Monday, November 24, 2014

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.

Extremist Sen. Deb Fischer now bragging about killing an attempt to revive broadcasting's Fairness Doctrine

How radically right wing is Deb Fischer, really? Read this, from her website:

Deb Fischer: thumbs up for right-wing, unbalanced
agitprop on public airwaves, thumbs down for the old
rule of presenting both sides of controversial issues
     Seriously? Does Fischer really think her base is that stupid? On what planet does requiring broadcasters using publicly-owned airwaves to present both sides of controversial issues constitute "speech regulation"?
     Fischer has the shameless chutzpah to call broadcasting's Fairness Doctrine "radical," even though it was in effect for almost four decades, from 1949 until Reaganites killed it in 1987, in order to clear the way for what is now a slew of right-wing radio nutbags like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage.
     The only thing radical here is Fischer, herself.
      Here's a fair and balanced Wikipedia explanation of the government policy whose attempted resuscitation she called "terrible."
     The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.
     The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented.
      The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. In 1969 the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so. The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mike Nichols, Oscar-winning director of The Graduate and husband of Diane Sawyer, dead at 83

Nichols also had an Emmy, Tony and Grammy. He was already a celebrated Broadway director and half of the sketch comedy team of Nichols/May (Elaine May) when he directed his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, nominated for 13 Oscars, including Best Director, an award he had to wait to win until his second film, The Graduate, which made Dustin Hoffman a star.
     The New York Times obituary is here.

Below: the dance scene from Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Nebraska's Sandy Dennis, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her Nichols-directed performance.

Country singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman have now officially stopped impersonating heterosexuals

2014 has been a terrible year for homophobes who wish gays would just STFU. Yesterday, the Country Music Asoociation chose a gay-affirming tune as Song Of The Year and now this: Ty Herndon came out here and Billy Gilman came out here.
     Below: Herndon's Living In A Moment and Gilman's She Wanted More (Let's hear it for coded messages!)

Minden, NE persuades resident to remove sign: "AIDS, Ebola, Obama — Thanks, Africa"

KLKN interviewed Minden resident Chris Nielsen, who
was not amused by the anti-Africa sign, saying it had
"tones of racism."
Minden, (pop. 3,000) calls itself Nebraska's Christmas City and puts on a holiday pageant, so the timing of a homemade billboard tirade (which borrowed a right-wing Internet meme) couldn't have been worse.
     Via Deena Winter of Nebraska Watchdog:
     Word of the sign in the central Nebraska town of about 3,000 spread quickly on Facebook, where outraged citizens immediately began talking about vandalizing, tearing down or painting over the sign. By Tuesday morning, the sign had been removed.
      One man asked what kind of poles it was erected on, saying “I need to know if I need a metal blade or wood blade for my reciprocating saw.”
     “Who’s got a paintball gun I can borrow?” another man asked.
     ...Brett Maline, a Minden native now living in Hollywood, spread the news of the “awful sign” on Facebook, saying he’s proud to be from Minden and the sign is not representative of the town.
     “I fear that people driving through will not know this,” he wrote on Facebook. “This angers, saddens and embarrasses me and I hope it would you too. Let’s get something done about it.”
     A city hall receptionist told Tuesday morning, “It’s been taken down.”
Nicholas Bergin of the Lincoln Journal-Star reported that it was Mayor-elect Ted Griess who talked to the unidentified sign-maker:
     ...Griess spoke Monday evening with the person who put the sign up and asked him to take it down. He did.
     “I tried to point out to him that a sign of that nature alongside a highway gives the wrong image for a community,” Griess said. “It was just a citizen who, I guess, was expressing his political viewpoint. He had the right to do so, but it was a sign I interpreted, and I think the vast majority of citizens interpreted, as being very distasteful.”
     ...Griess said many of those reacting had made a “mountain out of a mole hill.”     “I wish it would go away, but it hit the social media,” he said.
     Outgoing Minden Mayor Roger Jones said most people in town had not seen the sign.
    “It’s over, done and forgotten about as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Keystone XL: Indefatigable head of Bold Nebraska almost loses it on the Ed Show pondering Obama surrender

