Police Escalation: Lethal Drones.

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Legislators in Connecticut are very close to legalizing the use of weaponized drones by cops. I’m sure if this passes, it will get picked up from state to state, allowing cops to become even more lethal towards the citizens of uStates.

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing a bill that would legalize the use of armed drones for police officers. The state’s judiciary committee approved a bill on Thursday titled, “An Act Concerning the Use and Regulation of Drones” that would ban weaponized drones for use by anyone except for police officers, according to Gizmodo.

The bill would allow police officers to use drones armed with tear gas, incendiary devices, explosives, and “remote deadly weapons.” If the bill is signed, it would go into effect in October, 2017.

In its original form, the bill did not include a provision to allow police to equip drones with arms. Rather, as David McGuire, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut tells Raw Story, “The underlying bill was strong because it only authorized police to use drones with a warrant for surveillance.”

The original bill required officers to obtain a warrant before surveilling individuals suspected of a crime, and would require police to report annually how they used drones. “It protected privacy and free speech rights,” said McGuire.

The added provision, McGuire said, “turned a bill that was about protecting peoples’ rights into a bill that violates peoples’ civil rights by allowing use of force.”

McGuire tells me, “We have been struggling with the issue of militarization of police — this [bill] would be escalating that in a serious and unprecedented way.”

“This amendment would send a terrible message to over-policed and victimized communities,” McGuire said. He added that the last few years have been spent working to rebuild community trust in law enforcement.

If the bill passes with the added amendment, Connecticut would be the first state in the country allowing police to use drones with lethal weapons. “I think you would see more use of force,” said McGuire.

No kidding. Cops adore all their lethal toys, and they’ll love this one, too.

But he remains positive that the bill can go back to its original intent.

Why in the fuckety fuck would you think that? I’ll lay money this won’t go back to original intent, and I’d bet that even restricted to surveillance, they would be misused, every day in every way.

Full story here.

Badger Buries Cow Carcass.

Warning: If you don’t want bad Benny Hill skits in your head, mute video immediately. Badger buries cow.

After scientists set up cameras to keep tabs on the behavior of scavenger animals in Utah, they were surprised to discover a badger buried a small cow carcass, according to a new study published Friday.

While badgers, which are small, omnivorous mammals, were known to scavenge and store small food items underground, this was the first evidence of the critter storing an animal carcass larger than itself, according to the study, which was led by undergraduate students from the University of Utah.

You can read all about it here.

Do Things Legal, Get Arrested.

Tucker Viemeister.

Tucker Viemeister.

Immigrants who are doing all the right, legal things are now being arrested when they show up to do all the right, legal things. I think the Canadian backroad border crossings are going to get a lot busier.

Federal immigration officers arrested five people in Lawrence [Massachusetts] on Wednesday when they showed up for scheduled appointments at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.

WBUR has confirmed that at least three of those arrested were beginning the process to become legal permanent residents. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the agency had orders to detain each of the five individuals for deportation.

Brian Doyle, the attorney for one of the three people who were seeking green cards before they were arrested, says he knew there was a chance his client would be taken into custody at the appointment.

His client, a Brazilian national who had been ordered deported before she married a U.S. citizen, understood the risks as well, but ultimately decided that she wanted to keep the appointment and begin the green card process.

This, Doyle says, is an example of the difficult situation for many immigrants living in the country illegally, who are forced to weigh the costs and benefits of keeping an appointment with an immigration official in light of new deportation priorities set by President Trump.

“Now, they’re in a sort of catch-22 where, ‘All right, I’m being called in for this interview. I want to have this first step approved.’ If they don’t show up, it’s what’s called abandoned … USCIS just sort of assumes that they don’t want to go forward with it,” Doyle said. “But now, if they do show up, trying to take that first step and they’re detained, it can lead to them being removed.”


“What this means is that people who are eligible to obtain their green card in the United States, who are following the law, who are following the rules, who are doing what the government is instructing them to do, are going to be too terrified to show up and follow through with the process,” Church said. “And now a whole new category of people is going to go back into the shadow of immigration land and be living in fear.”

