Sunday, October 19, 2014

More of the Funk Brothers, less of The Girls

The Funk Brothers were, of course, Motown's in-house wrecking crew whose backing propelled act after act to stardom.
     The Girls, as Ed Sullivan familiarly referred to them, since they were practically regulars on his massively popular Sunday night CBS variety show, were, of course, The Supremes.
     The repeated CBS exposure goes a long way toward explaining why the Supremes had more successive #1 hits than the Beatles, although another reason might have been that at their peak, some Beatles hits kept other Fab Four singles from reaching the top.)
     Here is the backing only of the Supremes' 1964 smash, Come See About Me. Wikipedia says the record "topped the chart twice, non-consecutively; toppled by and later replacing The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" in December 1964 and January 1965."
    This is why we love, love, love YouTube.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Facebook reacts to Justice Dept's creation of fake account using info from seized cell phone

Buzzfeed broke and followed this story:
     Facebook has bluntly told the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stop using phony accounts and posing as real people in its investigations.
     The company’s rebuke, delivered Friday in a sharply critical letter to the law enforcement agency, comes after BuzzFeed News disclosed that a DEA agent had created a bogus Facebook account, impersonated an upstate New York woman, and posted racy photos of her and an image of her young son from her seized cell phone — all without her knowledge. The agent used the account to contact suspected criminals.
     Recently, another branch of the U.S. Justice Department, the F.B.I., complained about encryption offered by Google and Apple to customers, that the companies would not attempt to unlock, and that would make it inconvenient for federal agents to monitor citizens.
     The F.B.I. wants Congress to stop Google and Apple from offering such encrypted privacy protection to customers, but only because the feds need to protect America from criminals — not because they would ever dream of using such power in an unethical way.
     Here's part of Facebook's indignant letter to the DEA:

American Family Association now equating 'gay' and 'ebola'

Toxic, reckless Christian defamation of LGBTs by the AFA is broadcast almost daily on the public airways in Nebraska and Iowa via the following stations, which do not give equal time to opposing viewpoints because now they don't have to: broadcasting's Fairness Doctrine was abandoned during the Reagan era.
     Religious freedom — in the service of smearing minorities using publicly allocated radio frequencies without accountability!

The American Family Association, based in Tupelo, MS, rakes in more than $20,000,000 per year demonizing LGBT people in print and on the public airwaves. You can complain about the latter at you know. Surely there are other entities who could broadcast content more in keeping with the public interest than the cynical propagandists at the American Family Association.

Pope demotes unusually homophobic cardinal

AKSARBENT always though Cardinal Burke looked
rather gay friendly, but obviously pictures can lie.
Cardinal Raymond Burke has been taking potshots at Pope Francis since 2013 and has declared that children should not be exposed to their always-evil gay relatives. He used to be the head of the Vatican's highest court of canon law (technically, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura of the Holy See.)
     Now he is the patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Rome's mayor defies Italy's interior minister, registers 16 gay marriages performed in Spain, Portugal and U.S.

Same sex marriage remains illegal in Italy and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano recently warned local prefects in a letter that registrations of gay marriages performed outside Italy would be voided.
     Nevertheless, Rome's mayor, Ignazio Mariono registered 16 gay couples within walking distance of the Vatican at the city hall reception room. Above: Mariono (center) with Andrea Rubera, left, and Dario de Gregori.
     Unlike vulgar Americans, Italians always put on a suit and tie for important stuff.

Twitchy retweeted something AKSARBENT liked

It was the clever, charming birth announcement by NASCAR circuit star Kyle Busch and his wife. Michelle Malkin must have momentarily run out of bile and have been compelled to post something before refueling.

Susanna Reid, blissfully ignorant of American slang, asks Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens how he, um, edged out other actors for his role in The Guest

GOP revives Willie Horton-style attack ad to save embattled NE Rep. Lee Terry

One or another of the GOP's national hit squads has now resuscitated the 80s Willie Horton ad attacking Michael Dukakis, with Nebraska State Senator Brad Ashford standing in for Dukakis and Nikko Jenkins substituting for Willie Horton.
     Jenkins, who was improperly freed from the Nebraska penetentiary early — not by Brad Ashford's "good time" legislative formula but by a judge who made a big mistake —  killed four people after being let out.
     Shortly thereafter, the Omaha World-Herald uncovered a huge and still-evolving scandal involving the state's GOP Governor, Dave Heineman, and his Department of Corrections. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
The state had improperly cut years off the sentences of at least 200 prisoners; many had already been released, and others were set for early release. This, Cooper told me, was a conservative estimate. State officials would later revise the total to a whopping 873 prisoners, 306 of whom had already been released. 
     Now the GOP is attempting to convince Omaha voters that the early release of dangerous inmates is a Democrat-driven problem:

     The Willie Horton revisitation isn't a Lee Terry ad, but his campaign has refused to disavow it, and in fact defended it to KETV in the above video.
     Lee Terry is running the following ad which excoriates Brad Ashford and asks voters that if Ashford won't protect Americans from "bad guys" in Nebraska how would he in the rest of the world?
     In 2010, Terry tried to block a U.N. investigation into the killing of an unarmed, 19-year-old American citizen in the Middle East.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Entire U.S. Ebola capacity in biocontainment units now 36% full with just four patients

University Tower UNMC, Omaha
The U.S. has just four facilities with special biocontainment units; together, they can accommodate 11 people.
  1. The largest, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center here in Omaha, has ten beds but can currently accommodate only three Ebola patients because of equipment and staffing limitations
  2. The National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda has two beds 
  3. St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, can handle three patients.
  4. Emory University Hospital's biocontainment unit, in Atlanta, Georgia, has three beds
Related: the first Ebola patient treated in Omaha, Dr. Rick Sacra, now says he thinks he contracted the virus “getting out of my surgical gown and my gloves and my boots and stuff" after performing surgery in Liberia.

An innovative suicide prevention PSA

What really frightens Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher a founder of the National Organization for [the prevention of gay] Marriage, isn't worried about Ebola, but the following, in a recent National Review piece. (Find it yourself; we aren't linking to it) does worry her:
"Second, after spending $250,000 to give my son a college education, learning that he won’t be able to find a job that allows him to support himself and a family."
     Presumably this refers to Gallagher's second son, who, if he takes after his older step-brother, won't have to bother finding a job remunerative enough to support a wife and kids.
     Another thing that doesn't scare Gallagher is being ridiculed for teasing a future National Review piece by linking to a YouTube video of Michael Stipes singing about an unrequited gay crush. The source of Maggie's concern ("tears streaming down my face") is NOT the recent Catholic synod, we are informed.
     Damn straight:  Maggie's weeping isn't about "objections to welcoming gay people."
     Maggie had to made that clear because, you see, she has this unfortunate homophobic reputation.
     Not that we would believe she would cry about the Roman Catholic Church going easier on teh gays. We always knew she was more cold-blooded than that.
     Related: Below, her successor at the National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, debating Evan Wolfson on CSPAN. Wolfson, we think, is the most articulate spokesman for marriage equality around and worth his weight in gold, which he proves every time a TV camera is pointed at him.
     To watch him is a master's class in how to demolish an opponent's arguments without offending his supporters watching at home while simultaneously effectively persuading undecideds.

Bawdy outtake of Craig Ferguson and Tim Daly comparing sizes

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shia LaBeouf explains his nightclub arrest and why he grabbed Alan Cuming's butt

Basically, because it was within reach of whisky-soaked LaBoef's grasp, although Shia claimed that Cuming winked at him, which Judge AKSARBENT finds entirely plausible and will take into account.
    Actually the context (see second video) of LaBeof's misbehavior makes his drunken, antic and uninvited participation quite a bit more understandable than, say, Lindsy Lohan's various escapades.


Flashback: Keith Olbermann reminds us of Lee Terry selling out Nebraskans by 'whoring himself out' to the cell phone industry

Monday, October 13, 2014

When Nebraska brought out Dexter's inner redneck

Nebraska nice: speeding in a fast car on rural highways... shooting up road signs... oh my!

Joni Ernst sinks in Iowa polls and guess who's dragging her down? Sarah Palin and the Koch Bros.

