Sunday, March 18, 2018

The gay Canadian whistleblower who plotted the delivery of 50 million Facebook users' profiles to the Trump campaign — without their knowledge

This is the most important story yet published about the 2016 Election.
     It took Manchester, England's Guardian newspaper (and its sister paper, The Observer) a year to research, busting deception and stonewalling by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
     Below you will hear a Guardian reporter talk about the legal threats to which her newspaper has been subjected, and, in a separate video, the gay Canadian who assembled the data used by Steve Bannon/Cambridge Analytica/Brad Parscale campaign operation for Donald Trump that exploited data from a Facebook personality quiz to extract profiles from the takers of the quiz — as well as many, many more of their facebook friends who didn't use the app.
     Below the videos is a link to the Guardian's exhaustive story.
     If the Pulitzer Prize Committee has a rule against giving awards to foreign newspapers, it should suspend that rule it in the wake of the Guardian's astonishing reportage of this superlatively important and shocking story.
     The entire, exhaustive Guardian story is here, and below the videos are some provocative excerpts to entice you to read it.

How Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to obtain profiles of 270,000 users for the Trump Campaign — and 50 million of their facebook friends

How an American is using British law to sue Cambridge Analytica for obtaining his Facebook profile information for a Ted Cruz campaign

At 24, he came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, ...and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign.
Or, as Wylie describes it, he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool”.

Wylie ...came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.
“We ‘broke’ Facebook,” he says.

... in autumn 2013, Wylie met Steve Bannon... “Interesting. Really interested in ideas. He’s the only straight man I’ve ever talked to about intersectional feminist theory. He saw its relevance straightaway to the oppressions that conservative, young white men feel.” ...Politics was like fashion, he told Bannon. “[Bannon] got it immediately.

When I ask how Bannon even found SCL, Wylie tells me ... how Mark Block, a veteran Republican strategist, happened to sit next to a cyberwarfare expert for the US air force on a plane. “And the cyberwarfare guy is like, ‘Oh, you should meet SCL. They do cyberwarfare for elections.’”

It was Bannon who took this idea to ...Robert Mercer – the co-CEO of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, ...and his daughter Rebekah. Nix and Wylie flew to New York to meet the Mercers in Rebekah’s Manhattan apartment.
“She loved me. She was like, ‘Oh we need more of your type on our side!’”
Your type? “The gays. She loved the gays. So did Steve [Bannon]. He saw us as early adopters. He figured, if you can get the gays on board, everyone else will follow. It’s why he was so into the whole Milo [Yiannopoulos] thing.”

“Facebook could see it was happening,” says Wylie. “Their security protocols were triggered because Kogan’s apps were pulling this enormous amount of data, but apparently Kogan told them it was for academic use. So they were like, ‘Fine’.”

...In December 2015, the Guardian’s Harry Davies published the first report about Cambridge Analytica acquiring Facebook data and using it to support Ted Cruz in his campaign ...In August 2016... two years after the breach took place, Facebook’s lawyers wrote to Wylie, who left Cambridge Analytica in 2014, and told him the data had been illicitly obtained and that “GSR was not authorised to share or sell it”. They said it must be deleted immediately.
“I already had. But literally all I had to do was tick a box and sign it and send it back, and that was it,” says Wylie. “Facebook made zero effort to get the data back.” There were multiple copies of it. It had been emailed in unencrypted files.

Dr Kogan – who later changed his name to Dr Spectre, but has subsequently changed it back to Dr Kogan – is still a faculty member at Cambridge University, a senior research associate.... he is also an associate professor at St Petersburg University.... he’s received grants from the Russian government to research “Stress, health and psychological wellbeing in social networks”. 

There are other dramatic documents in Wylie’s stash, including a pitch made by Cambridge Analytica to Lukoil, Russia’s second biggest oil producer. ...The work, he said, would be “shared with the CEO of the business”, a former Soviet oil minister and associate of Putin, Vagit Alekperov.
“It didn’t make any sense to me,” says Wylie. “I didn’t understand either the email or the pitch presentation we did. Why would a Russian oil company want to target information on American voters?”

