Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Over 600 Visitors This Month



Is that any good? I am a minor morsel in a cyberspace dumpster full of discarded cheese and crackers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Plenty of Jobs for Sadists in America!

Work for the military or CIA is naturally what many folks might think of first, but don't forget law enforcement. Prison guards and police for starters. And if you like them young, campus police or even better ... BOOT CAMP!

Eight people have been charged in the death of 14-year-old Martin Anderson after he was tortured to death on his first day at a Florida boot camp. CNN reports:
"Videotape of the incident showed Anderson being forced to the ground by various methods, including knees to the thigh, pressure points to his ear and punches to his arms. Later, another camp staffer hit him from behind, lurching his body forward ... Afterward, the staff prepared a report detailing the techniques used on Anderson including ammonia capsules under his nose, knee strikes, a straight arm-bar takedown, bending his wrist and pouring water over his head. To explain the use of force, one staff member wrote, 'I ordered (the) offender to stop resisting and relax his arms. Offender refused to comply with those instructions.'"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stand or You'll Be Shocked Repeatedly



The video shows an Iranian student who allegedly refused to leave a library being shocked repeatedly by UCLA police. First it should be stated that tasers have killed a number of people. Second, police claim they use them as "less-lethals" for safety and as an alternative to more lethal means. But as you can see in this case, they are actually used as "more-lethals," since they are often used in situations when less painful, less violent methods would have been used (I doubt they would have drawn their guns or shot the guy in the foot in this circumstance - though you never know with cops). Finally this shows how important it is to monitor, film, photograph, and in some cases even intervene in police activities. If the students who were yelling at the cops and asking for names and badge numbers had forcefully removed the man from their custody they would have likely been tasered themselves, perhaps beaten or worse, and most certainly charged with assault on a police officer and lynching (an odd word to use, but in California law it simply means taking someone from police custody). Still, under certain circumstances it is very much justified to attempt such an action - particularly when someone is in grave danger and the officers are obviously acting in an unnecessarily violent, illegal or unconstitutional way.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Borat

I just saw the Borat movie and thought it was brilliant. All the investigative reporters and social scientists in the world could not have exposed the racism, sexism and anti-Semitism to be found throughout the United States the way Sasha Cohen has with his Borat character. Sure it is highly offensive, but most of the offensive content comes from the behavior of ordinary Americans who think they are interacting with an unsophisticated foreigner from a distant country.

I don't want to give away any secrets but the movie provides insight into the worlds of white, elite Southern culture; New York subway riders; patriotic Southern rodeo aficionados; Civil War antique dealers; nutty evangelical Christians; and drunken frat boys.

In the latter case, note that these frat boys are suing the movie studio because of how embarrassing, racist and sexist their conduct on camera was. But that's just the point. It is voyeuristic and shocking to see frat boys acting the way we all know they act all the time when they think they are in their own territory or safe spaces - wishing slavery still existed and women were sexually subservient. The same goes for many of the other characters we meet. It could easily be called America exposed - and no one else could have exposed it in such a gloriously hysterical manner. Twelve stars from me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Best News Following the Election

1. Victory for the Democratic Party, although its leaders may not be willing to change many of the Republicans' worst policies, is a sign that even those people who are allowed to vote and those people who actually bother to go to the polls are unhappy with the war in Iraq and not taken by the right-wing shift in Washington or in the media.

2. The abortion ban in South Dakota that passed their legislature was defeated directly by the SD voters, while an abortion parental notification bill in California was defeated by California voters.

3. A Green Party Candidate won the mayoral race in Richmond, California despite the fact she was out outspent by the incumbent 10 to 1.