Cows don't like benzene-flavored water polluted by pipelines
Photo: Alex Bartok

It's easy to understand why Jane Kleeb momentarily clutched (at the end of the first video) during a discussion of Keystone XL, the pipeline that will raise gas prices in the Midwest up to 40¢ per gallon.
     The pipeline the GOP claims is essential but that Canadian oil executives say isn't.
     The economic ruination of her farmer and rancher friends and neighbors was probably floating through Jane's imagination — not that it's much of a stretch to imagine the huge Ogallala Aquifer, literally the wellspring of Nebraska's $20 billion ag industry, fouled by the company whose last pipeline (Keystone 1) leaked at least 12 times (that we know about) in its first year.
     Here's the discussion after the the GOP attempt to force President Obama to approve the building of Keystone XL narrowly failed in the Senate Tuesday.

     Here's the discussion on the eve of that vote, in which Canadian oil execs reveal that the pipeline isn't indispensable. (But hey, what would they know about petroleum production next to Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's #1 oil slick?)


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Motown star Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations singer David Ruffin, died Monday at 78

Ruffin passed away in a Las Vegas hospital of unspecified causes. His brother David died at 50 in 1991.

From Ruffin's Wikipedia entry:
     In 1961, Jimmy became a singer as part of the Motown stable, mostly on sessions but also recording singles for its subsidiary Miracle label, but was then drafted. After leaving the Army in 1964, he returned to Motown, where he was offered the opportunity to join the Temptations to replace Elbridge Bryant. However, after hearing his brother David, they hired him for the job instead so Jimmy decided to resume his solo career. Jimmy Ruffin recorded for Motown's subsidiary Soul label, but with little success.
     In 1966, he heard a song about unrequited love written for The Spinners, and persuaded the writers that he should record it himself. His recording of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" became a major success. The song reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B Chart. It also initially reached #10 in the UK singles chart, rising to #4 when it was reissued in the UK in 1974. "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" remained Ruffin's best-known song.

The Country Music Association's Song of the Year is Kacey Musgrave's gay-affirming, pot-affirming Follow Your Arrow

Writing in Slate, J. Bryan Lowder took note of Jillian Mapes' observance that commercial country radio programmers lag the genre's fans in acceptance of LGBTs:
“Follow Your Arrow” may have received a modest amount of radio airplay — peaking at No. 43 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart — but it fared better on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart (No. 10), which is determined by streaming and digital sales in addition to airplay. Clearly, these are stories people want to hear, even if commercial radio programmers were hesitant to offer them up. “I wish I could play that song on my station” was a sentiment echoed in various forms by country programming directors in a Billboard story from last year.
Lowder also documented Musgrave's impatience with the reactionary shitheads who act as the broadcasting gatekeepers of country music:
When asked her about the need for country to embrace the LGBTQ community, she was crystal clear:

It never happens and I'm sick of it. It's ridiculous. Whether or not you agree with gay marriage or the fact that people don't choose to be gay, we share the same emotions, needs and wants. I just think that everyone should be included in that. It's definitely time. 
Unrelated: This morning, NPR announced that Billy Currington is 41 today.

Buffalo redefines "snowbound"

The snow fell in bands; parts of the Buffalo area have six feet and 2-3 more feet are expected from a different storm already on the way:
     Snow plunged off one family's roof with such force that it blew in the back door, filling a room with snow.
     "It was a huge crash. We all started running back there. We actually thought that it was the roof coming down in the house," said Chrissy Gritzke Hazard, who was home with her husband, five children and three of her children's friends Tuesday. "We were definitely not expecting it to be the doors blown out, the frame, everything, inside the house."

Popularity of Russian hate groups — "xenophobic, homophobic and racist" — is widespread and growing

Do not watch this at work.

(Via JoeMyGod)

Environmentalists react to Keystone XL Senate vote

Here's the press release, which we swiped from Bold Nebraska, which has a clever way for you to make sure President Obama vetoes the pipeline, should the new GOP Senate vote the other way in January. (Click on the link, above)
     Want to know how YOUR senator voted last night on this issue? Click here.