...What [Wylie] cannot tolerate is bullying.
Is what Cambridge Analytica does akin to bullying?
“I think it’s worse than bullying,” Wylie says. “Because people don’t necessarily know it’s being done to them... And fundamentally, information warfare is not conducive to democracy.”

“Facebook has denied and denied and denied this,” Dehaye says when told of the Observer’s new evidence. “It has misled MPs and congressional investigators and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law. It has a legal obligation to inform regulators and individuals about this data breach, and it hasn’t. It’s failed time and time again to be open and transparent.”

Facebook denies that the data transfer was a breach.

Why Omaha is never referred to as the buckle of the Bible Belt

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Don Bacon's no-collusion delusion: Russians are spreading collusion gossip to bamboozle you!
Also, mainstream media. Obama!

The following is condensed. Go to the website of Don Bacon's friends at Tony Perkins's anti-LGBT hate group, The Family Research Council to hear the entire interview in all its fractured glory.

Friday, March 16, 2018

NE Rep. Don Bacon accepts award from anti-LGBT hate group for voting with them 100% of the time in 2017

Tony Perkins (right) heads the Family Research Council, an
antiLGBT hate group located in Washington, D.C. Perkins
has a sordid political history; he once purchased Klansman
David Duke’s mailing list for use in a Louisiana political
campaign he was managing. In 2001, Perkins gave a speech
to a Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative
Citizens, a white supremacist group
Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02) last month accepted a "True Blue" award from Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council (FRC) for having voted with the organization 100% of the time in 2017, including his support of an amendment offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.)
     The amendment (H.Amdt 183) to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810) would have stopped taxpayer funding from the Department of Defense for sex-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy intended to change a person’s gender. It failed 7/13/2017 in a roll call vote (369) of 214 to 209.
     The cost of gender reassignment surgery amounts to little more than a rounding error in the Pentagon's budget. The $8.5 million annual expenditure (according to a Rand estimate) is a small fraction of the price of just one F-35, a terrible plane which may end up costing taxpayers 1.1 trillion dollars by the time all of them are retired (a colossal boondoggle Ret. Air Force Gen. Bacon has never publicly acknowledged).
     The Pentagon's annual $8.5 million bill for gender reassignment surgery is about 1/10 what it spent in 2014 on boner pills (slightly more than $84 million.) In 2015, $437 million was spent on military bands.
     As for the Family Research Council, the Southern Poverty Law Center isn't the only organization which finds the organization deplorable. So does HRC, the big gay D.C. lobby. Even Slate thinks the FRC is full of shit.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Delta Airlines gay couple vs. Prudential gay couple

We'd bet on the Delta couple by a frequent flyer mile, but we think the Prudential couple would make more fun neighbors.

Delta '4AM' from BOLD on Vimeo.

Honorable mentions: all the actors on Dr. Scholl's commercials.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The two women labor activists who lived in their house on the CIA grounds for 53 years

Here's an online survey you, like, totally won't see from the Omaha World-Herald or Lincoln Journal Star

A dozen years ago, Bill O'Reilly discussed Brokeback Mountain on his show with a critic. His take was that while the movie may well have been very nice and artistic and all, it was indicative of a Hollywood agenda, since both Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were up for Best Actor Oscars for, respectively, their roles as Ennis Del Mar and Truman Capote.
     We thought O'Reilly's take was typically idiotic because the only Hollywood agenda we can think of for nominating two actors in gay roles for an Oscar would be to start fistfights in gay bars.
     Some homosexuals would root for Ledger to win because he was hot and because it's harder for an actor to create a character out of whole cloth than to ape someone famous on TV.
     Some would favor Hoffman because they read books and because... well, you get the picture: a tableau not unlike the mis-en-scene of a 1950s Italian traffic accident where Christian Democrats pick a driver, Communists pick the other driver, and everyone yells at each other.
     Anyway, at one point, O'Reilly's critic/guest asked him if he had actually seen Brokeback Mountain, (like, because he was doing a show about it?)
     O'Reilly, who can be quite funny when he's not busy being a jerk, said no, he hadn't seen Brokeback Mountain because he was too scared.
     This is exactly why AKSARBENT has not read any of the comments in the San Francisco Examiner story surrounding the butt plug survey.

