Sunday, April 26, 2015

A death in the family

This weekend AKSARBENT attended a memorial in the Omaha area for a friend claimed by cancer. At the right you see his bereft daughter and son consoling the man's companion, a stroke victim who will now have to depend on others for assistance.
     Along with our sadness, we felt an unexpected measure of anger and contempt for politicians who repeatedly raid the public purse to pursue an agenda of making life difficult in ingeniously nasty ways for whomever they happen to feel morally superior to — and collaterally, their relatives, like the ones pictured here.
     One of these types is the current attorney general of Nebraska, Donald Peterson, who we have excoriated in this blog before.
     The same Donald Peterson who filed a motion putting the State of Nebraska on record urging serious judicial consideration of the junk social science research of Mark Regnerus, author of a widely discredited study funded and/or publicized by several right-wing organizations lobbying against marriage equality.
     The same Donald Peterson who is spending Nebraska tax revenue to help the attorney general of Texas block (for as long as he can get away with it) Family and Medical Leave for gay Texas couples legally married elsewhere.
     We left the memorial more determined than ever never to caste a vote for someone who is making a career out of using his staff to kick the stool out from under people who have enough to contend with already and then cynically and laughably complaining about the alleged intolerance and incivility of people repulsed by the calculating animus of himself and his ilk.

Friday, April 24, 2015

NE AG office: judge shouldn't strike LGBT adoption ban as state isn't following it right now

Assistant Attorney General Jessica Forch, according to the Omaha World-Herald, told Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn that he needn't strike down the policy, being challenged by the ACLU, because it isn't being followed now: "We're not arguing that it is constitutional. It is not applied It is not a policy. It's nothing."
     Victims of the guideline, in place since the mid-90s under Democratic Gov. Ben Nelson, would beg to differ about the harmlessness of the policy and did recently, during hearings on LB647, a bill to prohibit the state from discriminating in adoptions because of sexual orientation.

    The notorious memo specifically bars licensing or placing children with “persons who identify themselves as homosexuals."
     Forch said [former HHS children and family services director Thomas] Pristow approved 15 placements with gay or lesbian foster parents from that time until he was let go by incoming Gov. Pete Ricketts...
     In response to questions from Judge Colborn, Forch acknowledged that proposed placements with gay or lesbian foster parents had to go through more levels of approval than other placements. She said the scrutiny was intended to prevent bias.
     Forch also said there was no evidence the couples named in the lawsuit had been discriminated against.
     Claims that two of the couples were told they could not apply to be foster parents amounted to hearsay and should not be admitted as evidence, she said.

Watching this will only make you even more disgusted with NE AG Donald Peterson's anti-marriage equality stalling tactics on your dime

The world is rapidly leaving stubborn bigots like Peterson and the like-minded heterosexual supremacists with whom he has packed the NE AG's office. But the GOP keeps propelling them into office, and they keep spending your money on legal stalling tactics to further their Quixotic anti-marriage equality agenda, which has now failed in 37 states, including every one surrounding Nebraska.

YSU posters tell LGBTs not to reveal their differences

The anonymously-posted flyers tell LGBTs to "...go about your day without telling everyone about how "different" you are."
     The message goes on:

Brought to you by the students that [sic] are sick of hearing about your LGBT pride. Nobody cares about what you think you are, or what you want to have sex with... We just don't give a fuck.

     This looks to us like the work of as few as one jerk purporting to speak for many.

