Saturday, July 15, 2017

Omaha Police Dept. helicopter cop warns "foreign" car owners to buy American, then admits he drives a VW

After unambiguously admitting that OPD profiles drivers of foreign cars (How dumb is that, ACLU?) the cop backpedaled and said it was all satire and irony.
     Coulda fooled us.
     Also, Officer Friendly actually drives a VW himself. Hope it's a model made in Chattanooga...
     Recently the Omaha Police Department found itself in hot water for raising $5,000 for a Catholic High School by letting it raffle off a ride in the police helicopter, a stunt that didn't sit well with Common Cause.
     AKSARBENT, for its part, has some advice, too. Don't go on ridealongs with the Omaha Police Department if you know what's good for you. 
    

Millions of "foreign" cars sold by Honda, Nissan, VW and Toyota are built in U.S. factories and plenty of "American" cars are not made in this country.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Two clever videos, from Apple and Alan




The World-Herald visits Glur's Tavern, oldest continuously-run U.S. bar west of the Missouri,
and its tiara-wearing buck

Supposedly, no western bar has been serving drinks longer than Glur's Tavern in Columbus, named after its second owner and open since 1876.
     Sarah Baker Hansen, wife of fellow World-Herald writer Matthew Hansen, profiled the place. There's a video at the link above, too.
     By means of comparison, the legendary cowboy bar, The Mint, in Sheridan, Wyoming, only dates back to 1907. And the Mint doesn't have a stuffed buck wearing a tiara, although it is the bar that inspired Annie Prouxl to write her short story, Brokeback Mountain.

Nebraska Lottery:
8th in administrative costs, 27th in payouts

According to 2015 U.S. Census figures (the latest available) Nebraska ranks eighth in administrative costs among the 43 states which run lotteries : 12% of players' money ($18 million).
     In payouts, Nebraska was 27th, paying out 63% of player's money (nearly 150 million) in prizes (almost $95 million.)
Rockey
     Jill Marshall was acting Nebraska Lottery Director during 2015. Brian Rockey was appointed Director as of July 1, 2016 after having worked for International Game Technology (IGT, formerly known as GTECH), the primary contractor for the Nebraska Lottery.
     Although Nebraska, unlike neighboring Kansas, does not allow prizes to be claimed "anonymously" (meaning the lottery will not release the winner's name), they can be claimed by a trust or LLC designed to hide the identity of the beneficiary. This happened in 2014.
     The rule: 602.03 A prize claim shall be entered in the name of an individual person or legal entity. If the prize claimed exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) the person or entity shall also furnish a tax identification number, a social security number for individuals and a federal employer identification number (FEIN) for all other persons.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cockeyed: The Onion hilariously reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming

After AKSARBENT saw the first Spider-Man, we couldn't figure out why, after outfitting Toby Maguire with a spandex suit, the film's producers then squandered tens of millions more on special effects.  But we probably weren't the target demographic for the film.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Voter Supression: Top NE Republicans mute on law broken by Trump Commission seeking NE voter data

Article here
     So far, John Gale, Nebraska's lame duck Secretary of State, Nebraska's Attorney General, Doug Peterson and Gale's would-be successor, Bob Evnen, all Republicans, have been uniformly mute on the fact that Kris Kobach, the principal architect of voter suppression in the USA, apparently broke federal law in requesting details on every Nebraska registered voter (the same kind of data Russia tried to hack last year) on behalf of Donald Trump's so-called "Voter Integrity Commission" chaired by Mike Pence and run by Kobach.
     From The Hill:
     Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, information requests from agencies and other federal entities are supposed to first be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
     This 1980 law requires federal agencies to seek public input, including through a comment period, before a request for information. A 1995 amendment extended OIRA’s authority to include not only requests for information for the government, but also requests for information to the public.
Via CNN
     The law also requires that agencies justify their requests for public information, specify how it will be used and provide assurances that data will be protected. The law also obliges the agencies to estimate how many hours it will take entities to respond.
     It does not appear that the commission submitted its request to OIRA before sending a letter to states asking for voter information.
     Experts say the failure to do so would be significant, since states would be under no obligation to respond to requests that violate federal law.
     “If the commission gets heavy-handed with them, it seems to me that the states are within their right to say, 'No, we don’t have to respond because you didn’t go through [OIRA],'” said Susan Dudley, a former OIRA administrator who is now director of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University.
     The commission did not immediately respond to questions about whether it had submitted its request through OIRA.
     And that's not all. Yesterday, according to CNN, "The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called on the Justice Department to investigate whether Kobach violated the Hatch Act, a 1939 law intended to keep federal employees from directly supporting candidates, accusing him of using his role on the presidential commission to promote his campaign and solicit contributions."
     Kobach's voter supression machinations have resulted in four ACLU lawsuits, so far, and he has lost every one.
Blind, deaf and mute on vote suppression masquerading as "ballot integrity": GOP Secretary of State
candidate Bob Evnen, GOP Secretary of State John Gale and Attorney General Doug Peterson
     The Washington Post has reported that  "Kobach was fined $1,000 on Friday by a federal magistrate judge for “patently misleading representations” he made to the court about the contents of a document he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump."
     Six Nebraska state senators have written a letter to John Gale requesting that he reject the "request." They are Sens. Kate Bolz, Adam Morfeld, Matt Hansen and Anna Wishart of Lincoln; and Sens. Sara Howard and John McCollister of Omaha.
     Even though the Secretaries of State of 45 states have weighed in on Trump, Nebraska's GOP Secretary of State (John Gale) has said, nothing, the GOP candidate running to replace him (Bob Evnen) has been mute, and Nebraska's GOP Attorney General (Doug Peterson) is similarly paralyzed.
     Tweets about this issue have accused the office of Nebraska's Secretary of State of demanding names and phone numbers of callers before addressing (or, more specifically, not answering) their questions. We called, and found this to be true.




