The authorities in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana initially did not arrest Ronald Gasser, the 54-year-old man who shot and killed former NFL running back Joe McKnight last week. Gasser has since been arrested for manslaughter. Sheriff Newell Normand, whose press conference from Friday seemed unreasonably defensive and unnecessarily combative, took it to the next level on…
(apologies to Christopher Nolan)
“Well, it is what it is. People go into this eyes wide-open,” Rachel Maddow said during MSNBC’s Election Night coverage. “If you vote for somebody who can’t win for president, it means that you don’t care who wins for president.”
I agree 100% with Rachel Maddow’s assessment. The part she and other ‘liberal’ and ‘left wing’ commentators leaves out is why. All the talking heads- Trevor Noah, Rachel Maddow, Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly- no one addressed the lack of viable Third-Party candidates. Yeah, Fox News is a Republican bedwhore- we all know that. What was surprising was the lack of commentary and critique from the Daily Show, etc. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight was the only one who examined the issue; the rest simply hitched their wagons to Hillary, which was expected but to not even touch upon the issue first was disappointing.
If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you could well argue that these two goofballs are plants to force voters back to the Big Two. And what can you even say against that logic, especially when Democrats are still angry over Al Gore’s loss in Florida back in 2000, blaming Ralphy Nader for taking away votes rather than improprieties at polling places? The Daily Show treated this as more of a skit than anything.
Neither of these two were worth a damn (!), but the fact remains that both major parties are wedded to the two-party system since it protects their power. And when you’re left between a rock and a hard place, their shortcomings and failings are never more apparent. But you’re still left with nowhere else to go- the strategy Dems tend to count upon- and in this case their plan failed miserably.
This is largely the Third Parties own fault. I never see Third Parties anywhere except on the fringe, and when they do emerge out from under their rocks you see what we get. And those with platforms you might want to entertain- Green Party, Socialist, Libertarian, Constitution, etc- are constantly either ignored by mass media or fail to build any support in or make any impact on communities.
So no- thanks to the DNC themselves even the illusion of choice was absent. I didn’t give a fuck and I wrote in for Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren because I didn’t care who won. To openly sabotage their own party’s primaries, to rub everyone’s noses in how much their choices DIDN’T matter because they were going to give us the candidate THEY wanted to have- Democrats didn’t deserve to win this election.
Whatever you think of the Republican Party, you have to admit one thing: they respected the will of their constituents. Despite their own misgivings and public denouncements of Trump, they never tried to openly sabotage and undermine his campaign. Their voters chose him and they abided by that decision.
This is reflected in exit poll surveys. Granted the samplings are very small, but the percentages along race, gender, education and age are pretty striking. Basically, White voters, including 18-29 Millenials, across the board- including Independents (mostly Men)- with some or no college education and making over $50k voted for Trump. So anyone who’s on Twitter, etc, all upset about Trump winning, look to your friends. Simple as that.
Democrats have been so wedded to the idea of bringing America its first female president via Hillary, they wantonly ignored the salient fact that their own voters didn’t want her.
Even when Obama came from nowhere and blew her out the water, it was deemed an acceptable loss because she could still align herself with him and Democrats could crow about bringing America the first black president… which would hopefully pave the way for the first woman to take the office.
This only underscored how until this round Hillary was never able to carry a nomination on her own, and she only did so amidst a storm of controversy and accusations of impropriety- from within her own party, no less. That ain’t a good sign, especially when your political career is already littered with a stream of previous accusations. Even though all charges and accusations against her had been dismissed after ‘thorough investigations’, you know when you see enough smoke it’s because there’s a fire somewhere. And folks already looking sideways at you for all your previous bullshit aren’t going to want to keep hearing about more of it.
The only good thing to come from all this is that Hillary’s done- regardless of what you think or how you feel about her, we won’t have to deal with her anymore. Democrats will hopefully have learned a few lessons from this debacle now that they actually have to find a viable candidate now, one people across the board will want to support.
When that’s the best and most accurate summary about a elected official, let alone the Leader of the Free World, you’ve got some serious problems. We all do. Because I really want to hear an explanation how anyone could be voted into office despite the endless stream of venom, garbage and nonsense coming from a candidate. Yet it somehow seemed to suit his supporters just fine.
One thing I’ll say- we’re the first country that both elected a Reality TV star and had the future First Lady show off her fake tits.
I might actually still have that issue lying around somewhere…
(reblogged from OkayAfrica)
For Paul Louise-Julie, the critically-panned box office bomb Gods Of Egypt is a symptom of a much more insidious disease. “I found it disgusting that in this day and age Hollywood can blatantly disrespect an entire people’s culture,” Louise-Julie tells Okayafrica. He called for a boycott of the film, while encouraging audiences to support Black mythologies instead.
They could start with Louise-Julie’s own stories. Last March, the 26-year-old French-Caribbean artist generated some buzz around his African mythology graphic novel series, The Pack. The project is set in a fantasy world based off Louise-Julie’s research of African civilizations. In the first season, we’re introduced to a pack of Egyptian werewolves. Each season thereafter will focus on a different region of the continent.
Louise-Julie describes his relationship with Africa as long and intimate. As a child, he visited the continent frequently while his parents were on business trips. He was surrounded by African art and music at home. His parents were avid collectors, particularly of bronze sculptures.
At the same time, Louise-Julie knew he wanted to be an artist. During his senior year of high school in Burkina Faso, he became friends with a Wolof artist by the name of Moktar. One day Moktar brought Louise-Julie to a small compound on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, where he was introduced to a Wolof griot.
“For the next three hours, with Moktar translating, he recounted detailed legends and histories of majestic empires, knights, kings, wars, etcetera,” Louise-Julie explains. “He told me that one day I will take these histories and legends and share it to their ‘brothers and sisters’ in America.” Although it wasn’t another two years until he began digging deep into research of African history and mythology, the episode kickstarted Louise-Julie’s artistic journey.
A night of drinking during art school brought the idea for The Pack to light. As the story goes, Louise-Julie was playing a game with a college buddy in which they’d take two random ideas and draw something out of them. Louise-Julie picked Egypt and werewolves. The first drawing was a bit silly, he says. But he sobered up in the morning and realized that perhaps there was actually something there. That was when he came up with the concept of an Egyptian werewolf.
(reblogged from Nicholas Rossis)
With April 23 marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, few will remember that his lasting fame almost did not happen. A brilliant post by the New York Times explains how that came about.
Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616 on his 52nd birthday. A celebrated writer and actor who had performed for Queen Elizabeth and King James, he wrote approximately 39 plays and composed five long poems and 154 sonnets. However, by the time of his death, he had retired and was considered past his prime.
By the 1620s, his plays were no longer being performed in theaters. On the day he died, no one — not even Shakespeare himself — believed that his works would last, that he was a genius or that future generations would hail his writings.
He hadn’t even published his plays — during his lifetime they were considered ephemeral amusements, not serious literature. Half of them had never been published in any form and the rest had appeared only in unauthorized, pirated versions that corrupted his original language.
Two gold memorial rings
Enter John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare’s friends, fellow actors, and shareholders in the King’s Men theatrical company. In his will, he left them money to buy gold memorial rings to remember him. By about 1620, they conceived a better way to honor him — one that would make them the two most unsung heroes in the history of English literature. They would do what Shakespeare had never done for himself — publish a complete, definitive collection of his plays.
Heminges and Condell had up to six types of sources available to them: Shakespeare’s original, handwritten drafts; manuscript “prompt books” copied from the drafts; fragment “sides” used by the actors and containing only the lines for their individual parts; printed quartos — cheap paperbound booklets — that published unauthorized and often wildly inaccurate versions of half the plays; after-the-fact memorial reconstructions by actors who had performed in the plays and later repeated their lines to a scribe hired by Heminges and Condell; and the editors’ own personal memories.
(reblogged from Vellum)
“Wait,” I asked, “so it’s supposed to delete my personal files from my internal hard drive without asking my permission?”
“Yes,” she replied.
I had just explained to Amber that 122 GB of music files were missing from my laptop. I’d already visited the online forum, I said, and they were no help. Although several people had described problems similar to mine, they were all dismissed by condescending “gurus” who simply said that we had mislocated our files (I had the free drive space to prove that wasn’t the case) or that we must have accidentally deleted the files ourselves (we hadn’t). Amber explained that I should blow off these dismissive “solutions” offered online because Apple employees don’t officially use the forums—evidently, that honor is reserved for lost, frustrated people like me, and (at least in this case) know-it-alls who would rather believe we were incompetent, or lying, than face the ugly truth that Apple has vastly overstepped its boundaries.
What Amber explained was exactly what I’d feared: through the Apple Music subscription, which I had, Apple now deletes files from its users’ computers. When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.
This led to four immediate problems:
1. If Apple serves me my music, that means that when I don’t have wifi access, I can’t listen to it. When I say “my music,” I don’t just mean the music that, over twenty years (since before iTunes existed), I painstakingly imported from thousands of CDs and saved to my computer’s internal hard drive. I also mean original music that I recorded and saved to my computer. Apple and wifi access now decide if I can hear it, and where, and when.
2. What Apple considers a “match” often isn’t. That rare, early version of Fountains of Wayne’s “I’ll Do The Driving,” labeled as such? Still had its same label, but was instead replaced by the later-released, more widely available version of the song. The piano demo of “Sister Jack” that I downloaded directly from Spoon’s website ten years ago? Replaced with the alternate, more common demo version of the song. What this means, then, is that Apple is engineering a future in which rare, or varying, mixes and versions of songs won’t exist unless Apple decides they do. Said alternate versions will be replaced by the most mainstream version, despite their original, at-one-time correct, titles, labels, and file contents.
3. Although I could click the little cloud icon next to each song title and “get it back” from Apple, their servers aren’t fast enough to make it an easy task. It would take around thirty hours to get my music back. And even then…
4. Should I choose to reclaim my songs via download, the files I would get back would not necessarily be the same as my original files. As a freelance composer, I save WAV files of my own compositions rather than Mp3s. WAV files have about ten times the number of samples, so they just sound better. Since Apple Music does not support WAV files, as they stole my compositions and stored them in their servers, they also converted them to Mp3s or AACs. So not only do I need to keep paying Apple Music just to access my own files, but I have to hear an inferior version of each recording instead of the one I created.
Of course, there are more issues than this. Apple has faced widespread complaints regarding Apple Music displaying incorrect album art, mangling file information, and Apple “geniuses” being ill-informed on the subject, thus unable to offer working solutions.
“iCloud Music Library is turned on automatically when you set up your Apple Music Subscription…When your Apple Music Subscription term ends, you will lose access to any songs stored in your iCloud Music Library.
…YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE AND ALL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DELIVERED TO YOU THROUGH THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE ARE (EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY STATED BY APPLE) PROVIDED “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” FOR YOUR USE, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.
…IN NO CASE SHALL APPLE, ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, CONTRACTORS, OR LICENSORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING FROM YOUR USE OF THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE OR FOR ANY OTHER CLAIM RELATED IN ANY WAY TO YOUR USE OF THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN ANY CONTENT OR APPLE MUSIC PRODUCTS, OR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY CONTENT OR APPLE MUSIC PRODUCTS POSTED, TRANSMITTED, OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE VIA THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THEIR POSSIBILITY.”
(reblogged from Geeking Out About It)
This is Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage month, so out of solidarity with these many groups, I’m going to signal boost and post links to posts and blogs celebrating Asian culture.
If you’re not in this, there have been some complaints that Asian Americans are too silent about what happens to them in this country and that Black people aren’t doing enough to promote their causes. So the #notyourmule hashtag was started as a rebuke to people making such claims. If you’ve never made such claims, then this is not on you. If you have… Stop it!
Black people know what it means to be good allies though, since we made up some of the rules for how to do it correctly, and that’s what I am going to do. I can’t speak for all black people either. This is just how my conscience lets me sleep at night. The way I see it, I’m not Asian or Pacific Islander, and can’t speak for these cultures. I feel the same way about white women trying to speak for woc, or straight people speaking for LGBT people. That’s not cool.
Black people are too busy fighting out own battles about stuff that’s important to us. We can’t take care of our business and other peoples business too, and only Asian Americans can define what they think is important enough for them to call attention to. For example, I’d noticed the stereotypes, but hadn’t noticed Asian erasure issues, until it was pointed out to me, on the Nerds of Color website.
What black people can do, though, is support and back your shit up, when you step out there, though. We can choose to be good allies.
That said, I like this new Twitter activism I’ve seen from some prominent members in the Asian community, though. (Feels good donit, fellas?! Good, but terrifyin’, too! When you speak up and let people know they’re stepping on your toes, anything could happen.) Asian people have shit they want to get off their chests, and since I’m not Asian, there are things I won’t even see, that would be of primary concern to the hundreds of Asian American cultures in existence. I believe in letting people speak for their own needs, while I provide a signal boost and backup. That’s what I can do.
In the spirit of signal boosting, Uncle George has something to say:
(reblogged from Chronicles of Harriet)
The Black Arts Movement was the artistic branch of the Black Power movement. It was started in Harlem by writer and activist Imamu Amiri Baraka. Time magazine describes the Black Arts Movement as the “single most controversial movement in the history of African-American literature – possibly in American literature as a whole.”
Both inherently and overtly political in content, the Black Arts Movement was the only American literary movement to advance social engagement as an essential ingredient of its aesthetic. The movement broke from the immediate past of protest and petition (civil rights) literature and dashed forward toward Black Power.
In a 1968 essay, “The Black Arts Movement,” Larry Neal proclaimed Black Arts the “aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept.” As a political phrase, Black Power had earlier been used by Richard Wright to describe the mid-1950s emergence of independent African nations. The 1960s’ use of the term originated in 1966 with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee civil rights workers Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and Mukasa Dada (Willie Ricks). Quickly adopted in the North, Black Power was associated with a militant advocacy of armed self-defense, separation from “racist American domination,” and pride in and assertion of the goodness and beauty of Blackness.
Creative Resistance involves a wide variety of artistic forms: music, memes, posters, banners, plays, street theater, poetry, animation, fiction, comic books, fashion, film and much more. Art adds vitality and energy to advocacy and reaches people at deeper emotional levels, conveying what cannot be said with the mere recitation of facts.
In the process of creating art there is a tremendous opportunity to build deep support for the issues the movement is working on.
Art is good for our communities and artistic collaboration is a bonding experience. We make art together, not just because of the changes it can bring to the world around us, but because of the way it changes us internally. The relationships built create community and solidarity that is essential in a successful social movement. The art that is created reaches out to people who see the protest, installation or other event. All of this adds up to empowerment of the individual, community and movement.
In this respect, art is a catalyst, on multiple levels, for change.
To be effective in our activism it is not enough to provide facts, figures and graphs and reach people in their heads. In order to change people, we have to reach them at a deeper, more emotional level.
Throughout history, the most effective political activists and revolutionaries have married the arts with campaigns for social change.
Think of the iconic photos of us being attacked by dogs and having the fire hoses turned on us; of police brutalizing and murdering us throughout our sojourn in America. These iconic images will be carried with us forever because they reached into the depths of us.
Another powerful artistic tool is music. Music draws people in and can open the door to a movement’s message. From hip-hop to jazz to soul, there is musical activism. Music is also a tool for creating solidarity and confidence as activists face difficult situations.
North Carolina Hospital Apologizes After Racist Volunteer Attacks Black Family A North Carolina hospital is apologizing to an African American family after a crazed female volunteer attacked them according to Journal Now reports: The nearly 7-minute video set near the hospital’s family resources center was uploaded Thursday by Isaiah Baskins. It appears to have been…
(reblogged from the Amazon Iowan)
On Facebook this morning, my husband linked to an article at The Daily Dot about the dangers of blogging/posting at work. Before I even clicked the link to read the post, I laughed bitterly and thought, “Yeah, if only my maxim could be that simple.” Because as an author, whether I talk about writing/publishing or not, everything I put on the Internet affects my work. All my words and pictures and links have the potential to affect my sales. My daughter, now making her first forays into social media, has been warned if she wouldn’t be comfortable seeing it on CNN Student News, she shouldn’t post it, but for authors and anyone whose public persona isn’t an outlet but a lifeline to a paycheck needs a tighter mantra. Every tweet, every Facebook post, every chat and private Instagram could elevate our profile, yes—and it could also stake us more thoroughly than any book we’ll ever write. Public posting for authors doesn’t simply risk getting us fired. Every word and pixel we put up for public consumption could tank our careers. And it’s well past time we started behaving that way.
I feel like so many posts I’ve written on my blog are variations on this theme, but this one matters enough to me that I’ll do it again and be more direct than ever. Authors: if you doubt for a second, don’t post on social media, don’t write that blog. If you’re trashing another author—of any caliber, any level of fame, you should not. You should use great caution and care when and if you review. You should be careful when you post tweets, status updates, and photos. You should behave as if every word you say is being heard by everyone in the entirety of the world, and everyone who loves them—but most importantly, you should assume the world is listening. And taking screenshots, and getting popcorn to watch in case you burn.
Somehow it seems a myth has been started that authors, big or small, are owed something. In the past few weeks I feel like this entitlement keeps coming up in various forms in all genres of publishing, at all levels. Somehow even the most obscure excuse me, who the hell are you? authors have no issue with standing loudly at their pulpit of choice decrying the unfairness of not being chosen for conferences or awards or whatever the hell crawled in front of them that day. Reviews—God help us all, reviews. Authors writing reviews trashing other authors, then acting as if they’re Joan of Arc when everyone turns on them. Authors acting as if every complaint from a reader hurts their poor little feeeeeeelings—which, actually, that happens every day. And it’s why I have my besties on IM and in DM and on speed dial. When a review manages to wound me, I go to a trusted, vetted private source and I snarl and cast aspersions on penis size and sexual prowess and throw enough shade to cast eternal darkness on my enemy’s soul. And then I get over it and move on, the Internet never the wiser. I don’t, ever, broadcast that crap even in a private blog. I sure as hell don’t attack or argue with readers or reviewers. I suck it up. I move on.
Any author reading: you should too.
Authors, what you are entitled to as a published, paid author is a paycheck for the works you sell. You are entitled to not being plagiarized. You are entitled to a fair market and fair pay. You are entitled to a level playing field. But what you are not entitled to is a special refrigerated train car for your very special snowflake. You are not entitled even to a car or a track to ride on. You are entitled to a chance. Everything beyond this you must earn.
I understand why this is such an unappealing concept, but I suggest anyone who wants to get ten feet in this business learn to swallow fast. Publishing has never been a graceful or kind affair, but right now, at this moment in time, it is nuclear war every single day. There is no safe house. There is no clear path. There is no Way to seek and follow. There is blood, terror, heart-rendering risk, and there is pain and betrayal. Those are your guarantees. Your promises I can make you as one who has been actively watching this stuff go down for almost twenty years and wading neck-deep into it for five.
What I can also promise you is that you will go nowhere without friends and allies, which means every word out of your mouth should be filtered to make sure you avoid making enemies.
I don’t think any author can be immune to hope and wistfulness, castles in the sky we wish to build foundations under—and those dreams are vital. But authors must remember, always, that other people are building foundations too, and if you steal other people’s stuff or hurl rocks at their heads, you will pay. If you build your foundations on the blood of your friends or while sniping and snarling at anyone who dares challenge you, your foundations will fall long before you get anywhere worth getting to. Every tweet you share, every Instagram you post marks your brand. It’s possible that it serves you to be a caustic, rotten asshole as your brand—possible, but even this must be polished and affected. And you’d better pray the risks of that approach pay off, because the odds are never in your favor.
I wish we could make a rule that every author or want-to-be author before they get WiFi access needs to read The Prince, and like license renewal we should ingest it again every so many years. When I first read Machiavelli, I hated him and his jaded view of politics. I still kind of hate him, though now it’s because I think he’s completely and utterly right and I wish he were not. What frustrated me about The Prince in college was this idea that the world was not a good, Disney-like place where nice people prevailed and everything, if we all worked hard and went to church and did good deeds, would be okay. This idea that people have to be calculating and sometimes nasty to get ahead made me sick.