In a statement, ICE confirmed that officers were “responding to an investigative tip” when arresting the five foreign nationals at the USCIS office in Lawrence.

“All five individuals have final orders of removal issued by a federal immigration judge. All five will be held in custody pending removal from the United States,” the statement read.

When asked if the five people arrested had criminal records, an ICE spokesman said two of the people had no criminal record while the other three had “multiple traffic violations.”

Oh, traffic violations, the horror! Guess it’s a good thing these people are being ripped away from their families, and being punished for following the law, because traffic tickets, well, what could be worse?


Killing Ourselves Harshly.

(Brian Gratwicke, Fickr).

(Brian Gratwicke, Fickr).

That is a Striped Blenny, a popular aquarium fish. Also known as a Fang Blenny. There are a number of different types, and they have exploded into a different kind of popularity, outside of aquarist circles. Blennies defend themselves with a venomous bite. The venom doesn’t kill, but it does get the potential predator woozed out on opiones, so the Blenny can make a quick get away. The venom has intrigued medical researchers, particularly those who want to come up with a painkiller which actually works, and doesn’t have such heavy addiction potential. Sounds good so far, right? There’s something of a problem though – the natural home of Blennies is The Great Barrier Reef, which is dying an all too rapid death from bleaching. This is a reminder of just how little we actually know of our planet, or of all the potential benefits to ourselves are out there, right now, but we’re very busy killing off so many different types of habitats, we are killing ourselves.

So the fang blenny’s potential isn’t just blue-sky thinking; there’s a very real and somewhat straight path for studying this opioid to make it useable as a pharmaceutical.

The number one hurdle is the health of the Great Barrier Reef, where these fish live. There’s an immense amount of unknown diversity in ecosystems around the world disappearing at unprecedented rates due to climate change, and the GBR is fragile among these. Current policies of both the Australian and American governments don’t bode well for slowing climate change and preserving nature to its full potential to help us.

Here’s the key thing: a better opioid is worth tens of billions of dollars. The best source of inspiration for new pharmaceuticals is nature, and that’s what we are destroying for a few million or even hundred million in the short term.

The reality is that the economic argument for conservation vastly outweighs the economic argument for destruction.The fang benny populations are declining as the reef gets bleached and destroyed, and with it goes millions of years of perfecting potentially life-savings drugs for our use.

Full story here.

Also see: Putin thinks Russia will benefit from climate change and communities will ‘adjust’.

The Penis Seat.

Men using Mexico City’s metro trains got a shock when they sat down on a seat featuring a lifelike penis.

Campaigners against sexual violence placed the seat, which is moulded in the shape of a male body – complete with genitals, on public transport in a drive designed to show men the difficulties women face every day.

A note on the floor in front of the seat read: “It’s uncomfortable to sit here, but that’s nothing compared to the sexual violence suffered by women on their commute.”

A video promoting the stunt has been watched some 800,000 times on YouTube and is part of a UN Women campaign, alongside the Mexico City government, to tackle the problem of sexual assault.

In it, men can be seen leaping straight back up after trying to sit in the seat. Bemused, confused and disgusted expressions are seen on passengers’ faces as they catch sight of the moulding.

Mexico City moved in 2000 to make the first three carriages of metro trains women-only all day because of a surge in complaints about harassment, but it appears the problem remains.

This is a great idea, because it drives home the problem of harassment in a very real way, not only with the seat, but as you can see later in the video, the camera screens at the station were focusing in on men’s arses, much to their consternation and alarm. As a woman, it’s quite easy to laugh about the reaction of the men, because we spend whole lifetimes putting up with such shit, and it is always a difficult task to get the depth of the problem through to men. Here’s hoping this campaign does get more men to understand.

Holly Kearl, founder of the Stop Street Harassment campaign in the US, told the BBC: “Too often initiatives around women’s safety focus on what women should or should not do, so it is refreshing to see a creative campaign aimed at men.”

On YouTube, the reaction was not universally positive.