Friday, June 30, 2017

Gay Nebraska TV weatherman gets fed up with a Facebook troll

KETV, the Omaha ABC affiliate with the highest rated newscasts, has its heavy weather lifting done by Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby, the subject of a minor personality cult led by @MeanStreetsOMA, which mostly tweets transcripts of police scanner calls, but sends out special tweets every time Bill Ramby rolls up his sleeves on air (meaning the weather is getting complicated.)
     Mean Streets has 113,000+ followers(!) (There's a big local audience for online gawking, folks.)
     But it wasn't Ramby who was getting the attention in the aftermath of yesterday's hailstorm, it was Meteorologist Matt Serwe, who has had it with a particular Facebook detractor and who tweeted out a screencap of said critic's FB mini-rants (at right.) That tweet got a lot of sympathetic replies.
     It turns out that the aggressively dissatisfied Mr. Kraci, of Schuyler, is not currently employed at Central Valley Ag.

     Schuyler, the seat of Colfax County, is about 67 miles from Omaha, has about 6,211 people, and is named after an amiable, but hapless former Vice President, Schuyler Colfax. As it happens, Serwe's boyfriend has family there, and has assured his other half that the natives are generally friendly.


NE's GOP gov. fires State Patrol Supe 2 years after appointing him; 6 troopers placed on leave

In 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts had this to say about Brad Rice, his pick to head Nebraska's State Patrol:
“Bradley’s prior service in a variety of ranks within the Nebraska State Patrol’s chain of command will guide his leadership as Superintendent,” said Governor Ricketts. “I know his integrity will direct his decisions as he works with patrol members across the state to protect public safety.”
     During Rice's confirmation hearing, accusations of sexism and proselytizing were raised.
     As for the prayers, Hanlin said because the agency lacked space for meetings with all troop area staff members, the meetings often were held in a school gymnasium on the campus of a Norfolk church. Rice frequently began such meetings with a prayer, Hanlin added.
     Hanlin said he was aware a complaint had been filed by another trooper over the prayers. After the complaint, the troop area meetings were no longer held at the church property.
     Former Patrol Col. Tom Nesbitt, commander of the patrol from 1999 to 2005, said he recalled that a complaint had been filed against Rice. Based on his recollection, however, the complaint involved Rice putting religious information in the office mailboxes of patrol employees.
     Nesbitt said he assigned a major to investigate the issue, although he could not recall the outcome.
  Gov. Ricketts relieved Rice of his duties Friday:
     The initial findings of an internal review of State Patrol policies, procedures and leadership conduct suggested "interference in internal investigations at the highest level," the governor said.
     ...Ricketts said he met with Rice early Friday morning and "relieved him of his duties."
Six State Patrol officers were placed on administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation by State Human Resources Director Jason Jackson.
     ...Initial findings of the continuing investigation have been turned over to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office for further investigation, the governor said.
     The governor's investigation was probably prompted by the latest Nebraska State Patrol controversy, following the death of a convicted felon who tried to outrun a state trooper near Gordon.
     Shortly after the crash, trooper Tim Flick said thrice that he performed a TVI ("tactical vehicle intervention"), also known as bumping or ramming a suspect's vehicle.
     Then Flick's commander got involved:
     In an email and a memo, the trooper’s commander, Capt. Jamey Balthazor, who heads the Panhandle troop of the patrol, said Flick had told him in a roadside meeting a couple of hours after the crash that LaDeaux had caused it by steering into his cruiser.
     When Flick was asked by grand jurors why his story had changed, the trooper said he didn’t realize until later that he had not used a TVI.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Facebook CEO and his new, heavily tattooed friend Joe, wish world a Happy LGBTQ Pride from Nebraska

