"Jesus wept"

Aug. 19th, 2014 01:55 pm
supergee: (liberty)
[personal profile] supergee
Strong response to the murder of Michael Brown and the paramilitary follow-up

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] e_moon60

Collateral damage

Aug. 19th, 2014 10:59 am
supergee: (disgust)
[personal profile] supergee
Georgia county refuses to pay medical bills for the baby injured when the narcs threw a flash-bang in his crib pursuant to arresting someone for allegedly selling $30 worth of taboo substances.

notes from the culture wars

Aug. 19th, 2014 09:01 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
This roundup of stories, mostly from Africa, has a lot that is not good for gays, although there are a few positive things toward the end. If we are all truly one people on this planet, it is important to know what is going on that we are seldom told because of language and cultural barriers. Some of my friends travel to Kenya or work there in Quaker organizations; they are not all straight.

And the US government persists in attempting to describe Muslim sectarian conflicts as if it were baseball, ignorant of differences in theology among groups and unwilling to take the time to actually learn what they're talking about. That approach to international relations is mindbogglingly stupid. If you don't know the basis for the argument, how can you even have an opinion on how to solve the situation? But they don't want to solve it, do they?

Close caption for the humor impaired

Aug. 19th, 2014 06:09 am
supergee: (shades)
[personal profile] supergee
Why Facebook feels it has to tell people that The Onion is "satire"


Aug. 19th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Justice for Renisha would have looked like Michael Brown being able to attend college. Justice for Trayvon would have looked like Renisha McBride getting the help she needed the night of her accident. Justice for Oscar Grant would have looked like Trayvon Martin making it home to finish watching the NBA All-Star game, Skittles and iced tea in tow. And so on, and so on. Justice should be the affirmation of our existence.

"In the absence of such justice, we take to the streets. We protest, we hold vigils and, yes, we riot. What options are left? Rioting/looting (what some would call rebellion) may not provide answers or justice. But what to do with the anger in the meantime? We are told to stay calm, but calm has not delivered justice either. Do we wait for the FBI to investigate? I guess, but what to do in the meantime, as the images coming from Ferguson echo Watts in 1965? We're told not to tear up our own communities, when time and time again we're reminded that they don't belong to us. Deaths like Michael Brown's tell us we don't belong here. What, then?"

-- Mychal Denzel Smith, 2014-08-12 [thanks to [info] browngirl for quoting this earlier]

file upload thing

Aug. 18th, 2014 09:11 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
A thought: I keep running into people who need to schlep large files around, bigger than can be sent by email. (One example is someone I know who runs a dictation service for the blind.) So they have to fit things like yousendit or dropbox into their workflow, and often they don't fit as well as they might.

But there doesn't seem to be a free alternative to run on your own server. Today I realised that this could be done fairly easily as an extension to a bug tracker like Bugzilla-- take out most of the fields on the "create a bug" page, optionally add anonymous uploads and quotas, and you're pretty much there. This would be useful enough for me that I might well have a go.

Update: A friend suggests OwnCloud.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
So, here are some things I hear from liberal-ish people about libraries:

"Libraries aren't really relevant anymore because so much information is on the internet."

"I go to the library, but they never have what I want, and there are always homeless people sleeping at the tables."

"I used to use the library a lot, but these days I don't. I just use Google."

I sympathize with all of this! I would say it about myself, basically! If I did not go to the library every week for work, I am sure I would find it more convenient to buy the e-book of everything I wanted to read -- which would be kind of expensive, but not prohibitively so; I'm not a book-a-day reader -- and not even have to deal with lots of paper books piling up around my home.

(I'm glad for the library because I read a lot of books I expect to feel only lukewarm towards for my committee, and I definitely wouldn't want to pay full price for those even at e-book prices, but if I didn't have a library job then I would read fewer of those!)

The thing is, library funding existed for a long time on a Social Security-like model. Everyone pays into it, everyone benefits from it, so it's really popular even though some people benefit much more than others. Everyone pays a little; everyone gets to borrow books; and even if you can afford the new Danielle Steel hardcover, you know it's not really something you'd pay $25 for, so you're happy to be able to borrow it for free (even if you're #123 on the hold list.)