Scientists now know why tatoos outlast your constantly-regenerating skin

Writer Peter Hess explains that biologically, particles of ink pigment are a moving target as they are passed from old skin cells to their replacements. This insight may lead to one-session tattoo removal instead of the 10 or so treatments now required.
In a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, French scientists showed that tattoos stay in the skin because cells in the skin actively ensure the ink pigments stay in one place. The particles of ink pigment, they write, are repeatedly passed on from old cells to the new ones that are coming to replace them, sort of like an immune system relay race baton. The key finding is the identity of those cells: the macrophages, immune system cells that encapsulate foreign bodies like bacteria or tattoo pigments.

Bank of America Vice Chair sponsors tweet ripping Madonna-style materialism

Here's the sponsored tweet from Anne Finucane, Boston Vice Chair of the Bank of America, throwing shade on a Madonna character alongside an adorable picture of a wind turbine symbolizing the companies and investors singing a "different —  more sustainable — tune."
     Unmentioned is the fact that Finacane's employer, BofA, is a big funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline, along with America's best-known bunko bank, Wells Fargo, and Wall Street investment banking titan, Goldman Sachs.
     The biggest shareholder in both BofA and Wells Fargo is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which also has a $2,500,000,000.00 piece of Goldman Sachs, also a DAPL investor.
     To blunt protesters' efforts, DAPL engaged a private security firm, Tiger Swan, closely associated with the infamous Blackwater group, to conduct surveillance on opponents of DAPL, using methods many suspect of being dubious at best.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Watch Modern Family cast blast the NRA

"Someday our lawmakers will stop putting the interests of the NRA ahead of what's best for our children... We will be right there by your side as Americans take to the streets on March 24."

Speaking of NRA tools, here's one:

Betsy DeVos visits Parkland school for closed-to-press photo op; says she wants to arm teachers. Her brother, Erik Prince, founded private security firm Blackwater that killed 17 unarmed civilians in Iraq

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was born Prince, daughter of auto parts magnate Edgar Prince, one of Michigan's wealthiest men. She married into one of Michigan's other wealthiest families, the Amway Devoses.
     Yesterday, Devos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In a photo-op closed to the press, she talked to three (or maybe five of the school's 3,000 students, depending on whom you believe), petted a dog and called for arming teachers.
     Devos's little brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater, the organization of modern day mercenaries that got fat no-bid contracts during the Iraq War, during which 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed by Blackwater employees.
     Betsy and Erik's father funded the establishment of the Family Research Council, an ultra right-wing anti-gay, anti-choice political pressure group which flies the Jesus flag
    According to a Grand Rapids Press story cited by Business Insider and Newsweek, Prince said he became disillusioned with Washington while working as a White House intern under President George H.W. Bush because he saw "homosexual groups being invited in."
     Prince, who now lives in Abu Dhabi, is apparently one of the many Americans with ties to Donald Trump's candidacy who met secretly with representatives of Vladmir Putin just before Donald Trump was elected president.j
     Betsy and Erik's father funded the establishment of the Family Research Council, an ultra right-wing anti-gay, anti-choice political pressure group which flies the Jesus flag.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tappy Christopher Rice

Broadway World interviewed Christopher Rice, an Edmund, OK transplant and a "swing" in the cast of Book of Mormon (until last August.) His videos are awesome. The second of the two below includes his boyfriend, Clay Thomas (glasses) who gets grief on twitter (@ClayThomson) whenever a NBA player of a similar name (@KlayThompson) has a bad day (#NotKlayThompson).
For more videos, check out #tappy on twitter, including their salute to Debbie Reynolds in a re-enactment of the Good Mornin' number from "Singing In The Rain," which proves something we always suspected: it isn't an easy thing for three people to simultaneously walk on and tip over a couch gracefully, unless MGM's prop department had something up its sleeve.