Zuckerberg with the awesomely tatted Joe Desanti
     Continuing his I'm-not-planning-to-run-for-office-I-just-like-to-hang-out-in-truckstops-in-rural-America tour, Mark Zuckerberg wished the world a happy Pride from Nebraska. The Facebook founder and CEO turned up in Stinson park in Aksarben Village. (Aksarben is Nebraska spelled backwards, and now you now why this quasi-gay Omaha blog is called AKSARBENT.)
     Facebook is building a huge data center, its ninth, in Papillion, an Omaha suburb. Yahoo is expanding its data center in LaVista, another Omaha suburb, and Google's $2.5 billion data center in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa is its largest in the world.
     We hope they're all tornado-proof, because last week a tornado hopscotched across Offutt AFB in Bellevue, another Omaha suburb, taking out two of the four "doomsday" converted 747 command planes that supposedly would direct America's response to a nuclear attack. But we digress...
     On Saturday, Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook page:
     Happy Pride from Omaha, Nebraska to everyone celebrating this weekend across the world!
     I'm at the Heartland Pride Festival. Until recently, the Nebraska constitution banned gay marriage. Omaha is more welcoming, but we still have a long way to go.
     Zuckerberg spent 10 minutes amiably chatting with Mayor Jean Stothert, who twice opposed Omaha's ordinance banning workplace discrimination against LGBTs while she was on the city council (see video below).
     Stothert also excluded legally married spouses of gay city employees from city benefits long after virtually every other jurisdiction in the metro area had stopped doing so, and in her recent reelection campaign she blatantly lied about housing discrimination against LGBTs, telling a television audience that adding housing to the city's LGBT antibias ordinance provisions was unnecessary because LGBTs are covered under federal law, when they aren't.



    

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Andy from Arkansas — People are saying: NO RUSSIAN COLLUSION!

From WhiteHouse.org (not Whitehouse.gov, obviously) via @BettyBowers, America's Best Christian.


NE Sen. Sasse retweets N. Korea charge that Iowans sacrifice kids to "barbaric corn gods"


Early this morning, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse trolled Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (and Twitter) by retweeting a bizarre North Korea tweet about Iowa alcoholism, sexual frustration and child sacrifice to barbaric corn gods. (Yeah, that looks like something from The Onion, but what agitprop from Asia's biggest open-air prison camp doesn't?)
To read tweet, enlarge graphic by clicking on it.
     Though this was doubtless a publicity stunt joke, Sasse does have issues with Iowa's GOP, as well as Nebraska's. Earlier this week, Iowa's GOP chair, Jeff Kaufman, blasted Sasse twice, first in a warm-up for Donald Trump's appearance Wednesday in eastern Iowa and later in a follow-up inerview.
     “We had Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska, he crosses the Missouri River, and in that sanctimonious tone talks about what he doesn’t like about Donald Trump,” Kaufmann said. “You know what, Sen. Sasse? I really don’t care what you like. We love Donald Trump. And if you don’t love him, I suggest you stay on your side of the Missouri River.”
     ...“He’s an arrogant academic,” Kaufmann said of Sasse, a former college president. “He’s sanctimonious. His statements are geared toward what can help him. He’s arrogant. And he’s not a team player, when in reality the only reason he’s got any clout at all in the Senate is because the Republican Party has the majority.”
     Sasse (yes, there's a youtube video ridiculing his name) has reputedly hired a social media consultant to raise his profile, although Bill Maher probably did that better during their recent exchange on HBO's Real Time, when Maher made his infamous "house nigga" crack. Sasse claims he winced. If he did, it wasn't visible in the recording.

   Sasse is also hawking his new book of Captain Obvious advice about parenting, replete with some alarming observations, like the upside of having polio:
"No one should regard the eradication of polio as anything but a glorious blessing, but we should also be able to recall that many older folks we know grew their character by fighting through their polio."
     (Yeah, the way Mitch McConnell grew his character by overcoming polio and then becoming the Darth Vader of the Senate and defunder of Medicaid.)
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, in shorts, trolling twitter, reputedly with the
help of a media consultant.
     Sasse votes with Donald Trump about 97% of the time and has fallen in line to rubber stamp all his abysmal Cabinet nominees, but he poses as a rebellious independent, critical of Trump.
     Those of us who have lived in Nebraska awhile can see through his efforts to become the reverse image of former Nebraska Democratic Senator and Governor, Teflon Bob Kerrey.
     Unlike Sasse, Kerrey, who lost a limb in Vietnam, was as close to the real deal as you will find in politics. (Kerrey was reputed to have studied the rise of California Gov. Jerry Brown, Jr., who supposedly studied Robert Redford's character in The Candidate.)
    Kerrey is a lot funnier than Sasse. When reporters asked the then-governor what sparked his romance with actress Debra Winger when she was filming Terms of Endearment in Lincoln, he deadpanned: "She swept me off my foot."
    What does AKSARBENT think about Sasse's tweet? This, friends:


P.S. The fake Twitter account started by a Nebraska expat football fan (now a Chicago lawyer) back when Bo Pelini coached Nebraska, weighed in too, and again proved why @FauxPelini has over half a million twitter followers:


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 film modes compared

Left to right, top to bottom:

VIBRANT      DYNAMIC
STANDARD   NATURAL
SMOOTH      NOSTALGIC

Click to enlarge

Friday, June 9, 2017

Frantic Oklahoma mom warned Omaha police that her son, kicked off bus, was mentally ill. So they tasered him to death

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has "serious concerns" about whether excessive force was used on Zachary Bearheels, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the Nebraska Medical Center after being tasered by officers of the Omaha Police Department. His desperate mother had warned Omaha police and begged them to take him to the bus station or a crisis center: Kleine wants to know how many tasers were used on Bearheels at once at Bucky's, where he was surrounded by up to 20(!) cop cars.