For Immediate Release: November 18, 2014
Contact: Jake Thompson,, 202-289-2387
Jane Kleeb,, 402-705-3622
Mark Westlund,, 415-977-5719
Karthik Ganapathy,, 347-881-3784
Jeff Gohringer,, 202-454-4573
Luísa Abbott Galvão,, 202-222-0716
Valerie Love,, 510-274-9713
Whit Jones,, 914-671-1880
David Turnbull,, 202-316-3499
Sabrina King,, 605-716-2200
Julian Boggs,, 202-461-2462
Elijah Zarlin,, 415-369-2014

Senate Votes Down Keystone Approval Bill
as Momentum Builds Toward Rejection

The Senate voted today to reject a bill forcing approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. In spite of heavy pressure from the oil industry’s friends in Congress like Sen. Mary Landrieu, key Senators held strong against the dangerous project, recognizing that the pipeline would not be in our national interest because it would threaten our land, water, and climate while bringing no economic benefit to the American people.
     Today’s vote is yet another blow to the pipeline’s prospects, as recent momentum has shifted against approval of the controversial project. Recent polling showed that as Americans have had more time to learn about the Keystone XL, support for the pipeline has waned. President Obama has also made it clear that he has serious reservations about the project, telling reporters last week that the pipeline would “[provide] the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on US gas prices.” The president has also reaffirmed his commitment to evaluating the pipeline based on its impact on climate, which experts agree would be significant.
     Environmental and landowner groups applauded today’s vote as one more step in the road to rejection for the pipeline.
     “Today’s defeat of Keystone XL should send a strong signal to the incoming GOP-led Congress that farmers and ranchers will never back down to their oil soaked intentions. We call on Pres. Obama to stand up and reject Keystone XL now,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska.
     The bill would have turned Congress into a permitting authority, overriding environmental law, and giving a green light to a pipeline project that would worsen climate change and threaten water quality. The Senate did the right thing to reject the misguided bill, and now the president should do the right thing and reject the pipeline,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
     “We applaud the Senators who stood up for the health of our families and our climate by fighting back against this big polluter-funded sideshow. There’s no good reason the Senate should have wasted all this time on yet another meaningless push for Keystone XL. Since day one, the decision on the pipeline has belonged to President Obama, and he has repeatedly said he will reject this pipeline if it contributes to the climate crisis. As there is no doubt that it does, we remain confident that is precisely what he’ll do,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
     “Once again, Congress tried to play games with our future–and failed. Since Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, this vote was never anything more than an empty gesture of political theater,” said Executive Director May Boeve. “Rather than letting Congress continue to play politics with our climate, President Obama should step up and reject this dirty tar sands pipeline once and for all. By dramatically accelerating the expansion of tar sands oil development, Keystone XL clearly fails President Obama’s own climate test. The pipeline is a lose-lose for everyone except for TransCanada. The President has all the information he needs to reject this pipeline now, and we’re going to stand by him to make sure he does.”
     “We thank all the Senators who voted against this dangerous Keystone legislation, and we’re more confident than ever that this pipeline will never be built. The decision remains right where it belongs – with President Obama and Secretary Kerry. In the last week alone, President Obama announced a game-changing climate change agreement with China, committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, and raised his strongest concerns to date about Keystone XL. This outstanding leadership builds on the Clean Power Plan and other clean energy accomplishments, and we believe that President Obama will remain consistent with that approach by rejecting Keystone XL,” said League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld.
     “It is likely that for the next two years we will be faced with one of the most anti-environmental congresses in US history. Today, the movement in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline defeated Congress’s first salvo and showed that we will not let Congress attack our public health and destroy the environment,” said Ben Schreiber, Climate and Energy Program Director with Friends of the Earth.
     “This vote offers a glimmer of hope that there’s some sanity left in the Senate,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Still, it’s really disturbing that the vote got this far. Keystone XL would be a disaster for our climate, environment and wildlife – we’ve got no business giving it serious consideration, especially for what it’ll do to the climate. Here’s hoping we can now move on to bigger, better energy policies that don’t put profits ahead of future generations.”
     “Keystone XL is breathing its last breath, and it’s time for President Obama to rise to leadership and outright reject it once and for all,” said Kendall Mackey, Tar Sands Organizer with Energy Action Coalition. “Young people have voted, sat-in, and made our voices heard, and now that Congress has rejected Keystone XL, it’s time for President Obama to put the final nail in the coffin.”
     “The pundits keep saying it’s inevitable that we will lose the tar sands pipeline wars, but activists just keep winning battles” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International “This pipeline makes no sense in today’s oil market, before you even begin to consider climate and the rights of landowners. Republicans and oily Democrats need to face facts – Keystone XL will never be built”.
     “After the recent election the Republicans expressed the desire to work with President Obama. We hope that Congress is serious about this and that they will stop having these votes and let the Presidential Permit process play out as it has been designed to do,” said Paul Seamans, a Dakota Rural Action member whose land is crossed by the proposed Keystone XL.
     The approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is a line in the sand, but this isn’t the stuff of playgrounds. This dangerous project will threaten drinking water and make it extremely difficult to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. We applaud today’s vote and all those senators who stood up against tremendous pressure from the oil industry and its allies and did the right thing for our communities and our children’s future. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t the last time the Senate will attempt to do the bidding of Big Oil. Ultimately, we’re counting on the President to continue his leadership on climate and veto any measure to force approval of this dirty pipeline,” said Anna Aurilio, Global Warming Solutions Program Director with Environment America.
     “This is the president’s decision, and he is going to reject Keystone XL, as he steps up and at long last starts using his executive powers to combat climate change,” said Elijah Zarlin, CREDO’s senior campaign manager. “All this Senate vote proves is that a handful of Democrats are standing on the wrong side of history to join Mary Landrieu in a last ditch effort to protect the oil industry’s profits.”

