre, Director of Public Policy for Liberty Counsel!
Mr. Alexandre shared with the Judiciary Committee during LB173’s hearing, how from his perspective as an African American, comparing the plight of the LGBT  community today to that of the black community before the adoption of civil rights, is simply offensive and untrue.
     Never heard of @NebFamily's fellow wackos at the Liberty Counsel? Well, HRC, the big gay lobby, has a big gay dossier on these nutballs! Here's a SMALL part of it:
  • Liberty Counsel actively and aggressively defended exporter of hate Scott Lively in U.S. District Court when he was defending himself against charges of “crimes against humanity” for his involvement pushing Uganda’s odious anti-LGBTQ law, which promises life in prison for Ugandans convicted of being gay. Lively told Ugandans that “predatory gays” are “looking for other people to be able to prey upon” and bragged that “our campaign was like a nuclear bomb against the ‘gay’ agenda in Uganda.” Liberty Counsel called the suit an attempt by the “intolerant homosexual lobby” to “intimidate” people from going overseas.
  • Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber attacked U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s son for living an “abhorrent lifestyle” (being gay). Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver referred to Portman as being one of “the cockroaches within the Republican Party” for standing with his son and supporting marriage equality.
  • Liberty Counsel advocated on behalf of a woman named Lisa Miller who claims to have “renounced homosexuality” thanks to her religion, and then kidnapped and fled the country with her child in order to avoid allowing her same-sex former partner – the child’s other parent – from seeing her. She fled after she was found in contempt of court for denying a Vermont court order that she grant the child’s other mother visitation. Coincidentally, it was reported in 2011 that Miller and her child were living in Nicaragua in a home owned by [Liberty Counsel honcho] Mat Staver’s administrative assistant’s father.
     As for the contention in @NebFamily's podcast that comparing black and gay oppression is "offensive", we'll leave you with the trailer for Best Picture, 2017:

     Again, we remind you that The Nebraska Family Alliance's interview with the radically antigay ADF and Liberty Counsel was sponsored by Walker Tire and The Bill Black CBS Home Real Estate Team.

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