From the Omaha World-Herald:
     Henry Barstow, 36, was among those at the Bucky’s at 60th and Center Streets.
     The hour that elapsed between officers first encountering Bearheels and when he was stunned left “plenty of time” for the police to call a mental health professional to the gas station for guidance, Barstow said.
     Bearheels’ mother, Renita Chalepah of Oklahoma, has raised questions about how police handled her son, whom she said suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He was in Omaha after being kicked off a bus. He was traveling from his father’s home in South Dakota to his mother’s in Oklahoma. Chalepah said she had been in contact with Omaha police and her son during the day Sunday and had asked police to take him to the bus station or a crisis center. She said police told her they couldn’t place him under emergency care because he wasn’t a threat to himself or others.
Later, on that very day, OPD shocked him to death because he was "acting erratically." 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Who voted to gut Dodd-Frank?

Nebraska's entire House delegation (all Republicans) voted to gut Dodd-Frank financial protections,
enacted after the 2008 financial meltdown, and to eviscerate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Below is the name of every Representative who voted to drastically weaken the Dodd-Frank Act provisions enacted after the financial crisis of 2008. The vote was almost completely along party lines; only one Republican voted "Nay" and only one Democrat voted "Yea." The bill is said to have almost no chance of Senate passage. From MSNBC:
     Among the most significant provisions are measures that allow banks to escape heightened regulatory requirements and cut stress tests back from their current annual schedule, while the bill also eviscerates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
     In all, the measure takes aim at the Dodd-Frank reforms, which sought less risk and higher capital levels from an industry linked to the crisis and the accompanying Great Recession. Lenders got in trouble after mass defaults of risky mortgages, then required a government bailout when they didn't have the capital to cover their losses.

Note: an earlier version of this post showed the June 7th vote on agreeing to the resolution, not the June 8 vote on passage.

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 299

(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

      H R 10      YEA-AND-NAY      8-Jun-2017      4:38 PM
      QUESTION:  On Passage
      BILL TITLE: Financial CHOICE Act of 2017


YeasNaysPRESNV
Republican23313
Democratic1858
Independent
TOTALS23318611


---- YEAS    233 ---

Abraham
Aderholt
Allen
Amash
Amodei
Arrington
Babin
Bacon
Banks (IN)
Barletta
Barr
Barton
Bergman
Biggs
Bilirakis
Bishop (MI)
Bishop (UT)
Black
Blackburn
Blum
Bost
Brady (TX)
Brat
Bridenstine
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Buchanan
Buck
Bucshon
Budd
Burgess
Byrne
Calvert
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Chabot
Chaffetz
Cheney
Coffman
Cole
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Comer
Comstock
Conaway
Cook
Costello (PA)
Cramer
Crawford
Culberson
Curbelo (FL)
Davidson
Davis, Rodney
Denham
Dent
DeSantis
DesJarlais
Diaz-Balart
Donovan
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Dunn
Emmer
Estes (KS)
Farenthold
Faso
Ferguson
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Flores
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gaetz
Gallagher
Garrett
Gibbs
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (LA)
Graves (MO)
Griffith
Grothman
Guthrie
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Hensarling
Herrera Beutler
Hice, Jody B.
Higgins (LA)
Hill
Holding
Hollingsworth
Hudson
Huizenga
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurd
Issa
Jenkins (KS)
Jenkins (WV)
Johnson (LA)
Johnson (OH)
Jordan
Joyce (OH)
Katko
Kelly (MS)
Kelly (PA)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger
Knight
Kustoff (TN)
Labrador
LaHood
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Lance
Latta
Lewis (MN)
LoBiondo
Long
Loudermilk
Love
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
MacArthur
Marchant
Marshall
Massie
Mast
McCarthy
McCaul
McClintock
McHenry
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
McSally
Meadows
Meehan
Messer
Mitchell
Moolenaar
Mooney (WV)
Mullin
Murphy (PA)
Newhouse
Noem
Nunes
Olson
Palazzo
Palmer
Paulsen
Pearce
Perry
Pittenger
Poe (TX)
Poliquin
Posey
Ratcliffe
Reed
Renacci
Rice (SC)
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney, Francis
Rooney, Thomas J.
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rothfus
Rouzer
Royce (CA)
Russell
Rutherford
Sanford
Scalise
Schweikert
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shimkus
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smucker
Stefanik
Stewart
Stivers
Taylor
Tenney
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tipton
Trott
Turner
Upton
Valadao
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walker
Walorski
Walters, Mimi
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Wenstrup
Westerman
Williams
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Womack
Woodall
Yoder
Yoho
Young (AK)
Young (IA)
Zeldin