Amy Goodman gets flashed by Russell Brand on TV

This was well into the show, recorded in London, and was followed by a clip of Noam Chomsky at the U.N. wishing out loud that the U.S. would at least obey its own laws if it can't obey international ones, citing its massive support of Israel in contravention of domestic legislation prohibiting support of governments which systematically suppress human rights.
     Brand may have been frustrated and seeking an outlet after Goodman's clear admonition to him that he would not be allowed to swear during his appearance because Democracy Now! is broadcast over the air in some locations.
     Following that, Ms. Goodman seemed to backpedal when reminded by Brand that she had revealed that Noam Chomsky once bit her father at summer camp.
     Goodman, clearly in a revisionist mood, now maintains that she might have confused Chomsky's biting wit for something more visceral.
     Brand then drew a connection between the alleged incident and the name "CHOMPsky."

NOTE: After seeing the above, AKSARBENT went to sleep and, upon waking, wondered if the memory of all this was from a bizarre dream (in which case it could not be blogged) or from reality. We were relieved to find the web page still open in our browser and the post almost completely written.

Sen. Deb Fischer: now a tool of cable/telecom Internet service providers, not just foreign oil companies!

Yeah, and we're disappointed in Sen. Fischer's revelation that she is now carrying water for the cable industry and telecom ISPs — by her opposition to net neutrality — as well as the outrageously dishonest spin she is trying to put on President Obama's attempt to preserve it.
     We guess trying to help a foreign oil company jack up oil prices in the Midwest just isn't doing it for Sen. Fischer any longer, and she has now branched out to new ways of double-crossing the voters who thought she might represent their interests and not those of corporate buccaneers.
     As for Fischer's professed concern about, we assume, United States jobs generated by the Keystone XL pipeline project she is trying to force on rural Nebraska, perhaps she would look a little less phony and contrived if she displayed any concern at all about the fact that TransCanada, is buying huge amounts of pipe from Indian, not U.S. steel mills.
     Just saying. 

First openly gay Navy SEAL, from Alabama, is interviewed about his new book

59 senators just voted to raise Midwest gas prices by up to 40 cents per gallon: here are their names

