Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Day It Snowed In Miami, emmy-award winning documentary about 1977 gay rights fight, can now be seen free on YouTube

Steve Rothaus reports that The Day It Snowed In Miami, an regional Emmy-winning documentary about the 1977 fight for gay rights in Miami, can now be seen free on YouTube, courtesy of the Miami Herald Media Company (MHMC) and WPBT-Channel 2. The documentary was broadcast nationally and screened in South Florida theaters.

A look back at Cuban-American émigré Reinaldo Arenas via the biopic Before Night Falls

Against the backdrop of President Obama's steps to normalize relations with Cuba, we thought we'd try to find the sly dig at Fidel Castro's gay brother, Raul, in the Reinaldo Arenas biopic Before Night Falls on Youtube. We couldn't, but below is a nice clip, anyway (watch till the end!) Javier Bardem become the first Spanish national ever nominated for Best Actor after he portrayed Arenas in this 2009 film, which also has a cameo by Sean Penn AND Johnny Depp in a dual role. From Roger Ebert's 3.5-out-of-4-star review:
      Arenas is played by Javier Bardem, a Spanish actor with a specialty in macho heterosexuality (if you doubt me, see "Jamon, Jamon"). He doesn't play Arenas as a gay man so much as a man whose body fits like the wrong suit of clothes. We accept Arenas as gay in the movie because the story says he is, and because there are after all no rules about how a homosexual should look or behave -- but there is somehow the feeling that the movie's Arenas is not gay from the inside out, but has chosen the lifestyle as part of a compulsion to defy Castro in every way possible.
     The film contains two more convincing homosexual characters, both played by Johnny Depp: Lt. Victor, a sleek, tight-trousered military officer, and "Bon Bon," a flamboyant transvestite who struts through Castro's prisons and proves incredibly useful by smuggling out one of Arenas' manuscripts, concealing it in that place where most of us would be most inconvenienced by a novel, however brilliant.

For his second inauguration, in 2013, Obama tapped gay Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco to compose a poem. denies helping Sony strike back at hackers with denial-of-service attacks

On December 11th, ZDNet followed through on a report by Recode:
On Wednesday, tech site Recode reported that Sony had used hundreds of computers in Asia to initiate denial-of-service attacks on websites offering Sony's stolen data to the public. The sources of these attacks were allegedly Amazon Web Services data centers based in Tokyo and Singapore.
     A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services told ZDNet the alleged activity is "not currently happening" on the service.

Hillary Clinton's birthday card to Chelsea Manning seems to have been lost in the mail

“Hillary told staff that she could not fathom how an army private, Bradley Manning, with psychological problems and a drag-queen boyfriend could single-handedly cause the United States unprecedented embarrassment just by labeling massive downloads as Lady Gaga songs.”
— Vanity Fair

The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks, describes the State Department's then-energy envoy, David Goldwyn, as having "alleviated" Canadian officials' concerns about getting their crude into the U.S. It also said he had instructed them in improving "oil sands messaging," including "increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories.

— Chicago Tribune

NU's fired, $150k-a-month head coach takes vulgar parting shots, but is upstaged by fake twitter alter ego

Someone made a tape of the farewell speech to his players made by University of Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini after he was cut from the team. The World-Herald actually published the audio of the very NSFW outburst because in the Cornhusker State of Mind, football trumps any policy about journalistic dissemination of vulgar, sexist invocations of lady parts.
    By now Pelini-esque streaks of obscenity now revisit the same rut ploughed by the last surreptitiously recorded soliloqy, but Fake Bo Pelini (@fauxpelini) recaps of real Bo Pelini outbursts are ALWAYS fresh. And now, Fake Bo Pelini's bogus twitter letter to his successor has even made the august pages of the Washington Post. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Director's cut of 1998's Studio 54 puts back 30 minutes of footage, including excised gay scenes

Writes Greg Hernandez in Greg In Hollywood:
     Film editor David Kittredge who worked with [director Mark] Christopher on the director's cut for Berlin, wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday (16 December) that the studio-ordered 90 minute film was 'very different' from the original vision.
     Kittredge said he and Christopher have worked 'tirelessly' for the past several months 'trimming things and adding over 30 minutes of newly-digitized dailies that have not seen the light of day since 1997.'
     The re-cut version includes even more restored footage than what was shown at a well-received 'secret screening' of Christopher's vision at the 2008 Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles.
     'Incredibly excited to have been the editor of what amounts to a massive cinematic restoration of a really great movie that would have blown people's minds in the '90s,' Kittredge wrote.

