Police Behaving Badly

Philly cop kills ex-girlfriend after 75 stalking and harassment charges: police

WCAU reported that Colwyn Borough Police Department identified 32-year-old Stephen Rozniakowski as the man who opened fire on both women in a Delaware County home. Neighbors identified the ex-girlfriend as Valerie Morrow.

Morrow’s teenage daughter reportedly was also shot, but her injuries were not life threatening.

According to investigators, the victim had recently filed a protection order against Rozniakowski, but the two had not dated for years.

Rozniakowski called the Colwyn Borough Police Department just before the shooting to notify them that he was resigning,investigators noted. He had been served the protection from abuse (PFA) order that same evening.

Reports said that a second off-duty officer, who was thought to be Morrow’s husband, was also in the home when the shooting occurred, and he shot Rozniakowski.

The suspect was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for treatment. His condition was not immediately available.

The Delaware County Daily Times pointed out that Rozniakowski may have been wearing body armor when he was shot.

Rozniakowski was charged with 25 counts of stalking and 50 counts of harassment in a case earlier this year involving his former fiancee, who had also taken out a protection order against him. His service weapon was taken away at that time, and he was placed on administrative leave, the department said.

Rozniakowski was due in court on Thursday for a pre-trail conference on the 75 counts of stalking and harassment.

* * * *

Cleveland cop pulls gun on man speeding home to help with wife’s high-risk pregnancy

“Officer Robinson approached me yelling at me to put my hands up and holding me at gunpoint as if I was threatening his life,” Samuel Taylor said of the encounter. “His finger was on the trigger.”

According to WKYC-TV, Taylor’s wife, Katie, sent him a text message last Friday morning asking him to come home from work because she was in labor. Taylor said he was traveling at 38 mph in a 25 mph zone when he passed Cleveland Heights Police Officer William Robinson in his patrol vehicle.

Robinson started following Taylor, and signaled for him to pull over. But because he was “literally about six or seven houses” away from his home and street parking was blocked by other vehicles, Taylor said, he slowed down and pulled into his driveway, at which point Robinson allegedly approached him with his gun drawn.

Taylor said he spent the next 20 minutes explaining the situation to Robinson, and offered to let the officer follow him into the home if he holstered his weapon. Instead, the officer allegedly told him to stay in his car while he went to the home. At that point, Taylor said, he called the police department, and was threatened with felony charges by an unidentified lieutenant.

Meanwhile, Katie Taylor met Robinson at the door and confirmed her husband’s story.

“My wife said, ‘I need my husband to come here,’” Samuel Taylor said. “‘I’m going into labor. Please tell me what is going on. I need help.’”

Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson told WKYC that Robinson only had his gun drawn for two minutes during the encounter, then holstered it after “evaluating the situation.” Robertson also said that the officer arranged for a city ambulance to take the Taylors to the hospital.

The couple drove themselves to the hospital, instead, where Katie Taylor delivered a boy. Though the child, Jonah, was born healthy, Katie Taylor was briefly hospitalized for complications surrounding the pregnancy. Both have reportedly been allowed to return home. Samuel Taylor was cited for speeding and failure to yield for an emergency vehicle.

“Upon initial review we are comfortable that the officer followed CHPD protocol appropriately and he conducted himself in a professional manner,” Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley said regarding the incident.

Last paragraph translation: “We are comfortable with trigger-happy officers drawing their guns on unarmed civilians.”

The U.S. has become a police state.

* * * *

TX Rangers investigate officer who killed suspect holding a spoon

I’m sure the “investigation” will result in the worst wrist-slapping the world has ever seen.

In Texarkana, the officer arrived at the scene of the reported burglary at about 2 a.m. Monday and found a suspect in the garage of a house, police in the East Texas city said.

“The suspect then came toward the officer in an aggressive manner with a metal object in his hand,” police said. The officer fired one shot, striking the suspect, Dennis Grigsby, 35, in the chest. He later died at a hospital.

The object Grigsby was holding was found to be a spoon.

The officer, who was not identified, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, police said.

What, not paid administrative leave?

* * * *

Here’s yet another example of a police officer holding themselves to a different standard than civilians.

OK police chief injures city official trying to stop him from driving patrol car drunk

Lenden Woodruff, chief of Colcord police, was arrested about noon Sunday on drunken driving charges after the incident outside a convenience store in Flint.

A clerk called City Councilor Cody Gibby to report the chief was drunk and should not be driving, and the elected official said Woodruff was holding a can of beer when he arrived.

The two men argued as Gibby tried to wrestle the keys to the patrol car away from Woodruff, who state troopers said struck the city councilor several times as he attempted to drive away.

Gibby suffered injuries to his knee ligaments and lower spine in the incident.

The city councilor followed the police chief about two miles to his home, where he blocked Woodruff’s car in the driveway and called Highway Patrol officers – who issued a drunken driving citation.

Woodruff previously pleaded guilty to DUI and open container charges in 2004, when he was Delaware County sheriff and had been driving an unmarked sheriff’s vehicle.

He was arrested for drunken driving again in 2008, when he was also charged with carrying a firearm while intoxicated.

City council members said they had been hearing the police chief frequently bought beer while driving his patrol car.

Woodruff has not been suspended because the incident remains under investigation.

I get than an investigation has to occur, but why are they talking suspension? Shouldn’t termination be the word of the day? Last I checked, driving under the influence is a crime. This being the United States though, police officers are above the law, and all too often are not held accountable for their actions, so if he’s even suspended I’ll be surprised.

* * * *

 Ohio cops back into, then arrest protester

According to Counter Current News, police began to focus an undue amount of attention on one African-American male protester, which led another protester — an older white woman — to demand to know why they were “singling him out.”

At that point, a Beavercreek Police Department cruiser allegedly backed into her. In another video, one of Counter Current News’ “citizen journalists” can be heard shouting, “that cop right there — 149 — just backed into that old lady! He just backed into her! They ran over her!”

In the video below, three officers can be seen pulling the older woman onto the hood of a squad car and arresting her for resisting arrest.

“I’m not resisting,” she can be heard saying, “I’m just asking why you singled him out.” The woman — whose name is not known — is one of at least four people arrested at the protest.

 

Police Behaving Badly
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Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.21.14

Who likes spiders

Among Inspector Gadget’s many strange features—teeth that fly around on their own (go, go gadget teeth) and a flower that pops out of his hat (go, go gadget flower) and of course gadget Spanish translation—it’s his telescoping neck that seems to most defy conventional biology. But it’d be hard to argue that a super-long neck doesn’t come in handy in a pinch.Just ask the bizarre assassin spiders of Australia, South America, and Madagascar, with their craning necks and enormous jaws and general what-in-the-what-now appearance. These beauties (also known appropriately enough as pelican spiders) hunt other spiders, and by deploying their jaws out 90 degrees from their necks, they can impale prey, inject venom, and let them dangle there to die, all without getting bitten themselves. It’s a bit like the school bully holding a nerd at arm’s-length while the poor kid swings hopelessly at the air.

Now, spiders aren’t supposed to have necks, and in fact calling this a neck is a bit of a misnomer. The front bit of a spider is known as the cephalothorax, where you find its legs and mouthparts and eyes, and on top of that is a plate known as a carapace (these terms are a bit goofy so I’m going to keep calling it a neck for the sake of your brain, but now you know the score). So they don’t really have a head as we’d recognize it. But in the assassin spiders, that carapace has been extremely elongated into a kind of tube. The eyes and the jaws (scientifically known as chelicerae, so I’ll just keep calling them jaws if you don’t mind) sit up at the top. Perhaps most weirdly, though, the feeding mouthparts remain down at the base of the neck. So really they have necks in the middle of their faces.

Warning: picture of spider in

3…

2..

1.

* * * *

 Keeping with the spider theme, here’s some cool new tech:

A new kind of vibration sensor could us ‘Spidey sense’

Korean scientists are developing a powerful new sound and motion sensor that could someday give people, buildings and more the equivalent of “Spidey sense.” This isn’t some fantastical plot twist from a new Spider-Man movie, but rather a practical application of the discovery of how spider legs function in the real world.

These “crack sensors” (a.k.a. “nanoscale crack junction-based sensory systems”), which can be worn by people or placed on objects, were inspired by spiders’ crack-shaped slit organs. Residing on spider legs, these organs are made up of the spider’s stiff exoskeleton on the surface and a sort of flexible pad in the gaps, which connects directly to the spider’s nervous system.

Experts see almost endless possible applications of this new technology — for use in everything from sound recording and speech recognition to movement and sensing the earliest tremors before an earthquake. It could also be used as a wearable blood-pressure sensor and for other medical monitoring applications.

These pads are highly sensitive to sound and vibrations, and serve as an early warning system for spiders. It’s why a spider almost appears to sense when you’re going to swat it with a magazine and escapes before you can complete your swing. In other words, your tiniest movements probably triggered the creepy crawler’s built-in spider sense alert system.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the researchers detail a remarkable example of biomimicry, which uses nature’s models as inspiration for solving human problems.

Specifically, the researchers show how to build a mechanical version of these slit-based sensors out of a 20 nanometer layer of platinum on top of a viscoelastic polymer. By deforming the platinum layer to create cracks that open to the soft polymer below, the researchers were able to measure the electrical conductance across the surface of their new sensor.

In tests comparing the sensor’s ability to recognize sound, the crack or mechanical spider sensor outperformed a microphone — at least in challenging audio conditions. When measuring a person saying “go,” “jump,” “shoot” and “stop,” the mechanical spider sensor accurately captured the words in a 92 decibel environment, while a standing microphone could not clearly record the audio.

The scientists achieved a similar result when they attached a sensor to a violin and plucked out a simple tune. It accurately measured the notes, which were converted into digital signals to recreate the tune. They also used the sensor to, when worn on a wrist, accurately measure a heartbeat.

The article goes on to discuss the science behind the sensors, which is a bit outside my wheelhouse, but others might enjoy reading it.

* * * *

Keeping with the tech theme…move over Jaws!  Here’s the Navy’s new robot sub:

The American military does a lot of work in the field of biomimicry, stealing designs from nature for use in new technology. After all, if you’re going to design a robot, where better to draw inspiration than from billions of years of evolution? The latest result of these efforts is the GhostSwimmer: The Navy’s underwater drone designed to look and swim like a real fish, and a liability to spook the bejeezus out of any beach goer who’s familiar with Jaws.

The new gizmo, at five feet long and nearly 100 pounds, is about the size of an albacore tuna but looks more like a shark, at least from a distance. It’s part of an experiment to explore the possibilities of using biomimetic, unmanned, underwater vehicles, and the Navy announced it wrapped up testing of the design last week.

The robot uses its tail for propulsion and control, like a real fish. It can operate in water as shallow as 10 inches or dive down to 300 feet. It can be controlled remotely via a 500-foot tether, or swim independently, periodically returning to the surface to communicate. Complete with dorsal and pectoral fins, the robofish is stealthy too: It looks like a fish and moves like a fish, and, like other underwater vehicles, is difficult to spot even if you know to look for it.

* * * *

In more tech news, who’s ready for a prototype flying car?

Apparently it can fly for 430 miles with a full tank of gas and reach speeds of up to 124 mph. In car mode, it’s designed to be driven on regular roads, to park at normal parking spots, and fill up at normal gas stations.  Neat-O!

* * * *

New record set for world’s deepest living fish

Researchers have observed a record for the world’s deepest living fish, found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest site on earth.

The new species was recorded at a depth of 8,145 meters (26,722 feet), breaking the previous depth record, set in 2008, by nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet), researchers said in a statement.

“This really deep fish did not look like anything we had seen before, nor does it look like anything we know of,” Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen said. “It is unbelievably fragile, with large wing-like fins and a head resembling a cartoon dog.”

Click the link to see pics of the fish.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.21.14

They didn’t want girls watching the shows

I haz a sekrit.

I’m a comic book fan (no, that’s not the sekrit) who enjoys animated adaptations of comic book properties (that’s the sekrit). As a child of the 80s, there were two shows I enjoyed more than anything.

This is one:

This is the other:

When the 90s hit, I enjoyed a few more superhero animated series, such as:

B:TAS is still one of the best animated comic book adaptations. Unlike the shows of my childhood, this series still holds up and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The dialogue is sharp, the animation pitch-perfect, the voice casting on point, and the stories sophisticated.
Another excellent series with great animation, sharp dialogue, strong plots, good characterization and stories that didn’t talk down to kids.
I enjoyed X-Men: The Animated Series when it came out (and still enjoy watching the show from time to time), but one of its biggest failings was the animation. The dialogue was also not quite as strong as you find in the DC Animated Universe shows.  For all that this show has its faults, it was still far and away better than the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Iron Man cartoons. Or that horrible Avengers: United They Stand ‘toon. ::Shudder::

Post-2000, I really loved watching the Justice League & Justice League Unlimited shows

JLU was part of the same animated universe created by Bruce Timm for Superman and Batman and had the same complexity and sophistication as both series (though it was lighter in tone than Batman: TAS).

and I thoroughly enjoyed Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (though I don’t care much for its successor):

Marvel seriously upped their game on the animation here. *Finally* a visually stunning animated Marvel show. Coupled with serialized stories, rich characterization that followed the comic books, and sharp dialogue, this show quickly became my favorite animated Marvel show.

I got to watch the Avengers show earlier this year, when I was jobless for 4 months (it was agonizing). During that time, I’d subscribed to Netflix and watched the entire first season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Having awoken my slumbering love for superhero shows, I decided to watch the Green Lantern animated series (I’ve since cancelled Netflix, bc I’m not impressed with their inventory of movies and tv shows).

I also watched the latter half of Season 1 of Young Justice (a Cartoon Network show featuring the young protegés of various Justice League members as they sought to prove their worth as heroes).

Both shows had season-wide, overarching stories, which I tend to prefer in my shows (stand-alone stories are fine here and there, but I like the connective tissue provided by a serialized story format; sue me, I like continuity).  I quite enjoyed both series (though I liked YJ more–it had more mature stories, had emotional resonance, had strong & prominently featured female characters, and featured a black male not just as a lead character, but the team leader), and was eager to watch subsequent seasons.

Guess what I found out? Cartoon Network cancelled Young Justice and Green Lantern! TV shows, whether live-action or animated, are cancelled all the time, so no big deal, right?  That’s what I thought until I learned that Cartoon Network executives felt that too many girls and women were watching the Green Lantern and Young Justice. Apparently, the executives wanted those shows marketed primarily to boys. From io9: 

Vi at agelfeygelach transcribed part of Dini’s conversation with Smith on the Fat Man on Batman podcast, during which he talks about the cancellation of Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Tower Prep. He explains that studios are looking to capture younger male viewers, “boys who are into goofy humor, goofy random humor,” and that they aren’t interested in the older Young Justice audience.

The key quotes come when Dini starts talking about the problems that he says executives perceive with female viewers (emphasis is Vi’s):

DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not [where I am] but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”
SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”

DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show—”

SMITH: “So you can sell them T-shirts if they don’t—A: I disagree, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as f***ing boys do, but, B: sell them something else, man! Don’t be lazy and be like, ‘well I can’t sell a girl a toy.’ Sell ’em a T-shirt, man, sell them f***ing umbrella with the f***ing character on it, something like that. But if it’s not a toy, there’s something else you could sell ’em! Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi—that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, ‘I can’t sell ’em a toy, what’s the point?’
DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’—this is the network talking—’one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’ And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls’ back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience, in sort of like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman and [indistinct]’s really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘F***, no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t—’ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—’Yeah, but the—so many—we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.'”
SMITH: “That’s heart-breaking.”

DINI: “And then that’s why they cancelled us, and they put on a show called Level Up, which is, you know, goofy nerds fighting CG monsters. It’s like, ‘We don’t want the girls because the girls won’t buy toys.’ We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they s***canned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it’s like, ‘Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we’re not selling princesses.’

Grumpy cat is here to succinctly express my thoughts on the matter.

If the decision to cancel both shows were based on ratings, or rising costs in animation, I could understand (if not like) the decision. But if what Dini says is true, Warner Brothers executives cancelled both shows (as well as Tower Prep) bc there were too many girls and women watching and they think those girls and women don’t buy toys.  Though connected, those are really two separate issues.

Looking at the first, I can’t see the problem. For any product, whether it’s an animated television show or a vacuum cleaner or a car, it’s a good idea to market to multiple demographics because the more people a product appeals to, the greater likelihood that more people will buy the product.  So it’s a good thing that girls and women were watching Green Lantern and Young Justice.  Take them out of the equation and I wonder how badly the ratings would have declined. There’s no such thing as “too many people are watching this show”.  No, what this translates to is “the wrong kind of people are watching these shows”. That’s a great message to send to fans (read that last sentence with oodles of sarcasm).

Looking at the second issue, I’m left thinking ‘so what?’  If girls and women don’t buy the toys they want, why not find out what they will buy and market to them accordingly? Don’t they have a marketing department for just that type of thing?! While not a perfect counter-example (and a different company), in 2013, Hasbro’s sale of boy’s toys fell by 35%. Their girl’s toy sales? They rose by 43%.  Look at that! Girls buy toys! News at 11. Oh, and I’m gonna need some evidence before I’ll believe that girls and women don’t buy superhero action figures. I suspect Warner Brothers execs meant that girls and women don’t buy enough superhero toys.  In which case, again, find a way to market those toys to them, or find another product based on the shows that girls and women will buy in the numbers they want. Puzzles. Books. Video Games. Hell, T-Shirts…like Kevin Smith suggested. But no, instead of doing that, Warner Brothers has sent a clear message. They’re ok with girls and women watching their shows, but they aren’t their primary concern. Boys and men? They’re the important ones. Because toys sexism.

They didn’t want girls watching the shows

They didn't want girls watching the shows

I haz a sekrit.

I’m a comic book fan (no, that’s not the sekrit) who enjoys animated adaptations of comic book properties (that’s the sekrit). As a child of the 80s, there were two shows I enjoyed more than anything.

This is one:

This is the other:

When the 90s hit, I enjoyed a few more superhero animated series, such as:

B:TAS is still one of the best animated comic book adaptations. Unlike the shows of my childhood, this series still holds up and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The dialogue is sharp, the animation pitch-perfect, the voice casting on point, and the stories sophisticated.
Another excellent series with great animation, sharp dialogue, strong plots, good characterization and stories that didn’t talk down to kids.
I enjoyed X-Men: The Animated Series when it came out (and still enjoy watching the show from time to time), but one of its biggest failings was the animation. The dialogue was also not quite as strong as you find in the DC Animated Universe shows.  For all that this show has its faults, it was still far and away better than the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Iron Man cartoons. Or that horrible Avengers: United They Stand ‘toon. ::Shudder::

Post-2000, I really loved watching the Justice League & Justice League Unlimited shows

JLU was part of the same animated universe created by Bruce Timm for Superman and Batman and had the same complexity and sophistication as both series (though it was lighter in tone than Batman: TAS).

and I thoroughly enjoyed Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (though I don’t care much for its successor):

Marvel seriously upped their game on the animation here. *Finally* a visually stunning animated Marvel show. Coupled with serialized stories, rich characterization that followed the comic books, and sharp dialogue, this show quickly became my favorite animated Marvel show.

I got to watch the Avengers show earlier this year, when I was jobless for 4 months (it was agonizing). During that time, I’d subscribed to Netflix and watched the entire first season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Having awoken my slumbering love for superhero shows, I decided to watch the Green Lantern animated series (I’ve since cancelled Netflix, bc I’m not impressed with their inventory of movies and tv shows).

I also watched the latter half of Season 1 of Young Justice (a Cartoon Network show featuring the young protegés of various Justice League members as they sought to prove their worth as heroes).

Both shows had season-wide, overarching stories, which I tend to prefer in my shows (stand-alone stories are fine here and there, but I like the connective tissue provided by a serialized story format; sue me, I like continuity).  I quite enjoyed both series (though I liked YJ more–it had more mature stories, had emotional resonance, had strong & prominently featured female characters, and featured a black male not just as a lead character, but the team leader), and was eager to watch subsequent seasons.

Guess what I found out? Cartoon Network cancelled Young Justice and Green Lantern! TV shows, whether live-action or animated, are cancelled all the time, so no big deal, right?  That’s what I thought until I learned that Cartoon Network executives felt that too many girls and women were watching the Green Lantern and Young Justice. Apparently, the executives wanted those shows marketed primarily to boys. From io9: 

Vi at agelfeygelach transcribed part of Dini’s conversation with Smith on the Fat Man on Batman podcast, during which he talks about the cancellation of Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Tower Prep. He explains that studios are looking to capture younger male viewers, “boys who are into goofy humor, goofy random humor,” and that they aren’t interested in the older Young Justice audience.

The key quotes come when Dini starts talking about the problems that he says executives perceive with female viewers (emphasis is Vi’s):

DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not [where I am] but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”
SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”

DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show—”

SMITH: “So you can sell them T-shirts if they don’t—A: I disagree, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as f***ing boys do, but, B: sell them something else, man! Don’t be lazy and be like, ‘well I can’t sell a girl a toy.’ Sell ’em a T-shirt, man, sell them f***ing umbrella with the f***ing character on it, something like that. But if it’s not a toy, there’s something else you could sell ’em! Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi—that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, ‘I can’t sell ’em a toy, what’s the point?’
DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’—this is the network talking—’one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’ And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls’ back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience, in sort of like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman and [indistinct]’s really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘F***, no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t—’ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—’Yeah, but the—so many—we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.'”
SMITH: “That’s heart-breaking.”