Iowa Dems have been intensively canvassing the state and anti-Ernst groups have created an smorgasbord of attack ads. Still, her affiliation with Palin and the Kochs is turning off even Republicans. Sarah Jones at Politicus USA has been reading the latest Des Moines Register polls and other political tea leaves:
     By more than 2-1, the Koch Brothers affiliation hurts Joni Ernst. According to a new Iowa poll analyzed by the Des Moines Register, the Koch Brothers’ support for Republican Senate candidate and castration expert Joni Ernst is a big fat negative, with 50% disapproving and only 21% approving. Even Republicans are disgusted, with 36% finding the Kochs to be a noose around the castrator’s neck and only 27% approving.
     You know who else hurts Joni Ernst? Sarah Palin, with only 30% saying her support of Ernst helps and 56% saying it hurts. We’ve been trying to explain this to Republicans, but they are so desperate to cater to the extremist wing of their party that they still believe the mainstream belief in the power of Palin. Newsflash: This isn’t 2010.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ben Sasse brags about leaving 'No Voter Behind'
but his marriage equality stance kicks 50,000 gay Nebraskans to the curb

Sasse's web site reprints a puff piece by the far-right Weekly Standard that dutifully reports the number of pushups Ben can do, but doesn't explain why stiff-arming 50,000 gay Nebraskans won't leave those voters among them behind.
     Sasse has proven totally obeisant to the most homophobic pressure groups in Nebraska, including the Nebraska Family  Alliance, the renamed version of the Nebraska Family Council, which was instrumental, in 2000, in gathering signatures to put Initiative 416 on the state ballot, which banned gay marriage, civil unions AND domestic partnerships in the state, even though gay marriage was already against the law. (How's that for all-encompassing, scorched-earth animus?)
     Recently, the same group of Star City homeboys and girls that Sasse sucks up to gathered 10,000 signatures to kill Lincoln's LGBT fairness doctrine, passed 5-0 by the Lincoln City Council.
     If you didn't get the message implicit in Sasse's pilgrimage to the Nebraska Family Alliance's video studio in Lincoln to pander to Nebraska's most hardcore heterosexual supremacists, you can read it on his web site:

     The contrast between Sasse's indifference-to-outright-hostility, in respect of legitimate gay concerns, versus the sensitivity of his opponent, David Domina, to those same concerns, couldn't be starker.
     Here is what Dave Domina thinks: (Click to enlarge if need be.)

How the GOP won the gay marriage battle, then lost the cultural war it started

Go ahead Mike! Leave a GOP you deem to be insufficiently
heterosexual supremacist. Take your radio/TV audience with
you and start a third party, just like John Anderson,
Ross Perot and Ron Paul did.
In 2004 the GOP panicked over the 4 million Christer conservatives who stayed home on election day because they felt betrayed and ignore by George W. Bush. Since many Republicans had already gone bananas after Massachusetts' Supreme Court established LGBT marriage equality, the GOP incited  antigay referenda in 11 states and every one passed.
Republicans won the battle, but they soon lost the war. All 11 passed handily, and another seven passed in 2006. However, the mean-spirited anti-gay marriage campaign actually failed to increase Republican turnout, while alienating the younger generation of voters. American youth who had grown up treating gays equally soon propelled Barack Obama to the White House and invigorated the marriage cause. Ten years after that first round of anti-gay initiatives, same-sex marriage is on the verge of being legal in 60 percent of the country.
Read more:

SNL: Stefon lives! And weekend update sympathizes with deadbeat gay boyfriends who don't wanna get married

Said Michael Che: "After the Supreme Court declined to rule on the issue of same sex marriage, it is now legal in 30 states. I'm happy for same sex couples, but I feel bad for a group of people that still get ignore in this country, and that's gay dudes who really, really don't want to get married and had a really good excuse not to for so long. I know there are some deadbeat gay boyfriends out there like 'Yo, Carl, you know I wanna marry you, but SOCIETY, man... just won't let us. Oh well. I guess we just gotta keep boning casually 'till the world gets its act together.' "

Did Pepsi sneak a gay blue-collar couple into a TV ad 45 years ago?

