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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Back in the South

Longtime readers may remember that despite appearances, I’m really quite the homebody.  Given my druthers, I’d rather not go very far from home very often, and when I do travel I’d rather return as quickly as possible.  That preference has only become stronger as I’ve aged (which I suppose isn’t all that unusual), and since I moved to Sunset full-time I’ve become even less inclined to wander than I was in my Oklahoma days, plus Grace’s health problems mean she shouldn’t be alone for long either.  Furthermore, there’s the fact that since hygiene theater Pelion was piled atop security theater Ossa, flying has become even more stressful and odious than it already was, so I now suffer low-level anxiety for weeks before having to travel by air.  Fortunately, I was able to find conveniently-scheduled flights; I left Seattle Sunday night and arrived in Miami Monday morning, then flew to New Orleans yesterday to visit dear friends there for the first time since the summer of ’16.  Sunday morning very early I’ll be flying back to Seattle, which given my legendary hatred of doing anything before noon should give you an idea just how much I want to get home.  Next week I’ll need to be back in Seattle again, but after that I hope to leave Sunset as little as possible for the entire month of February; let’s hope I needn’t travel again before spring, at the earliest.

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Diary #602

I’m in Miami Beach right now for Hereticon, a new conference that was originally scheduled for May 2020 in New Orleans until it was torpedoed by the COVID shutdowns.  It was eventually rescheduled for October 2021…then that date, too, was sunk, by Hurricane Ida.  And while I’m glad the conference is finally taking place, I wish they’d been able to keep it in New Orleans.  Miami Beach, as the old song says, ain’t my kinda town, but New Orleans is where I was born, and no matter how far from it I live, there will always be a part of me there.  So I decided to fix what was broken by catastrophes, and when the conference ends on Thursday I’ll be hopping over to the Crescent City (only a two-hour flight from Miami) to visit old friends for a few days.  It meant having to pack for three different temperature ranges while yet keeping it to one suitcase (I don’t like having my luggage out of my control, so one roller bag, a large purse, and whatever I can wear is the limit), but I somehow managed. And I’ll try to get some interesting pictures to share with you.

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I think that certain foods produce better-smelling farts.  –  Stephanie Matto

This week’s video isn’t a new one, but I was recently reminded of ts existence by Lenore Skenazy.  The first and last links above it were provided by David Ley, and the others by Desiree Alliance; Mistress Matisse & Jesse Walker; Emma Evans; and Phoenix Calida, in that order.

From the Archives

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The federal government is literally paying state and local police to circumvent state law.  –  Justin Pearson

To Molest and Rape

If only there were a concise word for “coerced into having sex”:

An Elk Grove [California cop], along with [his cop shop] and city of Elk Grove, are being sued by a woman who…was [raped by]…the [cop, whose identity the state is hiding so he can continue to prey on other vulnerable women]…in April, the woman called 911 to report the theft of her vehicle’s catalytic converter…When the [rapist, who was among the responding cops, discovered]…she was single, he took her number and [claimed] it would be used for the investigation…[but in actuality] he [used it to harass]…her…th[reatening] her son…if she did not [submit]…she complied [due to reasonable]…fear of retaliation…[but] called [a different cop shop]…to…report…the…rape [afterward]…

Thou Shalt Not (#642)

New Zealand cops apparently lack sufficient reasons to brutalize people:

New Zealand is [criminaliz]ing young people [who]…buy cigarettes in a rolling program that aims to make [every]…smoke[r in the country a criminal] by 2025…Each year the age limit will be increased until…[all Kiwis who smoke are criminalized]…As part of the strategy, cigarette prices have [been artificially] increased by 10 per cent every year for the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, but…the price hike has…creat[ed] a black market for cigarettes…

But just in case you thought politicians were capable of logic:

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to permanently legalise drug checking services, which will allow individuals to test the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations without the fear of legal repercussions…

So will services checking the safety of black market cigarettes be legal?