---- NAYS    186 ---

Adams
Barragán
Bass
Beatty
Bera
Beyer
Bishop (GA)
Blumenauer
Blunt Rochester
Bonamici
Boyle, Brendan F.
Brady (PA)
Brown (MD)
Brownley (CA)
Bustos
Butterfield
Capuano
Carbajal
Cárdenas
Carson (IN)
Cartwright
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Chu, Judy
Cicilline
Clark (MA)
Clarke (NY)
Clay
Cleaver
Cohen
Connolly
Conyers
Cooper
Correa
Courtney
Crist
Crowley
Cuellar
Davis (CA)
Davis, Danny
DeGette
Delaney
DeLauro
DelBene
Demings
DeSaulnier
Deutch
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle, Michael F.
Ellison
Eshoo
Espaillat
Esty (CT)
Evans
Foster
Frankel (FL)
Fudge
Gabbard
Gallego
Garamendi
Gonzalez (TX)
Gottheimer
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Grijalva
Gutiérrez
Hanabusa
Hastings
Heck
Higgins (NY)
Himes
Hoyer
Huffman
Jackson Lee
Jayapal
Jeffries
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones
Kaptur
Keating
Kelly (IL)
Kennedy
Khanna
Kihuen
Kildee
Kilmer
Kind
Krishnamoorthi
Kuster (NH)
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lawrence
Lawson (FL)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lieu, Ted
Lipinski
Loebsack
Lofgren
Lowenthal
Lowey
Lujan Grisham, M.
Luján, Ben Ray
Lynch
Maloney, Sean
Matsui
McCollum
McEachin
McGovern
McNerney
Meeks
Meng
Moore
Moulton
Murphy (FL)
Nadler
Neal
Nolan
Norcross
O'Halleran
O'Rourke
Pallone
Panetta
Pascrell
Payne
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Peters
Peterson
Pingree
Pocan
Polis
Price (NC)
Quigley
Raskin
Rice (NY)
Richmond
Rosen
Roybal-Allard
Ruiz
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schneider
Schrader
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Serrano
Sewell (AL)
Shea-Porter
Sherman
Sinema
Sires
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Soto
Speier
Suozzi
Swalwell (CA)
Takano
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Titus
Tonko
Torres
Tsongas
Vargas
Veasey
Vela
Velázquez
Visclosky
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Waters, Maxine
Watson Coleman
Welch
Wilson (FL)
Yarmuth

---- NOT VOTING    11 ---

Aguilar
Clyburn
Costa
Cummings
DeFazio
Engel
Johnson, Sam
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Marino
Napolitano
Reichert

Friday, June 2, 2017

Nebraska's entire house delegation votes to imprison sexting teens for 15 years

  Forget climate change! Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Don Bacon, creatures all of the Nebraska GOP, voted for the House version of Sharia Law (H R 1761) to wreck the lives of stupid teenagers with even greater finality than their peers ever could. The ACLU is appalled.

Bill Gates vs. Nebraska's Platte Institute

Above: Nebraska Democratic Party "liked" this tweet by
Michael Knebel,self-described Libertarian nerd
seeming to agree with the Platte Institute on cutting taxes
on "tangible property used for the production of income,"
which certainly describes job-killing robots to a tee.
Strong Roots Nebraska is an initiative by the Platte Institute, a right-wing Nebraska tax policy think tank financed by undisclosed donors to at least two dark money slush funds.
     The Platte Institute doesn't like taxes on tangible property used for the production of income.
     The Institute says tangible property "typically includes machinery, equipment, pivots, irrigation systems, and motors."
     Conspicuously omitted: robots, expected to kill 6 million jobs in the next 10 years in retailing alone. (This doesn't count truck and taxi drivers about to lose their jobs to self-driving vehicles or the robotic AI arms that may soon be flying planes. (These are not autopilots; they're robots that can land a passenger jet on the same simulator human pilots train on, though they can't yet take off, which for some reason is harder for a robot than landing.)
Quick question, Platte Institute: when was the last time factory robots
grew wages for their human coworkers instead of taking their jobs?
     One of the Platte Insitute's statements really jumped off the page for us:*
Taxing machinery and equipment decreases the value of labor
     SERIOUSLY? This is the most idiotic policy pronouncement we're seen so far this year. Exactly how would taxing human-replacing machines decrease the value of labor?
     No matter. The whole idea of replacing tax-paying humans with robots who don't any taxes, and THEN getting rid of property taxes on the robots to boot, is pretty whacked, even for the Platte Institute.
     Bill Gates, who knows more about software, robots and artificial intelligence than anyone at the Platte Institute, has thought about this in, shall we say, a less superficial and less partisan way:



*From the12/9/15 Platte Chat piece by Jessica Herrmann, a former legislative aide to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Click to enlarge

New boxed set 50th anniversary Sgt. Pepper stereo mix isn't just a way to get more of your money: it's stunning

When the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper in 1967 on four-track machines at EMI in London, they were working in a technological slum compared to the equipment the Beach Boys had at their disposal. But George Martin's technical savvy, inventiveness, musical knowledge and impeccable taste put the Beatles' genius front and center (and left and right) in one of the best pop albums ever made.
     Martin's son, Giles, remixed the original four-track mono tapes (some of which had never been played) and the result — from the 50th anniversary boxed set, which includes original mono, 1967 stereo and 2017 stereo versions, isn't just a marketing money grab, it really is stunning. Here Giles Martin is, interviewed by Terri Gross.


Want more? Here's Martin, interviewed by Bob Boilen, on All Songs Considered:

 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Want to go to Omaha's gay day parade? Good luck.
The Heartland Pride website is a hot mess.