Meet Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) who introduced that Citigroup legislation to bail out bank losses on risky investments with your taxes

Second-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-$) really represents CitiGroup in the U.S. House of Representatives but is supposed to represent the third congressional district of Kansas, including Wyandotte and Johnson counties, which include Kansas City and the surrounding suburbs of Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee and Olathe.
     He is the man who slipped lobbyist-written legislation into a must-pass spending bill too late for debate. The bill is called the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act and will gut a section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act called the "push-out rule" that forbids banks from trading certain risky derivatives (which are complicated financial instruments with vales derived from underlying variables, such as crop prices or interest rates) with money insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). If this bill passes the Senate, taxpayers will be on the hook for more of Wall St.'s reckless gambling losses. The vote is here.
     Mr. Yoder's constituents and non-constituents are not happy with him and have been registering their disapproval on his Facebook page. The Huffington Post says Rep. Yoder isn't saying much these days:
Yoder has been mum about the spending package since it passed the House. His office hasn't responded to multiple requests for comment on why he slipped the Citigroup language into it. The press statements on his website say nothing about the provision or the spending bill. There are no posts about it on his Facebook page. He's said nothing in his Twitter feed.

Rachel Maddow shocked that demonstrations against police misconduct occurred 'even in Nebraska'

Evidently the members of Maddow's staff who carry out daily raids on YouTube to pillage free amateur footage (but which they at least no longer seem to plagiarize) must have missed that outrageous 2013 viral video of the warrantless police home invasion over unregistered cars in North Omaha.
     They also must have missed the story about the Omaha police accidentally shooting to death a crew member of the long-running reality show Cops during a ride-along, although to be fair to the Maddow show, that video was professionally made by a TV production company and not a YouTube amateur so the event was mostly covered by obscure old media outlets like NBC(!), The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, etc.

Rock Hudson's last words

"No, I don't think so." (He was asked if he wanted more coffee.)
     This via the web site "Famous Last Words."
     Hudson, like Judy Garland, was quite witty in private.
     AKSARBENT's favorite Hudson story is when he welcomed a buddy of his (a suit at Universal) to one of his private pool parties. He took his guest to a balcony overlooking the patio and drunkenly explained, "The blonds are named Todd and the brunettes are named Grant."
     Bonus: Bob Hope's last words were to his wife Delores after she asked him where he wanted to be buried. "Surprise me," Hope said.

Stephen Colbert on Bill O'Reilly: 'No one's gonna pay me to watch him anymore, so fuck that noise'

Almost as good as his scary interview with Smaug, the dragon, the other day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Whoa! HRC goes Wonkette on FL attorney general

Memo to HRC. Please notice Jon Bruning.

Cute Chicago Fox weatherman flips off camera,
now knows which way the wind blows

Why is it always Fox talent that gets caught making life difficult for the nuns at the FCC?
     We're guessing that meteorologist Bill Bellis will just get his knuckles rapped and not fired.
     Oh — for you youngsters, the headline allusion leads directly to the end of the second verse (1:02) of this song.

     We don't expect the above video to last long on YouTube.
      Like a cat leaving the litter box, Fox is usually pretty good at burying the telltale evidence of whatever it just did.
     Regardless of what happens, we do expect Bill to land on his feet.
     With his range of expressions, we're guessing he could do any number of things in front of the camera besides weather.

Trio of Catholic high school alumni accused of gay-bashing fail to get Philly court to dismiss charges

Defense lawyers tried to have the case dismissed at today's preliminary hearing by arguing that both parties were at fault. That ploy didn't work.

Des Moines' cityview blasted for titillating transgender cover accompanying serious story

Apart from the dubious cover, Des Moines' alternative weekly laudably attempted to report the trouble transgender people have when they need to use public facilities from their perspective as well as those people in charge of public facilties. The article, we thought, was commendable. The cover was a rather low-rent attempt to snag readers.
     You can read the piece online, here, and the reaction of Donna Redwing, of OneIOWA, who was interviewed, here.

Both sides joust in SD gay marriage fight, winning and losing some

Pro-marriage equality advocates are accusing the state of stalling.
     "The state's position being that the voters of South Dakota should pick the definition of marriage, rather than the federal court," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.
     "That's too bad, because the Constitution was written for a reason. It was written to ensure that our rights are protected and not subjected to the whims or majority of a popular vote," said Attorney Josh Newville, who represents six gay South Dakota couples.