Robin Hoods in reverse: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) both voted for the GOP-led attempt
to transfer billions of dollars from the wallets of Midwesterners
to the profits of a foreign oil company by forcing approval of
the Keystone XL pipeline.
The vote (S.2280) was another attempt to force approval of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline from the Canadian border to Houston.
      This isn't an oil pipeline; it is diluted bitumen ("dillbit"), an abrasive pipe-destroying goo which won't flow unless thinned with carcinogenic solvents whose exact composition TransCanada refuses to disclose to the landowners it has threatened with eminent domain condemnations even though it doesn't yet have a permit to build the pipeline.
     Also, the stuff must be pressurized up to 1600 PSI (conventional crude flows at 600 PSI) and heated up to 160 degrees.
     Because unusually toxic dillbit isn't technically oil, TransCanada (and Exxon, for that matter) refuse to kick in eight cents per barrel to the Treasury Department's Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Last week, when House Democrats tried to require the Keystone XL pipeline project to do that, House Republicans shut them down in a 224-192 vote Nov. 14th. 
     California Sen. Barbara Boxer led the charge to defeat the bill, which needed 60 votes to pass but got 59. The legislation fast-tracks the construction of the extension to TransCanada's leaky Keystone 1 pipeline (which averaged 1 spill per month in its first year) across an extremity of the largest, purest underground aquifer in North America, which, in Nebraska alone, fuels a $20 billion ag industry.
     Apologists have claimed that the pipeline will create lots of U.S. jobs.
     It won't; few of the jobs will be permanent. (TransCanada is even buying pipe from India.)
     Boosters also claim that the pipeline will create energy independence for the U.S.
     That is also nonsense; the pipeline is through the U.S., not to the U.S. The product will be refined in Houston and sold on the world oil market to the highest bidder.

     As Sen. Boxer correctly noted, Keystone XL WILL RAISE MIDWEST GAS PRICES. Consumer Watchdog says the increase will be up to 40 cents per gallon. 
     Don't believe it? Then read the TransCanada email revealing that the company thinks the pipeline could increase what U.S. Midwesterners pay for oil BY ALMOST TWO BILLION DOLLARS per year.

Here are the 59 senators who voted to increase TransCanada's profits at the expense of consumers in the Midwest:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hari Kondabolu on Matthew McConaughey, gay rights

Here's the 2012 Advocate interview (press for Magic Mike) with McConaughey that comedian Kondabolu savaged. In the routine Kondabolu insinuated that a fellow high school student who McConaughey says came on to him might have been misunderstood because of the difference of "Indian culture" and that McConaughey might have falsely outed said former student to a future wife because, um, lots of heterosexual Indian women read the Advocate?

Benedict Cumberbatch imitates other stars promoting "The Imitation Game"

"This film's been, like, up my ass for the last five years."

Here's the U.S. trailer (better than the UK one) for the biopic of Alan Turing, the gay math genius who designed one of the world's first computers specifically to crack messages encoded by the Nazi-enhanced cryptographic machines, commonly called Enigma, which were invented at the end of World War I and used commercially in the 1920s. The Poles cracked the Enigma scheme in 1932, but later modifications overtaxed Polish resources.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ACLU Nebraska files federal lawsuit challenging state's gay marriage ban

Last week, the Omaha World-Herald, then the Lincoln Journal-Star published leaked accounts of a forwarded email disclosing that the ACLU would file a lawsuit challenging the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage (Initiative 416), one of the strictest in the nation, passed in 2000.
     This morning, in a conference room opposite the snowy courtyard of the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Omaha, the Nebraska ACLU announced that it, the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Koenig | Dunne have sued Gov. Heineman over the state ban.
     Nebraska had been the only state within the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals district without a federal challenge to a law banning same sex marriage.
     Nebraska's GOP Governor-elect, TD Ameritrade scion Pete Ricketts, has already vowed to fight challenges to the state's ban. So has the state's current GOP governor, Dave Heineman, who, in respect of his unrelenting hostility to LGBTs, is quite a piece of work.
Download this file (Waters_v_Heineman.pdf)Waters_v_Heineman.pdf

From the press release:

November 17, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nebraska and the law firm of Koenig | Dunne filed a lawsuit in federal court today on behalf of seven couples who seek state recognition of their marriages or who seek the freedom to marry in Nebraska.
     “Today is an exciting day for all Nebraskans because freedom means freedom for everyone. The couples we represent in this historic case are all tax paying citizens who are active in their communities and who are contributing positively to our economy. These families have served our country, are successful in their professions, and are parents raising children. The couples we represent seek nothing more and nothing less than the freedom to marry who they love. Nebraska has waited long enough it is time for the Cornhusker state to extend the freedom to marry to all its citizens,” said ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad.
     The plaintiffs include Susan and Sally Waters of Omaha who have been together for seventeen years.
     In January 2013, Sally was diagnosed with breast cancer which has progressed to stage four and is considered terminal.