Click to enlarge
Less than three weeks before the start of Gay Pride events in Omaha/CB, the website with the details of such is a navigational nightmare with scattered details, pulldown menus that don't match their pages, dead links and information that is two years old. 
     2017 will be the fifth year since Jean Stothert became mayor that Omaha's parade will be held in a different state.
     Want to go to the parade anyway? Then play the Heartland Pride Adventure Game / Website!
     Let's begin, shall we?
     The parade date is under the home tab, but without a time or location.
     So it's probably under the events tab right?
Click to enlarge
     Well, yes and no. It's not on the pulldown events menu but it is on the events page.
     There, an icon links to the Pride2017 tab contents, which list a map and the starting time — but not a date, which is under the home tab, remember?
     (The map is an model of clarity. We're guessing that whoever did it didn't do the rest of the web site. Too bad. The map was generated in 2013, but we assume it's still current and that the route hasn't changed.)
     Back to the the events tab pulldown menu:
     It lists four events and a calendar — which shows no events for May and no way to navigate to June.
     The events page itself lists 7 events, not just the four on the pulldown menu, (excluding the worthless pulldown menu calendars):
  • The River Ride description is for 2015, two years ago.
  • The Parade link (not on the pulldown menu) takes you to the aforementioned 2017 tab — which doesn't have the parade date (that's on the home page, remember?)
  • The Royalty Pageant takes you to: "Ooops! This page could not be found!"
  • The Pride festival icon (for 2015) takes you to a schedule for 2016, not 2017
  • The Candlelight Vigil icon takes you to a 2016 schedule as well
  • The Rainbow Run icon takes you to another "Oops! This page could not be found!"
  • The Youth Pride icon on the events page is the ONLY LINK on the page which has current time, date and location information.
     What a disaster and a huge waste of time for web visitors. Contact the people responsible here.
     Below is some current information, from the home page. Good luck finding more details.
Saturday, June 17th Heartland Pride Parade-Council Bluffs Iowa
Saturday, June 17th Pride Riverboat Cruise (Pre-Party and After Party details to come)
Sunday, June 18th Heartland Pride Pageant @ Club Vibe
Friday, June 23rd Heartland Youth Pride @ Stinson Park
Saturday, June 24th Heartland Pride Festival @ Stinson Park
Some constructive criticism to those who should know better:
  • Facebook should NEVER be the primary scheduling venue for an organization. 100,000,000 North Americans don't belong to Facebook.
  • Don't leave obsolete information event information on current pages of your website for TWO YEARS
  • Don't be link-happy on your website, or you'll end up with the spaghetti that is Heartland Pride. More links are harder to maintain if people move on.

Friday, May 26, 2017

NBC's Montana affiliate, purchased by right-wing Sinclair, apologizes for not airing audio of body-slam by GOP candidate

...Or omitting inconvenient facts completely
In a statement to Talking Points Memo Tamy Wagner, the general manager of NBC News affiliate KECI, said “We clearly made a mistake, it was unintentional and we apologize,”
     Well, it sure didn't sound "unintentional" in New York Magazine's account yesterday of an email sent from KECI to NBC:
     New York has learned that KECI news director Julie Weindel was called by NBC News to see if KECI would cover the story or had any footage of the Gianforte incident that NBC News and its affiliates could use. A well-placed source familiar with communications between KECI news director Julie Weindel and NBC News says that she was unyielding in her refusal to share any footage she may have had access to, or run a report on the incident. According to the source, Weindel said that they weren’t covering the story, though it was featured in outlets across the country at the time, explaining, “The person that tweeted [Jacobs] and was allegedly body slammed is a reporter for a politically biased publication.” Weindel then added, “You are on your own for this.”

     Weindel told New York that those remarks were made in a private email shortly after the story broke, and had been “taken out of context between numerous phone calls as well with NBC.”
     Sinclair Broadcast Group, which bought KECI, is a right-wing broadcast behemoth with a history of outrageous conservative bias. In Nebraska, Sinclair owns several stations to which it issues daily must run orders for right-wing propaganda: KWNB-TV in Hayes Center, KHGI in Kearney-Hastings, KFXL in Lincoln, KHGI-CD in North Platte, and KPTM and KXVO in Omaha.

Which country showers Radical Islam with cash?
Not Iran.

To be sure, Iran is not an angelic country, and supports some "very bad actors." But, according to
     Almost every terrorist attack in the West has had some connection to Saudi Arabia. Virtually none has been linked to Iran.
     For five decades, Saudi Arabia has spread its narrow, puritanical and intolerant version of Islam  across the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden was Saudi, as were 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists...
     The Islamic State draws its beliefs from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi version of Islam...
     Saudi money is now transforming European Islam... Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are funding mosques, schools and imams to disseminate a fundamentalist, intolerant version of Islam throughout Germany...
     ...In recent years the Saudi government, along with Qatar, has been “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [the Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups...” Saudi nationals make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters in the Islamic State and, by some accounts, the largest in the terrorist group’s Iraqi operations. The kingdom is in a tacit alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen.
     According to an analysis of the Global Terrorism Database by Leif Wenar of King’s College London, more than 94 percent of deaths caused by Islamic terrorism since 2001 were perpetrated by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists. Iran is fighting those groups, not fueling them.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Women banned from Toby Keith's concert Saturday

It will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, of 9/11 fame. The kingdom wants to impress Donald Trump, so Toby Keith will give a concert at which women will be barred because of the country's strict social segregation of men and women. The Hill tried to get Keith's rep to comment but no dice.
     Keith goes where the money is. From Newsweek in February:
He played an event for the Republican National Committee in July but stopped short of offering the party his support. "It was just a paid party for the sponsors, just a private party for 1,200 people," he told the Tribune. "When I start catching shit about it, I just say, 'Look, I'm not a registered Republican, and they paid me a butt-load of money to play this thing. And if the other side calls, I'll go play theirs for that much too.'"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mean, angry, hard-left AKSARBENT deplores Mayor Gravel's reelection!