Twins outfielder Torii Hunter calls reporter a 'prick' for bringing up his anti-marriage equality ad; 'I don't even know you, man'

The Twins recently held a press conference at Target Field to announce Hunter's 1-year, $10.5 million deal with the team.
     Hunter ended the press conference shortly after reporter Mike Berardino indirectly asked him if he had discussed his public stance on gay marriage with management. (Hunter made a radio ad in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson and his anti-marriage equality stance.)
     Hutchinson was beaten by Democrat Mike Beebe in November.
     “Nothing to talk about,” Hunter said. “You already know, so why keep talking about it? I said it. It is what it is. So, no, I’m not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It’s not even baseball related. You can do that later, when I retire, then I’ll tell you everything.”
     A few seconds later, Hunter turned his attention back to the reporter.
“Hey, Mike is kind of a prick, huh? No, seriously. You’re a prick, man. I don’t even know you.
     You’re a prick, seriously,” Hunter said. “Ain’t nothing wrong with that, man, that’s your job. He’s definitely a prick, though.”

     One more question was asked before the conference ended. Before leaving, Hunter pointed to the reporter and said he ruined the press conference.

Sydney hostage who rushed gunman, allowing others to flee, died a 'second class' gay citizen

AKSARBENT defines a hero as someone who risks his or her own life to save someone else's. (By our standards, if you pull someone out of a wrecked, burning car, you're a hero. If the car isn't on fire, you're merely a Good Samaritan.)
      Two people in the Sydney hostage crisis appear to have died heroically. The first was Katrina Dawson, a lawyer and mother of three, who it is claimed, was shot to death shielding a pregnant friend from gunfire.
     The second was Tori Johnson, manager of the Lindt Chocolate Café for two years and whom employees and customers could not praise enough.
     Here's part of what James Peron, President of the Moorfield Storey Institute, just wrote about Johnson in the Huffington Post:
     Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Tori Johnson, and the other victim "good people."
     Yes, Tori was good people, but to Abbott he still wasn't good enough, at least not when it came to marriage.

     Tori and his partner of 14 years, Thomas, could never be married, not in Australia. Tori and Thomas deserved the same rights as other Australians. But that right was denied them, and now, for Tori, it's too late.
     Prime Minister Tony Abbott laid flowers and said nice words but he's still fighting to deny marriage rights to "good people" such as Tori Johnson.
     If Abbot wishes to honor the heroism of Tori Johnson he should push for marriage equality. At the very least, he should get of the way and allow his own party caucus freedom to vote their conscience.
     For all couples like Tori and Frank it's time to pass Senator David Leyonhjelm's marriage legislation.

Jon Stewart goes inside the scariest place in the universe: Dick Cheney's mind

Fun fact: it's widely known that Dick Cheney was kicked out of Yale, but less widely known that he was kicked out of his kindergarten class at Randolph School.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bob Dylan gives a Philadelphia concert for superfan Fredik Wikingsson — just Fredik Wikingsson

From Stereogum:
Last month, we found out that Bob Dylan had played a show in Philadelphia for just one person as part of the Swedish film series Experiment Ensam, which sets people up in situations alone that they would normally experience with a crowd. The lucky attendee was Swedish superfan Fredik Wikingsson,
(Via JoeMyGod)

How much of your taxes will NE GOP officials squander to fight gay marriage, already legal in 4 border states?

GOP House Majority Leader John Boehner hired expensive private attorneys to fight the federal Defense of Marriage Act, later largely gutted in the Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision. That cost you $2,300,000.
     The Obama administration, which (unlike right-wing ideologues) saw the writing on the wall and in previous decisions on DOMA in lower courts, wisely didn't bother to defend DOMA, although it did enforce it (contrary to what you may have heard on Fox News.)
     Various state attorney generals are now replicating Boehner's Vietnam strategy, even though U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have been striking down state gay marriage bans such as Nebraska's, like bowling pins. From Matt Baume:
     Marriage is here to stay in South Carolina, but Attorney General Alan Wilson seems to be having a hard time accepting it. Even though South Carolina couples have been getting married since last month, Wilson has continued his losing battle to stop the weddings. But the longer he drags out his appeal, the more money he may wind up having to give to a coalition of gay rights groups.
     That's because the coalition has filed a petition seeking to recoup the money that they've had to spend to keep marriage legal. If the court grants their request, Wilson will have to give over $150,000 to organizations fighting for equality. Wilson really has no chance of stopping marriage at this point. He's appealing to the Fourth Circuit, which has repeatedly allowed marriages to go forward. So all he's doing now is running up a huge tab.
     And the same thing's happening in Arkansas...

