Friday, November 28, 2014

The fearless leaders of our Nebraska Democratic Party take a bold stand against pandering to the electorate

While subtly reminding the body politic that Dems are NOT like those faithless Rethuglicans secretly in cahoots with evil Iowa and its evil plots to forge ahead with evil progressive wind energy and even eviler corporate tax incentives than the ones Nebraska GOP state senators could concoct, so Iowa could steal every automated billion-dollar Google and Facebook data center away from Nebraska, together with the several dozen accompanying jobs, which now have been added to Iowa's economy.

After almost 30 years, the 2nd best gay flick ever made gets the Steve Hayes treatment

Some unsolicited tough love from Miss Coco Peru

Mae West's long gowns hid her larger-than-life secret

Susan Stamburg at NPR just did a piece on Boston's Museum of Fine Arts' new exhibit, "Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen," which includes gowns designed by Chanel and Edith Head in "quiet" fabrics that did not rustle enough to attract the attention of early mics. The exhibit is open until March 8.
     West, who stood between 4'11" and 5'2", wore ferocious pumps that elevated her 8 1/2 inches and may have had a lot to do with her inimitable walk.
     Each double-decker shoe had ankle-strapped white platform shoes bolted to a wooden silver pump.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Harvey Milk was killed 36 years ago today. So was Mayor Moscone. Where is the LGBT respect due him?

It was much-beloved Moscone who made Harvey Milk's election possible by tirelessly promoting district seats over at-large ones for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
     So it is richly and achingly ironic that the diversity Moscone worked so hard to foster in San Francisco ultimately benefited the 13-year-old closeted gay kid whose first name was Jonathan and whose last name was shared with His Honor because he was George's son — a son whose true nature his father did not live long enough to share, but unknowingly worked to cherish, dying in the process at the hands of an unhinged bigot.
     A little more respect, please, LGBT community.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How Dear Abby once dispatched a homophobe

Dear Abby: About four months ago, the house across the street was sold to a "father and son" — or so we thought. We later learned it was an older man about 50 and a young fellow about 24. This was a respectable neighborhood before this "odd couple" moved in. They have all sorts of strange-looking company. Men who look like women, women who look like men, blacks, whites, Indians. Yesterday I even saw two nuns go in there!... Abby, these weirdos are wrecking our property values! How can we improve the quality of this once-respectable neighborhood? —Up In Arms
Dear UP: You could move.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

World-Herald celebrates Black Friday with 300% price increase, er -300% discount! Thanks, Warren Buffett!

Normally a Thursday edition is 75 cents, but the Thanksgiving edition, with the Black Friday ads, is $3 — 20% more than even a Sunday edition and 300% more expensive than a regular Thursday edition. You could argue that the huge size involves more ad insertion effort and distribution costs, but isn't the paper also making extra money from those inserts, many of which it profits from even more by printing itself?
     Hey — Warren Buffett, the paper's new owner, didn't go from zero to $60 billion (or whatever) by leaving money on the table, suckers. Wanna save money in stores? You gots to pay the discount crier first. Capiche?

Chicago's Field Museum just not up to the high standards of homeschooling Christer mom

Megan Fox (not the actress, who is undoubtedly much smarter) is QUITE suspicious of all the unsupportable evolutionary claims of Chicago's Field Museum, respected by many, but CERTAINLY not by Fox, whose faith-based skepticism demands to know how the museum knows what happened hundreds of millions of years ago without any video camera evidence. Below, her indignant, learned audit of the museum's tetrapod exhibit:
     "Tetrapods took their first steps around 307 million years ago."
     Who writes this stuff? How do they know this? They don't!
     ...Maybe they always had feet like that. Maybe that's the way they were made. With feet. Like alligators, you know, that are in the water AND the land? It's not like their fins fell off and then they grew feet. That's what they want you to believe: that the fins eventually fell off and then they grew some feet and they started walking on the land. This is the dumbest theory I've ever heard in my whole life. It's not good. It's really not good. It's bad. It's very bad...

     Do you know how complex feet are? ...Human feet are so complex that people who make robots have not been able to replicate feet. They can't make a robot with the same-dimensioned feet as a human being 'cause it won't stand up.
     For some reason, comments on scholarly Megan Fox's video exposing the bad science of the Field Museum have been switched off, which is a shame since her startlingly revelatory discourse is rapidly going viral.