Liberty University hires notoriously antigay assistant football coach

Above, Brown testifying against proposed LGBT antibias
additions to Omaha municipal charter, subsequently passed
In the wake of head coach Bo Pellini's firing by Nebraska, Brown's contract was not renewed.
     Brown followed Pellini to Ohio, but will now coach at ultra-right wing Liberty University, after being hired by head coach Turner Gill, an NU alumnus and former assistant coach at Nebraska, with whom Brown worked for 13 years.
     From Chris Lang, of the Lynchburg News Advance:
      Liberty is set to hire longtime Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown as its new wide receivers coach, according to the coaching industry website was not retained in Lincoln after Mike Riley took over as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.
     ...Speaking of his relationship with Gill in a 2010 Lincoln Journal Star story: “All kinds of things that have gone on in life that you share. That’s the beauty of coaching and friendships. Even when you leave in the coaching profession, and you don’t stay together forever, you can have a friend that you still connect with in a powerful way. That’s very special. And Turner and I have that.”
      Liberty University touts itself as:
...a pioneer in online education, allowing non-traditional learners around the world access to the same quality programs as residential students. Overall enrollment has increased from 64,000 in 2010 to more than 100,000 today. Liberty is now the largest private, nonprofit four-year college in the country, the nation’s fifth largest university, and the largest college in Virginia.
     Left unmentioned in Liberty's self-promotion is the University's huge amount of federal financial aid — $445,000,000 in 2010 alone ($25,000,000 more than the government gave to NPR.) according to Alex Parene at Salon.

KNXV: Beginning of the end for Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

Arpaio's admission of a secret investigation of the wife of judge presiding over contempt proceedings could bring him jail time for intimidating a federal officer — or, in a scenario raised by his remaining lawyers (one quit his defense this week) it could get the judge removed from the case.

Watch: Lambda Legal's new marriage equality ad

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NE Gov. tells state's Atheists and Agnostics to recognize the need to strengthen religious values

Specifically, Pete Ricketts, in the governor's annual suck-up to showboat piety, the National Day of Prayer, urged:
It is fitting and proper to give thanks to God by observing a day of prayer in Nebraska when all may acknowledge our blessing and express gratitude for them, while recognizing the need for strengthening religious and moral values in our state...
Pete Ricketts is, of course, a wealthy scion of his family's business, TD Ameritrade, which strengthened moral values by ransoming its customers' trades to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to a Chicago high-speed trading firm that engaged in electronic "front-running" in order to inflate the cost of purchasing stock by the amount it pocketed by intervening to up the price.

Five years after BP gulf spill, things AREN'T back to normal

Who cries more on the Internet: Italians or Americans?

Above: various Italians, weeping pitifully
Surprisingly, Americans do. But Italians are in the top five. Of course, by "Americans," we mean U.S. citizens. Canadians, though outwardly polite, actually rival even Australians as online goons. Swiftkey analyzed a billion emojis from all over the world. Its report is here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dieseltec, antigay garage, applied for a city business license today

Although licensed by the state, facebook homophobe Brian Klawiter never applied for a Grandville, Michigan business license because he objected to possible surprise inspections of his shop without a warrant.
     After widespread ridicule and at least one demonstration outside his garage, Klawiter now has applied for a business license, after several critics pointed out that insurance companies generally do not pay claims submitted by unlicensed businesses.
     According to Michigan Live:
City Clerk Mary Meines said the city sent Dieseltec another notice last week, after Klawiter posted to the business' Facebook page that he would not serve openly gay customers. The latest notice gave the business until May 15 to get a city license, she said.
     "We sent him a letter last week and he was in today," Meines said Monday afternoon.
     Dieseltec will not be assessed a $50 fine for non-compliance with the earlier notice, she said.

Hold for release until end of the world confirmed...

John Oliver enlists Martin Sheen to update CNN's Armageddon video. Via JoeMyGod.

Odd new brief signed by NE AG's office against same sex marriage admits states are forbidden from gender discrimination in marriage

Fifteen attorneys-general (all Republicans) are urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to declare state bans against gay marriage unconstitutional, in a new brief. In it is the following:

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson
    Naturally AKSARBENT wonders, as have many others, why it isn't gender discrimination when the state allows Jill to marry a man but forbids her brother Jack from doing the same.
     The brief also speculates that declaring bans on gay marriage unconstitutional will result in "incalculable" damage to the civic life of the U.S. (presumably like wrecked social landscape in the damned state of Massachusetts, which has had same sex marriage for over ten years, along with one of the country's lowest divorce rates.) 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Brian Klawiter, antigay Dieseltec owner, ducks TV interview as his Grandville, MI garage is picketed

Brian Klawiter refused to be interviewed by WOOD8 TV during a picket of his business Saturday. An associate said Klawiter was tired of being "misquoted and having his message taken out of context."
     Rev. Robert Teszlewicz, a pastor at Catholic Apostolic Church in Muskegon, organized the protest, which drew about a dozen people. His church is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

     Klawiter's unprovoked facebook rant  attracted the ire not only of the Internet, but of suppliers. He explained that he has "chosen" to remove the trademarks of three diesel engine manufacturers from his website. At least one of those companies, Cummins, said it notified Klawiter to stop using its logo:
     We at DIESELTEC INC hold all of our vendors and suppliers in high regard. Due to the current high level of attention we are receiving from our position on a national topic of debate, we have chosen to temporarily suspend the open display of their company names and logos. We respect that they may have alternative views from ours. We will continue to supply and service all of the familiar automotive diesel products you have become familiar with. Please call us if you have any questions about product availability.
Here's what Cummins said on its facebook page:
     Widespread attention to Klawiter has reveal a criminal record of assault and battery and the fact that he has refused to obtain a business license for his shop.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Video: Omahan who torched lesbian couple's pride flag smirks through lawyer-prompted apology

The accused, Cameron Mayfield, is represented by attorney James Martin Davis, who unsuccessfully defended Gregory Duncan recently against a hate crime charge of assaulting Ryan Langenegger, a straight Marine who was protecting two gay friends.

Reported WOWT:
     Simmons testified that Mayfield called his father approximately three hours after the alleged crime while he was being detained. His father asked him if he burned the flag. Cameron told him that he had. His father then instructed Cameron to tell the police there was no intent of hate.
     Earlier in the evening, Mr. Mayfield told a sergeant investigating the crime at his house that he had several conversations with his son about the flag and what it meant.
     He also told detectives that he raised his son to be "tolerant." He was brought up this way in part because Cameron has two mentally challenged siblings.
     Simmons also testified that the Mayfield family had a sign in their front yard approximately six months prior to the crime that read "Protect Traditional Marriage."

Friday, April 17, 2015

ESPN suspends Britt McHenry for mean girl bullying of towing firm clerk

What a nasty piece of work. Her mandated hiatus will last a week.

Here's her apology:
"In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake."
No one who sees the above video is going to buy that. The bottom line is that she wants people to believe what she said is out of character when her actions betray her character as that of a shallow bitch. Would anyone who isn't, ever resort to the kind of contemptible and revulsive put-downs she employed?

Nebraska Family Alliance: Ban gay marriage because children grow up dumber when raised by women

An alphabet soup alliance of antigay "family" groups, (including the Nebraska Family Alliance)  have signed a recent amicus brief citing a who's who of right-wing junk social science, including famously discredited Mark Regnerus.
     Below is an example of the arguments in their brief, which contradicts the stance of virtually every mainstream group of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and physicians lined up on the other side, in support of marriage equality:   
In general, fathers also use a broader vocabulary when interacting with their children, which develops children’s expressive-language abilities. In addition, fathers often engage in peer-like verbal play, which helps older children and adolescents relate to their peers and shape their sense of self. And fathers’ use of more cognitively demanding language, together with their tendency to require children to demonstrate skills and learning, cultivates higher-level thinking and supports educational attainment and academic achievement.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social media spanks antigay MI garage, DieselTec

One assumes a social media backlash has something to do with the fact that DieselTec's facebook page now displays this:

 From a screencap of the post published by MLive:

A $53,000, 750-lb., water-cooled microwave oven

From Wikipedia:

     In 1947, Raytheon built the "Radarange", the first commercially available microwave oven. It was almost 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) tall, weighed 340 kilograms (750 lb) and cost about US$5,000 ($52,809 in today's dollars) each. It consumed 3 kilowatts, about three times as much as today's microwave ovens, and was water-cooled. In 1961, an early Radarange was installed (and remains) in the galley of the nuclear-powered passenger/cargo ship NS Savannah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Legally married NE gay couples must fill out 5 income tax returns, two of them fake

The instructions are so convoluted that the Nebraska Department of Revenue has a special page (actually two) for gay Nebraska couples legally married in other states. One joint return for the feds, then two "mock" (fake) returns — a legally mandated lie on which Nebraska returns are predicated — then two individual Nebraska returns. Thanks, anti-gay marriage Attorney General Don Peterson and Governor Pete Ricketts!

New Irish marriage equality ad

Although polls are running in favor of gay marriage, supporters aren't taking anything for granted and have initiated a #RingYourGranny campaign.

(Via @TLRD)

Denver TSA agents fired over scheme to grope attractive male passengers

According to the Huffington Post:

Huffington Post inducts Colby Coash fundraiser into its 'Dickipedia"

In 2012, Lincoln GOP state senator Colby Coash booked NRA nutbag, Vietnam draft dodger and 21st century hunting law scofflaw Ted Nugent for a fundraiser, then attempted to run from the controversy by making the event "invitation only."

Below, Rosanne Barr goes after Ted Nugent and the politicians for whom he raises money in a video (obviously uploaded by a Teabagger) that claims Nugent got the better of Barr in the discussion. He didn't.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

OK boys, even Bud Anderson fooled around once

Back in 1986, Billy Gray, who played son Bud on Father Knows Best, gracefully endured the usual amount of sexual harassment that comes with being interviewed on Howard Stern's show and, as Hugh Hefner did in his biography, confessed (when asked) to a solitary sexual experience with another guy.
Stern: Ever had any homosexual activity?
Gray: Oh, when I was about 15, I think...
Stern: What happened?
Gray: Oh, you know, just a little under-the-covers stuff... Enough so that I could answer honestly and not be allowed to be in the service.
Stern: ...Really, you went that far!
Gray: Yeah I did.
Stern: ...That was a one time thing?
Gray: Yeah, just a quickie.
     Gray made enough off the show to live modestly, racing motorcycles without ever having to get a regular job again. Although quite talented, he could not get acting work for years after a 1961 marijuana bust. (Father Knows Best ran on CBS and NBC from 1954-1960. After that, ABC ran reruns of the show in prime time for another three years.)
     Costar Elinor Donahue, in an interview, said Jane Wyatt and Robert Young thought Gray had a better career ahead of him as an actor than did she.
     On the Father Knows Best website, producer Eugene Rodney explained how Billy Gray got the role:
Our Bud had to have a teen-age boy’s abstraction, not flipness. More than thirty boys read the test script, but only one could say the gag lines – the Bud-isms- flat, able to resist a “this-is-a-joke-see?’ lilt.” “As an example”, said Mr. Rodney, “when Jim, worried about Betty’s going steady, reads aloud a newspaper story about a girl eloping and taking $200 with which her aunt was to buy a TV set, our Bud had to be able to look up and ask seriously, 'What size screen, dad?' Billy Gray was the only actor that could do it the way we wanted”.
     Like many actors, Gray was no fan of Ronald Reagan, who used to tell voters that he was president of a labor union without mentioning that he sold out that union. From a 1974 AP interview:
     Although Father Knows Best still appears regularly on television, Gray's residual checks have long since ceased.
     "I can thank Ronald Reagan for that," he remarked. "When he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, he negotiated a contract that allowed the producers to cut off residuals after a certain number of reruns. Shortly afterward, Reagan became a producer."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Aerial Game of Thrones plays out between falcons from Lincoln's State Capitol and Omaha's Woodmen Tower

The beautiful art-deco Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, among its many attractions, hosts a Peregrine Falcon nesting box lorded over by "19K."
     Omaha's Woodmen of the World Tower also has a nesting box, ruled by "Mintaka."
     Both nesting boxes have webcams. Last February, 19K flew 60 miles north to Omaha, to the nesting box of Mintaka, his son. According to Matthew Hansen, of the Omaha World-Herald,
19K was not there to give Mintaka advice about being a dad. He was not there to slip him $20 for gas. He was there to rumble.
     Below is the March 7th engagement of what was thought to be a running battle lasting weeks:

     Added reporter Hansen, who interviewed Joel Jorgensen, a program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission:
     In one way, the battle is epic, positively Shakespearean, especially when you know that even wildlife experts are helpless to explain why Lincoln’s established male falcon would fly to Omaha and try to murder his son.
     “It boggled my mind, honestly,” Jorgensen says.
The Woodmen of the World Tower, Omaha's second tallest building, was, of course the starring edifice in Alexander Payne's best film, About Schmidt, which got Jack Nicholson a Golden Globe and and Oscar nomination.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Comma Queen, possessed

Advice from Mary Norris, copy editor of the New Yorker, who, we fervently hope, never encounters this blog.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

30,000+ sign 2 petitions in 24 hours to protest Omaha Catholic school's defacto firing of gay speech coach

One petition got 20,000 signatures in about 12 hours. It now has more than 26,000. Another petition, with more than 8,000 signatures, has been started by Skutt alumni to protest the Archdiocese's refusal to renew the teaching contract of Matthew Eledge who informed the school he is gay and wants to marry his partner. The Archdiocese issued a statement, saying:
All elementary and secondary teachers sign one-year contracts.  Contracts include a code of conduct, in addition to a clause whereby teachers agree to uphold the teachings of the Church.
The 20,000+ signature petition at notes:
Under his leadership, the students have won five consecutive conference and district titles and capped another successful year with its fourth straight state championship this past March. Unfortunately, this legacy will be coming to an end. Mr. Eledge is being fired from Skutt Catholic for being in a gay relationship.
The Omaha World-Herald, as well as Omaha's KMTV (CBS), WOWT (NBC) and KETV (ABC) affiliates have covered the story. The Herald interviewed Dave Gottschalk, a 2010 Skutt graduate who it said helped draft the petition and who said he loves the school but feels its actions contradict one of the institution's core beliefs:
Omaha Archbishop George Lucas
Skutt Catholic’s curriculum is centered not only around theology (but also) social justice and embracing diversity in those that are marginalized by society,” said Gottschalk, who graduated from UNL in 2014. “And here we are watching the institution that instilled these social justice values in us turn around and discriminate against the marginalized.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GOP's RFRA stunt cost Indiana $1.5 billion

The Governator is not amused by GOP attacks on LGBTS
Which Indiana Senators and Representatives voted for RFRA? Find out here.

From NBC affiliate WNDU in South Bend:
     “With all due respect to anyone who says let’s just slow down, let’s take our time, why do we need to do this? In your heart of hearts you know why we're doing this, because there's been economic damage to our state. I think unfairly, but it's real and we have to do something about it,” President Pro Tempore David Long said during a conference committee hearing on the fix.
     “I had a manufacturer from Marshall County call me earlier this week distraught that he had just lost his largest customer who said that they no longer were going to purchase product from them because they didn't want to buy anything from the state of Indiana,” testified Kevin Brinegar with the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce.
     USA Today recently voted Indianapolis the number one convention city in the U.S.
     The convention, tourism, entertainment and hospitality industries there employ 100,000 people.
     “I talked to some of the industry professionals just to get the facts and figures so I didn't just pull them out of thin air,” said Ind. Rep. Terri Austin, (D) Anderson. Convention and meetings, the net present value, the loss to the state is $1.5 billion, meetings and conventions.”

Remember when those Hollywood homofascists almost gay-married Bud on Father Knows Best in 1955?

Bud the Bridesmaid was broadcast February 27, 1955 on the CBS television network.
     It was the 22nd episode of Season One and the script was written by Dorothy Cooper and Barbara Hammer from an original story by Ed James.

Kathy: You're the bride!
Bud: What? ... Do I look like a bride?
Jim: Now... Start with the left foot.
Bud: If this ever gets out I'll never be able to show my face again!
Bud: Have a heart, dad.
Margaret: Stop arguing. Act like a bride.
Bud: How can I try out for the football team if the fellas ever find out I was a bride?

We like the part at the end where (as AKSARBENT spins it) Bud wept over the one who got away.