In the wake of Jean Stothert's poll victory, her occasionally inept digital campaign manager, Jerry Kratochvil, has favored the Omaha blogosphere with a stupendously rambling political analysis of why Mayor Gravel decisively (but not overwhelmingly) beat Heath Mello on her cratered road to reelection.

Kratochvil's piece takes a while time to slog through. We preferred Erin Grace's account of the election in last Sunday's World-Herald. It was shorter, sharper, funnier and got to the point: Dems didn't get out their vote.

(After the Obamas deservedly retired to fat book contracts and speaking fees, private planes, and vacations in Palm Springs with gay friends, many in Omaha's District Two (and elsewhere) evidently took to hiding under the covers and from Twitter, even on election day.)

Kratochvil mentioned AKSARBENT (in order to take a swipe) but not where he should have: the part in which he implied that it was Kyle Michaelis, rather than us, who first mentioned that a twitter handle professionally picked by Jerry hisself for hisself was the hilarious moniker "JerkRat."

We're pretty sure we were the first to mention it on Twitter; Jane Kleeb, who has a sense of humor, immediately retweeted our giggly revelation, where it was seized on by other amused Dems, including Michaelis

Kratochvil quickly ditched "JerKrat," much to our disappointment, once he discovered that trying to paper over his screwup with a cute Ratatouille rodent wasn't going to fly.

In his opus, Kratochvil went on to deplore the lack of civility on Twitter, which is like breathlessly discovering that the Pacific Ocean tastes really salty. He started a screenshot file of people who wrote "Fuck the mayor" and said that file was chock-full. (What is it, a paper file?) He went on:

Of course I’ve also never seen so many new accounts created with nom de plumes either. Now you can laugh that the guy who was only known as “Street Sweeper” is complaining about this. But my blog was up for over 3 years before I got a Twitter account. For instance, I don’t mind the anonymous angry, hard-left leaning “Aksarbent” blog’s posts or tweets If you want to find out what else they have to say, there’s a trove of posts over years. (For instance, I’m sure they see themselves as middle-of-the-road.)

Point one: AKSARBENT DOES NOT CONSIDER ITSELF MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, if for no other reason that the middle of any given road in Stothert's Omaha can be a risky place.

Kratochvil would disagree, of course. He said that mayoral issues are cyclical and that in the Omaha spring, roads are on everyone's mind.

That's easy for him to say. He lives in Overland Park, in fabulous Kansas, home of the Koch Brothers and and Kris Kobach, he of the GOP voter elimination databases which strike black voters from the rolls by the hundreds of thousands whenever their first and last names match someone else's, even if their middle names don't.

Point two: AKSARBENT DOES NOT CONSIDER ITSELF TO BE ANGRY!

No, we are righteously indignant.

You, know — like when you get when Jean Stothert smiles into a television camera and says she told her pet LGBT Advisory Board (concocted for her reelection, though she denied it) that there was no reason to address LGBT housing bias because they are covered under "federal law".

Lies told that cheerfully and unscrupulously could make a boy very indignant.

But angry? How could we be angry after writing so many tweets and posts about the Nebraska and National GOP clown car, at times so gut-bustingly funny that it could replace abdominal crunches—or Bill Kintner?

Angry would better define some of the raw nerve fringe groups that Stothert pandered to during her campaign, like that local gun nut contingent that is boycotting (seriously) MAT, the zoo, OPPD, the Holland Center, PayPal, Brewskys and even Chuck E. Cheese for not allowing firearms on their premises.

As for anonymous, we like anonymous!

We never suggested that Kratochvil should be outed from the comfortable secrecy of his virtual LeavenworthSt kennel, even when he was using a pseudonym, although that brings up an interesting point.

When Kratochvil took his sabbatical to reelect Helen Wheels, he said he was turning over the keys to his blog to somebody who called himself "I Am Spartacus." (Please!)

Spartacus, you will recall, violently attempted to overthrow an oppressive oligarchy. — as if someone so named would write, (or type, as Truman Capote might say) for LeavenworthSt — never a champion of proles, though often a bridge over troubled trolls.

In respect of anonymity, let's ponder the following, shall we?

A number of LeavenworthSt posts during Kratochvil's supposed absence sure looked a LOT like stuff he wrote before and after. When Kratochvotil returned from the Stothert GOP plantation, he wrote this: "As part of the deal, I did not have a byline on Leavenworth St."