One angry male commenter condemned the video as “misandrist” and said it accused an “entire gender” over the actions of an “idiotic and uneducated percentage”.

A woman wrote under the video: “These misandrist campaigns make me angry. To other women I say, ‘Don’t you have sons, fathers or partners? Do you agree with generalising and demonising the male sex in this way?’”

As there has been little done to diminish centuries worth of generalising and demonising women, I’d say when that sort of shit stops, we can stop targeting those who commit the highest levels of harassment. Why is is alright to continue on with the “don’t do this! don’t do that!” garbage women and girls get from day one? Why is it not alright to target harassers and rapists? Those campaigns actually work. And the standard disclaimer: No, not all men harass, assault, or rape. All men do know other men who do those things. All men know other men who are sexist assholes, who tell very nasty jokes about women, who complain constantly about how evil women are, so it’s okay to do this or that, and so on. And the probability is very high that most men don’t tackle all those other men about that sort of stuff. Until men stand up to other men, we won’t get far.

Full story here.

Art Focus: TDOV.

Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility. In celebration, and in the spirit of always learning, visit Jes Fan, and their work. Hyperallergic has a good look at Fan’s current body of work, No Clearance in the Niche, exhibiting at the Museum of Arts & Design, NYC, through April 30th.

Jes Fan, “Stranded between one act and another” (2016), polished resin, hair (all images courtesy of Museum of Arts & Design, unless noted).

Jes Fan, “Stranded between one act and another” (2016), polished resin, hair (all images courtesy of Museum of Arts & Design, unless noted).

If gender is learned and performed, as scholars like Judith Butler have argued, then can it also be reinforced at a biological, molecular level? Jes Fan’s No Clearance in the Niche poses this question by exploring how our bodies are already engineered, and the ways we can take control of engineering them better to serve our own needs and desires.

The exhibition stems from Fan’s experiences transitioning between genders and also between continents. As Fan explained to me before the opening, “I started thinking, how pervasive is the patriarchy in organizing power structures, and even bio-politically? Birth control pills are a cocktail of progestogens and estrogen. What are the feminizing effect on bodies who take birth control pills? Why are the bodies of uterus-owners policed more rigorously than others?” Fan’s work falls in line with much of the current discourse about the ways that drug use and administration are influenced by cultural, racial, and gender biases. Decisions about who has access to drugs and how they are packaged remains in the hands of a white capitalist patriarchy, and many marginalized people are forced to find ways to navigate these exclusionary policies.

Jes Fan, “Testo-candle” (2016), Depo-testosterone, lye, water, silicone base.

Jes Fan, “Testo-candle” (2016), Depo-testosterone, lye, water, silicone base.

You can read and see much more at Hyperallergic. * Jes Fan in their Studio: The Miracle of Gender. * Jes Fan’s Site.

Cool Stuff Friday.

all photos courtesy parnassus.

all photos courtesy parnassus.

Located roughly an hour north from central Tokyo is a fairly nondescript government building: Itakura Town Hall in Gifu prefecture. The building houses a small gallery that counts among its collections various obscure pottery work and paintings as well as a glass-enclosed sculpture of a Buddhist deity made from roughly 20,000 beetles in numerous varieties. If you have any form of entomophobia or insectophobia I suggest you don’t read on.

The sculpture was made almost 40 years ago in 1978 by a man named Yoneji Inamura, who was in his 50s at the time. We recently learned that Inamura had passed away earlier this year in January at the age of 98, which is what prodded us to look into his work.

Although Inamura created several sculptures out of beetles, he spent 6 years in the 1970s constructing this one, which has become his masterpiece and the largest sculpture he ever made. When it was done he donated it to the city.

The sculpture, made from rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles and other types of local beetles, depicts the senju kannon bosatsu (1000-armed bodhisattva), a popular Buddhist deity in Japan.

You can see and read more at Spoon & Tamago.

Jade suit, unearthed from Tomb 2, Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu (2nd century BCE) (photo © Nanjing Museum).