     “We have said publicly before God, our family and our friends that we love each other and are committed to one another and our children,” said Sally Waters, “At this moment, I want to spend time loving my children and my wife while knowing that should I die, they will be cared for. By not recognizing my family, Nebraska is making a difficult situation much more difficult emotionally and financially.”
     Other plaintiffs include:
  • Nick Kramer & Jason Cadek: The couple resides in Omaha with their three year old daughter Alice. They are both employed, own their home, have been in a relationship for ten years and were legally married in 2013.
  • Jessica and Kathleen Källström-Schreckengost: The couple resides in Omaha with their infant Sebastin. They are respectively a lawyer and a therapist. The couple has been in a relationship for almost ten years as they began dating in college. They were legally married in 2010.
  • Crystal Von Kampen & Carla Morris-Von Kampen: The couple resides in their hometown of Norfolk. Crystal is a disabled Veteran and Carla is an advocate for families that have disabled children. The couple has been together for five years and celebrated the first anniversary of their marriage in November 2014. The couple has three adult children.
  • Greg Tubach & Bil Roby: The couple resides in Lincoln and have been together for twenty eight years. Both are employed and they own homes in Nebraska. The couple is not married but seeks the freedom to marry in Nebraska.
  • Marj Plumb & Tracy Weitz: The couple resides in Omaha with their two dogs and has been together for over ten years. The couple was legally married in 2008.  Both are successful professionals and came to Nebraska for a job opportunity in 2014.
  • Dr. Tom Maddox & Randy Clark: Tom is a native Nebraskan who graduated from the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After graduation he pursed his medical residency in Missouri where he met Randy. Randy is a CPA. They couple has been together for over 30 years and were married in 2008. They currently reside in La Jolla California. They visit family in Nebraska regularly and own commercial property in Nebraska.
"These families simply want the security and recognition that only marriage provides," said Amy Miller, legal director of the ACLU of Nebraska. "It is wrong for the state to treat these loving and committed couples as second-class citizens. When a family has roots in Nebraska or wants to call Nebraska home, they should be able to do so without being treated as legal strangers.”
The lawsuit will be filed in the U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs allege that the state’s constitutional marriage ban unlawfully discriminates against lesbians, gay men, and their children. Due to Sally Waters’ medical condition, the attorneys will be filing a separate motion for emergency relief.
     Polls indicate that a majority of Americans support the freedom to marry for all citizens. Currently 33 jurisdictions in the United States grant or recognize the freedom to marry for same sex couples.
     For bios of the clients:

Are camcorders dead?

Jordan and Chris seem to think so (and they probably have the sales receipts to back their suppositions up) but we think modestly priced ($300-$450) camcorders can hold their own against comparably-priced still cameras in video mode.
     And one thing that Jordan and Chris didn't mention is that even expensive DSLRs like the Canon d5Mk3 can only take, like, 12 minutes of video before shutting themselves down due to overheating of their full-frame sensors, which are gross overkill for video — including 4k video.
     Even the recently-introduced Nikon D750, which takes better video than any previous Nikon DSLR at any price, is only good up to half an hour.
     Try recording a government hearing with that.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Legislators in polluted LA trying to force construction of extension to leaky Keystone pipeline in MT, SD, NE KS, OK and TX

Keystone 1 leaked 12-14 times in its very first year of operation. Keystone XL is even riskier: it will carry carcinogenic solvent-laden tar sands "dillbit" at extreme pressure and high temperatures for 1700 miles through six Midwestern states on its journey toward refineries in Texas and auctions on the world oil market. So much for USA "energy independence" that GOP apologists for TransCanada claim the pipeline will enable.
La. Sen. Mary Landrieu (l.) and Rep. Bill Cassidy
     In Louisiana, two opposing politicians are using Keystone XL as a political football. GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, challenging Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu in the state's Louisiana's upcoming Senate runoff election sponsored a bill (which passed 252-161) which would bypass environmental laws and usurp the authority to OK the Keystone XL pipeline of the Department of State and White House.
     Landrieu is rounding up votes for a companion bill in the Senate.
     The House also just voted against a motion to compel TransCanada to pay eight cents per barrel into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund established in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.
     The petroleum industry continues to insist that Tar Sands (diluted bitumen or "dillbit") isn't oil even though it is refined into oil and that it therefore need not contribute to the Liability Trust Fund, despite the fact that in recent years dillbit spills have polluted waterways in Michigan and Arkansas (see video below).