I think it's harder now to make that argument, because the same book you wouldn't pay $25 for is often one that you would pay $10.99 for, especially when you don't have to deal with the library's wait list and limited opening hours, or even deal with going outside. I think a lot of middle-class people who aren't really voracious readers perceive -- not incorrectly, necessarily! -- that they don't get as much from the library as they put into it. And maybe the only way to advocate library funding, when you start from there, is to make an argument the same way you'd argue for welfare -- from either a noblesse-oblige standpoint, or a pure utilitarian standpoint of "we'll all be better off if lower-income people are more able to apply for jobs online, and study for the GED, and take ESOL classes, and read books."

The flip side of that is that as soon as you talk about libraries being for poor people, rather than libraries being for everybody, there starts to be a question of controlling what information you think poor people deserve to have access to. Like when people go off about people buying soda or organic beans with food stamps. And I suspect that the end result would be a lot less popular fiction on the shelves because it's not "useful" or "improving" enough.

I get a twinge of feeling disrespected when I see library director jobs that aren't full-time, that don't even require a Bachelor's degree, that kind of pay enough to live on, and certainly I'm worried about the deprofessionalization of library jobs, but when I start thinking about how you even advocate for library funding when my friends don't go to the library... that's when I get really worried.

(I don't want to open up a can of worms about how library competence isn't measured in terms of a degree. But if you think that you're going to get a good library director for $15 / hr, 20 hours a week, then you are hoping for a miracle or a doormat. Or a miracle doormat.)

Thoughts, emotions, and awareness…

Aug. 18th, 2014 12:31 pm
[syndicated profile] angryblackbitch_feed
Longtime readers know that I’m a bit addicted to the history of social justice movements. After this week, I can’t help pondering how the distance of time informs the way events are viewed. I have lived through more than my fair share of before and after events…those moments that shift everything and never fade away. Ferguson now joins that list…and the only thing I’m certain of is that nothing will ever be the same.

Nothing like a rapidly unfolding social justice happening to remind the masses why the press matters, that black radio has a unique and important role in our community, and that citizen journalism matters. 

For folk following around the world, coverage from journalists on the ground have helped them better understand what’s going on in Ferguson and how we got here.

For those of us who live in the St. Louis area, many of us are grateful even as we accept the reality that this level of coverage will not hold…even as the fear of what the eyes of the world shifting away hovers over every day.

For now, the whole world is watching and that is a good thing.

Last night I finally took a moment to have a serious cry.

Not quiet or delicate, but ugly and intense. 

I let all of the emotion of the past week roll over me until my lungs hurt and my hands curled into a fist so tight my nails left marks.

I needed that…even though it didn’t make it all better, even though it didn’t purge a damn thing.

I just needed to release the pressure, because we’ve got another week ahead of us, and long road left to march.

Years ago, I wrote about the death of Anna Brown, a young black mother who was denied healthcare at a local hospital then arrested for trespassing only to be left to die in agony from blood clots on a jail cell floor. When I shared the post on Facebook, I also linked to an article in our daily newspaper and cautioned readers not to read the comments. One reader asked why I added that caution…why I didn’t read the comments to find out how other folk felt about the incident. And I told her that my experience was that many comments were awful, callous and cruel celebrations of oppression, assault, death or humiliation…and I added that it is extra painful, somehow more jarring, to know that the people saying horrible things are my fellow St. Louisans.

Fast forward to the now…and I can’t dodge those comments. There is no filter at the grocery store, waiting at the Walgreens, reading Facebook or Twitter hashtag feeds.

And its more than just a lot of opinions about the killing of Michael Brown or the events still evolving in Ferguson…there’s more here than just a difference of perspective.

There is that same celebration of oppression, assault, death and humiliation that dominates the comment section of my local daily newspaper…offered up without shame sometimes by people I’ve known for years.

This past week I’ve seen the best of many and the worst of more than I would have predicted.

Kind of sums up the whole happening that is Ferguson – our best and worst, our accomplishments and our failings, what we are getting right and what we need to fix, and why we can’t all just agree to disagree then move on as if nothing happened.


Ferguson is now on my list of before and after happenings…

…and the only thing I’m certain of is that nothing will ever be the same. 


Aug. 18th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"When radical #feminism has the same position on trans people and sex work as the religious right, it's time to quit pretending it's radical.
A truly radical and gender critical feminism wouldn't be enforcing the gender binary by attacking trans people.
A truly radical feminism wouldn't be attacking women who do sex work, but the system that forces women into it via economic coercion.
Radical would be dismantling the capitalist misogynist racist systems of oppression, not attacking those trying to survive those systems."