DINI: “And then that’s why they cancelled us, and they put on a show called Level Up, which is, you know, goofy nerds fighting CG monsters. It’s like, ‘We don’t want the girls because the girls won’t buy toys.’ We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they s***canned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it’s like, ‘Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we’re not selling princesses.’

Grumpy cat is here to succinctly express my thoughts on the matter.

If the decision to cancel both shows were based on ratings, or rising costs in animation, I could understand (if not like) the decision. But if what Dini says is true, Warner Brothers executives cancelled both shows (as well as Tower Prep) bc there were too many girls and women watching and they think those girls and women don’t buy toys.  Though connected, those are really two separate issues.

Looking at the first, I can’t see the problem. For any product, whether it’s an animated television show or a vacuum cleaner or a car, it’s a good idea to market to multiple demographics because the more people a product appeals to, the greater likelihood that more people will buy the product.  So it’s a good thing that girls and women were watching Green Lantern and Young Justice.  Take them out of the equation and I wonder how badly the ratings would have declined. There’s no such thing as “too many people are watching this show”.  No, what this translates to is “the wrong kind of people are watching these shows”. That’s a great message to send to fans (read that last sentence with oodles of sarcasm).

Looking at the second issue, I’m left thinking ‘so what?’  If girls and women don’t buy the toys they want, why not find out what they will buy and market to them accordingly? Don’t they have a marketing department for just that type of thing?! While not a perfect counter-example (and a different company), in 2013, Hasbro’s sale of boy’s toys fell by 35%. Their girl’s toy sales? They rose by 43%.  Look at that! Girls buy toys! News at 11. Oh, and I’m gonna need some evidence before I’ll believe that girls and women don’t buy superhero action figures. I suspect Warner Brothers execs meant that girls and women don’t buy enough superhero toys.  In which case, again, find a way to market those toys to them, or find another product based on the shows that girls and women will buy in the numbers they want. Puzzles. Books. Video Games. Hell, T-Shirts…like Kevin Smith suggested. But no, instead of doing that, Warner Brothers has sent a clear message. They’re ok with girls and women watching their shows, but they aren’t their primary concern. Boys and men? They’re the important ones. Because toys sexism.

They didn't want girls watching the shows

3 more women come forward with accusations against Bill Cosby

At last count 23 women had stepped forward and accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging, sexually assaulting, or raping them. That number has risen by three more. In an article at Vanity Fair, former supermodel Beverly Johnson revealed that Cosby drugged her in the 80s:

Looking back, that first invite from Cosby to his home seems like part of a perfectly laid out plan, a way to make me feel secure with him at all times. It worked like a charm. Cosby suggested I come back to his house a few days later to read for the part. I agreed, and one late afternoon the following week I returned. His staff served a light dinner and Bill and I talked more about my plans for the future.

After the meal, we walked upstairs to a huge living area of his home that featured a massive bar. A huge brass espresso contraption took up half the counter. At the time, it seemed rare for someone to have such a machine in his home for personal use.

Cosby said he wanted to see how I handled various scenes, so he suggested that I pretend to be drunk. (When did a pregnant woman ever appear drunk on The Cosby Show? Probably never, but I went with it.)

As I readied myself to be the best drunk I could be, he offered me a cappuccino from the espresso machine. I told him I didn’t drink coffee that late in the afternoon because it made getting to sleep at night more difficult. He wouldn’t let it go. He insisted that his espresso machine was the best model on the market and promised I’d never tasted a cappuccino quite like this one.

It’s nuts, I know, but it felt oddly inappropriate arguing with Bill Cosby so I took a few sips of the coffee just to appease him.

Now let me explain this: I was a top model during the 70s, a period when drugs flowed at parties and photo shoots like bottled water at a health spa. I’d had my fun and experimented with my fair share of mood enhancers. I knew by the second sip of the drink Cosby had given me that I’d been drugged—and drugged good.

[Editor’s Note: Cosby’s attorneys did not respond to Vanity Fair’s requests for comment.]

My head became woozy, my speech became slurred, and the room began to spin nonstop. Cosby motioned for me to come over to him as though we were really about to act out the scene. He put his hands around my waist, and I managed to put my hand on his shoulder in order to steady myself.

As I felt my body go completely limp, my brain switched into automatic-survival mode. That meant making sure Cosby understood that I knew exactly what was happening at that very moment.

“You are a motherfucker aren’t you?”

That’s the exact question I yelled at him as he stood there holding me, expecting me to bend to his will. I rapidly called him several more “motherfuckers.” By the fifth, I could tell that I was really pissing him off. At one point he dropped his hands from my waist and just stood there looking at me like I’d lost my mind.

What happened next is somewhat cloudy for me because the drug was in fuller play by that time. I recall his seething anger at my tirade and then him grabbing me by my left arm hard and yanking all 110 pounds of me down a bunch of stairs as my high heels clicked and clacked on every step. I feared my neck was going to break with the force he was using to pull me down those stairs.

It was still late afternoon and the sun hadn’t completely gone down yet. When we reached the front door, he pulled me outside of the brownstone and then, with his hand still tightly clenched around my arm, stood in the middle of the street waving down taxis.

When one stopped, Cosby opened the door, shoved me into it and slammed the door behind me without ever saying a word. I somehow managed to tell the driver my address and before blacking out, I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”

Why that was even a concern of mine after what I’d just been through is still a mystery to me? I think my mind refused to process it.

The next day I woke up in my own bed after falling into a deep sleep that lasted most of the day. I had no memory of how I got into my apartment or into my bed, though most likely my doorman helped me out.

I sat in there still stunned by what happened the night before, confused and devastated by the idea that someone I admired so much had tried to take advantage of me, and used drugs to do so. Had I done something to encourage his actions?

In reality, I knew I’d done nothing to encourage Cosby but my mind kept turning with question after question.

It took a few days for the drug to completely wear off and soon I had to get back to work. I headed to California for an acting audition. Not long after arriving, I decided I needed to confront Cosby for my own sanity’s sake. I thought if I just called him, he would come clean and explain why he’d done what he had.

I dialed the private number he’d given me expecting to hear his voice on the other end. But he didn’t answer. His wife did. A little shocked, I quickly identified myself to her in the most respectful way possible and then asked to speak to Bill. Camille politely informed me that it was very late, 11:00 P.M. and that they were both in bed together.

I apologized for the late call and explained that I was in Los Angeles and had forgotten about the three-hour time difference. I added that I would call back tomorrow.

I didn’t call back the next day or any other day after that. At a certain moment it became clear that I would be fighting a losing battle with a powerful man so callous he not only drugged me, but he also gave me the number to the bedroom he shared with his wife. How could I fight someone that boldly arrogant and out of touch? In the end, just like the other women, I had too much to lose to go after Bill Cosby. I had a career that would no doubt take a huge hit if I went public with my story and I certainly couldn’t afford that after my costly divorce and on going court fees.

For a long time I thought it was something that only happened to me, and that I was somehow responsible. So I kept my secret to myself, believing this truth needed to remain in the darkness. But the last four weeks have changed everything, as so many women have shared similar stories, of which the press have belatedly taken heed.

Then there’s Chloe Goins:

One woman in particular who will sit down with LAPD is Chloe Goins. The 24-year-old model recently claimed that Cosby, now 77, spiked her drink and attacked her back in 2008 at the Playboy Mansion.

“I have had lengthy communications with the Los Angeles Police Department and there is now a definitive open investigation which is ongoing for, it’s my understanding, not only with Chloe’s case but other unnamed victims who have yet to be revealed publicly,” Mr. Kuvin added. “They want to get all their information first before sitting down and having an interview with Chloe about her incident. This is scheduled to happen early in the new year.”

Another woman, by the name of Lisa, has also come forward:

In an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil, Lisa speaks out for the first time about her alleged experience as a 21-year-old aspiring model when she says Cosby offered to help her career. She joins more than 20 women who have come forward in the media claiming that the legendary actor drugged and/or sexually assaulted them years ago.

“I was very excited to go and see him. I was star struck. I felt invincible. I couldn’t believe that he wanted to see me,” Lisa tells Dr. Phil. “I got to the hotel, he was a gentlemen and he was respectful and kind. And he seemed very interested in me, and that made me feel very secure in seeing him again … My mother trusted Bill completely.”

But Lisa claims he ended up betraying that trust during a mentoring session in his hotel suite.

 […]

“He made a second drink and had me drink the second drink as well,” she recalls. “I noticed myself getting a little dizzy. Bill had sat down on the edge of the couch. He said, ‘Come over here and have a seat.’ And he had his legs open and when I sat down, I was sitting down in between his legs with my back to his crotch. And he started to stroke my hair back in a petting motion like this. The last thing I remember is just feeling the strokes on my head. After that, I don’t remember anything else.”

Dr. Phil asks, “Do you know if he molested you in some way, do you know, you don’t really know what did happen?”

“No,” responds Lisa, who says she is coming forward after Janice Dickinson’s allegations against Cosby made Lisa concerned for what may have happened to her.

Cosby has remained largely silent in the face of these allegations, apparently at the behest of his lawyers. He did speak up recently with some advice for black media:

Bill Cosby broke his silence Friday, albeit briefly, to lecture the media on remaining “neutral” and to say that his wife is standing by him.

Reached at his Massachusetts home, the star declined to address the rape and sex abuse allegations from an ever-growing list of women that now includes supermodel Beverly Johnson.

Instead, Cosby, 77, said that the African-American media — for which this reporter often writes — should be impartial.

“Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind,” Cosby said.

Two thoughts:

1- A ‘neutral mind’? In the articles I’ve read about the ever-mounting allegations, I haven’t seen the media taking sides. I’ve seen them interviewing the women who have stepped forward with these claims. I guess in Cosby’s eyes, the mere fact that the media is reporting on the subject somehow shows a bias against him.  That’s not true in the slightest.  His call for black media to have a neutral mind sounds to me like someone who wants to silence the women who have bravely stepped forward.

2- In the wake of these allegations, Cosby has been pressed by the media, but aside from his lawyers dismissing the accusations as preposterous, he’s said nothing of substance. He hasn’t personally refuted these women, and even if he did, his word shouldn’t (and in my eyes doesn’t) outweigh even one of these women, let alone 24 of them.  I suspect he’s gambling on the affection the black community has for him, hoping that the love of Cliff Huxtable…the love of the guy who created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids…the love of the guy who criticizes black men for wearing their pants “down around the crack”…all that love is enough for people to dismiss the charges against him.  Can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s not the case for me.  It doesn’t matter what accomplishments he has. It doesn’t matter how popular he is. It doesn’t matter how beloved he is. At the end of the day this is a question of whether or not to believe the accusations against him.  Me, I believe them.

3 more women come forward with accusations against Bill Cosby

Thin ain’t the only pretty

They say that beauty is subjective.  That ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. And yes, that’s true–on an individual level. When you expand your view to look at society as a whole, it becomes apparent that in the United States, on a wider, cultural level, the messages and images people receive overwhelmingly say “this is the standard of beauty”. And that standard doesn’t have a wide range.  If you don’t believe me, do a Google image search for women’s magazine’s and look at the results. Then do the same thing for men’s magazines. The models used by those companies reinforce narrow standards of beauty. Newsstands are hardly the only place where conventional standards of beauty reign supreme. Look at the big and small screens.  Think of the actors and actresses that you see on any given tv show or movie. Overwhelmingly, they fit well within socially approved standards of beauty. Then look at comics books. Or video games. Or the covers of romance novels. Or the images of men and women on billboards across the country. Or travel magazines.  Or restaurants like Hooters or Twin Peaks. I could go on.

One of the messages reinforced throughout society is the idea that thinner is better and fat is bad.  Plus-size men and women are routinely denigrated and told “you’d be nicer looking if you weren’t so big” or “you have a pretty face for a big person”. All that shaming does is reinforce to the target that there is something wrong with them. That they are a bad or broken person because they don’t fit conventional beauty standards.

Inspired by the experiments of Esther Honig (who asked 40 people from across the world to make her look beautiful) and Priscilla Yuki Wilson (who conducted a similar experiment to Honig’s to find out how editors would Photoshop a biracial woman), Marie Southard Ospina decided to conduct her own experiment.

Marie Southard Ospina

Having grown up predominantly in the first world, I’m aware that in countries like the U.S. or the U.K. being fat is (although quite common) perceived as an inherently negative thing. Stereotypes include, but are not limited to: laziness, selfishness, stupidity, naiveté and even a lower socioeconomic class. But I’m also aware that the notion of “thin is the only beautiful” doesn’t permeate the entirety of the world. When I first heard of the Ugandan Hima Tribe, I remember being amazed to learn how much beauty they see in a larger woman — and that being fat is still considered a sign of prosperity, health, wealth and/or grace. Just as it was to Peter Paul Rubens, and just as it still is to painter Fernando Botero or illustrators like Sara M. Lyons.

And so, inspired by Honig and Yuki, and my own perceptions of weight and beauty, I decided to replicate their original experiments — with a plus-sized twist.

THE EXPERIMENT

The relationship between weight and beauty is quite obviously one that varies from person to person — so when we begin discussing it in terms of nation to nation, lines get blurred. That being said, I was so fascinated by these women’s work that I became increasingly curious as to how editors would treat a photo of me if asked to edit it, what with my chubby cheeks, double chin, thick shoulders and chest and rounder, fuller face. What would they do with these traits? Would they all slim me down in the aid of “making me look beautiful”? Would they fiddle with my messy hair? How would they see me, as a plus-size woman, and how would they “fix” me? What would they make of my face without makeup, in its tired, “just woke up” state? One editor said, “You have weird face. I make better,” whilst another asked me, “Are you a porn?” But overall, each Photoshop “expert” (a term I use loosely as some editors were newbies/rookies, whilst others had decades of experience), took well to the task at hand. All I asked was for them to make me look beautiful, whilst keeping in mind the looks they see in the fashion/beauty mags of their countries. They were each compensated with $5-30, the amount always set by the editor him/herself. And so, here’s what “beauty” means to all of them.

Here are some of the results:

Australia

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Vietnam

Latvia

United States

Overall, Ostina felt positively about the experience, noting that many of the editors preserved her natural beauty.

Regardless, the experiment offered a lot more editors in favor of “preserving natural beauty” than I would have imagined, and so I feel extremely positive about its results. Maybe this is a sign that things are changing for the better (I mean, Refinery 29’s “25 Real Photos of Women’s Breasts” remains a super important and needed show of realistic bodies, and realistic beauty). Or maybe it’s a sign that I got predominantly friendly, natural-beauty-favoring photographers. Ultimately, there was far less body snark and unspoken body shaming through these photo edits than I first assumed there would be. I won’t assume that all of the photographers are as pro-plus-size as I am, but maybe natural beauty is making a comeback. And I, for one, would be greatly pleased if this was the case. Not because putting on makeup or doing my hair is that much of a hassle. But because I’ve always wanted to live in a society in which freckles and moles and double chins and natural wrinkles were embraced, rather than hidden away and caked in foundation.

One interesting thing: Ostina wore a towel to see if and how editors would alter parts of her body other than her face. Four of them decided to put clothes on her.  What message does that send? That she’s only beautiful if she puts on clothes? That fat people can’t be naked and beautiful? That there is something wrong with women’s bodies? Me, I’m going with all of the above.