Policing for Profit (#924)

Until there are criminal penalties for this behavior, cops have no incentive to stop:

In [2016], Florida passed a law [intended to] reform…the state’s civil asset forfeiture process…But despite t[his]…Florida remains one of the most prolific practitioners of [legalized robbery, because]…local and state police can evade the new restrictions by [simply] working with the federal government [to divvy up the take]…In 2012, the Justice Department demanded that the police department in Bal Harbour, Florida—population 2,500—return $4 million in forfeited assets after audits showed the department had been misusing funds for lavish expenses, vehicles, payouts to snitches, and first-class travel…Bal Harbour police had been running a [so-called] task force…[which actually] laundered $56 million for drug cartels through undercover police bank accounts…police in the suburb of Sunrise, Florida…raked in millions by using well-paid snitches to lure cocaine buyers into town from around the country…and s[teal]ing their cash…a dozen members of the…vice squad had each made hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay through the stings…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1102) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, now with the financial backing of Morality in Media:

[A professional fantasist] and two…unnamed…[collaborators, backed by anti-sex extremists Morality in Media, have re-]filed a [previously-dismissed] lawsuit…against Nevada’s Governor [and others, seeking]…to put an end to legalized…prostitution in the state [because of their fantasies about it]…The lawsuit [bizarrely claims]…that…legalized prostitution…[is] “violating the thirteenth amendment’s ban on slavery”…Guinasso [also] argues that…prostitution [should be further criminalized because]…it…[allows women to] make a good living…

The Mob Rules

A district court judge has to do SCOTUS’ job because it won’t:

S.B. 8, the Texas law that bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, relies on a novel enforcement mechanism…It authorizes lawsuits by “any person” against “any person” who performs or facilitates a prohibited abortion and promises plaintiffs at least $10,000 in “statutory damages,” plus reimbursement of their legal expenses, if they win.  That “unique and unprecedented” arrangement …violates the state constitution’s standing requirements for civil actions, the separation of powers, and the right to due process…[ruled] Travis County District Court Judge David Peeples…His 48-page order emphasizes how the law’s “completely new” enforcement mechanism favors plaintiffs over defendants and warns that the same strategy could be deployed against all sorts of politically disfavored constitutional rights…”It is one thing to authorize taxpayers or citizens to file suits against government officials to make them obey a law, and…quite another thing to incentivize citizens or persons to file suits against other private citizens to extract money from them, with no pretense of compensating the claimant for anything”…

Since IANAL, I can’t judge whether SCOTUS arguments supporting its continued refusal to take action are specious or not.  But they’re certainly convenient.

Torture Chamber (#1189)

Arizona screws think they can cure mental illness by torture:

Day after day…Rahim Muhammad slammed his head into the prison cell door…[because he] heard voices that told him to harm himself.  But instead of providing counseling…Arizona prison staff repeatedly gassed Muhammad with pepper spray…more than 40 times over eight months [in the past year]…In one two-week period, Muhammad was pepper sprayed 15 times.  Sometimes [screws] gassed him twice a day…[or] shot him at close range with a pepper ball gun…The treatment…was recently highlighted in the [class action suit over medical neglect in Arizona prisons.  Screws]…have no psychiatric training, but nevertheless told Muhammad that his frequent self-harming behavior is a choice…and…”We’ll gas you, we’ll shoot you, and we’ll tase you until you stop”…Muhammad has spent the majority of the past seven years in…[solitary confinement]…causing [even more] harm…

Creepy Coppers

Setting an example for his underlings:

The [typical and representative] East Helena [Montana] chief of police…admitted…that he distributed child pornography in 2019 using [Facebook]…William Daly Harrington…faces a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison…[and] a $250,000 fine…[he was caught] in September 2020…[after] Facebook Messenger [told cops]…that the Facebook Messenger account…belong[ing] to Harrington….sent…child pornography…[to another] account…

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It’s as if Disney were entering Notre-Dame.  –  Maurice Culot

Every once in a while social media produces something really exceptional; this was called to my attention by Mike Siegel, who also contributed “improved” and “baby”.  The other links above the video were provided by Dan Savage, Scott Greenfield, Kevin Wilson, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Sophia got carried away.  –  Brass Against

To commemorate the passing of one of the titans of musical theater, I present the opening number of the first production for which he wrote both words and music (still one of my favorites of his oeuvre).  The links above it were provided by David Ley, Scott Hechinger, Emma Evans, Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Cop Crisis, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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I hear that China is unhappy about this conference…Well, I am unhappy there’s a country in 2021 that has concentration camps.  –  Zdeněk Hřib

Above the Law

The rapist gets a respectful title, while his victims are dehumanized as “offenders”:

A [typical and representative Florida] probation officer…has been arrested [for orally raping] two people [he was given coercive power over by the State]…Jeremy Greenidge…also [tried to coerce] a third [victim, who]…report[ed him]…

Dangerous Speech (#1031)

It’s an atrocity that these grossly-unconstitutional robberies weren’t ruled illegal from the beginning:

Staring down the barrel of an expensive retrial triggered by intentional government overreach, defense attorneys in the Lacey/Larkin case are asking federal Judge Diane Humetewa to release a fraction of the millions of dollars in assets illegally s[tolen] by the prosecution in its bid to starve the defendants into submission…The move forced Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants to fight a grotesquely expensive legal war on two fronts…the defense…is requesting that Judge Humetewa…un-freeze four specific categories of funds that should never have been seized because they cannot be traced to any alleged illegal activity.  These assets include…more than $10 million in defense attorneys’ trust accounts…

Working From Home (#1103)

No, these “new regulations” are not “intended to fight child sexual abuse and sex trafficking”. They’re intended to do just what they’re doing:

…creators of adult content were shaken when OnlyFans announced…it would ban adult content…it…reverse[d] its stance only days later after an outcry…[but] creators…are bracing for further disruption.  Groups campaigning against sex [workers]…are pushing credit card companies to impose [increasingly-stringent] requirements for processing payments on behalf of sexually explicit sites, aiming to [choke off sex workers’ income]…But, although [amateurs believe prohibitionist claims that] the policies are aimed at protecting those who might be forced into sex work, [in truth the crusade is directed at harming all sex workers]…The rules…seem innocuous [to amateurs]…but [are]…time-consuming and confusing…creating a bureaucracy that threatens their livelihoods [by consuming time and energy that would otherwise be spent in productive work]…In addition, the new…requirements…are delaying payments…

A Woman’s Point of View (#1114)

A petition to put a decriminalization measure on the ballot in Oregon:

An advocacy group called the Sex Worker Rights Act campaign filed a petition…seek[ing] to repeal Oregon’s prostitution laws and amend other relevant statutes.  The petition also seeks to [bar government from denying employees of sex work businesses status] as “employees” under Oregon law; protect people who are or once were sex workers from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace; and prevent a person’s past or present employment as a sex worker from being held against them in child custody disputes…The petitioners must gather 112,020 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2022 ballot.  Should it qualify, the ballot measure could become a sticking point in the Oregon governor’s race….[because noted prohibitionist] Nicholas Kristof has [announced he is running.  Kristof]… support[s]…a dis[credited and dangerous form of oppressing] sex work[ers] known as the “Nordic Model”—which [officially classifies women as moral inferiors of men]…

The Next Target (#1180)

Lux Alptraum and Erika Moen team up to detail (in cartoon form) how the recent brouhaha over OnlyFans is merely “the latest installment of Visa & Mastercard’s war on porn“.  As they explain, it’s really only the latest in a campaign against free expression that has existed since not very long after the internet became popular.

Quiet Genocide (#1191)

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor“:

The Marriott hotel in Prague [refus]ed to host a conference of activists and leaders from China’s Uyghur diaspora this month, c[laim]ing “political neutrality”…[this] reflects China’s growing ability to extend authoritarian control beyond its borders by making clear to corporations that crossing the party’s red lines will be bad for business…Marriott frequently hosts political fundraisers and events…[and Marriott corporate management said]…hosting the conference would not have violated any “political neutrality” policy…[however] Marriott International issued a profuse apology [for sharing facts Beijing dislikes] in 2018…

Rotting Fruit (#1191)

Now this will set the cat among the pigeons:

Exactly a week before the anticipated start of her sex trafficking trial, Ghislaine Maxwell received permission to call [noted]…memory…expert…Elizabeth Loftus..[who] has questioned the reliability of memory and…[demonstrated that] suggestion can mold it…[Despite the recovered-memory and “sex trafficking” industries’ repeated attempts to portray her as some kind of hired gun for rapists and child molesters]…Judge Alison Nathan granted Maxwell permission to call Loftus—subject to certain limitations that are currently under seal.  The threadbare order states only that the government’s motion to block her testimony is denied in part and granted in part…

If you want to understand exactly why Loftus’ testimony is liable to cause drama, you should watch this and read my academic paper “Mind-Witness Testimony“.

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No [one]…has the right to…speak and make choices for women who have not asked to be represented by them.  –  Efrat Rubinstein

Above the Law 

Just another kind of federal cop, with behavior to match:

Brian Jeffrey Raymond…is [a CIA agent who was arrested]…after a naked woman was seen screaming for help from the balcony of his latest residence in Mexico City…in May of 2020…the woman had no idea how she got to his home and [said] she had no memory after the pair ate dinner together.  When searching his devices, the FBI discovered hundreds of images and videos taken over the the course of 14 years from 2006 to 2020.  This serial rapist had dozens of victims and all of them were unconscious during their rapes…in some of the…images…Raymond can be seen holding open the victims’ eyelids, waving their limp arms and legs around, or putting his fingers in their mouths to demonstrate that they are unconscious…Raymond resided in the Washington, D.C., and San Diego areas…traveled extensively for work and leisure, and lived in numerous countries, including Mexico and Peru…[so] there could be many other victims…

Accredited Whores

There’s nothing wrong with “sexological bodywork”, as long as you understand that the stuff described in this article is no different from what many thousands of sex workers do every day, all over the world, without the fancy title.  But you wouldn’t know it from this article, which pretends that one needs to pay an “accrediting body” money and hide under a “certificate” and a euphemized job title for sex work to be ethical; the writer’s phraseology even seems to imply that ordinary, unsanitized sex work is not consensual, which is one of the most toxic claims of 21st-century prohibitionism.  The writer breathlessly informs us that “Sex bod is one-way, which allows the client to focus solely on their own experience without the pressures that come with a partnered sexual experience.”  Sure sounds like sex work to me; in fact there’s nothing mentioned in this article that one can’t get from sex workers, but don’t tell that to Gwyneth Paltrow; “certified” whores with fancy titles who only touch you through medical gloves are celebrated on Goopy Vaginas or whatever she calls her show, but she claims the rest of us are “harmful to women”.

The Course of a Disease (#1057)

How’s Israel’s plan to force sex workers into low-paid menial “women’s work” going?

The…Knesset…held its first discussion on prostitution [of this session], attended by various representatives of ministries and welfare and [prohibitionist] organizations…[but not] sex workers…[the scheme has] led to an increase in [violence against sex workers, and]…plans to [replace their income]…have not been effectively implemented…Efrat Rubinstein, the head of Israel’s Stripper’s Union…[pointed out] that “no welfare or aid organization representative has the right to represent Israeli sex workers, and they are being given the right to speak and make choices for women who have not asked to be represented by them.”  Rubinstein also demanded that Israel’s strip clubs be reopened, saying that their closure has created unsafe working environments for strippers and that programs have only offered them employment for minimum wage…creat[ing] an impossible situation where strippers must choose between unsafe working conditions or poverty…