-- @SabinePublic, 2014-08-11, series of four tweets [thanks to @tjathurman for retweeting]

(no subject)

Aug. 18th, 2014 01:28 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
It's really nice to read something hopeful about my home city for a change: a native Rochesterian's response to "Kodak City". And the photos are wonderful. I'm glad she took the one she did of George Eastman's memorial -- the other two sides have the least attractive Art Deco nymphs I've ever seen. :P But they look fine in context.

Awesome Hugo News!

Aug. 17th, 2014 09:11 pm
chomiji: An image of a classic spiral galaxy (galaxy)
[personal profile] chomiji

Ann Leckie took Best Novel for Ancillary Justice! Go Ann go!

Also, Julie Dillon won for best pro artist, and Kameron Hurley not only for her wonderful essay We Have Always Fought but also as best fan writer.

Complete list available on the official Hugo site.

Poem about community policing

Aug. 17th, 2014 01:45 pm
janetmiles: Cartoon avatar (Default)
[personal profile] janetmiles
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith has written a poem, Safety Rails, about community policing in a sane environment. It's part of her Polychrome Heroics world, but stands alone well.

Obvious to the meanest intellect

Aug. 17th, 2014 11:35 am
supergee: (bucky)
[personal profile] supergee
Even George Will has realized that Richard Nixon's meddling in the 1968 Vietnam peace talks was tantamount to treason.

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] twistedchick

Technological progress

Aug. 17th, 2014 08:53 am
supergee: (Batman)
[personal profile] supergee
A stupid thing about Star Wars. (Don't try to collect them all.)

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] bart_calendar

(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2014 07:21 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If we had known then what is known now about Richard Nixon's treasonous work to continue the Vietnam War in order to secure his own election to the White House, 20,000 US soldiers and countless Vietnamese people would not have died -- and he would have died in prison, as he should have.

In earlier times he might well have been hanged from the highest tree in the area -- but the American elms of the Mall are in sad shape with the weather changes, and they are more worthwhile for many reasons than he was. The only good thing I can think of that Nixon did was to authorize creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Aug. 17th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-01-12:

"You know, as much as aging sucks, there's a huge advantage to it, and that's called life experience. No, I don't like having lines on my face and stuff, but, on the other hand, I really like knowing what I'm doing." -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress.


(submitted to the mailing list by Lynn Kisilenko)

twistedchick: ink/watercolor of tealite; original burned in a fire (tealite)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Re the Faux "news" personage who dissed Robin Williams because of the manner of his death:

Only a coward kicks you when you're that far down. Only the willfully ignorant cowards are kicking him now.

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2014 07:51 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If you want background on what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, Jim Hines has pulled together links and statistics here, the way I used to do in the Free Speech Zone. It's good.

A thought on official statistics:

Bear in mind that government-reported "unemployment rates" include only the number of people who have shown up looking for public assistance (which is less likely in certain circumstances); it's generally understood that the average real rate is at least double the official one, and can be much higher at times. So, if there is officially 7% unemployment, it's actually at least 14% and could be much higher -- and of course this includes only those who are able to be employed, i.e. not children, not elderly or disabled people. Since the unemployment office workers have, for at least the last 30 years, done their damnedest to make the process unpleasant, and since more and more requirements have been laid on unemployed people in order for them to receive back the money they already paid into the system -- because you can't receive unemployment until you've worked for a certain number of weeks -- the official number is certain to be undercounted, sometimes drastically. For instance, the requirement to present yourself to an office at a certain time and day every week requires transportation to an (usually more urban) area, which someone who lives more than a short distance outside a city may not easily have, since public transportation in this country was allowed to deteriorate after World War II.

[I can't speak for how it is now. However: when I was on unemployment for a time in the 1970s, (after the newspaper I worked for went bankrupt) if you did not show up on your appointed day and time you got royally bitched out and told you were ungrateful and so on when you did show up. Fortunately for me, the reason I didn't show was that I had an out-of-town job interview, so that when I said that, with a big smile because after this time I didn't have to see them again, it shut them up. And I collected my check for $59.50 for the week and left to drive 25 miles back out into the farm district. No, that wasn't enough to live on.]

