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Archive for June, 2022

Back Issue #108

The same psychological mechanism which causes us to find pictures in Rorschach’s inkblots also causes us to fit memories into the complex web of schemata by which we interpret the world.  –  “Imagination Pinned Down

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People applauding this policy should also specify what prison term they favor for people who sell full-strength cigarettes.  –  Jacob Grier

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

No, your reason is not an exception:

A new investigation by The [Washington] Post reveals at least 178 cases from 2019 to 2021 in which calls for help resulted in [cops murdering]…the very people they were [foolishly] called on to assist.  We used The Post’s nationwide database of fatal police shootings along with public reporting to identify cases in which the callers were concerned primarily for the individuals’ well-being and no imminent harm to others was reported.  Many of the calls [referr]ed…to people in mental health crises, [ignorantly] requested wellness checks or reported suicide threats.  The calls came from the distressed individuals themselves or were made by worried [but foolish] family members, friends or neighbors…

License to Rape (#957)

The police state’s insulting idea of compensation for a mass public gang rape:

In July 2020, when I had been out of prison for about 18 months, IDOC offered us money and asked us to sign an agreement absolving them of any wrongdoing.  I asked my attorney what would happen if I didn’t sign the papers, and he told me that the judge might throw the lawsuit out…I was still not going to sign.  But my attorney…convinced me.  “You know there are women inside that need that money,” he said.  I knew…it was a manipulative statement.  But…I [also] knew…that this money could mean the difference between deprivation and a pair of shoes, a pack of T-shirts or the chance to shop for food…The shame of those days stayed with me for years.  But…there is not enough space in one piece to detail the atrocities.  For the Halloween strip search, IDOC mailed me a check for $325.  Although the agency continues to assert that their staff did nothing wrong, this check that I may never cash is proof that they are guilty…in the eyes of IDOC, my pain — and that of my sisters — is only worth $325…

Robocops (#1044)

SCOTUS expands one of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

…anyone who has their rights violated by federal government agents…ha[s] no recourse against those rogue actors.  A federal badge will now serve as an impenetrable shield against civil liability…The justices announced…that they would decline to consider two major petitions. In the first, St. Paul [sow] Heather Weyker, who was serving on a federal task force, conjured a fake sex-trafficking ring and [cag]ed a teenage girl for two years on trumped-up charges.  In the second, [spook]…Ray Lamb a[ttempted]…to [murder] a man…though [the voctim was spared when his gun] jammed…[neither] Weyker [nor] Lamb…are…protected by qualified immunity…but because they were working for the federal government, they are protected by absolute immunity…and their victims—Hamdi Mohamud and Kevin Byrd, respectively—[are shit out of luck]…

Lack of Evidence (#1203) 

Contrast the speed with which legislatures manage to pass laws increasing cops’ powers:

California [politician]s are finally sending to Gov. Gavin Newsom a hot potato of a bill that would bar police from…arrest[ing women for standing in a public place after a cop points at them and belches out the magic word “]prostitution[“, a delay of] nine months after the measure passed the Legislature…[copsuckers] see it as a further erosion of criminal penalties that tie the hands of police on [consensual] issues…Greg Burt, a spokesman for the California Family Council, and other opponents fear it’s part of an eventual effort to decriminalize [thoughtcrime.  In support of his authoritarian agenda, he vomited out the words]…”sex trafficking”…[all over open-mouthed reporters]…

Welcome to the Future (#1227)

Conditioning kids to accept constant, intrusive surveillance:

Spyware apps were foisted on students at the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns…long after most students have returned to in-person learning, those apps are still proliferating, and enabling an ever-expanding range of human rights abuses…Americans face an unprecedented, record-breaking wave of legislation targeting transgender youth…and…[the overturn of] Roe v. Wade…That means that students who use their devices to research trans healthcare or abortion related material could find those devices weaponized against them, potentially resulting in criminal charges…

The Vultures Descend

22 vultures coming in for the kill:

[Jacob Sullum of Reason has published] a state-by-state rundown of what we can expect now that the Supreme Court has decided the Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion after all.  Red indicates the 22 states that are certain or likely to soon impose or start enforcing new restrictions on abortion, ranging from moderate to severe.  Green indicates the 23 states where abortion will remain broadly legal.  Blue indicates the five states where new restrictions are unlikely in the short term but are possible in the longer term, depending on electoral outcomes or judicial decisions…

A Moral Cancer (#1227)

Because obviously prohibition doesn’t ruin enough lives yet:

…the…FDA…[has arbitrarily banned] Juul’s…tobacco- and menthol-flavored vaping products…[despite the fact that Juul’s] application…was…detailed and data-heavy, showing just how effective it was at transitioning smokers away from cigarettes, toward a safer alternative …The company…became a victim of an intensely ideological war on nicotine…[when prohibitionists decided to blame] Juul…for the rise of youth vaping…[using the venerable puritan lie] that flavors like mango and cucumber [only]…appeal…to the younger demographic…The claim that Juul’s flavors were the underlying cause for the rise in youth vaping is highly dubious, considering there were thousands of different flavors for other e-cigarettes on the market years before Juul took off…

And just in case you think the government isn’t intentionally trying to create a black market so as to start a horrific new front in the drug war:

The Biden administration continues its misguided war on nicotine….[with] plans to require cigarette makers to severely cut the amount of nicotine in their products…nicotine itself isn’t what makes cigarettes so dangerous…it’s the other ingredients…and the byproducts of combustion, that make smoking cigarettes so bad for you.  This is one reason why the war on vaping is so stupid, and also speaks to the half-baked premises of the Biden administration’s latest anti-smoking plan…people already addicted to nicotine will still be addicted—they’ll just have to smoke more cigarettes to get their nicotine fix…low-nicotine cigarettes could actually make smoking riskier by requiring smokers to smoke more and consume more of the other substances in cigarettes in order to get the same level of nicotine they’re used to…[also,] other countries will still be producing full-nicotine cigarettes.  And this opens up a great opportunity for smuggling and black market sales of higher nicotine cigarettes…

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Diary #626

For the second year in a row, we suffered from a heat wave barely a week into summer.  Of course, this one was both much shorter (3 days) and much less intense than last year’s.  The temperature stayed at about 35o all day Sunday (that’s 95o for you Fahrenheit fans) and only started dropping about an hour before sunset; this is a picture of my desk lamp readout about 6 minutes after sunset, and you can see it’s still plenty hot indoors (though it isn’t nearly as bad downstairs, because heat rises).  And that’s why those of y’all who live in truly hot parts of the country shouldn’t laugh too much; though such summer heat is not abnormal through most of the US South and West (and even low by the standards of, say, Phoenix), very few houses up here are air conditioned.  I’ve lived in both Louisiana and Oklahoma, and while it’s easier to be outside in this heat here, it can get rather unpleasant indoors until it finally cools off, which can take until well after bedtime upstairs (where my bedroom is).  Yesterday it was warm but not really hot, and starting today we’re supposed to be back to our cusp-of-July norm of high teens-low twenties Celsius (60s-70s Fahrenheit).  The mild weather is one of the reasons I chose to move here; I’m more comfortable and Grace’s health problems make her unable to take the heat as she could when she was young.  And even though I’m still going to complain about the occasional heat wave, it’s still worth enduring 16 hours of daylight at this time of year for a climate in which these temperatures are an abnormality.

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Respect your space? I’m about to put handcuffs on you.  –  Bruce Dyker

Even though this video (called to my attention by Mike Siegel) is two years old, I found it far too funny not to share.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Jesse Walker, Thaddeus Russell, Cop Crisis, Franklin Harris, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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A government powerful enough to bully tech companies into obscuring information about anti-abortion centers is also one powerful enough to bully tech companies into hiding info about how to obtain an abortion.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

If Men Were Angels

“Pastor” + “assistant principal” = “youth pastor”:

A [pastor and] assistant principal at Union Grove Christian School [in North Carolina]…has been sentenced to five consecutive 10-12 month sentences…for a series of sex crimes that he committed…from 2008 to 2009…with a high school student…

Quiet Genocide (#1130)

Meanwhile, the West obsesses about porn:

Under Xi, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has steadily beaten the population into ideological conformity.  For ethnic and religious minorities, that has meant erasing their identities and remaking them as Han Chinese.  Most far‐​reaching has been the campaign against the Muslim Uyghurs…the…vi[ctims of a]…far‐​reaching campaign of…Orwell[ian]…surveillance…and…[repress]ion …more than a million Uyghurs [are caged] in reeducation camps…[whose] purpose is also Orwellian—to produce CCP‐​controlled automatons.  Even after release, many Uyghurs are not free…[they are] forced…[to] work…in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well‐​known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen…Even when [Uyghurs]…find…safe haven outside China…Beijing is also determined to control [them]…A new report by Bradley Jardine, a fellow with both the Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute, explores how China is exporting repression abroad, including into the United States…

Censor Chic (#1138)

Corporations have become the favored tool of censors worldwide:

…some politicians…think Google should be serving up only government-approved information.  In the latest iteration of this phenomenon, 21 senators have sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai complaining that people who search for information about abortions may be led to websites for crisis pregnancy centers…The[se] often draw people in by purporting to be neutral sources of information and support for people facing unexpected pregnancies, but their goal is to convince people to continue those pregnancies…But while some have been found to misrepresent themselves in ways that amount to fraud, most operate within legal limits and have every right to exist, to advertise, and to try to persuade people…standing in contrast to the much more drastic tactics of trying to…criminalize abortion [entirely]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1166) 

Frog, meet scorpion:

For years, TikTok has responded to data privacy concerns by pr[etend]ing that information gathered about users in the United States is stored in the United States, rather than China, where ByteDance, the video platform’s parent company, is located.  But according to leaked audio from…internal TikTok meetings, China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users…Despite a TikTok executive’s…[perjur]y in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing.  US staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

New Mexico [cop]…Robert Jesse Strand…was…charged with c[hild porn]…possession…[he was caught in] June 2021 but…once [the investigators] learned Strand was [a member of their gang, they tried to bury]…the case…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1238)

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

…sex workers could be subject to unwanted visits from police — and more profiling from strangers — if the Manitoba government passes new legislation i[ntended to infantilize sexworkers and make it easier to persecute them and their clients, whom the bill’s sponsors label]…”exploiters”…Winnipeg police [are promoting the usual idiotic “]signs of exploitation[” on their website, and the]…new legislation…would compel hotels and temporary accommodations…to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses, and turn it over to police on [demand] without…a warrant…Families Minister Rochelle Squires [lied that the bill]…won’t go after people involved in consensual sex work.  The province wants to [call all sex work “]human trafficking[” so the government can pretend the bill]…is not intended to push sex work further underground…

Served Cold (#1245) 

OUR’s increasingly-bizarre antics have made it a pariah even among “trafficking” fetishists:

Operation Underground Railroad has a pattern of exaggeration and misrepresentation…its founder, Tim Ballard…claimed…in a video posted on…Instagram, in a Tweet, and in a Facebook post…to be doing a “collaboration” with American Airlines this month, with the airline showing a video about its work…a spokesperson for American flatly said there was no such collaboration…“We do not have any partnership or affiliation with them, and the content is not available on our in-flight entertainment”…Turns out…[that in actuality,] the organization bought an ad with a third-party service provider, Clearwind Media, which…never actually ran on [American’s] in-flight entertainment…this is qualitatively different from a “collaboration” with American…

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Bathhouse 71

The cottage kits came with materials to build decorative railings around the porch areas, which we didn’t use because we were incorporating the cottages into the larger structure.  So when it came time to build the external walls for the atrium, I decided to see if those leftover parts might be useable (which would save both time and money).  Lo and behold, many of the logs were exactly the right length to build the south wall (right side of the picture), and less than two hours after I went to look at our stock, I had the wall in place.  The north wall (left side of the picture) was much trickier, but with the help of Grace and a table saw, we were able to get it done by early the following afternoon.  I was really jazzed because not only did I get to save money, time, and effort, I also feel as though the new walls are aesthetically pleasing in that they match the cottages.  The top halves of both walls will soon be screened, but I haven’t done that yet; over the next few weeks you’ll see what I have been doing, and I think you’ll be impressed.  The atrium has quickly gone from looking mostly like an outdoor construction site to mostly like a big room, and now that I’m done with the excruciatingly-slow roof-building, this part feels like it’s being accomplished at lightning speed.

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That was Then, This is Now

Those of y’all who follow me on Twitter know that every day, I tweet links to my columns of one, two, and three years before on that date.  We recently passed the two-year mark on my annex construction, and I noticed the differences in the pictures are pretty striking, so I figured I’d share them with you in juxtaposition.

May 29th, 2020

May 21st, 2022

July 18th, 2020

May 17th, 2022

September 5th, 2020

May 16th, 2022

September 15th, 2020

June 6th, 2022

 

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Requiring a pinky promise of a court order [i]s woefully insufficient [to prevent surveillance abuse].  –  Ron Wyden

Stalkers in Blue

Just protecting and serving:

The Department of Justice has charged [Adrian O. Pena,] a Deputy U.S. Marshal for…using access to a controversial phone tracking service offered by a company called Securus to track the physical location of people he had personal relationships with as well as their spouses…between September 2016 and October 2017…He did this by uploading fake documents to the Securus platform that he claimed gave him authority to obtain requested location data…Securus is a massive prison and law enforcement contractor that, among many other things, previously offered a service for geolocating nearly all phones in the United States called Location Based Services…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#916) 

All prohibitionism is the same:

According to [fantasists at] the…DEA…teens simply message a sequence of emojis that symbolize the substance they’re after so that their dealer can avoid any kind of digital detection.  The secret codes also help youngsters keep their habits a secret from their parents, who likely have no idea what the emojis actually represent.  Now, the DEA has released a chart titled “Emoji Drug Code: Decoded ” to [spread disinformation] about the [reasons for]…the soaring number of adolescent overdose deaths

Crying for Nanny (#1037)

The only winners are the ambulance-chasers:

A [professional “survivor”] who brought a civil lawsuit seeking [to cash in with a FOSTA-enabled nuisance “]sex trafficking[” lawsuit]…against Craigslist [is out of luck, as he lawyers should’ve told her, because]…the online service is immune from the claims under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act…

Creepy Coppers

Seems like a significant fraction of child porn is spread by cops:

Maryland [cop] Daniel Morozewicz…has…pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing over 12,000 files of child pornography…on the BitTorrent file sharing network.  Morozewicz also used multiple electronic devices to download and distribute child pornography involving [toddlers] and infants…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1208)

Media stenographers are always happy to indulge cops’ violent fantasies:

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department is [spread]ing [moronic copaganda] about…fentanyl…[an important medicine which, despite a fantasy popular among cops, is not an aerosol and cannot be absorbed through casual] exposure…[a hysterical pig named] Dallas Thompson [suffered a panic attack when he thought he was exposed, and] his [gang wasted] five rounds of Narcan [despite that medicine only being effective vs opiates, not panic attacks.  But] the [prohibitionist gang] is still e[ager to tell tall tales about drugs and brag about what might heroes they supposedly are]…

Hint: if five doses of Narcan doesn’t help, you’re not overdosing on opioids.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1230)

Journalism is slowly dying of gullibility:

The New Yorker…staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote a lengthy feature detailing horrific allegations of child sexual abuse material allegedly uploaded to Pornhub…[and] spend[ing] thousands of words praising #Traffickinghub creator…Laila Mickelwait for [supposedly] helping women…Kolhatkar…describes Mickelwait designating Pornhub a sex-trafficking ring before highlighting her supposed mission: holding Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek “accountable”.  The problem is that despite Mickelwait’s protestations, her goal isn’t to save victims.  It’s to abolish the porn industry…

Goodbye, ACLU; Hello FIRE

Here are FIRE’s first new ads; there are five in all and they’ll play in sequence.

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Summer Solstice 2022

The apparent path of the sun reached its northernmost point at 9:13 UTC today, marking the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the shortest day of the year & first day of winter in the Southern.  May all of your plans come to fruition in the fullness of time, and Blessed Be!

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