Director of Icarus, Oscar-winning Netflix doc about Russian Olympic doping, calls IOC Prez Thomas Bach a crook and calls for his resignation

Russian curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who tested
positive at the 2018 Olympics for meldonium,
a heart
drug that was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency
in 2016 because it boosts endurance. Meldonium is the
same drug that got Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova
suspended from the International Tennis Federation.
AKSARBENT was rooting for two Oscar-nominated documentaries to win (in a tie): Icarus and Last Men in Aleppo, the story of  "whitehats" trying to save civilians in Syria. We only got half our wish.
     Icarus started out as an exploration of how easy it would be for an amateur cyclist to dope himself and fool officials. It turned into an exposé that got Russia sort of banned from the 2018 Olympics. The Russian physician, Dr. Gregory Rodchenkov, who spilled the beans, is now being hunted in the USA by Russian assassins and is in the Witness Protection Program.
     The Hollywood Reporter posted the post-Oscar press conference on youtube. Our favorite part was when a woman "from Russia" (no news organiza­tion identified) tried to ask loaded questions of Producer Dan Cogan and director Bryan Fogel, and got her head handed to her.

From IndieWire:
     “Plain and simple, Thomas Bach needs to resign,” said Fogel in the Oscar press room following his win. “He is a crook, and what he has shown to planet Earth and any athlete who believes in the Olympic ideal is to not trust it and to not trust those words. If you can corroborate and prove and substantiate a fraud on this caliber, on this level, that spanned for decades, and then essentially give that country that committed that fraud a slap on the wrist, allow 160 of their athletes to compete in those Games — two of them found doping — and then immediately after the Games are over, without that country ever accepting responsibility, apologizing for any of their actions, or accepting that any of this is truth while they continued to hunt Dr. Gregory Rodchenkov, and they lift the ban on that country? What a fraud. What a corrupt organization, and that man should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself. He needs to resign.”

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Trump Administration hires tiny Omaha firm with 1 employee to start construction of his wall

The spacious Omaha digs of SWF Constructors, aka Coastal Environmental Group
SWF Constructors, owned by Coastal Environmental Group of Edgewood New York, lists just one employee in its Omaha office, but the Trump administration gave it an $11,000,000 contract to replace two miles of a California-Mexico border fence with post-style barriers 30 feet high.
     Coastal is apparently a pretty sleazy outfit; we can't, for the life of us, imagine why Trump, who hires only the best people, would have chosen it.
     Omaha, of course, is the headquarters of one of the biggest construction companies in America, Kiewit but apparently Trump's people didn't ask it for a bid on his big, beautiful wall.
     (Maybe someone told them about the 9-ton chunk of the Doubletree hotel, built by Kiewit, which fell off the entrance facade in 1999. Nobody was hurt; the hotel wasn't that popular. Kiewit, the general contractor, blamed either a subcontractor, or the architects, or both.)
     Fun Omaha fact: Warren Buffet goes to work in the Kiewit building, where Berkshire-Hathaway's executive offices are leased. Another fun fact: the Blackstone building is just up the street and it is famous because the Reuben sandwich was invented there, when it was a hotel, despite contrary claims from certain New Yorkers, all of whom are obviously flat-out liars.
     But we digress. The best fun fact in all of this is that the "home" office of SWF or Coastal or whatever they're telling the government their name is, is at 2411 Martha Street in South O.
     If you live in Omaha, you're probably already laughing.
     If you're not, know this: You could stand on that stoop at 2411 Martha with a bucket of tennis balls as the Cinco De Mayo Parade marches north on 24th and easily bean nail anyone you pleased if you happen to be a drunk, bigoted and antisocial person who wears MAGA ballcaps.
     So to recap: Trump has hired a tiny Nebraska company with one employee and a few pieces of construction equipment in the lot next door, located in the state's biggest Hispanic enclave, to build the first part of an anti-immigrant wall in southernmost California.
     We bet the temps will be extra-motivated to do real good work on that project.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

