Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Last Call For Houseplant Slash Muscle

Need to lighten things up around here, so we leave you tonight with the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer that premiered last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Ahh, Peter Quill, forever stuck in the 80's.  John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz in the Nova Corps, evil blue Karen Gilliam as Nebula, mostly evil green Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Djimon Hounsou as Korath The Pursuer (Marvel so does love to name their cosmic level badasses "X The Archetype") makes any movie better, and I get Rocket Raccoon and Groot shooting rooms full of things?  Definitely looking forward to this one in August, and looks totally faithful to the comic's bonkers style mix of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Chronicles of Riddick on the set of a Billy Idol video.  You know, Farscape with less introspection and more 10 foot tall tree guys.

It's looking to be glorious fun.  Can't wait.

Kansas's Discrimination Bill Gets The Business

A week ago, state legislation that Kansas Republicans sponsored that would allow businesses and state employees to refuse goods and services to same-sex couples under the guise of "religious freedom" looked like a sure bet as it sailed through the Kansas House.

Denying services to same-sex couples may soon become legal in Kansas.

House Bill 2453 explicitly protects religious individuals, groups and businesses that refuse services to same-sex couples, particularly those looking to tie the knot.

It passed the state's Republican-dominated House on Wednesday with a vote of 72-49, and has gone to the Senate for a vote.

This week, it crashed and burned in the Kansas Senate.

A controversial religious freedom bill passed by the Kansas House will never make it to the Senate floor or even be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On Tuesday, Senate Vice President Jeff King, R-Independence, officially closed the door on House Bill 2453, which gained international attention and inspired a Twitter hash tag.

“We’re not going to work the bill,” he said. “House Bill 2453 is kaput.”

Why the change in heart?  Oh, Kansas Republicans are still gay-hating bigots, but Kansas businesses stepped in and told the GOP to knock it off because the legislation (and the impending boycotts and lawsuits it would produce) would affect their bottom lines.

One of Kansas' largest employers is joining a myriad of other companies in opposing a bill some say would discriminate against gay couples.

Sprint Corp., which employs 7,600 people locally and ranks third on the Kansas City Business Journal's Top Area Private-Sector Employers list, said Monday that it disagrees with the "protecting religious freedom" measure. If passed, House Bill 2453 would allow businesses and government entities to deny same-sex couples goods and services on the basis of religious freedom.

"At Sprint, we have a commitment to inclusion and having a workplace that is supportive of all employees," Sprint spokesman John Taylor wrote in an email. "Inclusion and diversity serve as guiding principles for our company. They help us create an atmosphere fostering creativity and effectiveness, providing employees, suppliers, customers and members of the community an opportunity to feel included and valued."

The Overland Park-based telecom company joins AT&T Inc. and other Kansas businesses in protesting the bill. Among the organizations are Kansas City Power & Light Co. and theWichita Independent Business Association.

Bottom line:  any big national or international corporation doing business in Kansas under this legislation would have a host of legal, public relations, and ethical nightmares to deal with, all thanks to the idiots in the Kansas GOP,  so they stepped in and reminded the Republicans exactly who they work for. When bigotry affects the quarterly earnings reports, the people who really run the GOP get that culture war nonsense sorted out in record time.

Discrimination against customers is bad for business?  Who knew?  The only color on the rainbow flag that matters to the corporate wing of the GOP is green.  Interfere with that, and suddenly the Tea Party gets miraculously handled.

Funny how that works.

Read more here:

Rush (Holt): A Farewell To Kings (Of Science)

New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt, the party's point man on science and technology legislation and former research physicist, is leaving the House after twelve years.

Mr. Holt is perhaps most popularly known as the five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who later won a celebrity round against Watson, the IBM supercomputer. In and around Princeton, where he had been assistant director of the Plasma Physics Laboratory, bumper stickers on Priuses proudly proclaim “My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist.”

He has consistently pushed for more money for scientific research, and better science education, securing $22 billion for research in the stimulus bill, and grants of $16,000 for students who prepare to teach math, science or foreign languages.

“I’m not sure we have anyone in the Congress with his level of deep understanding of what it is going to take for the American scientific enterprise to thrive in the future,” said Shirley M. Tilghman, a molecular biologist and former president of Princeton.

Among his other accomplishments, Mr. Holt said he was proudest of getting “tens of millions” of dollars for suicide prevention among members of the military, and for securing state matching programs for land and water conservation. He also helped arrange citizenship for the family of a Pakistani man killed in a hate crime in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Particularly as Tea Party Republicans challenged the science of climate change in recent years, Mr. Holt argued vociferously for the importance of what he called “evidence based” debates.

Democrats will keep the seat pretty easily, I would expect, and I didn't always agree with him.  But the country will miss his intelligence, and he was one of the few NY/NJ politicians to admit that Palestinians actually qualify as human beings.  Go figure.


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