I am mentioning this because it's one of the misleading numbers that gets tossed around as if it always reliably summarizes the same situation in all communities and circumstances, which it doesn't. And the same problem may extend to any other kind of statistics that involve people voluntarily talking to someone in an office in person, as opposed to by phone or computer.


Aug. 16th, 2014 07:16 am
supergee: (pastafarian)
[personal profile] supergee
Is there something about Islam? No.

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] sciamanna


Aug. 16th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"I've never undersood the appeal of vampire romances. The traditional Dracula scenario is to be mesmerized by a vampire who sucks your blood for sustenance. The real life equivalent would be a handsome man seducing you while you're drunk and stealing your wallet to buy a sandwich." -- Grace Sciuridae, in EGS:NP, an out-of-continuity side-comic using the same characters as El Goonish Shive, by Dan Shive, sometimes in 2009


Aug. 16th, 2014 04:18 am
maevele: stencilled image of a woman with text saying "if you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission." (greatness)
[personal profile] maevele
so i got all moved out of the place and am at my friend's house again for a few months, it seems. It was a hell of a couple days getting the move done and having the kid's birthday party, but i did it. fuck yeah, me.

also, I am officially leaving for a week at the rainbow gathering with my kid and some friends tomorrow morning. SO FUCKING EXCITED, I haven't been to one in literally 20 years. and I've never been to a gathering when I was this well prepared, but i am not taking a kid into the woods and expecting a bunch of hippies to provide. so there is a duffle full of mac and cheese and granola bars.
It just seems like the middle of a life change like moving and reconsidering my life path is a damn good time to go back to the woods, as part of the culture that was part of the happiest time of my life.
I expect I might come back as a new person.
twistedchick: cptr art heart opening to spill daisies (hearts and flowers)
[personal profile] twistedchick
The plumber is here and is fixing the leaky toilet that was putting a cup of water from the tank onto the floor every time it flushed.

(I will take my small victories wherever I find them.)

Looking for attention

Aug. 15th, 2014 08:30 am
supergee: (neuro)
[personal profile] supergee
Attention is something people die for lack of, so we shouldn't be shocked when someone does something to get attention.

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] sciamanna

These frustrate and infurate me --

Aug. 15th, 2014 07:50 am
twistedchick: Cam Mitchell pitching a holy fit in the kitchen (pitch a holy fit)
[personal profile] twistedchick
but you need to read them to get a better look at what is going on around us.

Not a Tea Party -- a Confederate party. This confirms my own personal observations from the last 20+ years and more.

A quote:

It’s not a Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party protest was aimed at a Parliament where the colonists had no representation, and at an appointed governor who did not have to answer to the people he ruled. Today’s Tea Party faces a completely different problem: how a shrinking conservative minority can keep change at bay in spite of the democratic processes defined in the Constitution. That’s why they need guns. That’s why they need to keep the wrong people from voting in their full numbers.

These right-wing extremists have misappropriated the Boston patriots and the Philadelphia founders because their true ancestors — Jefferson Davis and the Confederates — are in poor repute. [4]

But the veneer of Bostonian rebellion easily scrapes off; the tea bags and tricorn hats are just props. The symbol Tea Partiers actually revere is the Confederate stars and bars. Let a group of right-wingers ramble for any length of time, and you will soon hear that slavery wasn’t really so bad, that Andrew Johnson was right, that Lincoln shouldn’t have fought the war, that states have the rights of nullification and secession, that the war wasn’t really about slavery anyway, and a lot of other Confederate mythology that (until recently) had left me asking, “Why are we talking about this?”

The new racism -- this is how the civil rights movement ends. This is a look at the actual politics of Alabama, and how white Republicans are systematically removing any strength or authority from black representatives who are elected and trying to nullify any gains by black people within the state, to the point of defunding universities. It is a primer in dirty politics. Read it, and look for this kind of behavior in the political maneuvers within your own community.

These are pulling the pieces together with a vengeance.

So. What can we do?

(Please think before commenting. Thoughtful, considered and constructive comments are treasured. Comments that simply point fingers and spew will be deleted.)

Useful skill

Aug. 15th, 2014 06:02 am
supergee: (actual)
[personal profile] supergee
How to be polite
People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is.
Thanx to Making Light.


Aug. 15th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"When someone dies of cancer, the refrain is 'fuck cancer.' But when someone dies of depression, it's 'get help.'


"Fuck depression."

-- @tracyvwilson, 2014-08-11

Meanwhile, in Missouri…

Aug. 14th, 2014 12:07 pm
[syndicated profile] angryblackbitch_feed
Hi, y’all.

I’ve been busy offline, but you had to know that I’d be back to write about the events taking place in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Last night, Ferguson was filled with more protests…more teargas, rubber bullets, and the violent arrest of at least two journalists and one St. Louis city Alderman. As I write this, Alderman Antonio French is still being held in a Ferguson jail.

I woke up this morning pondering one of my favorite quotes…

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
― Aeschylus

Shall we?

I am a St. Louisan.

I grew up here…left for college as soon as my ass could…and then I moved back in my 30’s to be close to my family.

St. Louis is my home…all of it…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This past Saturday, 18 year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis city, just north of where I live. Michael Brown was unarmed. Witnesses report that he had his hands up and told the police that he did not have a gun…and then he was shot dead.

What has followed the killing of Michael Brown is a public demonstration of oppression – racism, abuse of power, denial of the right to assemble, and denial of freedom of the press, all wrapped up in one horrific happening.

I’m disgusted…alarmed, fearful, and angry. 

But I am not surprised.

This level of disdain and disrespect aimed at certain communities within the metro area ain’t breaking news for folk who live here. Thisis business as usual.

This is our America.

Where people of color are harassed for walking down neighborhood streets… Where far too many of those charged to protect and serve call us animals, pull us over for the crime of driving while black, use teargas against peaceful demonstrators, and muster in our neighborhoods prepared to shoot first and then play the odds that no one will bother with questions later.

It is important to note that St. Louis County and Ferguson authorities are well aware that the whole world is watching.

They know that national and international journalists are on the ground covering this story.

Yet, here we are…watching unarmed residents confronted by teargas, tanks, rubber bullets…tools used by a ragtag wanna-be army of police officers against the very population whose tax dollars pay their salary.

A lot of people are asking…if this is what the police do when the whole world is watching, what do they do when they think no one is watching?

The answer? They do whatever the hell they want to do.

After watching what has followed the shooting of Michael Brown, it isn’t hard to believe that a police officer approached two teens walking home without cause…it isn’t a stretch to believe that the shooting that followed was an overreaction, because it appears that hyper-aggressive overreactions are par for the course in Ferguson.

The takes us back to this being business as usual…to a history of unchecked authority, escalating harassment, and a total lack of accountability.

People are angry. We’ve been angry. We expect the killing of Michael Brown to go unanswered by a system unfamiliar with justice. Folk are condition to anticipate another sorta-investigation…another sensational trial (if there is a trial), complete with a strategic change of location to anywhere but North County and an artfully selected jury that will then hand down yet another free pass that sends the message to hunt at will.

After the events of the last five days, how the hell is anyone supposed to trust St. Louis County officials to find justice for Michael Brown? 

Right now, I doubt they even know the definition of the word.


My condolences go out to the family of Michael Brown. May they find comfort in his memory, and may he rest in peace. 

It's time

Aug. 14th, 2014 06:36 am
supergee: (spray)
[personal profile] supergee
Send in the National Guard to end the paramilitary occupation of Ferguson, MO.

ETA: What I'd really like is the UN sending in African troops, but we gotta be reasonable.


Aug. 14th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"operator: what is your emergency?
 woman: please help, some men broke into my home
 operator: not all men are like that, i wouldn't do that"

-- @bluntswdad, 2014-05-27 [thanks to @tjathurman for retweeting it]

(no subject)

Aug. 13th, 2014 08:34 am
twistedchick: abstract sunrise -dance, then, wherever you may be (dance then)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Yes, we had Lord of the Dance as a song at our wedding -- but it wasn't like this.


Aug. 13th, 2014 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"In queering a text, one of the first steps may simply be to acknowledge those individuals already in that text who are presented as sexual minorities. It is not terribly radical actually, but it can go a long way to open up a discussion about otherness in the Bible and the essential roles that non-gender normative people play in it and in the world today. If you see yourself as an LGBTQ ally, the next time you talk give a sermon or perform a skit about the Book of Esther, go out of your way to include the eunuchs. Do not overlook the gender-variant, sexual minorities all over the page." -- Peterson Toscano, "Eunuch-Inclusive Esther--Queer Theology 101", 2013-09-30

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