New ad spotlights can of worms represented by anti-
gay cakemaker case before Supreme Court case now before the Supreme Court

Virtually every time a homophobic judge is nominated for confirmation, @SenatorFischer and @BenSasse haul out their well-worn rubber stamps.
     Should Neil Gorsuch's vote be a deciding green light for gay wedding cake refusniks in the case now before the supreme court, a Pandora's box of similar bias in public accommodations could escape. From Lambda Legal:
Trump’s judicial nominees with anti-LGBT records include: Neil Gorsuch, Gregory Katsas, Kyle Duncan, Don Willett, John K. Bush, Amy Coney Barrett, Allison Eid, Stephanos Bibas, Joan Larsen, Steven Grasz, David Stas, Mark Norris, Jeff Mateer, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Stephen Schwartz, and Damien Schiff.

The first video below is not a pressure group ad concoction. It is based on an actual case in Mississippi.

Throwback Thursday: Why was the Beatle's gay manager smirking at Wayne Fontana on Hullabaloo?

We can't read Brian's 1965 mind, but it probably had something to do with the lyrics of The Game of Love, a smash that reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 24, 1965.
     The clever director cut to Epstein just as Wayne Fontana began to sing: "The purpose of a man is to love a woman and the purpose of a woman is to love a man."
     This was probably uncontainably amusing to Epstein. (Epstein once asked John Lennon what he thought his book (Epstein's bio, A Cellar Full of Noise) should be called. Lennon suggested "Queer Jew." Later, Lennon changed his mind and said the book should have been called A Cellarful of Boys." Note to right wing cranks: Epstein was not a pedophile and that isn't what Lennon meant.)
     Fontana (né Glyn Geoffrey Ellis) could be a handful. From Wikipedia:
In 2005, he fought off bankruptcy but was arrested after police were called by bailiffs who went to his home in Glossop, Derbyshire. He poured petrol on the bonnet of a bailiff's car and set it alight with the bailiff still inside. Fontana was remanded in custody on 25 May 2007. He later appeared at Derby Crown Court dressed as Lady Justice, complete with a sword, scales, crown, cape and dark glasses, and claiming "justice is blind". He dismissed his lawyers. On 10 November 2007 he was sentenced to 11 months for setting fire to the car but was released because he had already served the equivalent of the term, having been held under the Mental Health Act 1983. After his release he settled in Spain.
Below: the best audio you will ever hear of this song. Use headphones. The camera cuts to Brian Epstein at 1:45.

A curious gap in the twitter timeline of Parkland teen antigun activist accused of tweeting 'Fuck fags'

David Hogg is a core members of the Parkland high school teens who are now outspoken gun control activists after seeing 17 classmates murdered and their school shot up. Now he and his friends are targets of right wingers. The other day, Erik Erickson smeared Hogg in a piece in which Erickson prepostrously accussed Hogg of bullying Dana Loesch, the NRA's pitbull flack.
     On Twitter, lesser-known ammosexual apologists than Erickson are now piling on, including one who calls himself "Chief-10beers" who tweeted this to Hogg:
We don't know if the homophobic Hogg tweet Chief-10beers claims to have unearthed is real or forged, but there is a rather startling gap in @DavidHogg111's twitter timeline from November 20, 2015 to October 25, 2016, a black hole including the alleged tweet of 6/27/2016.
     Before and after that gap, Hogg tweeted often. Looks to us like somebody just made a lot of his tweets vanish, although it's possible Hogg took a twitter sabbatical.
     In any case, Chief-10beers posted an interesting tweet himself:

Teacher, teach thyself.

Four pieces you should read about the gun debate

Did you know that although the NRA controls Florida's legislature more tightly than it does in any other state, the organization's PAC has not made a single direct contribution to any current member of the Florida House or Senate in 10 years, according to the New York Times? 
     Did you know that what most defines an assault weapon isn't how fast the semiautomatic or automatics fire, but the velocity of the bullets they fire? A Parkland radiologist explained the grisly details from an Emergency Department perspective in The Atlantic.
     Did you know that Florida's NRA enforcer/lobbyist is a old, pint-sized woman who so terrifies legislators that they won't even cross her in naming a state bird? Tracer and the New Yorker investigated Marion Hammer. HuffPost had the bird anecdote.

