Archive for May, 2010

Sleigh Bells – Treats (2010)

May 13, 2010


Sleigh Bells is a duo made up of former Poison the Well guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss. It’s also a terrible name for a band, but whatever. This album, their debut, is turning into one that I’m afraid I’ll listen to so often that I won’t play it again for a really long time after kind of getting sick of it initially. But I haven’t gotten to that point yet. Most of the songs have a loud percussion track. Here’s a live clip, but like most fan-produced videos of live shows, you don’t really get the best audio quality, so go get their album and listen to it right now.

Criminals of the week

May 13, 2010

  • 28 year old woman accused of beating her 77 year old boyfriend with his own cane. (link)
  • Psychic accused of fraud. I thought that kind of went with the territory. (link)
  • Guy busted for possession, had stash wrapped in his court papers for his other arrest for possession. (link)
  • British police force old man to remove anti-Cameron poster from his window. (link)
  • Boy tries to buy his mom a Mother’s Day gift with glued together counterfeit dollar bill. (link)

Stuff

May 13, 2010

Screenshot of the day

May 11, 2010

4chan got a hold of a strange poll from Time.

Rupert Murdoch has discovered masturbation

May 10, 2010

Obviously I’m talking about jacking off by the Mirriam-Webster definition, and not the broadcast kind where you stand in front of a camera and just verbalize whatever crazy bullshit happens to pop into your head. Murdoch and his organization has been very familiar with the latter since they formed in 1979.

I guess ultimately it’s a good thing that someone is at least trying to get the Fox crowd to not be such uptight prudes who apparently (at least according to the author) hear voices in their heads telling them that it’s evil. Here is a picture of her. Please masturbate to it now before continuing.

Or don't.

OK, here are some of my favorite lines from this piece.

I don’t know why everyone in the universe isn’t doing it on a regular basis.

They’re not?

An unfortunate stigma has been attached to the act. But ignore those voices in your head.

Yeah! Screw you, voices in my… head… Wait, what? I don’t hear any voices. What kind of voices are you hearing?

And if the sound of your mother’s voice in your head is keeping you from getting to it, put her out of your mind.

Jesus!

  1. This woman apparently thinks it’s normal for people to hear their mother’s voice in their head while whacking off, and then
  2. thinks people need to be told to put those voices out of your mind.
  3. Seriously, does there need to be a 3?

Now if you need some kind of moral incentive to masturbate today, please read the commentary in full. I doubt many readers here really will though. You’ve probably already masturbated just since starting to read this, haven’t you? Pull your freakin’ pants up. Sheesh, people.

Russian politician under investigation for possibly giving information to his alien abductors

May 10, 2010

This story brings up one of my favorite themes in interesting news stories. It’s one thing for someone to say or do something a little crazy, but where it gets interesting is when that spurs on another crazy reaction from some other party. And then things just take off, where the momentum of accumulated kookiness picks up with every new participant until it turns into an almost unstoppable Möbius strip of nutjobbery. If each unhinged reaction were a piece of debris, this story would be a massive ball from Katamari Damacy.

The Russian governor, bottom right.

So what happened is that Russian governor Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had an experience where he claims he was abducted by aliens. That’s kind of interesting because it’s kind of rare for these claimants to not be inbred hillbillies. But it gets better:

Now a Russian parliamentarian wants Ilyumzhinov questioned, fearing he may have given the aliens “secret information,” according to the Echo of Moscow radio station.
And not just interrogated by anybody, but by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Maybe I’m just a victim of stereotyping by the media here, but I always thought the Russians had it together a little more than this. I can see the claim of alien abduction by a government official in a large bureaucracy of the biggest country in the world. But to get the president to investigate? That’s fucking crazy.

So maybe we should take advantage of this tendency the new administration seems to have towards investigating this stuff. Someone please call up Medvedev and ask him if his refrigerator is running or if he has the whereabouts of Prince Albert, who was last reported being forced into a can.

PSA from Mr. T

May 9, 2010

Criminals of the week

May 7, 2010

  • “And as I was flinging the poo all over her yard – it felt really good, and I just kept doing it.” (link)
  • “He knows better. I mean, he’s probably made arrests for assault and battery. He knows what the laws are.” (link)
  • “A GRENADA man with two severed human heads in a bucket walked into a precinct station and presented his haul to horrified police.” (link)
  • Female ninja arrested for shooting blow darts at people from her car. (link)
  • “One man in a crew suspected of carrying dynamite-like explosives around Buford told investigators the devices were meant for “play” and to blow stuff up in his backyard, according to testimony Thursday.” (link)

Atari Teenage Riot’s riot-in-an-iPhone-app

May 7, 2010

The official release date for the reunited Atari Teenage Riot’s new single is still a couple weeks away but someone has it in a “video” on the YouTube. There’s also some controversy over their iPhone app because they wanted to put audio tracks on it designed to “trigger hysteria and panic within the audience.” Apple’s been investigating whether or not that’s legal which is probably a good idea since the last time ATR did something like this at a concert they were all arrested.

Arizona

May 5, 2010

The first thing you should know is that DJ Spooky and Chuck D remixed By the Time I Get to Arizona in response to SB 1070.

The second thing you should know is that’s not what’s in the video above because that’s a different remix by the Evolution Control Committee.

The third thing you should know is that it’s just a coincidence that this is Cinco de Mayo. I didn’t plan that out.

One thing that’s always bothered me about the American left/right political discourse is how it’s often framed as if the left were the ones that are driven solely by their emotions while the right is supposed to be the ones who are pragmatic realists who want to stand up for the rule of law. And in most cases, including this one, the reality of the situation is the exact opposite.