(Via JoeMyGod via Raw story)

Small businesses in Ferguson taking brunt of nonresidents' violence

Cops are not allowing some owners inside their torched and trashed shops. Maybe the police should have been as stern while the vandals were inside the stores.
"They allowed 30 people to roam one mile and burn down those businesses."

If you're not Swedish, you probably mispronounce Jake Gyllenhaal's last name. Here, Jake corrects you

At the 1:10 mark:

Gov. Heineman's efforts to promote Nebraska internationally have really had an effect!

For the second year in a row, Buzzfeed asked staffers in its London office to find Nebraska, among other states, on a map.
     Again, the results were as dismal as they are hilarious.
     Maybe the $3.5 million spent on the governor's new  Beechcraft C90GTx airplane will help promote the state in other countries!
     Oh wait — sadly, the turboprop doesn't have enough range to cross an ocean.

A year after Guido Barilla told Italian radio he'd never put a gay couple in a pasta ad, HRC gives Barilla a perfect LGBT rights score

Barilla plant in Ames, IA. Another is in Avon, NY.
But still, no gay-inclusive Barilla ads seem to have surfaced, anywhere. (If so, we'd love to see them. HRC, how about it?)
     Since the world-wide PR debacle, Barilla has done a thorough job of burnishing its image, including paying LGBT bloggers to participate in its "Share The Table" promotion but it apparently still hasn't done what the chairman of the privately-held corporation vowed he would never do, in the remarks that got the company in hot water in the first place.
   Eight months after Barilla's chairman insulted gays, a gay pasta ad did appear in Italy — from Findus, a frozen-food brand marketed by the Iglo Group..
     Despite this fundamental lack of change, CNN just reported "Barilla goes from worst to first:"
      The company created a diversity and inclusion board, launched a training program for employees and contributed to LGBT causes.
      "I think the speed with which Barilla invested in these policies and benefits is a model" for other companies, Fidas of HRC said.
     When AKSARBENT checked, we found an interesting fact CNN left out of its report: HRC's high rating was for Barilla America Inc., hq'd in Bannockburn, IL. Barilla's two U.S. factories are in Avon, NY and Ames, Iowa.
     So, to reiterate:  HRC now applauds the U.S. subsidiary of Barilla, even though its two factories were already in gay marriage states that prohibited anti-LGBT discrimination and despite the fact that over 12 months later, Barilla does not appear to have acknowledged gay people in any ads in Italy or elsewhere, even though a different company, which sells frozen pasta dinners, already has done so in Barilla's back yard.
     CNN's observation that Barilla has recently contributed to LGBT causes makes cynical us wonder how much HRC got.
     Below: Italian MP baits two gay colleagues with 'fag bag' contents: "Barilla's right. From now on I only eat his pasta."


Justin Beiber learns to box!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ooops! Patriotic troller running interference for Koch Industries accidentally admits most Koch jobs are for foreigners, not Americans

But look at the nice American flags! (Don't read the fine print unless you want to know that (according to the tweet) only 60,000 of 143,000 Koch jobs go to Americans — fewer than half!)
     If that factoid doesn't catch your fancy, take comfort in the fact that this troller can spin out six at least six tweets of canned agitprop per minute.
     We got 38 from "Tom Nichols" earlier this evening about how wonderful the Kochs and Koch Industries are, even before we mentioned either of them (not that we had planned to.)
     Very productive results for whoever is paying him or her.
     But pretty off-putting — in a ham-fisted, blunt Koch Bros. kind of way.

Matt Baume's Marriage News Watch weekly wrap-up

Baume doesn't mention last week's Nebraska ACLU news conference announcing the filing of its federal suit against Nebraska's ban on gay marriage (...and civil unions ...and domestic partnerships, which named Jon Bruning, Dave Heineman and ), but he did mention the impending suit last week, and even retweeted AKSARBENT's photo and link to our post about ACLU Nebraska's efforts on behalf of the state's LGBTs.