Nebraska AG Jon Bruning pictured
with Eames and Barcelona chairs
Last February, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning spent an undetermined amount of Nebraska public funds filing an amicus brief in support of Utah's efforts to keep gay couples strangers to the law. Leaving aside the fact that Utah is in the 10th U.S. District Court of Appeals and Nebraska is in the 8th, the preparation and filing was a complete waste of Nebraska taxpayers' money by Bruning because (via WikiPedia):
     The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in December 2013. Its order that the state cease enforcing its ban took effect immediately. In January 2014, after stays had been denied by the District Court and the Tenth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the District Court's order pending consideration of the appeal by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
     In June 2014, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court, finding that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed their mandate pending petition to the Supreme Court.
     Last month, ACLU Nebraska sued the state over its ban on gay marriage (and civil unions AND domestic partnerships!), joining similar challenges in every other state in the 8th U.S. District Court of Appeals.
     Incoming GOP Governor-elect Pete Ricketts has already vowed to fight challenges to the state's ban, as has the state's current GOP governor, Dave Heineman, who, in respect of his unrelenting hostility to LGBTs, is quite a piece of work.
     What we'd like to know is how recklessly GOP officials in Nebraska plan to pander to homophobes or indulge their own bias.
     Will they take things so far that they too will be sued for reimbursement when marriage equality advocates likely win in the 8th Circuit but face dragged-out hopeless appeals by the Ricketts administration and/or new GOP Attorney General Doug Peterson?

     UPDATE: In addition to the examples cited above, you can add Minnesota Wisconsin to the roster of states in which officials who stubbornly delayed the inevitable may have to pay for their efforts to stall the civil rights of gay couples — leaving Gopher Badger State taxpayers on the hook for as much as $1.25 million because, according to a new ACLU suit, state officials decided to:
"file multiple motions, conduct discovery, assert novel arguments, and frantically try to stop marriages from occurring increased the substantive and procedural complexity of plaintiffs’ counsels’ work in the trial court and the Court of Appeals, and thus the time required to competently prosecute the action."
Will this now happen in Nebraska during a Ricketts administration?

NPR, broadcasters: Nag cell firms to activate the FM radio chip in your smart phones

Evidently, carriers would rather have you stream radio content so they can charge you for data band­width rather than activating the FM chip in every smart­phone. A coalition which includes NPR and NAB (the National Association of Broadcasters) wants you to, ahem, encourage carriers to get with the program. They've set up a web page for you to bitch. Use it, darlings. And tweet this post using the twitter button below, adding the hashtag of your cell phone carrier. (#ATT, #Verizon, etc.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ted Shoebat: the most appalling Christer troll you'll see all week:

JoeMyGod just posted a couple videos from a clown who evidently fancies himself another James O'Keefe.
     His schtick is to call up gay or gay-friendly bakeries, lie to them about wanting a cake for his unspecified pro-traditional marriage group, then ask them if he can have a cake with "Gay Marriage Is Wrong" written on it.
     If they balk, he badgers them by demanding to know why they don't believe in equality, when gay people have harassed Christian bakers in what he falsely asserts is a similar way. (The video below is the short successor to a longer video of the same stunt.)
     Obviously there are several problems to his approach. Telling people you want a PRO-traditional marriage cake, then specifying a message saying "Gay Marriage is wrong" is like saying you want a cake for a Black Is Beautiful social club that says "Kill Whitey."
     We wouldn't want to see Shoebat's scores in IQ tests that measure the ability to identify similar things.
     Another problem is that Shoebat may have broken the law repeatedly. If he called bakeries in states which do not allow the recording of telephone conversations without notifying the other party, he could be in trouble even if he called from a state which allows such practices.


Attn: Sean Hannity, Todd Starnes and Mike Huckabee; why aren't you defying Dean Martin's war on Christmas

Granted Deano has been deceased since Christmas, 1995, but his version of the scandalously secular "holiday" anthem is still the best ever recorded and is all over the radio every Christmas. WHY ARE YOU STANDING FOR THIS, YOU FOX PHONIES!!!