Rotting Fruit (#1174)

Presented without comment:

Prince Andrew has asked a New York court to dismiss a legal action brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.  The Duke of York’s lawyers said the “baseless lawsuit” should be dismissed because Ms Giuffre failed to sufficiently outline her claims against him…If a dismissal is not granted, Ms Giuffre should provide a “more definitive statement” of her allegations, [the] lawyers…said…”Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense…Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew…[also, Epstein’s 2009 settlement with Giuffre included a] broad release…cover[ing] any and all persons who Giuffre identified as potential targets of future lawsuits, regardless of the merit – or lack thereof – to any such claims”…

The Cop Myth (#1179)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with mere beating, or with just their wives:

A [screw paid to torture caged people in Monroe, Louisiana]…was…arrested for [murdering]…his wife and child [on Halloween night]…Blake Bardwell [was apparently still hanging out]…at…home [with their corpses] on [Sunday when he was arrested]…

Think of the Children! (#1182) 

This happens all over the US, but Florida is the worst:

A Florida mother who has spent the last five years volunteering at her children’s school has been banned from donating her time [because a busybody snitched to puritans at] the school district…that she has an OnlyFans page…Mark NeJame, one of Triece’s lawyers, [pointed out that]…“she kept it away from the children. You can’t access her [page] unless you’re an adult.” They plan to sue the school district for $1 million…

To Molest and Rape (#1182)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A Roy [Utah cop named]…Ryan A. Estes…[was arrested for raping] a girl younger than 14 [at least twice, and molesting her many other times]…between May 2015 and May 2019…[boss pig] Matthew Gwynn [though the most important thing to comment on was that] Estes w[asn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time of the rapes]…

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You’re going to die today.  –  “Officer” Devuton

I was familiar with this song, but unfamiliar with its history as the only instrumental ever banned from US radio.  The video was provided by Franklin Harris, and the links above it by Stephen Lemons, Emma Evans, and Cop Crisis (x4), in that order.

From the Archives

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[The Backpage] case is a hot mess.  –  Michael Piccarreta

The Punitive Mindset (#872) 

Much more of this, please:

I was incredibly disappointed when I recently learned that music artists are partnering with telecom corporations in the prison industryPrison telecom is a $1.4 billion industry dominated by just two corporations that charge families extortionate rates to communicate with their incarcerated loved ones.  One of these…is Aventiv Technologies, which [owns the]…notoriously predatory…Securus and JPay.  Securus controls roughly 40 percent of the prison and jail telecom market and charges as much as a dollar per minute for a simple call.  JPay charges similarly egregious rates for everything from money transfers to emails…And both…routinely face legal action for an extensive list of unlawful practices…including the unlawful recording of sacred attorney-client calls…As music executives and artists, we should…not [be] cutting back-office deals with…the prison industry…I’m making a pledge not to collaborate with corporations that profit from incarceration…And I urge my fellow music executives and artists to join me…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#957) 

“Porn addiction” is still being used as an excuse for violent crimes:

Two 11-year-old “porn addicts” have been arrested in India after they allegedly stoned a six-year-old girl to death for refusing to perform sex acts they had watched on their parents’ phones…Authorities arrested the two…along with another eight-year-old who is thought to have [stood guard while] the [others] murder[ed] the…girl…children are seen as having criminal responsibility from the age of seven in India…

Subtle Pimping (#1013)

While American cops favor VR porn games, Kazakh cops prefer LARPing:

A…week-long simulation exercise on combating…migration…started on 11 October 2021 in Almaty.  The simulation exercise [refers to this migration control as “]Combating Trafficking in Human Beings[“, following the racist European practice]…this training exercise offers f[antasies in place of]…real-life [situations], using actors to create [fantasy] trafficking scenarios.  A fictitious brothel..a[nd] massage parlor…were…created to…[indoctrin]ate c[ops in the fantasy version] of human trafficking…and sexual exploitation…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…a 23-year-old woman…committed suicide in a [Forks,] Washington jail [after] she tried to report sexual harassment by a guard, but her complaint was [ignored].  Months later, that same [screw] was sentenced to prison for [raping] four other women…the family of Kimberly Bender [is suing jail] officials…[for allow]ing Bender…[to] be…tormented by a [typical and representative screw] with a known misconduct record…John Gray…[repeat]edly tormented Bender at night, leering at her, making “vile” comments, and frequently waking her up.  Bender, “struggling with heroin withdrawal, was unable to sleep, rest, or relax because of…Gray”…wh[o was]…previously…fire[d from a different cage stack] in 2018 for m[oc]king…a training on the Prison Rape Elimination Act…[by making disgusting] “comments and sounds such as, ‘Here we go’ and ‘oooh…oh yeah baby…mmmmm'” during a [scene showing]…a woman [groping]…another woman [under the pretext of a “search”]…PREA is [well-known to be] largely toothless.  Since the reporting rules went into effect in 2012, reports of sexual assaults in prisons and jails have dramatically increased, especially at local and county jails…

The Convergence of Censors

Vomit out the right buzzwords and you can censor at will:

The Waterloo Region District School Board is undertaking a multi-year review of its library collections to [censor] any texts deemed “[magically] harmful to staff and students.”  Graham Shantz, coordinating [bureaucrat, made a bunch of incoherent, pseudointellectual excuses about why stunting students’ intellectual growth and controlling their thoughts is actually a good thing, belching out words like]…”inappropriate…questionable and…pedagogical framework”…[to support plain old-fashioned book burning]…Earlier this year, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board removed William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies from its curriculum after [bureaucrats vomited out the words]…white, male power structures [at librarians].  Other books recently removed from Canadian school libraries…in response to complaints [backed by fashionable pseudointellectual bullshit]…include Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

To Molest and Rape (#1130)

Imagine a non-cop child rapist staying free for decades like this:

A [typical and representative] New York [cop] who for decades has delayed facing [trial for]…repeatedly rap[ing] and molest[ing] his daughter’s 12-year-old friend was arrested in Florida…Leonard Forte, who is now 80…was [found guilty] in Vermont in 1988…[but] the judge tossed the verdict…[because cop]…and…Forte persuaded prosecutors to delay the retrial because he [claimed to be terminally ill]…A USA Today investigation in 2019 revealed how Vermont prosecutors had mishandled the case [for over 25 years]…and exposed Forte’s dubious claims about his health…[thus shaming] Vermont’s Attorney General’s Office [into] reviv[ing] the case…

Dangerous Speech (#1184)

After presiding over an evil clown show for months, Brnovich does what an ethical judge would’ve done a year ago:

…Judge Susan Brnovich today recused herself from the [Backpage] trial…[without providing a] reason…the case ha[s] been reassigned by lot to…Judge Diane J. Humetewa…Brnovich…previously refused to recuse herself from the case [despite obvious]…conflict [of interest due to]…Brnovich’s [being married to the attorney general of Arizona, a noted prohibitionist with a history of disseminating anti-Backpage propaganda]…Humetewa is…the fourth judge on the case…Steven Logan was first assigned to the case…[but] recused himself with no explanation in March 2019.  The case was briefly assigned to…Douglas Rayes, who immediately recused himself sans explanation…Brnovich was then assigned the case…Tucson criminal defense attorney and former Arizona State Bar President Michael Piccarreta [pointed out that]…“Someone’s going to have to take a look at the government’s overreaching issues…No judge wants to have to deal with that”…prosecutorial misconduct in this case…[includes] the [intentional] destruction of exculpatory evidence…and…the [armed robbery] of millions of dollars in assets, including…more than $10 million from lawyers for the defense…

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