Jade suit, unearthed from Tomb 2, Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu (2nd century BCE) (photo © Nanjing Museum).

Exceedingly wealthy, the royalty of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) lived indulgently, and these aristocrats were determined to enjoy their accustomed luxuries in the afterlife as well. While their strong affinity for the extravagant is largely unrecorded in historical texts, modern archaeology has immensely helped to shed light on these lifestyles from 2,000 years ago. Since 2009, archaeologists have uncovered thousands of telling treasures buried in royal tombs that date to the Jiangdu kingdom. They found not only exquisite mortuary objects and finely crafted domestic wares but also artifacts that speak to the body’s needs and desires — including a number of ancient sex toys.

You can see and read more at Hyperallergic.

And last, an animal so Disneyfied it makes Disney animals look woefully inadequate:



You can see more of a Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel here.

Anonymous Trolls Worried, Oh Noes!

Credit: AP Photo.

Credit: AP Photo.

Oh those poor anonymous shitlords, whatever will they do with their loyalty to the Tiny Tyrant? Seems they are rather upset about the stripping of online privacy. Tsk. I also want to point out, on the off chance this is seen in the relevant circles, that cooperate and corporate have nothing in common.

…Even as some voters began expressing remorse for entrusting a misogynistic failed businessman with improving their health care and saving jobs, Trump’s army of trolls—on 4chan, on gab.ai, and, most notably, on the r/The_Donald subreddit—remained steadfast.

At least, until this week.

Earlier this week, Republicans muscled a bill through Congress that strips away Obama-era protections on users’ online privacy, opening the door for internet service providers to begin selling their customers’ private information to the highest bidder. Everything from a user’s location to their shopping habits to their browsing history will be on the menu.

For a group of people whose cretinous online behavior is predicated on remaining largely anonymous, such a disruption would be unwelcome to say the least. And the fact that the Trump administration has vowed to sign such a bill into law has proven to be a very triggering turn of events.

Now, users in Donald Trump’s online safe spaces are cycling through all seven stages of grief.


This is an attack against freedom. I want to make my own decisions about my life, not others, and that includes my private info as well. this is total bs, the house giving in to the business “establishment”, Pres Trump should stop this!!!!!


I’m completely against this bill. Trump would never put something this idiotic through though. It’s all Paul Ryan and his cooperate shills.


Trump needs to VETO this shit. This shit wreaks of swamp water and is definitely not part of MAGA.


This is big, I’m very disappointed in it, it’s one of my top issues. But immigration, budget cuts, repealing Obamacare (and NOT getting in Ryancare), and Draining The Swamp are bigger, especially in aggregate.


This bill will not be vetoed…Oh fuck me. Shit man.


“So what do we do if Trump doesn’t veto? Do we still support him?”

And finally, acceptance:

“Hey man, this is deregulation! This is what Trump promised, it’s what he campaigned on.”

But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about, a scam artist who bilked hundreds of people by creating a fraudulent university atop a charter of “trust me, I got this.” Is it any wonder, then, that some Trump supporters still assume the president knows what he’s doing, even when all the evidence suggests otherwise?

“Can’t help it, but getting rid of Obama-sneaky BS is a good thing,” writes another Breitbart commenter. “That scoundrel had to be up to something censorious, anti-freedom or something similar.”

The comments are sourced at Think Progress, who has the full story.

Suing Italy and Israel on Behalf of Jesus.

Dola Indidis.

Dola Indidis.

A Kenyan lawyer, Dola Indidis has decided to sue some very long dead people, along with Israel and Italy, for the unlawful trial and execution of Jesus. Why? Well, someone has to uphold the dignity of Jesus. (Jesus can’t do that, because he’s stuck in an oak tree right now.)

A Kenyan lawyer has filed a petition with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, suggesting that the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ was unlawful. … The former spokesman of the Kenyan Judiciary is reportedly attempting to sue Tiberius (emperor of Rome, 42 BCE-37 CE), Pontius Pilate, a selection of Jewish elders, King Herod, the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel.