Dave Wingert talks about being fired from KGOR, Omaha Radio and what the medium has become

Wingert has been in broadcasting for at least 40 years and has one of the most recognizable voices in Nebraska. He's also the only openly gay member of the Nebraska Radio Personalities ("Legendary Personalities" Division) that we're aware of, as well as a talented actor and formidable fundraiser for the Blue Barn Theater. Ten minutes of him on YouTube discussing his career and the changes in radio over recent decades is not NEARLY enough, but we'll take what we can get.

Facebook's new data center, 'where your likes live,'
is now online

Via Silicon Prairie News: The Facebook building is powered by 100 percent renewable wind energy
through the Wellsburg wind project and a partnership Facebook established with MidAmerican
Energy. The wind project brought 140 megawatts of new wind energy to the grid in Iowa.
Two years ago, Kearney, NE tried to snag this $1.5 billion data center with the help of a groveling Unicameral. In Feb. of 2012, AKSARBENT wrote:
     Nebraska state senators are falling all over themselves in a rush to pass two bills of tax-break boutique legislation to lure a company they won't identify to their constituents, who will be subsidizing the creation of as few as 30 [turned out to be 75] jobs with millions of dollars in tax and utility rate concessions.
     Ultimately the facility was built in gay-friendlier Iowa in large part because Iowa's more developed wind energy infrastructure appealed to FB. (Nebraska has more wind, but doesn't exploit it as extensively as progressive Iowa.)
     Via Megan Bannister of Silicon Prairie News come the PR stats, which AKSARBENT has stolen thoughtfully rewritten in Q&A format even though we confess that we have never seen or spoken to Megan Bannister, who, we guess, will now NEVER speak to us:
Question: How much optical fiber is in the building and would it wrap around the earth or reach to the moon, Megan?
Answer: 25,000 miles of fiber—that’s enough to wrap around the circumference of the earth and still have some left over.
Question: Oooh-la-la!
Question: Is the data warehouse property, er, "campus" bigger than Adventureland?
Answer: Yes, by 22 acres and it's 42 acres larger than Disneyland!
Question: AKSARBENT hates GOP political hack Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds in part because she once said Obama had no "style"at a political rally for Paul Ryan outside an Uncle Buck's at a BassPro in C.B., like she knows anything about "style." Was that bitch at the grand opening?
Answer: Facebook executives were joined by Senator Chuck Grassley, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Economic Development director Debi Durham and Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling
Question: In Q3, Facebook sold $2.96 billion worth of advertising. Will it donate stuff to local charities to show the world it's as stunningly philanthropic as Iowa's generous and much-beloved casinos?
Answer: The company donated 30 laptops to Altoona Kids Klub, a before- and after-school care program serving about 400 students in Southeast Polk District Elementary Schools, and Altoona’s mayor mentioned Facebook has already been involved with the city’s Shop with a Cop Fundraiser. In October, Facebook announced a Community Action Grant program in Altoona targeted toward “nonprofits that meet critical community needs and that promote connection, sharing, economic development and improve the overall vitality of Altoona and surrounding communities,” according to its site.

Reddit users scorch FCC commissioner for vague, paltry answers during Q&A

Dana Liebelson of the Huffington Post explains what prefaced the event:
     The FCC is currently weighing whether to classify the Internet like a utility and restrict Internet service providers from charging content providers for faster Internet access. This month, President Barack Obama announced his support for that approach, known as "Title II." But net neutrality advocates are concerned that the FCC might go with a different proposal, which would allow for some degree of paid prioritization. Opponents of this plan say that it would threaten the openness of the Internet by making it harder for smaller sites to compete.
     When asked about her position on net neutrality, Clyburn, who is one of five FCC commissioners appointed by the president, said that she supports "a free and open Internet." She pointed out that in 2010, she supported Title II and a ban on paid prioritization, which is what Obama is asking for now. But she did not explicitly say that she still supports this plan. Instead, she wrote that she has "many of the same concerns I did four years ago, but have vowed to keep an open mind." Clyburn did not go into detail about what those concerns are.
Reddit users were so incensed by the charade that they downvoted Commissioner Clyburn's answers to oblivion, but one member collated them:
To read, click text box to enlarge it
 Some livid Reddit comments on the unfolding farce:

The Young Turks had Mignon Clyburn's number some time ago...

Monday, November 24, 2014

UT cops offed more people than gangs; former Omaha PD chief: unnecessary deaths can still be 'legal'

The Salt Lake City Tribune (the SLC daily not owned by the Mormon Chuch) says the state's cops are so trigger happy that in the last five years, more Utahns have died at their hands than at those of gang members or drug dealers or child abusers. And in 2014, the Utah fuzz are even ahead of the most common cause of homicide — violence between spouses and dating partners.
     Fortunately Omaha's former police chief, Robert Wadman, has weighed in on all this and urges a properly nuanced view of police mayhem:
     But Robert Wadman, a criminal justice professor at Weber State University and former chief of the Omaha, Neb., police department, said the factors leading up to the decision to shoot a subject are more subtle than what prosecutors consider when reviewing the legal justification. Under Utah law, an officer is justified if at the moment of the shooting the officer reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent death or serious injury.
     "Sometimes the line between is it legal and is it necessary becomes difficult to distinguish," Wadman said. "In the judgment of the officer, ‘Is my life in jeopardy? Yes.’ At that point in time, they’re legally grounded in using deadly force. But the question is, is it necessary? That’s something that needs to be firmly addressed, for example, in training."

At long last, the Latter Day Saints Senate Majority Leader talks about his manhood

AKSARBENT has not been this riveted by LDS manhood since Howard Stern asked Donny Osmond if he was circumcised. (We must have fallen asleep during the yes/no answer as we do not recall it, perhaps due to the fact that we tend to tune out D.O. due to his heterosexual supremacist tendencies.
     Or maybe Howard (Israel! Israel!) Stern's contrived creepiness invoked our mental block yet again once we were tricked by radio promotion teases into listening.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dick Cavett's 10th tweet is one of nastiest things he's ever said publicly about anyone

And he said it about a fellow Dick who was also born in Nebraska:
Mike Nichols, celebrated Broadway/Hollywood director and husband of Diane Sawyer, died Wednesday. AKSARBENT's remembrance was here
A calculating-looking Dick Cheney, age 5, in his College View kindergarten class
in 1946 after "transferring" from his first kindergarten class at Randolph School
     In 2004, Vice President Cheney invited his 1946 Randolph Elementary School teacher, 86-year-old Margaret Van Neste, to a campaign breakfast in Lincoln for Jeff Fortenberry, then running for Nebraska's 1st District House seat.
     The previous year, Cheney had told Van Neste's former teaching assistant, Phyllis Acklie, that one of his fondest Nebraska memories was attending kindergarten at Randolph Elementary School and being in Van Neste's class.
     What Cheney didn't say was that Neste hardly remembered him (perhaps she was being diplomatic) because that fall, in 1946, five-year-old Dick Cheney was kicked out of Randolph School abruptly transferred to College View Elementary School (now Calvert School.)
     So Yale may not have been the first educational institution to have asked Cheney to leave.
     This story gets better.
     After friends and family of Miss Sylvia Harney (nee Korbel), Cheney's College View teacher, got wind of the slight, the White House sent a belated invitation to her as well as Van Neste.
     Harney did remember Cheney — vividly.
     "He just took over," she told the Lincoln Journal-Star.

     Full disclosure: This post was written by a proud graduate of Calvert Elementary School, AKA College View Elementary School (national ranking: low).

SNL ripped Keystone XL twice yesterday, associating it with slimed birds and genitalia

The first slam came during Weekend Update when Colin Jost (Host Jost! It rhymes!) announced: "Democrats in the Senate were able to stop a bill authorizing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline even though the project could have created thousands of good jobs cleaning off birds."

Later, SNL's first openly lesbian cast member, Kate McKinnon, impersonating German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also had some fun with TransCanada, and President Obama: "America has turned their back to him. I will turn my back to him, but in the fun way... His Keystone pipeline is XL!"

Bill Maher saves Christmas from Kirk Cameron!

Towleroad notes that Cameron's new film is still bombing at Rotten Tomatoes.
     Maher on his atheist affection for Christmas:
As a fable, it's cute. I kind of like the story about the virgin who has a god baby in the barn. It's like an early episode of Maury Povich. "In the case of Baby Jesus, Joseph, you are NOT the father!"