The new immigration law in Arizona is not a practical way to deal with illegal immigration, largely because in today’s age of international travel it’s not possible to tell where someone happened to have been born just by looking at them. If you just go around detaining anyone without their citizenship papers, you’re going to end up with tons of false positives which is going to just end up wasting more police and legal resources. That’s why city councils are preparing lawsuits against SB 1070 and even Arizona’s police are divided over the issue and one sheriff even went so far as to call it “stupid,” amongst other things. The efficient and practical way to address the problem of illegal immigration is to go after the employers of illegal immigrants, especially in large companies that employ them en masse.

It’s also pretty questionable that the proponents of the legislation are standing up for the rule of law. See, in America we presume that those accused of a crime are innocent until the State proves them guilty. Our legal apparatus is set up in such a way because as a whole we’d rather err on the side of letting the guilty go free instead of erring on the side of imprisoning the innocent. Maybe you don’t like that and wish it were the opposite like it is in England, but if you’re to do that then you can no longer be said to be advocating the rule of law – at least not in America, anyways.

Another basic civil liberties issue arises with the Fourth Amendment. For reasons I’ve already explained the search and seizure of individuals based on their race is an unreasonable grounds for charges of illegal immigration. That’s just unconstitutional.

So the lesson here I would encourage would be to not let people on either side of the issue frame this as if the proponents of SB 1070 were practical and legally-minded, while the opponents have their heads in the clouds and just want to be nice to everyone. It’s pretty clear here who is basing their position on their childish emotions and who is basing their position on the rule of law. Don’t let people confuse the issue by switching the roles around.

UPDATE: The controversial parts of SB 1070 have been blocked (NY Times).

WTF CNN

May 4, 2010

It’ just surprising this wasn’t written by Rick Sanchez:

It sounds like a Hollywood movie. An impending disaster — think the disabled spacecraft in “Apollo 13” or the asteroid hurtling toward Earth in “Armageddon” — prompts a daring intervention by engineers to save the day.

It turns out that Apollo 13 was a real mission and the movie was based on a true story. Armageddon, not so much.

Stuff

May 4, 2010

Government bailouts of Christianity

May 2, 2010

That’s what I think we ought to start calling these state/church separation issues. A phrase like “violation of the Establishment Clause” might interest nerds who are into constitutional law and secularism, but it’s the kind of phrase that causes everyone else’s eyes to just gloss over when spoken.

Anyway, this particular bailout comes in the form of a very weird case that goes back to 1934, when a group set up a big cross in the Mojave Desert to honor the dead from the first World War. Nobody really noticed it for a while.

The problem with this cross (besides the fact that many non-Christians died in WWI, but more on that later) is that it’s on federal land and so it amounts to a government establishment of religion, which flies in the face of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Having been challenged, the government offered to sell a single acre of the surrounding land to a private organization which would then maintain the cross on “their own land.”

This is kind of the reason we have humans for judges instead of just applying the exact letter of the law in every single case like a justice-distribution machine. It’s obvious what’s happening when someone buys a single acre in the middle of a 1,500,000 acre federal nature preserve where the only thing around is a giant cross. The interested parties were just trying to get around the law by making the area immediately around the cross “private property” on paper.

So this too was challenged, it eventually reached the Supreme Court, and last week they ruled in favor of keeping the cross in the desert. The way I see it, the only way to justify this ruling would be to say that the cross was “grandfathered in.” This means that it went unchallenged for so long that any challenges to it on constitutional grounds would be invalid. But the court’s “swinger” Anthony Kennedy went even further than that by insisting that the cross is not really just a symbol of Christianity. From the Globe:

“Here,’’ [Kennedy] added, “one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.’’

This is a reiteration of an earlier and even more ridiculous exchange between Kennedy’s fellow justice Scalia and Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU on the same case:

JUSTICE SCALIA: It’s erected as a war memorial. I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. It’s the — the cross is the — is the most common symbol of — of — of the resting place of the dead, and it doesn’t seem to me — what would you have them erect? A cross — some conglomerate of a cross, a Star of David, and you know, a Moslem half moon and star?
MR. ELIASBERG: Well, Justice Scalia, if I may go to your first point. The cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christians. I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.
(Laughter.)
MR. ELIASBERG: So it is the most common symbol to honor Christians.
JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead that that cross honors are the Christian war dead. I think that’s an outrageous conclusion.
MR. ELIASBERG: Well, my — the point of my — point here is to say that there is a reason the Jewish war veterans came in and said we don’t feel honored by this cross. This cross can’t honor us because it is a religious symbol of another religion.

I think Scalia and Kennedy and the other three who shared this opinion were trying to appeal to the popular images of national cemetaries where the war dead are buried. You’ll see lots of crosses there, but the reason for that is just because most soldiers – like most civilian Americans – happen to be Christian. If you look amongst the rows of crosses, you’ll see spotted here and there other grave markings of either some other religion or none at all. For example:

I don’t mean to ramble on about this forever, but the above image is of a gravestone where the family had to fight the government in court for their right to have a Wiccan symbol there. Now if soldiers all felt honored by the cross regardless of their religion, why do some opt out of having a cross? And why do some get lawyers to make sure they don’t have one there in the first place? And in the case of WWI, the reality of the draft and huge deployments overseas makes the possibility that none of them would have raised similar concerned if they were alive to do so an unrealistic premise. But those are the kinds of premises the right side of the Supreme Court seems to like best these days.

May Day

May 1, 2010

Happy May Day, comrades.