Tom Gilbert, who uploaded the ad to YouTube, said: "One of earliest of the "You've Got a Lot to Live" spots that ran from 1969-72. Note the blue collar gay couple. Don't you think?"
     One commenter said the couple were the racial integration poster characters — but two schoolboys appeared later in the ad who punched that ticket.
     AKSARBENT will reserve judgement on whether the pair were construction buds — or more — until we knew whether they were going to a job site together —  or leaving together. (The black half of the duo does seem to have a girlfriend — or sister — or beard.)
     In any case, we don't expect 2014 PepsiCo to return any calls on that question since there's a good chance the ad's art director has gone to that big focus group in the sky if the drinking habits of 60s admen are accurately reflected by Don Draper and Company.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Today, amid all the wonderful marriage equality news, the LGBT community lost a humble, unsung friend

AKSARBENT's favorite blogger, Joe Jervis, lost his volunteer proofreader/copy editor today, and in her passing the gay community lost a great friend and tireless advocate (as well as the wielder of a mean blue pencil; despite Jervis' prodigious daily output, his blog's grammatical and spelling missteps are rare.)
     JoeMyGod's grateful eulogy was exquisitely respectful of a faith in god he does not share. It was also a sharp reminder that minorities (and all of us belong to one minority or another) depend on our ability to evoke a sense of justice in the majority of the majority.
     But this rumination isn't about the lovely Betty Salwak of Indiana — it's about how the readers of a blog will always surprise you. Jervis' remembrance brought out the best in his many commenters, but one stood out with an eloquence and wisdom that matched the tribute of even the webmaster himself:

Marriage licenses distributed to gay couples in NC; 'This piece of paper destroyed Amendment One'


Gay male flight attendant trope strikes again in
'Drunk On A Plane'

Pepsi's epic, wildly exuberant 60s TV ads

Ah, the days of 60-second commercials! The campaign tag line, "Pepsi pours it on," was suggested by focus group research that revealed to the soft drink company that the more its product was chilled, the more consumers preferred it to Coke. Britney Spears starred in an anthology ad which revisted this jingle, but why not watch the original?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gov. Butch Otter uses the Anatole France argument to rationalize Idaho's anti-gay marriage law

Unfortunately, France was being sarcastic. Gov. Otter really thinks his state's argument makes sense — or that Idaho's too-clever-by-half reasoning will persuade a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Incidentally, as a young man, Anatole France probably looked more like a butch otter than Gov. Butch Otter.

Here's more of France, from WikiQuote:

Christianity has done a great deal for love by making it a sin.

Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women's clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.

It is almost impossible systematically to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil.

You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.

She said, they said: Joni Ernst endorser, Sarah Palin, vs. several police report witnesses of drunken brawl

Sarah Palin on Facebook:
"I love my Bristol! My straight-shooter is one of the strongest young women you'll ever meet. I have to say this as a proud mama: right up there with their work ethic and heart for those less fortunate, my kids' defense of family makes my heart soar!
Bristol Palin, heterosexual supremacist, in a just-released police report (Click to enlarge):

In Iowa, a barrage of ads rip Joni 'pig castrator' Ernst; tying her to Sarah Palin and the Koch Bros.; 3 attack her abortion stance

The Des Moines Register says the social security attack ads are starting to work, although it quotes's conclusion that the ads misrepresent Ernst's position on that issue. noted that The Des Moines Register's most recent Iowa poll found that 56 percent of likely voters see her position on Social Security as "a problem." Despite that, the poll, taken Sept. 21-24, shows Ernst wins with every age group, although it's just a 1-point margin with those 65 and older.

Karl Rove is attacking Ernst's opponent, Bruce Braley, for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline (which will go through Nebraska, not Iowa), so the Democrats have responded with this:

 Three ads rip Ernst head-on for her abortion stance:

Expanded marriage rights for LGBTs leaving job protections in the dust. WaPo explains why

Patrick J. Egan, Associate Professor of Politics and Public Policy at NYU takes note of the widening gap between marriage and employment rights for LGBT Americans:
     Gay people can now get legally married in more states than where they are legally protected from job discrimination.  As this map shows, there are now five states — Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia — where gay people can get legally married and where it is perfectly legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay.
     It’s a circumstance that’s remarkably out of line with public opinion.  Almost all Americans support employment rights for gay people.  (For example, Gallup stopped asking its regular survey question on this topic once support hit 89 percent in 2008.)  But such unanimity in attitudes — if it ever arrives — still lies in the distant future on the question of same-sex marriage, where those in favor of legalizing gay marriage currently make up about 55 percent of the American population.
     National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rae Carey deplored this disparity yesterday on KMTV Omaha's broadcast of the Morning Blend. AKSARBENT blogged it; you can see Carey's remarks here.

Most popular Internet news show in the world blasts Lee Terry with both barrels