Cameron has launched a two-front damage control assault on attacks on his film and his wretched personality by begging his fans to distort the lousy Rotten Tomatoes reception of his new flick by flooding the site with positive reviews and simultaneously squelching (via copyright claims) a fair-comment video mocking his attacks on LGBTs.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Intel hires America's favorite gay nerd to tease new 3d camera technology in upcoming ads

UPDATE: Intel isn't the first, or even the second company with imaging technology allowing a user to refocus a picture after it has been taken.

Jim Parsons is already banking $1 million per Big Bang Theory episode, so you know Intel didn't get him cheap. But it's not like the microprocessor behemoth is impoverished...
     Some serious coin is being exchanged here, Poindexter.
     Meanwhile, from Out (8/6/2014):
     For perspective, David Hyde Pierce was previously the highest paid gay actor, reportedly making up to $750,000 per episode when he was on Frasier. Other gay actors’ deals pale in comparison.
      Neil Patrick Harris, who is currently wrapping up his Tony-winning Broadway performance as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, only made $210,000 in his final season of How I Met Your Mother.
Oh look, here's another ad:

How to talk to your kids about gay country musicians

This is quite a delicate topic which AKSARBENT expects to be fully addressed in yet another egg-sucking Public Service Announcement from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.
     Oh wait — he's not running for anything right now. Never mind.

(via Towleroad)


In case you missed it, here is the CMA's Song of the Year for 2014. Watch until at least the 1:08 mark.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A poignant vignette about a mother, her gay son's suicide and his password

From "The Secret Life of Passwords" published today in the New York Times.
Standing at the park watching my 11-year-old son climb on the jungle gym, I struck up a conversation with a woman walking her dog, and I told her about my keepsakes idea. Like most people, she did not want her name used in my article, because she said her vignette was too personal; she also feared being hacked. But she proceeded to tell me that several months after her son committed suicide, she found his password written on a piece of paper at his desk: “Lambda1969.” Only then, after some Internet searching, did she realize he had been gay.

New York Times publishes Thanksgiving table recipe that "evokes" Nebraska; but gets it totally wrong

The newspaper actually published one for each state, presumably to elicit indigenous cuisine. Here's what the Times thinks is authentically emblematic of the Cornhusker state:

Oh bullshit. Nebraska's indigenous cuisine would be a Swanson TV dinner (first produced in Omaha, in 1953) washed down with Kool-Aid, invented in Hastings in 1927.

A 1951 packet of  Kool-Aid and a 1953 Swanson TV dinner

Finally, some news AKSARBENT can use

Go here, under-read bloggers.

NU student newspaper, in gay marriage editorial, likens Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts, Gov. Heineman and AG Jon Bruning to George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, David Duke and Roger Taney

Commenting on last week's ACLU suit to overturn Nebraska's constitutional ban on gay marriage the student newspaper, distributed to about 25,000 people on the Lincoln Campus, had this to say in an op/ed about Bruning, Heineman and cagey incoming governor Pete Ricketts, who said little about LGBT rights during his campaign, included nothing about them on his web site, and even placed Internet ads next to gay content: — until he was elected, at which point he loudly proclaimed that he would "defend" the state against the ACLU's marriage lawsuit.
     Governor-elect Pete Ricketts stated, “Our citizens here in the state voted overwhelmingly that marriage is between a man and a woman,” and vowed to defend the constitutional ban. While Ricketts is correct that our electorate voted to ban same-sex marriages, it’s indubitably unconstitutional and an example of the tyranny of the majority. In a constitutional democracy, Ricketts’ argument is fallacious. What if we voted overwhelmingly to allow slavery? Or only allow rich, white men run for political office? Or appoint the badger as the official Nebraska State mammal? Some things are simply inalienably wrong or violate the Constitution. 
     ...Governor-elect Ricketts, Governor Heineman, Attorney General Bruning and the rest of the defendants in Waters v. Heineman, your names will be included on a list littered with the likes of George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, David Duke and Roger Taney. The oath of office requires you to support the Constitution, not betray it. Blame your generation, religious beliefs or support for states’ rights all you want. In the end, history will not reflect kindly on you.

Tar Sands Timmy is rooting for Keystone XL!

Sustainable Keystone XL from MarkFiore on Vimeo.