That's not the same thing as not secretly writing for it, is it?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How the GOP uses crooked lists of "duplicate" registrations to disenfranchise voters



Here's an excerpt of Greg Palast's expose, from Reader Supported News.
     Kobach is the GOP mastermind behind this secretive system which purged 1.1 million Americans from the voter rolls.
     When Trump said, “This election’s rigged,” the press ignored the second part of his statement: “People are voting many, many times.” Trump cited three million votes illegally cast.
     The White House said Trump got this information from Kobach. Indeed, it specifically comes from a list of 7 million names—or, as Kobach describes it, a list of 3.5 million “potential double voters.” How did Kobach find these three million double voters?
     He matched their names, first and last. And that’s it.
     Here’s an unedited screen-shot of a segment of his list:
[The damning photo, taken by Palast, is here, at RSN.]
     Note that not one middle name matches.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the Al Capone of voter registration
"reform," testifying at the Nebraska Unicameral in favor of  LB111, introduced
by O’Neill Sen. Tyson Larson, which would have required voters to provide a
government-issued photographic identification before being allowed to vote.
Photo by Fred Knapp, NET.
     ...“Crosscheck” is not marked on the victim voter’s record. It’s a stealth hit.
     And it’s deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly “won” the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State’s office proudly told me that they were “very aggressive” in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters.
     And not just any voters... the list was so racially biased that fully one in six registered African-Americans were tagged in the Crosscheck states that include the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona and more.

Omaha's Fox42 gets daily "must run" orders to air right-wing propaganda. But the edicts aren't from Fox

Fox42's content copyright notice reveals its ownership
Although the network affiliation of Omaha's KPTM (Fox42) is with Fox, the station is actually owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the ultra-right wing behemoth.
     Sinclair has a history of outrageous conservative bias. In Nebraska, it owns KWNB-TV in Hayes Center, KHGI in Kearney-Hastings, KFXL in Lincoln, KHGI-CD in North Platte,  and KPTM and KXVO in Omaha.
     Sinclair is in the process of acquiring Tribune Media properties and soon may challenge Fox as a right-wing media power center.
     The New York Times has revealed that "must-runs" arrive every day at TV stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
     In 2004, Sinclair fired its own Washington, D.C. bureau chief for telling the Baltimore Sun that a 45-minute film the firm planned to air on its stations, "Stolen Honor: Wound The Never Heal" was "biased political propaganda" targeting then-candidate John Kerry.
     The Times noted that since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a “Terrorism Alert Desk” daily segment that the company provides, and that during last year's presidential election, Sinclair distributed video that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery.
     There was more:
      In late 2013, for instance, after The Seattle Times wrote an editorial criticizing Sinclair’s purchase of KOMO, Sinclair ordered KOMO to do a story critical of the newspaper industry, and of The Seattle Times in particular, according to two of the people interviewed.
     KOMO journalists were surprised in January when, at a morning planning meeting, they received what they considered an unusual request. The station’s news director, who normally avoided overtly political stories, instructed his staff to look into an online ad that seemed to be recruiting paid protesters for President Trump’s inauguration. Right-leaning media organizations had seized on the ad, which was later revealed as a hoax, as proof of coordinated efforts by the left to subvert Mr. Trump.
     Only after reporters had left the room did they learn the origin of the assignment, two of them said: The order had come down from Sinclair.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Don't Go Back Omaha 'committee' behind last minute anti-Mello attack ads? Aimee Melton and Gwen Aspen

Melton and Aspen, the girl gang of two, appeared on KFAB, recently. We listened to as much of Chris Baker's interview with them as we could, dear readers.
Baker: It is a truly transparent committee... A lot of times this is all hidden and we always have to hear about "Oh we gotta get donors lists to find out who these people are so we can go throw eggs at their house or something like that. These two fabulous women are out in front, saying this is who we are...
Gwen Aspen: Our committee is just trying to highlight all her (Stothert's) accomplishments in the last four years...
Aspen & Melton: Look, Omaha: Heath Mello killed Leo DiCaprio!
          Don't throw eggs at or TP Bauer's house, people. He also was the campaign manager of Retain a Just Nebraska, the group that fought Nebraska's death penalty.
     Chris Baker, a KFAB right-wing propagandist just clever enough to fool his audience, inverted what any sensible person would really want to know about Don't Go Back Omaha —its financial backers — by telling KFAB's gullible listeners that the transparency of hood ornaments makes the identity of the donors behind them unnecessary!
     We assume the paymasters, if they are revealed at all, will be disclosed well after last Tuesday's vote.



Click to embiggen
     Want to have some fun readers? Guess how long the above YouTube video, with the home address of Melton-Aspen's fund raiser, but not either of theirs, will last on YouTube after this post.
     The DC political consulting firm which made and placed the ad, according to KETV's invoice, was Sandler-Innocenzi Advertising, 705 Prince St, Alexandria, VA 22314, which brags on its website about making ads for former Governor Dave Heineman.
    Invoices! AKSARBENT has the invoices!



P.S.: Maybe Melton and Aspen aren't as transparent as you claim, KFAB! Here's what you see if you click on the "Non-Profit Organization" link of Don't Go Back Omaha's facebook page:

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