We doubt Focus Features and Universal will like this

Tide goes all Will and Grace on Canada

And Jon Bruning's world just got a little smaller.

(Via Towleroad)

Oxford University's a capella Out of the Blue group is back, with a Mariah Carey Christmas song for charity

The group's last charity single, Sharkira's Hips Don't Lie, released last August, has well in excess of five million YouTube views. Proceeds benefit Helen and Douglas House, a children's hospice.

New legal filings by NE ACLU in support of marriage equality

From wire services:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska filed a December 2nd for a preliminary injunction requiring the state to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and allow same-sex couples to marry while the lawsuits proceeds. The motion cites the ACLU's likelihood of prevailing in the case. Same-sex couples can marry in at least 32 other states.
Here's the brief in support of the preliminary injunction and here's the motion and here's the amended complaint.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

'McCoy, you're going straight to hell': gay IA state senator publishes book of emails about gay marriage

From the Des Moines Register:
A publicist says the book reveals personal stories and opinions sent to him from those supporting same-gender marriage as well as those bitterly opposing it.

Omaha loses gay top librarian to King Co., WA where he can marry partner; Omaha GOP mayor: 'not worried'
NE GOP Gov.: 'It's their choice'

But because Nebraska's leading GOP politicians are so nice, they all refrained from saying, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out of the Cornhusker state."
     Gary Wasdin, the head of the Omaha Public Library system, has decided to take a job heading one of the best library systems in the U.S., in King County Washington, a state where he can marry his partner of 10 years. From the Omaha World-Herald, where the comments, so far, are scorching:
     Wasdin, 47, said it grew frustrating to see his counterparts in other states have that freedom as Nebraska leadership fights for the state’s constitutional gay marriage ban.
     ...But here, his partner couldn’t get health benefits through Wasdin’s job with the city.
Nebraska's attorney general Jon Bruning and the state's lame-duck Governor, Dave Heineman, are two of the most anti-LGBT GOP state politicians in the country.
     In November, Gov. Dave Heineman said Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban is positive for the state. Asked then if that invites same-sex couples to leave Nebraska, Heineman responded, “It’s their choice.”
     “There’s a lot of good reasons to live here in Nebraska,” he said. “And, again, one of those is because we value that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Before being elected Omaha's mayor, Jean Stothert was a firm City Council opponent of Omaha's recently-passed LGBT-rights ordinance (which does not cover housing). Excerpts from her condescending speech to LGBTs in the City Council chambers were posted to YouTube by AKSARBENT and may be seen at the bottom of this post.
     When asked whether she worries about losing other employees over the issue of same-sex marriage, Mayor Jean Stothert said gay marriage is outside her purview. But she said Wasdin is leaving for a “great opportunity.”
     “The primary reason Gary accepted a new position was it was a great opportunity with a much larger library system,” she said. “I am not worried about losing employees for a great opportunity. I am happy for them.”
     Stothert added that city unions could negotiate partner benefits into their contracts. She said she is willing to negotiate “on this and any other number of subjects.”
The above crap excuse by Jean Stothert perfectly illustrates her fundamental dishonesty. She pretends that the only way to treat gay couples equally in partner benefits is to "negotiate" with city unions. Yeah, she can do that. Or she could do what Chris Beutler, the mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska's capitol and second largest city, announced last week:
     Mayor Chris Beutler recently approved changes that will allow same-sex spouses of city employees to receive health insurance and other benefits.
     Beutler’s decision to accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s definition of marriage, which includes same-sex marriages, opens the door to city benefits being extended to same-sex spouses of city employees. The city’s insurance carrier changed its definition of marriage following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
     “The city accepted the new definition because it doesn't make sense to deny legally married same-sex couples the same insurance benefits that we grant to other legally married couples,” said Rick Hoppe, Beutler's chief of staff.
Unlike Mayor Stothert, who has been pressuring Omaha libraries recently to give out patron information to the police without a court order, some Omahans are sorry to see Wasdin go:
     “He’s really elevated the position in the last five years,” said Mike Meyer, chairman of the library Board of Trustees.
     City Councilman Ben Gray said he’s sorry to see Wasdin leave.
     “We’re losing a really good guy,” Gray said.

Fox News strikes again

Two hours ago:

Five minutes ago: