White USAmericans need their own Ghandi or MLK

The face oppression in all 50 states.

They face remarkable levels of discrimination.

In all areas of society they are underrepresented.

In all walks of life, they face increasing marginalization and victimization.

No, I’m not speaking of Black people. Or Asians. Or Hispanics. No, the group under attack…the one most in need of help…of being saved…that group is white people.

Please refrain from laughing.

Yes, here in the United States in 2015, white people face a grave, grave danger. One so monumental that white nationalist group American Renaissance recently held a debate on whether or not the “race problem” in the U.S. could be solved “within the U.S. political system”. The debate was held during their annual convention last month in Tennessee and featured several swell folks, including a fringe racist figure (but who cares about that, since racism is over in this country), a former KKK attorney (who probably lets black people use his restroom), and a few mainstream conservatives (I’ve heard they’re all really wonderful people):

Last month, the white nationalist group American Renaissanceheld its annual conference in Tennessee, bringing together fringe racist figures like AmRen’s Jared Taylor, the National Policy Institute’s Richard Spencer, and former Klan attorney Sam Dickson with activists who have ties with more mainstream conservative movements, including former National Review columnist John Derbyshire and onetime CPAC speaker Peter Brimelow.

American Renaissance is tied to the leadership of ProEnglish, a regular sponsor of groups such as CPAC.

The event included a debate about whether “the race problem” can be solved within “the U.S. political system,” with Brimelow and Derbyshire arguing that it can, and Spencer and Dickson arguing that it cannot.

Spencer argued that white Americans are becoming marginalized and victimized by an increasing non-white population, a problem that can only be confronted by finding “a white-advocate Martin Luther King or a white-advocate Gandhi” who can similarly “start from a position of weakness and capture people’s imagination.”

Again I say: no laughing

Yes white people are being marginalized and victimized, and a look at some statistics shows how awful it is for white people in the United States:

  • The majority of police officers are white
  • 65% of politicians are white
  • In the boardroom, corporate CEOs are overwhelmingly white
  • Of the more than 1.2 million licensed lawyers in the U.S., 88% are white
  • In the physician workforce white people again make up the majority racial demographic
  • Roughly 82% of public school teachers are white
  • The vast majority of journalists are white
  • More than 89% of those who receive lead roles in films, 87% of film directors, 92% of film writers, and 94% of lead actors in broadcast comedies or dramas are white (source)
  • Nearly 77% of active circuit court judges, roughly 90% of senior circuit court judges, almost 75% of active district court judges, and almost 90% of senior district court judges are white (source)
  • The vast majority of credited, solicited creators of comic books at Marvel and DC (the largest comic book publishers in the U.S.) are white
  • White people are the majority racial demographic among Major League Baseball rosters
  • Among college and university presidents, white people dominate
  • In 2011, white people made up 79% of instructional faculty members in U.S. colleges
  • By a landslide, the majority of business owners are white

I could go on and on (and on and on) about the plight of white people in this country. They are clearly being pushed to the fringes, have diminished representation in all walks of life, and wield an ever-shrinking amount of political and economic power. How anyone can look at the above figures and reach any conclusion other than white people are marginalized, oppressed, and discriminated against due to their race is beyond me. Clearly they need an inspirational figure…someone like a Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr…to capture people’s imaginations and work to address the social, political, and economic inequality facing white USAmericans.

 Ok, now you can laugh.

Disclaimer: the mockery contained in this post (yes, it was mockery) is aimed at the idea that white people face oppression, marginalization, discrimination, and/or inequality because they are white. Other factors, such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, and class do indeed affect white people (on the whole though, they are affected to a lesser degree than People of Color, bc contrary to people who think like Bill ‘domestic abuser’ O’Reilly, white privilege does exist), but again, none of that is because they are white.

White USAmericans need their own Ghandi or MLK

The bible is no guide to morality

As the United States Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, poll after poll after poll demonstrates that the majority of U.S. citizens support the extension of marriage rights to LGB people. Nevertheless, bigots across the country are apoplectic at the idea that two men or two women may soon be able to marry in all 50 states. 2016 Presidential hopeful and all-round shithead Ted Cruz thinks that “gay marriage” (which is different from “hetero- marriage”…not) is the greatest threat to religious liberty in USAmerican history. The vile End Times radio host Rick Wiles thinks that god is sending drought and famine to California to punish the US for “gay marriage” and abortion (such a nice guy, that Yahweh, to increase the suffering of humanity). Anti-gay bigot Phyllis Schlafly thinks the goal of “gay marriage” is to wipe out the Christian religion (in her world there’s no such thing as a gay Christian or non-gay Christians who support marriage equality). Rafael Cruz, father of the aforementioned bigot Ted Cruz, thinks that “gay marriage” is part of a plot to destroy America. On his hate-filled site Barbwire, Matt Barber says that a SCOTUS ruling in favor of marriage equality will-I kid you not-spark a revolution. Meanwhile, Pastor Jim Garlow (one of the key leaders in the passage of California’s Proposition 8) says that the anti-gay right will become ::snicker:: an underground resistance movement. Alan Keyes thinks that “gay marriage”, like climate change, will lead to the destruction of humanity. Cliff Kincaid thinks marriage equality puts us on ‘the road to ruin‘, James Dobson (of hate group Focus on the Family) and Tony Perkins (of yet another hate group, the Family Research Council) both think “gay marriage” signals the “fall of western civilization” , and conservative commentator Robert Knight thinks that gay people are “stealing the moral capital of marriage“, whatever the fuck that means. All of that is just a small sample of the ridiculous rhetoric of the Radical Religious Right.

Whether it’s “the Bible says homosexuality is immoral and we all should follow the Bible because reasons” or “traditional marriage, as found in the Bible, is the only permissible form of marriage”, homophobes in the U.S. frequently (though not exclusively) cite the Bible to justify their bigotry. They view that religious tome as a guide to morality that all humans should follow and that U.S. laws should be based upon. The problem with that is the Bible is anything but a guide to morality.

I’ll let Betty Bowers explain why there is no such thing as ‘biblically-defined traditional marriage’:

Secondly, to those individuals who believe that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” should form the basis of laws in this country, let me introduce you to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution:

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

So no-Christian beliefs should not be the basis for laws in this country as that would favor the Christian religion over others. Also, requiring all citizens of the U.S. to adhere to the tenets of Christianity would be a violation of the First Amendment right of all citizens to believe and worship (or not) as they choose.

With regard to the belief held by bigots that the Bible is a (or the) source of morality, I have one thing to say: you folks have a completely fucked-up view of morality. To you, morality is all about following the rules laid out by your deity. These rules are many and varied, and include prohibitions on worshiping other gods, working on the Sabbath, wearing clothing of mixed fibers, eating shellfish, and masturbation. Biblical rules also call for unruly children to be stoned, for wives to be subservient to their husbands, for women to be silent in church, for rape victims to marry their rapists, for Christians to kill anyone who holds different religious beliefs, for the execution of anyone who doesn’t listen to a priest or judge, and much more (the Skeptics Annotated Bible has an extensive list of the various forms of injustice found in the Bible). Meanwhile, the god of the Bible condones slavery, rape, and genocide (and note the absence of two of the three from the 10 Commandments, which are wrongly cited by many as the foundation for laws in this country). I daresay that most rational people hold that slavery, rape, and genocide are bad things (and if you don’t, please get as far away from other human beings as possible). Immoral things even. And therein lies the problem with claiming the Bible is a (or the) source of morality–all manner of horrific actions are condoned in that tome while completely innocuous actions are condemned (all because Yahweh says so). And yes, I’m aware that many people recognize the barbaric nature of many Old Testament teachings, and prefer to focus on the teachings of the New Testament. Leaving aside the fact that many believers do not do this, there is still a big problem-original sin. The doctrine of original sin punishes humanity for the actions of Adam and Eve. I can’t fathom how anyone could argue that it is moral to punish people for actions they did not commit and I feel the doctrine of original sin is deeply unjust. Whether it’s the Old or New Testament, there is no coherent set of guidelines or principles in the Bible which people can use to decide whether a given action is moral or immoral. As such, the Bible is neither A, nor THE, source of morality, and should not be consulted in deciding which actions are moral or not.

As I alluded to, I believe that rape, slavery, and genocide are immoral, but what do I mean by that? What does it mean for an action or behavior to be immoral? I define morality as principles that help us distinguish between right/wrong or good/bad behavior with an eye to engaging in behavior that is right/good. A starting point for identifying the rightness or wrongness of a particular action ought to be something like “Will this course of action result in others being harmed?” rather than “What does this religious book say?” With the vast majority of humans living in societies in which they have to regularly interact with others, it is vitally important that codes of conduct be established to regulate those interactions to ensure that all (or most, given that criminals do exist) people are able to live in relative harmony with one another while maintaining the freedom to engage in activities they desire. Hence legal prohibitions on theft, assault, battery, rape, or murder. Such actions bring demonstrable harm to their victims, harm that most people would prefer to avoid. Of course, any discussion of morality as it relates to the law must acknowledge and address the existence of immoral laws (slavery was once legal in the U.S. as was marital rape until the 1980s), so I won’t pretend that the above is anything close to a final word on morality. I do think that viewing morality through the lens of “will this action/behavior impact others” provides a better framework for deciding the moral nature of a given action than consulting the Bible.

Under this (admittedly underdeveloped and provisional) system of morality, actions that result in harm to others should be avoided. The key word there is ‘actions‘ (or you can substitute ‘behavior‘). As with heterosexuality, homosexuality is a facet of one’s identity, not an action or behavior (contrary to misinformed anti-gay bigots, being gay is not the same thing as engaging in gay sex)Therefore, there is no need to question whether it is moral or not. In fact, I do not believe there is a moral component to human sexuality. It is neither right nor wrong. The issue of marriage equality is a bit different as marriage involves actions and behaviors between people, so theoretically there could be a moral component to the issue. Do same-sex marriages result in harm being inflicted upon others? Bigots claim they do and often cite the infamous Regnerus study to support their belief that children raised by same-sex parents are harmed by having gay parents. Aside from the fact that marriage is not inherently about having or raising children, new research not only debunks that study (again), it also shows that children living with same-sex parents demonstrate “comparable outcome profiles to those from other family types, including intact biological families.” Just imagine me giving a middle finger to all the homophobes out there.

You’d think that demonstrating the errors in their logic or pointing out the flawed nature of their evidence would be enough to cause bigots to rethink their views. Sadly, that’s not the case. Not only do they have a deathgrip on their dogmatic beliefs, they also hold a great deal of power and influence in this country. While that influence has waned in the 37 states where same-sex marriage is legal, 13 states still refuse to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. That’s due in no small part to the opponents of marriage equality who continue to marshal their time, energy, and resources to prevent LGB people from having the right to enter into legally recognized marriages. That’s why this matter has come before the Supreme Court. Hopefully, come June, the justices will make the correct decision and bring LGB people one step closer to equality.

The bible is no guide to morality

Police Behaving Badly 5.20.15

From the use of excessive force to stealing drugs from suspects…from racial profiling to abusing the power of their badges…from sexually assaulting suspects to planting evidence…there is a never-ending stream of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the nation:

YouTube video shows undercover JPSO deputy punching teen in Metairie

JPSO Col. John Fortunato confirmed the incident happened Friday evening in the Lakeside Mall parking lot after a parade in Metairie.

The YouTube video begins with 17-year-old Brady Becker being held down on the ground by a man who has his hand around the teen’s throat. Moments later, the situation escalates when the man begins punching Becker in the face.

Becker was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries. The JPSO booked the teen on complaints of possession of alcohol by a minor, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and inciting a riot after his release.

Fortunato said the altercation ensued after an apparent encounter with Becker and his friends as they were returning to their car in the parking garage. He said the undercover deputy was one of many who were working parade routes that evening.

WDSU contacted Becker’s mother, who said the teen did not know the undercover officer was with the JPSO and was sticking up for his friend. He admits to pushing one of the deputies because he was not aware of their position.

The circumstances leading up to the altercation remain unclear.

I hate that I think of this when incidents like this happen, but it’s a good thing Becker isn’t black, because he probably wouldn’t be alive.

* * * *

NYPD cop tries to arrest girl for arguing with him-community stops him (video)

The incident happened on May 14th in Washington Heights, when Michael Barber of the Copwatch Patrol Unit (CPU, an organization that films police activity) recorded a plain-clothes officer grabbing at a 14-year-old girl during an attempt to arresther for doing nothing. According to the allegations, the teen was under arrest for arguing with the officer after a child she was with (who witnesses say couldn’t have been more than 7 years old), had pushed a police call box’s button.


Witnessing the officer’s inappropriate handling of the situation, a furious woman from the community steps in and tells the officer that he is wrong to put his hands on a 14-year-old child. She defends the girls’ rights and repeatedly demands to know the officers’ names. She instructs the two girls being harassed that their parents must be told what the officers did to them.

The officer retreats back to his car, but at 6:20, he jumps out again and makes another attempt to arrest one of the girls. She tries to run away but the cop closes in on her – and that’s when several witnesses jump between the frightened teen and officer. They are successful in fending the officer off, but he makes another move at the 7:11 mark to snatch the girl. A woman jumps in and saves the teen one last time as bystanders yell at the cops, telling them to leave and respect the community. Fortunately, the cops give up.

Barber didn’t want to release this video at first, but he knew that it was important to defend innocent youth against the hands of police – especially now that so many children have died because of inappropriate action and police brutality. Barber told The Free Thought Project:

“I was scared to put up this video at first because I was not sure if it would get the cops in trouble or the community but everyone was wrong at some point.”

By posting this video, Barber shows that shows a community courageously defending its own against injustice and holding police officers accountable for their actions. The text accompanying the video says it all:

“We must protect our youths. This is a clear example of what people power is all about. These cops try to arrest these young girls for no reason at all and the community stepped up and did not allow it. These male officers had no right to put their hands on these girls, but they did anyway. These officers did not follow proper procedures and protocols.”

CPU’s video caption emphasizes the fact that those officers had no right – or reason – to arrest the girls. It might seem outrageous that a police officer would do such a thing, but cops often arrest people even when they’re not committing a crime. Even more troubling? They usually get away with it – and have been getting away with it for quite some time.

Supporting this data is a 2006 lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union accusing the Baltimore police for arresting thousands on made-up or extremely mild charges. Even in cases where there has been a false arrest, being able to hold officers accountable is a rarity. There are few consequences, and litigation can take years.

* * * *

This video highlights the vastly different treatment of a white person openly carrying a firearm and a black person doing the same thing:

According to the video, both men were carrying the exact same gun in the exact same area.

Walking down the street with an AR-15 strapped to his hip, a single officer approaches the white man. He’s briefly questioned, before being allowed to proceed on his way.

What happens when a Black man tries that?

The first cop who spots him exits his vehicle, gun drawn. He orders the Black gun owner to lie face down on the ground. He then orders the man’s wife, who is seven months pregnant and filming the encounter, to lay on the ground as well.

Although the Black gun owner is repeating the exact same legal arguments that the white man used during his encounter with law enforcement, the officer dealing with the Black man is obviously terrified. He calls for backup. Within moments no less than four cop cars are on the scene.

* * * *

Miami officers investigated over racist, crude emails

Sixteen Miami Beach police officers are under investigation after exchanging racist and pornographic emails, officials said on Thursday.

Some of the emails included cartoon characters making offensive remarks and another featured a fictionalised board game called “Black Monopoly”, in which every square said “go to jail”.

“Minorities and women were being demeaned in these emails that were sent between the officers, nude photographs were passed around and emails portraying offensive sexual acts were disseminated,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters.

Two of the accused officers in Florida are no longer with the force – one retired last year and another was fired this week in connection with the email incident. The two were the main instigators, authorities said.

The emails were sent to both personal and work accounts, and there were hundreds of messages exchanged in total, the Miami Herald reported.

In one instance, agents passed around an autopsy photo of a man controversially shot dead by police in 2011. Officials said they were investigating whether sending the picture was a criminal act.

This is from a news source in South Africa.  Which shows, once again, that the world is paying attention to the ongoing problem of police brutality in this country. I’m sure they’re noticing that nothing of significance is being done about the problem either  (I don’t consider mandatory body cams an example of significant action being taken to reduce police brutality because it doesn’t address the underlying issues contributing to said brutality).

* * * *

How in the world are there still cops in the U.S. unaware of the right of citizens to film interactions with the police?

A trucker driving through Georgia was stopped by WCSO deputy J. Rozier. In an effort to hold his detaining officer accountable, Carl Eastman, decided to film his traffic stop.

Eastman is cordial as he approaches the back of his tractor-trailer to speak with deputy Rozier. After the two greet each other, Rozier realizes that he is being held accountable by Eastman’s camera; he did not like this.

As Rozier asks for Eastman’s bill of lading and ID, he then asks him if he’d mind putting down his camera.

“I have the right to record,” explains Eastman.

But this Georgia deputy was apparently unfamiliar with the first amendment and began to threaten Eastman if he did not stop recording.

“I’m gonna ask you one more time or you gonna be charged with disorderly conduct,” says Rozier as he unlawfully threatens to arrest a man for practicing what has been deemed a right by multiple courts.

Eastman then attempts to put the camera down and leave it recording, but Rozier is adamant and continues his barrage.

“I’mma ask you nicely one more time to put that phone up,” says Rozier as he deals the final death blow to Eastman’s freedom of speech.

It has been clearly established that all Americans have the right to record the police. For an officer of the law to remain willingly ignorant to this precedent is at best, dereliction of duty, and at worst, unlawful deprivation of rights. Either way Deputy Rozier was completely in the wrong.

Police Behaving Badly 5.20.15

Comic book news from the big screen to the small screen

We’re definitely at a point where the public perception of comic book characters has shifted. For years, people looked down on comic books, thinking them for kids, and mocking or ridiculing adults who enjoy them. That’s changed with the success of comic book movies like the Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man, and Avengers (I’d like to point out that even if comic books were “for kids”, that still wouldn’t excuse shaming an adult for enjoying them; social rules that dictate what adults should or shouldn’t enjoy annoy the piss out of me). That cultural shift has resulted in a growing interest in comic book properties on the part of Hollywood executives.  Here’s some juicy news about several of those properties:

Robin. Starfire. Raven. Changeling. Cyborg. Kid Flash. Wonder Girl. Under the pen of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez, they were the New Teen Titans, one of DC Comics’ most popular titles in the 80s. This era appears to be the source of inspiration for the in-development Titans series on TNT:

Announced back in September, not much has been officially confirmed about the pilot, which follows a group of young superheroes led by Dick Grayson aka Batman’s sidekick Robin, who is fated to become Nightwing. Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) penned the pilot with Marc Haimes, and Nerdist.com has reported that the titular team will also include Barbara Gordon, Hawk/Hank Hall and Dove/Dawn Granger, Raven/Rachel Roth and the alien princess Starfire.

Asked for a status report on the project, Reilly told TVLine at TNT’s Upfronts luncheon, “Akiva’s been very busy doing some other things,” but it’s his hope that “maybe this summer” they will lock casting and ramp up production.

After all, the small screen hardly has been lacking for comic books-based fare. So there is a concerted effort for TNT to take its time and make this series unique.

“I sat down with Akiva and said — and he ultimately agreed — that the [TV] landscape right now is well-serviced on the superhero front. So what space is this going to inhabit?” Reilly related. “And really what he wants to do is be very true” to the source material.

Written by Tom Kapinos (“Californication”) and directed by Len Wiseman (“Underworld”), the pilot stars Tom Ellis (“Once Upon a Time,” “Doctor Who”) as the Lord of Hell who, bored and unhappy, resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for Los Angeles. There, he gets his kicks helping the police punish criminals.

I hope he doesn’t assist the cops in brutalizing racial minorities like many of them do in the real world.

Ellis is joined by Lauren German as Det. Chloe Dancer, Rachael Harris as Kim Martin, DB Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze, Nicholas Gonzalez as Dan and Scarlett Estevez as Trixie.

Here’s the trailer:

* * * *

Suicide Squad director David Ayer recently Tweeted an image of the cast of the upcoming movie, minus Jared Leto as the Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.

For those that aren’t familiar with this DC property, the basic idea is that a government agency (Task Force X) offers freedom to supervillains in exchange for performing dangerous missions for them. Mark your calendars for August 5, 2016 for the release of Suicide Squad.

* * * *

Spinning out of Arrow and the Flash comes Legends of Tomorrow, set to debut on the CW as part of their fall 2015 mid-season lineup. Here’s the synopsis for the 13-episode series:

When heroes alone are not enough… the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat — one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known? DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW stars Victor Garber (“The Flash,” “Alias”); Brandon Routh (“Arrow,” “Superman Returns”); Arthur Darvill (“Doctor Who”); Caity Lotz (“Arrow”); Ciarra Renee (“Pippin”); Franz Drameh (“Edge of Tomorrow”); with Dominic Purcell (“The Flash,” “Prison Break”); and Wentworth Miller (“The Flash,” “Prison Break”). Based on the characters from DC Comics, DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” upcoming “Pan”), Marc Guggenheim (“Arrow,” “Eli Stone,” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”), Andrew Kreisberg (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Eli Stone,” “Warehouse 13”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” upcoming “Pan”).

And here’s a first-look trailer (they haven’t filmed the pilot episode yet):

Oh, and that immortal threat they’ll be battling? This guy:

* * * *

Over at Marvel, or to be more accurate, FOX Studios, we have confirmation of an X-Men spinoff movie, the New Mutants:

20th Century Fox‘s “X-Men” film franchise is expanding — Josh Boone is signed to direct and co-write “The New Mutants,” sharing a title with the Marvel comic that first debuted in 1982.

“We’re so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters,” X-Men franchise veteran and “New Mutants” producer Simon Kinberg tells Deadline.

Boone, director of massive 2014 hit “The Fault in Our Stars,” is set to co-write with Knate Gwaltney, who wrote upcoming thriller “Kidnap” (starring X-Men franchise vet Halle Berry) and worked on several “Jackass” productions. Kinberg will produce with Lauren Shuler Donner, who has worked on all of Fox’s X-Men films.

“The New Mutants” looks to be a couple years away, as Boone has been linked to “The Vampire Chronicles” (based on the work of Anne Rice) and “The Stand” (an adaptation of the Stephen King novel). Deadline states he’d been targeted by Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios for the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, though he wasn’t on the reported shortlist of choices that surfaced last week.

No details have yet been released as to which New Mutants the film will feature, though Deadline describes the film as starring “a new crop of mutant characters born with special powers.” The original New Mutants team, introduced by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeodin 1982’s “Marvel Graphic Novel” #4, consisted of Cannonball, Karma, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Sunspot and Wolfsbane; new, teenaged students at Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

* * * *

Via Bleeding Cool, here’s an extended trailer for Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, to be released on July 17:

* * * *

Last up is sad but predictable news. Following the release of the untitled Wolverine 3 in 2017, Hugh Jackman says he’s done playing the iconic character:

Oddly enough, the actor who once starred in “The Boy from Oz” on Broadway dropped the news he won’t be reprising his role as the Marvel superhero in future films after the 2017 movie during an appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show” Friday.

“This will be my last one,” the 46-year-old actor said. “It is my last time, I just felt … It felt like it was the right time to do it. And, let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last this long. I’m so grateful to the fans and for the opportunity of playing him, and I love it. I kind of have, in my head, what we’re going to do in this last one, and it just feels like this is the perfect way to go out.”

To date, Jackman has played Wolverine in all films constituting the “X-Men” franchise, including two movies that focused only on the titular character with a metal skeleton, razor-sharp claws and a healing factor. According to Entertainment Weekly, Jackman is expected to reprise his role first in “Apocalypse” and then in the third “Wolverine” flick, giving him a total of nine turns as the gruff Canadian since his 2000 debut.

I wonder how FOX Studios will handle this going forward. Given the popularity of Wolverine and the association of Jackman with the character, finding a replacement might be as difficult as replacing Heath Ledger as the Joker (we’ll see how Jared Leto does).

Comic book news from the big screen to the small screen

Women are not from Mars and men are not from Venus

For the first time in the history of Austin, Tx, the City Council has a female majority. Including the mayor, the 10-member City Council now has seven women and four men. Woo-hoo! Chalk up another win for gender parity in politics. Sadly, the city manager’s office felt that the presence of so many women might present difficulties for the city staffers who regularly interact with members of the City Council. A two-hour training session was set up to teach the city staff members how to properly talk to women.

The first speaker was Jonathan K. Allen, who was a city manager of the relatively small Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. Allen was considered an expert in this field because his local city commission was all-female.

An expert in talking to women. How the fuck do you even get to be an expert in that? Is that something you can get a college degree in? Are there any female experts on the subject of talking to men? Argh, already I just know this is going to be stupid beyond belief. But here goes:

Women ask lots of questions. He learned a valuable lesson on communicating with women from his 11-year-old daughter, who peppered him with questions while they were on the way to volleyball. “In a matter of 15 seconds, I got 10 questions that I had to patiently respond to,” Allen said. Allen says female City Council members are less likely to read agenda information and instead ask questions. He says it’s tempting to just tell them to read the packet, but “my daughter taught me the importance of being patient” even when they may already know the answer to the question.

Allen wastes no time generalizing and infantalizing women. Dude, 11-year-olds are not adults. It’s insulting to compare adult women to young girls. Moreover, the generalization is deeply insulting. It casts all women in the same mold, as if they’re one hivemind all acting exactly the same. They aren’t. Women are individuals, every bit as much as men are. I’m surprised this “expert” at talking to women doesn’t understand that.

Women don’t want to deal with numbers. Allen said in his city they used to have background information and financial analysis on the front pages of agenda forms. Allen says he normally would have presented the financial argument, but that his female commissioners would balk and say “Mr. Manager, I don’t want to hear about the financial argument, I want to hear about how this impacts the whole community.” He said that it may make good financial sense, but if he wants to get the votes, he has to present his arguments “in a totally different way.”

More generalizing. Even if I accept that the female commissioners he worked with didn’t like to deal with numbers (which is an outlandish idea to begin with), you simply cannot generalize that to every other woman, bc again, women are not a hivemind. Maybe some women don’t like to deal with numbers, but the same can be said of men. Ultimately though, I have a hard time believing that a political official-no matter what their sex-wouldn’t deal with numbers at some point in their career.

Women are taking over, Hillary Clinton will only encourage this. Allen talked about the general trend of more women getting involved in government, citing stats of more female mayors, for instance. “You see women in leadership positions…you will have to interact with them in a different way,” Allen said. “I submit to you if Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership position, if she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top.” He warns the staff to play nice with people on advisory boards or commissions because you never know when they become the elected official.

What a fucking non-sequitor. Hillary Clinton running for POTUS has fuck-all to do with how to talk to women. And yes, more women are participating in politics and holding leadership positions, but y’know what? They aren’t from Venus (just as men aren’t from Mars). They’re from here on Earth. They aren’t incomprehensible alien species who are difficult to talk to. They are human beings with the same diverse interests as men. Try viewing them as human beings, just like you do men, and there won’t be any difficulty at all in communicating with them. I manage to interact with and talk with women all the time and have zero problem doing so. It’s not rocket science, but the key is to first treat women as human beings. Allen clearly has difficulty with that.

The city also brought along Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart, who owns a business development and marketing firm, to offer some training, and her session touched on the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” philosophy

Yeah, because that philosophy has been such a boon for people. Sigh. Yes, there are biological differences between men and women, but these differences do not therefore mean that women and men are so vastly different that you need a damn handbook to tell you how to talk to them. If a group of women are discussing their favorite NHL team, treat them just as you would a group of men talking about their favorite NHL team. Stats, players, unnecessary roughness…this is stuff a group of fans are going to discuss irrespective of their sex. The key to this, once again, is to think of women as people. Not something “other”.

Openly acknowledge gender differences. Burt-Stewart says the author of the “Men are from Mars” book says men act on facts, women act on emotion. She also share such insights such as “Men have egos, women have wish lists,” and that men are more likely to use a “dominating” management style than women, who use a “compromising” style. Men think women ask too many questions, Burt-Stewart said, and women often don’t feel included. Men like acknowledgement, women want to be part of a team. Men, typically, communicate less often than females, she said.

Oh dear Osiris, more gender essentialist bullshit. Look, men don’t “act on facts” any more than women “act on emotion” (in reality, gender differences are not innate). Men and women both operate on facts and emotion to varying degrees depending upon the circumstances. Like Allen before her, Burt-Stewart is basing her advice on outdated gender stereotypes. These stereotypes influence many, many people, and are one of the many reasons feminism is still needed.

You must be as productive under this new leadership. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what she was getting at, but she seemed to be saying that women can be more work than men, that men are more to the point and women want longer conversations. “You are probably expected to be at 1,000 percent where it used to be 100 percent,” Burt-Stewart said.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but clearly she felt it was necessary to tell the city staffers that they should work just as hard for a majority female City Council as they did a majority male City Council. Why this was considered advice is beyond me. Did she think they wouldn’t work as hard? What on earth would give her this impression?


Here’s my advice to the city staffers, the city manager’s office, Jonathan K. Allen, Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart and anyone else who thinks women are difficult to talk to: when communicating with women, the important thing to remember is to treat them the same way you treat men-like people. It’s really not any more complicated than that.

Women are not from Mars and men are not from Venus

Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up 5.14.15

The United States is saturated with guns. We have a population of more than 300 million and there are nearly enough guns in this country for every child, woman, and man. Thankfully out of that 300 million, only a minority own guns (source). Unfortunately, among that minority exists a number of people who are irresponsible gun owners. Whether its improperly cleaning a gun, carrying a gun into a bar, shooting someone’s pet out of anger, shooting a spouse because they don’t perform housework, or shooting someone because your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice, many gun owners demonstrate a lack of responsible handling of firearms. Here are five recent examples:

Here is yet another case of a gun owner handling his firearm irresponsibly and causing the death of another person. This time it is 36-year-old Ronnie Howard of Macon, GA. His gun discharged while he was improperly cleaning it, resulting in the death of a 17-month-old baby:

A Macon man who’s in jail following the shooting death Thursday of a 17-month-old baby boy in west Bibb County is now facing 2nd degree murder.

Ronnie Howard, 36, was originally charged with reckless conduct and second degree cruelty to children. The reckless conduct charge was upgraded to murder Friday afternoon in the shooting death of Victor Carroll, according to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

Howard is the boyfriend of Brooke Carroll, the baby’s mother. Howard was cleaning a gun when it discharged hitting the baby in the face, a sheriff’s office news release states.

The couple drove the child to the Medical Center, Navicent Health where he was later pronounced dead.

Part of gun ownership should be mandatory classes on the proper way to clean a firearm. You’d think this would be common sense, but apparently some people don’t realize you should ensure the gun is unloaded before cleaning it. I’m not a gun owner (I loathe the damn things), and even I know that.

* * * *

The next story also involves a young victim of gun violence (thankfully the child is still alive)-a 2-year-old boy in Arizona who found his father’s loaded gun and accidentally shot himself in the face:

The firearm “was rolled up like a pillow,” in the master bedroom where the child was playing while his grandmother watched television and his aunt washed dishes, according to police.

The boy fired one round that struck him in the face and exited through his head, said Sergeant Shari Howard, a Peoria Police Department spokeswoman.

“All I can say is that he is very lucky to be alive right now,” said Howard, adding that part of the child’s skull was removed to alleviate swelling caused by the bullet.

The toddler was taken by ambulance to a local children’s hospital late on Thursday, near his home west of Phoenix. Detectives said his 7-year-old brother was also inside the home, and that the father was at work.

In a frantic 911 call released by police on Friday, the aunt told an emergency dispatcher she was in the kitchen when the weapon discharged.

“My baby nephew got shot in the face with a gun,” she said.

I’ve heard of (and read) many stories of parents who buy a gun to protect their family. Sadly, so many of them are unaware that the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of a firearm homicide (and firearm suicide):

Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

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In yet another story of a child finding a gun, an abandoned and loaded Glock was found by a youngster in Sen. John Boehner’s Capitol suite bathroom:

A child reportedly found a loaded Glock handgun in the bathroom suite of Republican House Speaker John Boehner in what is just the latest of a string of Capitol security missteps, Roll Call’s Hannah Hess reports.

But this is not an isolated incident. In January, a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left a loaded gun wedged into the seat-cover dispenser in a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom. And in April, a janitor found a loaded Glock in plain sight while cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters.

Lieutenant Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, told Roll Call in an email that “[t]he Department takes very seriously all breaches of Department rules and has established policies that address such matters…Depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation, an employee’s record, and other ‎required considerations, an appropriate penalty is applied, up to and including termination of employment.”

However, it is impossible to know how often such incidents have occurred, or how many security personnel have been punished for them, since the Capitol Police are not required to disclose such incidents to the public. Also unknown is how much Rep. Boehner or Sen. McConnell knew about these incidents, as spokespeople for both Republican leaders did not comment.

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Sometimes irresponsible gun owners harm themselves, rather than others. That doesn’t make them any less responsible, as this story out of South Bend, IN makes clear:

Police said an Elkhart man shot himself through the groin while trying to put a handgun in his waistband Tuesday afternoon in South Bend.

The 36-year-old man was visiting a home in the 300 block of Ewing Street about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. As he stood up and tried to put the gun in his waistband, it accidentally discharged, said Capt. Phil Trent, a South Bend police spokesman.

The bullet entered the man’s abdomen, exited through his groin and entered again in the left knee, Trent said. When police arrived, the man was conscious but bleeding heavily. He was taken to an area hospital and underwent surgery.

Trent said carrying a pistol in the waistband without a holster is always a risky move.

“That’s a really good way to lose your gun and have an accidental discharge and shoot yourself,” he said. “We really always recommend using a holster.”

Here is yet another gun owner who does not know how to properly carry a gun (or worse, he doesn’t care to carry his gun properly). I wonder-do prospective gun owners have to take any tests to ensure they have basic gun safety knowledge?

* * * *

In the intro to this post, I mentioned shooting someone bc your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice. You might be thinking I made that one up.  If so, you’d be wrong:

Family and friends of a Hamilton man shot Saturday morning are hoping to raise enough money to replace the dog killed in his arms and to help with upcoming living expenses.

They all know that Joe Lewis may well owe his life to a pit bull he called Jackson.

“Anyone that knew Jackson knew that he was literally Joe’s best friend,” said Lewis’ brother, Mike.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the 29-year-old Joe Lewis had just come home after a night working at the Rainbow Bar. Shortly after he arrived at the apartment house on Hamilton’s Second Street, he picked up his dog and carried it outside.

After having a toe removed, Jackson had a cast on one leg and wasn’t getting around very well on his own.

Earlier that night, Lewis had an odd altercation with his neighbor, Monte Hanson, at the Rainbow Bar. Court records said Hanson ordered a “red beer” and became angry after Lewis used Clamato juice instead of tomato juice in the drink.

Hanson was apparently upset over the change because it was contrary to his religion, Judaism, to drink Clamato juice. Court records said he told a neighbor later that he was going to retaliate and kill Lewis.

Your religion prohibits drinking Clamato juice, but apparently it says nothing about attempted murder. You really ought to reexamine your stupid ass beliefs.

Lewis’ brother said Jackson was still in Joe’s arms when bullets began to fly behind the apartment house.

Jackson was hit in the head by the first shot, Mike Lewis said. If the dog had not been there, the bullet likely would have struck Joe Lewis in the head.

Mike Lewis is certain that Jackson saved his brother’s life.

The second shot hit Joe Lewis in the ribs and exited out his back. Fortunately, it didn’t hit any vital organs.

“He’s doing all right now,” Mike Lewis said. “He’s just in a lot of pain is all. He’s staying strong. He’s out of the hospital.”

Lewis said his brother is really missing his best friend.

“He’s pretty broken up about his dog,” Lewis said. “Anyone who knows him knows he’s not your average animal guy. He takes his animals very, very seriously.”


With the help of family and friends, Mike Lewis has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise enough money to buy his brother a new dog and help meet some of the living expenses coming his way.

Joe Lewis cuts wood and tends bar for a living.

Once again, a gun in the hands of an irresponsible individual has brought tragedy to the life of another. Joe Lewis presented no threat to Monte Hanson. He wasn’t endangering the life of anyone. Yet Hanson felt it was within his rights to attempt to end Lewis’ life over religious beliefs. This is an example of one the many problems in the U.S. People feel that others need to respect and honor their religious beliefs. Moreover, many of these people feel that their religious beliefs are more important than the rights of others. While discussions in the media tend to center around marriage equality and the false notion that same-sex marriage affects the religious beliefs of others, this story is a reminder that people use their religion to justify other awful actions. Religious beliefs have been elevated to such an absurd degree that they’ve become more important than actual human persons. When that happens, the result is so often human suffering. I don’t have an issue with people holding beliefs that stem from a religion. I might (and do) think such beliefs are silly and contradict reality, but if you keep those beliefs to yourself, then hey, no harm no foul. But when you try to craft legislation around your beliefs, or you expect others to follow the tenets of your religion, or when you act in some way that harms others and use your religion as justification- then I have a problem.

Irresponsible Gun Owner Link Round-Up 5.14.15

Police Behaving Badly 5.13.15

From the use of excessive force to stealing drugs from suspects…from racial profiling to abusing the power of their badges…from sexually assaulting suspects to planting evidence…there is a never-ending stream of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the nation:

From out of South Carolina come two stories of police brutality, both resulting in the firing of the officers involved (h/t to If You Only News). The first story involves the brutal beating sustained by Brian ‘BJ’ Hatcher at the hands of ex-police officers Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell. The two officers pulled over Hatcher during a routine traffic stop in November 2014. While the situation began calmly, it quickly descended into the latest example of police brutality (warning: following the end of the material quoted, there will be a graphic image of Hatcher’s injuries):

Two Honea Path police officers have been fired after a traffic stop turned violent late last year, sending one man to the hospital.

Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell were terminated on Friday, according to town officials.

Investigators say the traffic stop happened on November 14 when the officers pulled over Brian “BJ” Hatcher, 34, on US-76.

Officials say Hatcher, age 34, led them on a chase and when he stopped, he came at them with an object that appeared to be a knife. A fight then broke out, according to authorities.

State investigators said the officers claimed Hatcher was “originally compliant,” but then came at them with a knife and they did what they felt needed to be done to restrain the man.

Hatcher was charged with failure to stop for a blue light, driving under suspension and resisting arrest. Several items, including a knife, were put into evidence.

Hatcher’s family said he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery for injuries he suffered during the arrest and said officers went too far.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was called to investigate after the allegations of excessive force and the officers were placed on administrative leave.

Here is how badly ‘BJ’ Hatcher was injured (again, some may find the image disturbing)-

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The second story out of South Carolina involves a former police officer who has been charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct:

Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said a police officer with the city was fired Monday after an alleged assault.

According to Stewart, a woman said Lawyer Scott assaulted her while he was on duty at the Anderson Recreation Center on March 16.

Stewart contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the complaint, and Scott was placed on administrative leave without pay.

SLED officials said Scott was charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct in officer. They said the assault charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. The misconduct charge, a common-law charge, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

SLED officials confirmed they are investigating at the request of the Anderson Police Department.

Police said Scott’s employment was terminated with the city of Anderson on Monday.

Scott was arrested and booked into the detention center on Thursday.

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Florida woman testifies she passed out in car and cop raped her when friend stopped him for help  (Trigger Warning)

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the 26-year-old victim was in tears as she told the court that her boyfriend had flagged down the deputy because she appeared to be unresponsive after a night of partying on New Year’s Eve.

In a complaint filed earlier this year, the woman said that she woke up to find Donnelly standing beside her SUV, and her boyfriend had been placed in the deputy’s cruiser.

On Tuesday, the woman testified that Donnelly groped her through the window, and used his hand to rape her.

She said the deputy promised not to take her boyfriend to jail if she did not report the rape.

A probable cause affidavit indicated that Donnelly told the woman that she was “f*cking sexy” and that he had a wife. The woman said that she felt scared and that her only choice was to cooperate.

A sexual assault examination later revealed that the woman had suffered a cervical injury.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed the woman’s story when it found three places in Donnelly’s patrol car with her DNA: the steering wheel, the gear-shifter knob and the officer’s flashlight.

Thankfully the department is in the process of firing this guy and hopefully justice will be served.

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The death of Michael Brown, Jr at the hands of the racist, murderous ex-cop Darren Wilson served as a lightning rod for the Black Lives Matter Movement (which actually began in the wake of the acquittal of the racist-as-fuck George Zimmerman). Since that day in August of 2014, protesters around the country have called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, greater transparency from law enforcement agencies, accountability for police officers who kill civilians, and an end to police brutality (among other things). That last point has been a focus for many protesters (to the point that many people falsely believe the Black Lives Matter Movement is only in response to police brutality) and you’d think that the greater scrutiny being placed upon cops would cause them to reflect upon how best to serve and protect the citizenry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for many cops, like some in the Denver PD:

As cities nationwide rose up to protest in solidarity with Baltimore, we saw video after video of basic rights being violated. On of the most disturbing was incidents was recorded in Denver on Wednesday, as pepper spray was used liberally on peaceful demonstrators including a 12-year-old child.  The incident was captured on video by two different witnesses.

Here is one of those videos.

I can’t embed the other video as it is posted on Vimeo, but click the link above and you can see for yourself. The Freethought Project also has a third video from the event, which was peaceful until law enforcement officials decided that no protest is complete without state-sanctioned violence.

If you’ve the stomach for it, the link I provided above quotes a response from an individual who supports the police response to this protest.

Oh, and this example of police brutality on the part of the Denver PD is but the latest in their very long history of violence:

Denver police have a very long history of violence. Most recently they have gained attention for the killing of Naeschylus Carter, also known as Naeschylus Vinzant, an unarmed man murdered by the same unit that arrested James Holmes, the Aurora shooter who killed 12 people and injured over 80 more. Holmes was in possession of automatic weapons and explosives, yet he was taken in alive. Carter’s family has not yet been notified of the killer cop’s name, and the community speculates it is because he is due to testify in the high-profile Holmes case.

A search for “Denver” on The Free Thought Project brings up nearly 23 pages of stories which can give you a glimpse as to why this community is outraged.

* * * *

The last story in this PBB entry enrages me beyond belief. Police officers are entrusted with power by the state to serve and protect the community. When they betray that trust…when they commit criminal acts, they should be arrested, charged, and should face the judgement of the courts. They should not, I repeat NOT be given their motherfucking jobs back after being charged with rape or possession of child porn (and no, I don’t give a flying fucking rat’s ass that they’ve been reassigned). But that’s exactly what has happened in New Orleans:

In the last 12 months, more than a half-dozen officers with the New Orleans Police Department have been booked and charged with various crimes.

In many of those cases, the officers are placed on what the NOPD refers to as “emergency suspension without pay.”

But the WDSU I-Team has learned that type of suspension only lasts so long and some officers charged with serious crimes are back on the job working — much to the surprise of some.

In a quiet Mandeville neighborhood, many people living in one subdivision near the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway know the NOPD sergeant who lives nearby. Several residents were shocked when the 16-year veteran of the force, Bradley Wax, 54, was arrested and charged with 38 counts of possessing child pornography.

When Wax was arrested, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said investigators found pornographic images of children on computers and other electronic devices.

Because of the nature of the crime — and the number of counts filed — Wax faces a worst-case scenario of more than 500 years behind bars if he’s convicted. The NOPD wasted no time in announcing that Wax had been placed on emergency suspension without pay back in April of 2014.

Twelve months later, the I-Team found Wax on the job working in fleet management at NOPD headquarters in Mid-City.

Dr. John Penny, criminologist at Southern University at New Orleans, has followed NOPD issues for the bulk of his career.

“It’s incredibly hard to imagine anyone in that capacity would be back working and being paid for it at taxpayer expense,” Penny said.

But Wax is, and he’s not alone.

In February 2014, longtime NOPD Officer Michael Thomassie was arrested and charged with aggravated rape, the state’s most serious sexual assault charge.

In Thomassie’s case, prosecutors said the alleged victim was a child in his care and was younger than 10 years old when the crimes occurred. As with Wax, the police department placed Thomassie on emergency suspension without pay.

But the I-Team found him working in Algiers behind a desk at the NOPD’s Fourth District.

The I-Team asked the NOPD why Wax and Thomassie, who are facing felony charges, were back on the job. The department declined a request for an on-camera interview, but issued this statement:

“An emergency suspension is generally used as a tool for emergency situations when an officer has been arrested and is physically unable to come to work and perform their duties. Once the officer is able to return to work, they are reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. Based on civil service rules, officers are disciplined after an investigation is completed and a formal disciplinary hearing has been held.”

Wax and Thomassie are set to go to trial this summer.

The Police Association of New Orleans admits the situation is “difficult” given the charges, but says the officers are innocent until proven guilty. Eric Hessler is an attorney for the association and claims that even though they wear the shield and wield the authority of any other officer, “It’s very rare they’ll be interacting with the public in any fashion.”

Wax is assigned to the fleet division and Thomassie is on desk duty. Those are different roles than they held before their arrests, but Penny is still concerned.

“It sends a very dangerous message to the citizens of this community,” Penny said.

NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said that, according to policy, “An employee can only be suspended up to 120 days.”

And that puts the city of New Orleans in a quandary.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Taxpayers are providing the salary for cops who have been charged with rape and possession of child porn. I cannot express how outraged this story makes me.  The USAmerican criminal justice system is so fucked up I just can’t even…

Fuck me, I need a drink.

Btw, it shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways:

I do not believe that all cops are bad or corrupt. The purpose of this ongoing series is to highlight those officers who are not worthy to wield the powers they’ve been invested with by the state.

Police Behaving Badly 5.13.15

Star Wars fans can be really creative

In 1977, George Lucas’ Star Wars (Ep IV: A New Hope) hit theaters and a worldwide pop culture phenomenon was born. The success of the movie spawned two sequels, three prequels, a multitude of novels and comic books, multiple animated series, a real-live honest-to-Isis religion, theme park attractions, dozens of games, and probably enough fan-fic to fill the Grand Canyon. Lucas’ space opera has also been an inspiration for many artists and creators. From Vader, Luke, and Leia to Chewie, Han, and Lando, Star Wars fans have been inspired to create some interesting products over the years. Here is just a sampling:

Using more than 10,000 Lego pieces, Singapore-based Titans Creations recently unveiled a scale model of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon:

Last week, a group of dedicated brick builders from Singapore that operates under the moniker Titans Creations unleashed a scale model of Han Solo’s freighter that’s made of over 10,000 Lego pieces. Unveiled for Singapore Legoland’s Star Wars Day event (on May 4), the ship measures at 110 cm by 85 cm (or, about 43 inches by 33 inches). That is massive for a Lego model; to put it in context, the Lego company’s official Ultimate Collector’s Series version of the ol’ rust bucket is made up of “only” 5,195 pieces and is 40 percent smaller than Titans Creations’ new toy.

The official, limited edition Lego toy came out in 2007 and sold for $500 at the time, and sets are now being auctioned on eBay for around $5000 (and up).

Detailed interior shot of the Millennium Falcon (Titans Creations/Facebook)

The level of detail is astonishing. Makes me wonder how long it took to put this thing together.

* * * *

Ah, the light saber. Weapon of choice for Jedi and Sith alike. Given the success of the Star Wars franchise, I imagine many role-playing fans wish they could wield a real light saber. Nerd/geek Emory Harris created Uber Sabers (www.ultrasabers.com/ [edit]: the site has asked me to remove the direct link, so here is the address) to fulfill those dreams. Prices for the sabers run from $54.99 for standard sabers to $419 for custom sabers (complete with sound). The perfect gift for light saber loving Star Wars fans (wow, it sounds like I’m trying to sell a product here). I can’t post images, bc the site has a copyright on all of them, but if you’re interested, they have a lot of products available.

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Up for a Star Wars/Star Trek mashup? YouTube vlogger SonOfSpork has got you covered:

The Carbonite Maneuver

Prepare yourself and your family, as two of the most beloved and cherished Sci-fi/Fantasy franchises of all time, collide in this Star-tacular, motion picture event!

While on a routine exploration mission, Captain James T. Kirk, and the loyal crew of the U.S.S Enterprise, become entangled in an Evil galactic scheme, that not only threatens the United Federation of Planets, but the very Earth itself!
Set to the backdrop of Perilous planets, Galactic adventure, and Exotic alien romance, The Carbonite Maneuver is sure to become an Interstellar sensation! ***
This fan made trailer is one of personal dedication: To the original artists, whose expertise and craftsmanship through celluloid, inspired me as a kid to look towards the stars and to the possibilities that with great story telling, along with a touch of magic, the most mundane aspects of life could be transformed into the most fantastic.

For much of my 39+ years on this planet, I preferred Star Wars to Star Trek to the extent that I held a bit of disdain for the latter franchise (don’t ask me why bc I have no clue).  My view of Star Trek changed dramatically in the last few years as I learned that Gene Roddenberry created the (for its time) socially progressive show to serve as a backdrop for telling morality tales:

As early as 1964, Gene Roddenberry drafted a proposal for the science fiction series that would become Star Trek. Although he publicly marketed it as a Western in outer space—a so-called “Wagon Train to the Stars” (like the popular Western TV series)[2]—he privately told friends that he was modeling it on Jonathan Swift‘s Gulliver’s Travels, intending each episode to act on two levels: as a suspenseful adventure story and as a morality tale.[3]

Most Star Trek stories depict the adventures of humans[Note 4] and aliens who serve in Starfleet, the space-borne humanitarian and peacekeeping armada of the United Federation of Planets. The protagonists have altruistic values, and must apply these ideals to difficult dilemmas. Many of the conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek representallegories of contemporary cultural realities. Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s,[4] just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective decades. Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism, feminism, and the role of technology.[5] Roddenberry stated: “[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them onStar Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network.”[6]

Roddenberry intended the show to have a progressive political agenda reflective of the emerging counter-culture of the youth movement, though he was not fully forthcoming to the networks about this. He wanted Star Trek to show humanity what it might develop into, if only it would learn from the lessons of the past, most specifically by ending violence. An extreme example is the alien species, the Vulcans, who had a violent past but learned to control their emotions. Roddenberry also gave Star Trek an anti-war message and depicted the United Federation of Planets as an ideal, optimistic version of the United Nations.[7] His efforts were opposed by the network because of concerns over marketability, e.g., they opposed Roddenberry’s insistence that the Enterprise have a racially diverse crew.

As a card-carrying Social Justice Warrior, learning all of the above led me to developing a deep appreciation for the fictional universe Roddenberry created.

That doesn’t change my opinion that the Star Wars characters would lay the smack down on the Star Trek ones in a fight.

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Move over Mystery Machine! A new pop culture inspired vehicle is taking the world by storm. Ok, so that’s a bit hyperbolic. Still this R2D2 VW bus by Instructables user mimaki cg60 is pretty cool. Check out the link for more images as well as a description of the creative process.

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Last but certainly not least, comes the ‘Cut Scene’. Still in the process of being created, ‘Cut Scene’ is an art exhibition by London-based Kirigami paper artist Marc Hagan-Guirey who set up a Kickstarter page to fund this project:

Paper Dandy AKA Marc Hagan-Guirey, is a contemporary artist practising the highly specialised art of Kirigami. He burst onto the art scene in 2012 with his critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Horrorgami’.

Armed only with a scalpel, he painstakingly transforms an ordinary sheet of single A4 paper into a breathtaking piece of three-dimensional architecture. He also hates talking in the 3rd person but it makes for a better read.

It is with great excitement Marc is announcing his new project –
‘CUT SCENE: 12 Kirigami Models Inspired by Scenes from Star Wars cut from a Single Sheet of Paper’.

The ‘Cut Scene’ Exhibition

As a life long fan of the Star Wars saga, it’s Marc’s ambition to continue working in the realm of film culture. He aims to create a body of work inspired by scenes from their legendary narratives via his craft of kirigami. Like his previous exhibition ‘Horrorgami’ the work will be presented within light boxes.

Why Kickstarter?

The traditional gallery/artist set up is that the gallery takes a cut of the sales profits using a portion of this to produce the exhibition.

Marc is not affiliated with Lucas Film or Disney or doesn’t hold a license to sell official merchandise, therefore he will not be selling editions of the art.

This means the funds must come from elsewhere. His goal isn’t to make a profit – it’s simply to produce the exhibition so that Star Wars fans can enjoy seeing the unique kirigami models in their physical form. Every penny will go towards making a better gallery experience.

To date, Marc has financed his project alone, having already designed and made half of the models and had 2 of the display cases manufactured, but now must ask for help in raising £16,500. With your support he can produce a truly magical exhibition and share his meticulously crafted Cut Scene collection with the Star Wars community.

Here’s a look at some of his art. Warning: It. Is. Amazing. Remember, all of these images were created with a single sheet of paper.

Kinda cool, huh?

(h/t Laughing Squid)

Star Wars fans can be really creative

The perfect illustration of an irresponsible gun owner

Washington woman says she was ‘well within her rights’ to shoot at her husband for not doing chores

KOMO reported that the husband told 911 dispatchers on Saturday night that his wife, Starlene Roth, had fired a shot at him.

When police contacted the man, he told them that he had recently been discharged from the hospital for hepatitis, and his wife became angry because “he hadn’t been able to do anything around the house.”

According to the man’s story, the wife threw a vase at him on Saturday night, and then pushed over their barbeque as he was cleaning up the glass. When he picked up the barbeque, she pushed it over again, he said.

The man told police that he was inside the home when his wife retrieved a Smith & Wesson 9 MM pistol from the bedroom.

“Get the (expletive) out of the house,” the man recalled Roth saying.

Roth then fired a single shot at her husband, police said.

Police spoke to Roth and she admitted that she “blew up” at her husband, and that her anger was “too far gone to resist” using the gun. She said that she “wanted him to pay.”

Court documents said that Roth “doesn’t think she did anything wrong and she was well within her rights because of how (her husband) was reacting and she was so pissed off.”

This is the perfect example of an irresponsible gun owner. She appears to lack the maturity to handle a deadly weapon responsibly if she thinks it is fine to terrorize her husband for not doing housework. In my opinion, firearms ought to be utilized in a very limited number of situations. In self-defense, obviously. In direct defense of the lives of others (including during wartime). I do not think people should face the prospect of losing their life or incurring serious injury over property, so I’m not a fan of using a gun to protect one’s property. Property can be replaced, but a human life cannot. I also do not think firearms are necessary in today’s world for putting dinner on the table, and I’m opposed to the needless slaughter of animals for sport. Basically, I think guns should only be used to save one’s life or the lives of others. So no, they shouldn’t be used to threaten and intimidate one’s spouse bc they didn’t do housework.

This story also highlights another problem in the U.S.-the tendency of many to resort to violence as a means of conflict resolution (which is itself part of the larger problem of USAmerica’s culture of violence). Personally, I deplore violence and I would like to see a significant reduction in all forms of violence across the world (I don’t believe violence will ever be eliminated, sadly). This is because I value my life and wish it to continue. Sounds selfish I know, but bear with me. In the wake of World War II, a set of universal human rights was codified by the United Nations. Among those rights is the right to life:

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

For this right to have any meaning, it must apply to all human beings (though ‘human beings‘ implies all biological humans, it likely refers to all autonomous human persons, rather than say, fetuses). If only some humans enjoy this right, then it either isn’t universal, or some people aren’t humans (and we know what happens when people aren’t considered human beings).  So it has to be all or nothing. I value my life, and want to continue having the right to life. To continue enjoying this right, I must support the right to life for all other human beings (and I do). Given the life-threatening nature of violence against humans, it stands to reason that I should oppose violence-and I do (with the understanding that there are circumstances where the use of violence is justified).

Obviously, Starlene Roth doesn’t share my views on violence (or my respect for the lives of others). Her actions point to an inability on her part to resolve a conflict without the use of violence. She has also demonstrated that she cannot wield a firearm responsibly. I think she should be prohibited from owning or possessing a gun until she develops sufficient skill at non-violent conflict resolution, takes anger management classes, and is taught the appropriate use of a firearm. And all of that after she is released from jail.

The perfect illustration of an irresponsible gun owner

Expressing myself

I was being watched.

Not because I was in the midst of performing the mundane task of pouring soft drinks for a table of guests. No-I was being watched by staff members at work because in addition to dispensing a Coke and a sweet tea, I was moving energetically and rhythmically. I was dancing. And I had a captive audience. It was in this moment that I had an epiphany.  “I was wrong all those years ago” I thought.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is actually a story that encompasses most of my life and reaches back to my childhood years.

It all began with the creation of my first superhero, the Vacuum-Cleaner Man. Not exactly the most awe-inspiring or fear-inducing name for a superhero, but then, I was only 5 or 6 years old when I created him. Inspired by the amazing Spider-Man, the V-CM was one of my earliest attempts at exploring my artistic side. If I recall correctly (my long-term memory is spotty at times), I designed him with the help of my maternal grandmother (who passed away in the late 90’s; miss you and love you Grandma Greene).

As I got older, I began to collect comic books and became fascinated with copying my favorite characters using tracing paper. Eventually, this led me to try my hand at freehand drawing, though I was hamstrung by my ignorance of anatomy and physiology (leading to some interestingly designed characters). In time, and for reasons I no longer recall, I lost interest in drawing (though I continued to create my own comic book characters and even tried my hand at world-building–the less said about that the better). Since then, I’ve had little interest in returning to the drawing board, so I suspect that was a phase I was going through.

While I no longer had an interest in drawing and thought my days as an artist were over, I did develop an interest in another activity-dancing. Upon turning 21, I became a regular fixture at local gay bars in the small Alabama town of Huntsville, where I could frequently be found on the dance floor. For years, my idea of fun on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night was going to Upscale or the Vieux Carre (or Connections and the Chute in Nashville, TN) and dancing my ass off for hours.I could stay on the dance floor an hour, an hour and half, even two hours straight, pausing only to chug some water or use the restroom. On the dance floor, I felt alive and vibrant, while simultaneously relaxed and at peace. Dancing became an outlet for me-a way to de-stress and temporarily forget any problems or frustrations going on in my life.

When I first started dancing, I danced freestyle. That changed in the early 00s, with the release of the instructional video Darren’s Dance Grooves, by choreographer Darren Henson.

I have fond memories of relocating the living room furniture of my apartment to provide space so that I could practice the moves taught in the video. As I became more skilled, I incorporated moves into my own personal style, which I then brought to the dance floor on weekends. Expanding beyond Henson’s video, I sought out concert videos by artists like N’Sync, 98 Degrees, Madonna, Janet Jackson, and more. The expertly choreographed moves demonstrated by these performers further assisted me in honing my dancing abilities. Don’t get me wrong, though. I was no professional dancer, nor did I ever aspire to be one. For all that I derived much enjoyment from dancing (as well as knowing that I was entertaining others), it was a hobby and nothing more.

Or so I thought.

I no longer think that.

That epiphany I spoke of earlier? The one I had in the wake of my spontaneous dance-fest? For some unknown reason, I had long thought of art as something done by painters, photographers, graphic designers, or sculptors. I never thought of dancing as a form of art (and never bothered to try typing “definition of art” into that newfangled Google thingee). But it is indeed art (performance art, in fact). That moment of clarity made me realize how wrong I was all those years ago:  while I may have lost my desire to draw, I never stopped being an artist.

Expressing myself