(hat tip to Buzzfeed)

Thin ain’t the only pretty

Thin ain't the only pretty

They say that beauty is subjective.  That ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. And yes, that’s true–on an individual level. When you expand your view to look at society as a whole, it becomes apparent that in the United States, on a wider, cultural level, the messages and images people receive overwhelmingly say “this is the standard of beauty”. And that standard doesn’t have a wide range.  If you don’t believe me, do a Google image search for women’s magazine’s and look at the results. Then do the same thing for men’s magazines. The models used by those companies reinforce narrow standards of beauty. Newsstands are hardly the only place where conventional standards of beauty reign supreme. Look at the big and small screens.  Think of the actors and actresses that you see on any given tv show or movie. Overwhelmingly, they fit well within socially approved standards of beauty. Then look at comics books. Or video games. Or the covers of romance novels. Or the images of men and women on billboards across the country. Or travel magazines.  Or restaurants like Hooters or Twin Peaks. I could go on.

One of the messages reinforced throughout society is the idea that thinner is better and fat is bad.  Plus-size men and women are routinely denigrated and told “you’d be nicer looking if you weren’t so big” or “you have a pretty face for a big person”. All that shaming does is reinforce to the target that there is something wrong with them. That they are a bad or broken person because they don’t fit conventional beauty standards.

Inspired by the experiments of Esther Honig (who asked 40 people from across the world to make her look beautiful) and Priscilla Yuki Wilson (who conducted a similar experiment to Honig’s to find out how editors would Photoshop a biracial woman), Marie Southard Ospina decided to conduct her own experiment.

Marie Southard Ospina

Having grown up predominantly in the first world, I’m aware that in countries like the U.S. or the U.K. being fat is (although quite common) perceived as an inherently negative thing. Stereotypes include, but are not limited to: laziness, selfishness, stupidity, naiveté and even a lower socioeconomic class. But I’m also aware that the notion of “thin is the only beautiful” doesn’t permeate the entirety of the world. When I first heard of the Ugandan Hima Tribe, I remember being amazed to learn how much beauty they see in a larger woman — and that being fat is still considered a sign of prosperity, health, wealth and/or grace. Just as it was to Peter Paul Rubens, and just as it still is to painter Fernando Botero or illustrators like Sara M. Lyons.

And so, inspired by Honig and Yuki, and my own perceptions of weight and beauty, I decided to replicate their original experiments — with a plus-sized twist.

THE EXPERIMENT

The relationship between weight and beauty is quite obviously one that varies from person to person — so when we begin discussing it in terms of nation to nation, lines get blurred. That being said, I was so fascinated by these women’s work that I became increasingly curious as to how editors would treat a photo of me if asked to edit it, what with my chubby cheeks, double chin, thick shoulders and chest and rounder, fuller face. What would they do with these traits? Would they all slim me down in the aid of “making me look beautiful”? Would they fiddle with my messy hair? How would they see me, as a plus-size woman, and how would they “fix” me? What would they make of my face without makeup, in its tired, “just woke up” state? One editor said, “You have weird face. I make better,” whilst another asked me, “Are you a porn?” But overall, each Photoshop “expert” (a term I use loosely as some editors were newbies/rookies, whilst others had decades of experience), took well to the task at hand. All I asked was for them to make me look beautiful, whilst keeping in mind the looks they see in the fashion/beauty mags of their countries. They were each compensated with $5-30, the amount always set by the editor him/herself. And so, here’s what “beauty” means to all of them.

Here are some of the results:

Australia

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Vietnam

Latvia

United States

Overall, Ostina felt positively about the experience, noting that many of the editors preserved her natural beauty.

Regardless, the experiment offered a lot more editors in favor of “preserving natural beauty” than I would have imagined, and so I feel extremely positive about its results. Maybe this is a sign that things are changing for the better (I mean, Refinery 29’s “25 Real Photos of Women’s Breasts” remains a super important and needed show of realistic bodies, and realistic beauty). Or maybe it’s a sign that I got predominantly friendly, natural-beauty-favoring photographers. Ultimately, there was far less body snark and unspoken body shaming through these photo edits than I first assumed there would be. I won’t assume that all of the photographers are as pro-plus-size as I am, but maybe natural beauty is making a comeback. And I, for one, would be greatly pleased if this was the case. Not because putting on makeup or doing my hair is that much of a hassle. But because I’ve always wanted to live in a society in which freckles and moles and double chins and natural wrinkles were embraced, rather than hidden away and caked in foundation.

One interesting thing: Ostina wore a towel to see if and how editors would alter parts of her body other than her face. Four of them decided to put clothes on her.  What message does that send? That she’s only beautiful if she puts on clothes? That fat people can’t be naked and beautiful? That there is something wrong with women’s bodies? Me, I’m going with all of the above.

(hat tip to Buzzfeed)

Thin ain't the only pretty

City living

During the opening of his performance at Seattle’s Key Arena, legendary artist Stevie Wonder weighs in on the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

(here are the lyrics)

“Living For The City”

“A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong moving in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city.

His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floor for many
And you’d best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city..

His sister’s black but she is sho ’nuff pretty
Her skirt is short but Lord her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she’s got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the city.

Her brother’s smart he’s got more sense than many
His patience’s long but soon he won’t have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
Cause where he lives they don’t use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city…
Living just enough…
For the city..
[repeat several times]

His hair is long, his feet are hard and gritty
He spends his love walking the streets of New York City
He’s almost dead from breathing on air pollution
He tried to vote but to him there’s no solution
Living just enough, just enough for the city.

I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
This place is cruel no where could be much colder
If we don’t change the world will soon be over
Living just enough, just enough for the city.”

City living

The Fabulous Art of Steve Rude

You can check out more art from Steve Rude on his Facebook page.

The Fabulous Art of Steve Rude