Creighton TPUSA chapter hosts Ben Shapiro, who falsely claimed that Jews are hate crime victims as often as LGBTs

1900 people were in attendance. There were two protesters. In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center called Shapiro out for minimizing antiLGBT discrimination and excoriated his arithmetic competency for claiming that the number of hate crimes committed against Jews and LGBTs were equivalent.
     Breitbart’s [then] editor-at-large, said that, “[t]his is not a country that discriminates against homosexuals” and that “there is a vastly minute amount of discrimination against gays in this country.” To back up his argument, Shapiro cited the fact that the FBI’s hate crime statistics “show there are about the same number of attacks on Jews in this country as there are homosexuals.”
     Oh, Ben. Ye of little math skills.
     If Shapiro had taken the time to account for the share of the population that the LGBT community makes up, he would have discovered that the community suffers violent hate crimes at rates far higher than other targeted populations. In fact, an analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center of 15 years of FBI hate crimes data showed that the LGBT community is far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime.
      Unlike Shapiro, we did the math. You can see it here.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nero's sunken city:
What happened in Baiae, stayed in Baiae

Surrounded by 24 volcanoes, the Roman resort was a never-ending party of debauchery. Varo, Caesar, Brutus, Cicero and Mark Anthony all had villas in Baiae. One featured a "home theater" that seated 1,400. Nero had two villas (he may have killed his aunt to get one), a barge rowed by male prostitutes, and the best banquets in town.
     From the promos for Nero's Sunken City, an episode of Secrets of the Dead:
     The mere mention of Baiae brought to mind scandal and could ruin your reputation. In one description we have by the writer Seneca, he's walking by the port of Baiae and he sees people staggering around, they're so drunk, there are parties going on at boats on the bay and the air is full of loud music. Varo, for example, says Baiae is the place where old men come to become young boys again and young boys come to become girls.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

NRA dumped by biggest private bank in USA

Today, First National Bank of Omaha announced (via Twitter) that it will sever its relationship with the NRA, via its FirstBank subsidiary, which issues the gun organization's credit cards.
     Sometimes privately-held corporations have a freer hand in acting decisively than do publicly-held firms. First National Omaha is the USA's biggest privately-held bank (assets: $19,000,000,000), and is is run by a 6th generation Lauritzen, Clark, who is in his early 40s.
     The bank has faced vociferous social media criticism in the last several days. Yesterday its NRA Visa sign-up website was taken offline.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Why do you let your congressman allow the NRA to hold the entire federal budget hostage in order to gag gun death research, year after year?

(Click to enlarge)
In 1993, a CDC study reported that residents in homes with a gun faced a 2.7-fold greater risk of homicide and a 4.8-fold greater risk of suicide.
     The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that people living in those homes did not gain the protection they sought.
     The National Rifle Association found the study's conclusions inconvenient, so it moved to suppress their dissemination and got its errand boys and girls in Congress to cut CDC's funding by the amount the study had cost — to intimidate the CDC and researchers.
     But the NRA didn't stop there.
     It also had its congressional representatives add language to the Omnibus spending bill for 1997, directing that “none of the funds … at the [CDC] may be used to advocate or promote gun control.
     This was called the Dickey amendment after Jay Dickey, an Arkansas GOP congressman who introduced it. It has been included in every omnibus appropriations bill since 1997.
     In 2011, Republicans added a Dickey clause to appropriations to the National Institutes of Health funding for 2012.
Click to enlarge and sharpen
     Years later, Dickey (now deceased) had second thoughts. In a joint op-ed in the Washington Post with Mark Rosenberg, who worked on the CDC study which angered the NRA, the two wrote,  “Since the legislation passed in 1996, the United States has spent about $240 million a year on traffic safety research, but there has been almost no publicly funded research on firearm injuries. As a consequence, U.S. scientists cannot answer the most basic question: What works to prevent firearm injuries?”