“Evidence today is on record in the Bible, and you cannot discredit the Bible,” Indidis told the Kenyan Citizen News.

Oh, sure you can discredit the bible. It’s one of the easiest messes to discredit. Barely takes any time or work at all. It’s a bit bothersome that an attorney doesn’t realize that the bible is a mashed up mess of stories, heavily edited over the years, with many different versions, which often contradict one another, and that does not constitute evidence. I would seriously hope that attorneys have a grasp on the concept of evidence.

Although those he suggests should have been convicted during the original trial have not been alive for more than 2,000 years, Indidis insists that the government for whom they acted can and should still be held responsible.

“I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth,” Indidis told the Nairobian.

“His selective and malicious prosecution violated his human rights through judicial misconduct, abuse of office bias and prejudice.”

Dude, Jesus is supposed to be a god, so I’d think he can handle his own dignity issues. Also, the whole crucifixion nonsense was set up by Jehovah in the first place – that’s why he got busy with little Mary in the first fuckin’ place. Jehovah isn’t much good at planning, that much shows up clearly in the bible – he’s basically good at genocide, rape, and various gruesome punishments, so the whole “I’ll have kid and kill him” plan, yep, that’s Jehovah all over.

He is challenging the mode of questioning used during Jesus’s trial, prosecution, hearing and sentencing; the form of punishment meted out to him while undergoing judicial proceedings and the substance of the information used to convict him.

The substance of information? I’m pretty sure you don’t know what that means at all, Mr. Indidis, given that you think the bible is evidentiary in nature. I’m also curious as to who is footing the bill for all this nonsense.

Full story here.

Jesus Tree.

Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

Do you see Jesus? Right there, in the tree, for true! A woman has claimed to see Jesus in an oak tree, and if you click over and watch the video, it’s easy enough to see why. Her house is crammed full of religious icons, statues, paintings, all that. I did laugh, watching part of the video, where they zoomed back from the tree, and superimposed a white Jesus image over the tree, so that people would know how to locate Tree Jesus.

“I was looking out the window and there he was,” Clack said. “I have little square panes in my windows, and it looked like it was framed. I just laughed and said, ‘Lord, you even framed it for me.’”

Clack, who is Catholic, said she noticed it around 4 p.m. when the sun shone on it. She describes the figure as “a big face.”

“Remember, it’s bark,” she said. “When you stand back 15 feet or so, (you can see it) — it’s a big face.”

Now I’m curious – do all the acorns have tiny baby Jesuses? This would also make Jesus a Dryad. Uh oh, he fell into the wrong mythos.


“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but…”

Republican Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner.

Republican Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner.

We open today’s can of stupid with Pennsylvania, and Sen. Scott Wagner. Wagner is all for  opening up state forests to drilling for natural gas. Why, we don’t need forests, what are they good for? Just full of trees and animals and stuff, they aren’t important at all. Yesterday, we had the tin cap idiocy of Lord Monckton, and today the climate change theories of Wagner:

NPR reports that Pennsylvania State Senator Scott Wagner on Tuesday gave a talk in favor of conducting natural gas drilling in state forests — and he justified his position by using a scientifically incorrect analysis of climate change.

Specifically, Wagner said he wasn’t worried about carbon emissions leading to a warming planet because the change in the planet’s temperature was more likely caused by the Earth getting closer to the sun every year.

“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but the earth moves closer to the sun every year–you know the rotation of the earth,” Wagner said. “We’re moving closer to the sun.”

I don’t believe you. I don’t think you have ever been in a science class. That said, why are you relying on your own ignorance? There is a ton of information, clear, concise, evidence-backed, and easily understood, even by people like yourself, available. Information which would point out the idiocy of destroying state forests.

Wagner also suggested that climate change could be caused by the heat emitted from human bodies.

“We have more people,” he said. “You know, humans have warm bodies. So is heat coming off? Things are changing, but I think we are, as a society, doing the best we can.”

Oh ffs. Climate change is driven by humans, but not in that way. If this is how you did in school, I am absolutely amazed you graduated. Via Raw Story.