Oh my. Young male gay Olympians have really lit Austin Ruse's twitter torch.

Porno Pete had better watch his back because Austin Ruse is on fire on twitter! He's been watching the Olympics and is so hot and bothered about gay skaters, skiers and their boyfriends we don't see how he can also manages C-FAM,
the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, [which] is a member of the World Congress of Families, the coalition working with NOM and others to export anti-LGBT hatred to foreign counties. Back in April, the State Department appointed Ruse to its delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
     Lovely Austin's equally lovely wife, Cathy, types internet agitprop for the Family Research Council, where she is obsessed with the Girl Scouts, and not in a good way. She says they love Planned Parenthood, but in the last several years her machinations have made them pay more attention to her!

The real reason Adam Rippon backed out of his NBC deal

It's pretty simple. He wanted to enjoy the rest of the games in the Athlete's Village. But the IOC says you can be an athlete at PyeongChang or you can be a reporter, but you can't be both. People accredited as media have to stay out of the Athlete's Village. And competitors staying in the Athlete's Village can't get paid by media outlets to report or comment.This is not a new rule. Below is the edict.
     Media  capacity: Only  persons  accredited  as  media  may  act  as  journalists,  reporters  or  in  any  other related media capacity while they are at the Games.
     Accredited persons who are not accredited media can give interviews to the media but  are not allowed to report on the Games in any media capacity, including by acting on behalf of any media organisation. 
There are more rules, including specific restrictions on social media postings by athletes. Go here. Or here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Is Trump's neglect of HIV/AIDs an imitation of Russia's?

Late last year Dan Harris, for ABC's Nightline, went to Russia to report, over two nights, the state of that country under Putin. On night two, Harris reported the shocking neglect of Russian authorities in the face of that country's exploding AIDS epidemic and official harassment of Russians trying to stem that tide. From the report, which starts at 2:17 in the video here:

Siberia, home to some of this country's poorest people:
     Here... we're about to see one of the darkest manifestations of the Putin presidency, the grim reality of perhaps the worst AIDS crisis in the developed world.
     ...The AIDS epidemic [fueled largely by heroin addiction] is growing at a frightening speed in Russia, left unchecked for too long, critics say, because Putin, who has wrapped himself in the aura of the Orthodox Church, has resisted addressing these issues. ...Putin's government has damaged efforts to address this crisis. While they do promote monogomy as a fix, they've rejected proven approaches  such as needle exchanges and free condoms, as "Western practices.
     ...In Russia AIDS volunteers face government harrassment and have been classified by Putin's government as foreign agents — in other words, spies.

Pence coyly accuses USA Today reporter of writing fake news with saying exactly what was fake

Though gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon's mom appears to be trying to finesse the situation, it has become apparent that her son refused to talk to Vice President Pence, who was reportedly angered by remarks made to USA Today Reporter Christine Brennan in January:
The spat between the vice president and the figure skater began when I asked Rippon last month about Pence’s selection for the ceremonial role of leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony.
     “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon said.
     ...He said he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony.
     ..."Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in."
     Pence's people denied that he tried to set up a conversation with the U.S. Olympic Committee and accused Christine Brennan of writing fake news, also denying what is presumed to be his approval of funding of so-called gay to straight conversion "therapy," now outlawed for minors in several jurisdictions. Typically, the slippery Pence's vague denial omitted exactly what he was denying.
     Here's how Brennan described Pence's and Rippon's actions to the PBS News Hour.
John Yang:
     You have been reporting on a controversy involving another of the U.S. men’s figure skaters, Adam Rippon, and Vice President Mike Pence. Tell us about that.
Christine Brennan:

     Back in mid-January, I actually interviewed Adam Rippon, who is one of the first openly guy athletes to compete in the Winter Olympic Games for the United States.
     And I talked to him about many things, including Mike Pence being the delegation leader for the U.S. at the opening ceremonies. And Adam Rippon said that — he goes, Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence who funded gay conversion therapy? He said, I’m not buying it, and was very critical of Pence and President Trump.
     And he has already said, as Lindsey Vonn has said as well, the skier, that they will not go to the White House after the Olympics to celebrate to the U.S. Olympic team. Pence’s office actually denied that Pence ever did want to fund gay conversion therapy, although there is interesting wording on his Web site from the year 2000 during a congressional campaign.
     Anyway, we put that in there. Within an hour, heard from the vice president’s office that he wanted to rebut and reply to Adam Rippon.
     Anyway, I have continued to report this story in the last couple of weeks. And my reporting from various sources includes the fact that Pence went so far as to want to have a conversation with Adam Rippon and work through U.S. Olympic Committee channels to try to have that happen.
     And Adam Rippon declined the request from the vice president.
Few LGBTs believe Pence was not in favor of funding conversion "therapy." Here's part of what David Badash, of the New Civil Rights Movement wrote for Raw Story:
     Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is a dangerous practice that supposedly turns gay people straight. It does not. In fact, every major medical organization has warned of the possible harms it can bring, which noting it is ineffective. It has also been linked to suicide. Judges have ruled it is “fraud.”
     Yet when running for re-election as a U.S. Congressman Mike Pence’s campaign website noted he supported funding the practice, which Pence now denies.
     “The widespread belief that Pence supports gay conversion therapy,” USA Today noted, “comes from a statement he made in 2000 on his congressional campaign website: ‘Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’ While he didn’t explicitly mention gay conversion therapy, leaders in the LGBT community have said they believe that’s what Pence meant in light of his long-standing opposition to gay rights.”

Monday, February 5, 2018

SNL's Pete Davidson tries to get San Francisco men to take off their pants for a Docker's ad

Last Saturday on SNL, Pete Davidson griped to Colin Jost about the trouble he had in San Francisco getting passersby to take off their pants for a Dockers promotion.
     Geez, we dunno, maybe it was his approach...
Does anyone here wanna take their pants off?
Hey! Sir! You look like you're packing. Would you like to take your pants off?
...[to an Asian guy] First we have to compare wangs. Is that Ok?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

After Senate vote to slash estate taxes on wealthy Americans and cut deductions to middle class, a Nebraska Senator's office is vandalized

Above: Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) attends a GOP Senate
fundraiser at luxury Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, Forida.
Following her vote for the Senate's GOP tax reform bill, the Lincoln Haymarket office of Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) was vandalized.
     Among other things, the bill Fischer voted for will cut corporate taxes to 20% and eliminate taxes on the estates of married couples valued up to almost $22 million.
     Fischer's, and the GOP's, gift to working Americans is the elimination of tax deductions for health insurance and state and local taxes. The GOP bill also makes the $4,050 personal exemption for taxpayers, their spouses and their children disappear.
     The GOP's Senate bill is expected to balloon the U.S. deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years and trigger deep, automatic cuts to Medicare. No Democrat voted for it.
Photo: Nebraska Radio Network
     Sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, Senator Fischer's name on a building directory at 440 N 8th St. in Lincoln's gentrified Haymarket District was spray painted, as was the U.S. Senate Seal on the building.
     On a glass door, a vulgarity was written that Sgt. Randy Clark of the Lincoln Police Department would not divulge.
     On the sidewalk outside Fischer's office was written:
  • Never trust a land thief with your well-being
  • trickle down is a LIE
  • #resist, and
  • Tax Reform? Class War
     Fischer's office said local authorities and the U.S. Capitol Police are investigating.
     The reference to Senator Fischer as a land thief refers to her attempt, with her husband, to take possession of a valuable part of a neighbor's ranch through a legal maneuver called "adverse possession," which was a campaign issue when she was first elected to the Senate in 2012.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Sound of Music line that sends LGBTs into apoplectic paroxysms of laughter

This slightly edited excerpt makes sure everyone can spot the line, which was not overlooked in the 2006 Will and Grace Sound of Music parody. (Here, at 22:00)