The Fight Against Blue Lives Matter.

Getty Images.

Getty Images.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the country’s first “Blue Lives Matter” law last week, a piece of legislation that makes a civilian attack on a veteran, police officer, emergency responder, or firefighter a possible hate crime. Louisianans convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes against officers will be slapped with a $500 fine and possibly an additional sentence of up to six months.

Fusion has a very good look at why this legislation was unnecessary, and how it can be used to further crush those already deeply marginalized and poor. As most people know, across uStates, there’s an automatic add on to any interaction with a cop. Punch someone, it’s assault. Punch a cop, it’s assault of a police officer, and cops do love taking advantage of that little add on. Everything is worse if it’s directed towards a cop, it’s always been that way, so why this legislation? How would Ferguson have played out under such legislation? I think maybe there wouldn’t have been a Ferguson at all with such a law in place. This simply adds yet more weight on the side of authoritarianism, more protections for any tale a cop might spin.

Julie Baxter Payer, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, told Fusion in an email that the governor does not view this law as targeting communities of color. In the statement about the bill, Governor Edwards said “coming from a family of law enforcement officers, I have great respect for the work that they do and the risks they take to ensure our safety.”

Anneke Dunbar-Gronke, part of BYP’s leadership in New Orleans, told me the law is redundant and that she sees “no existing precedent that can trust this [law] will be used in a way that will protect citizens,” adding “when it’s a police officer’s word against civilians we see how that’s played out specifically when it’s a black person or a person from a community of color.”

“The danger in that redundancy is that it further criminalizes black people, poor people, and those with the least access,” she said.

The vague language of the law, Moore-O’Neal said, also leaves communities more susceptible to legal trouble. “The purpose of these sorts of legislation is not public safety for the public but safety for the elite,” she said. “The purpose of this is to quell social unrest.” Moore-O’Neal, who is black, explained that the law can be easily interpreted to quell free speech.

“Who is to say if I am protesting or having direct action against cops?” she said. “Who is to say that isn’t a hate crime?” In late May, BYP helped organize the “National Day of Action to End State Violence Against All Black Women and Girls,” with actions that took place in at least 21 cities across the country.

Protect your kids from tyrant Obama

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James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, has decided to add yet another terrifying screed to the growing pile of Christian hate and panic over transgender rights. It’s tempting to simply poke at such rhetoric, and while it is ripe for mockery, too many people actually listen to people like Dobson, and Dobson thinks a gun might be the answer. There’s always someone willing to pick a gun up here in uStates.

…Obama, acting like a king, is wielding dictatorial powers never envisioned in the law. He is determined to change the way males and females relate to one another, and worse, how children perceive themselves. If you are a married man with any gumption, surely you will defend your wife’s privacy and security in restroom facilities. Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls? If you are a dad, I pray you will protect your little girls from men who walk in unannounced, unzip their pants and urinate in front of them. If this had happened 100 years ago, someone might have been shot. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!…

Dobson has the sense to frame the gun part as a lament, “oh, if this were in the past, we could just kill the varmints!”, a way to cover himself when some committed Christian out there decides packin’ a pistol in a pee station is a great idea, and finds reason to use it. This is highly inflammatory rhetoric, and it’s being shouted from all sides.

WND article. Raw Story article. The Advocate article.

Crushed Mummy Pigment.

Mummy brown, Egyptian brown, or caput mortuum (literally, “dead head” in medieval Latin) was a rich pigment varying in hue from burnt to raw umber, made primarily from white pitch, myrrh, and ground-up ancient Egyptians and their pets.

Mummy brown, Egyptian brown, or caput mortuum (literally, “dead head” in medieval Latin) was a rich pigment varying in hue from burnt to raw umber, made primarily from white pitch, myrrh, and ground-up ancient Egyptians and their pets.

Someone, at some point in history, thought, hey, here’s an idea—let’s make paint out of crushed up mummies. Mummy, or Egyptian Brown, peaked in usage during the 18th century, in British painting especially. The “raw materials,” however, were a hot commodity long before that, as mummy powder was believed to have all kinds of magical healing properties and were a mainstay in 16th century European apothecaries. “In the course of at least 300 years of trade, an unrecorded number of archaeological objects was destroyed in order to make pigment,” says Khandekar of the highly unethical practice, whose popularity finally petered out in the early 1900s.

The Creators Project has an excellent article, along with some wonderful photos, about Harvard’s vast collection of rare pigments in their conservation lab. I was aware of all the pigments except for Mummy. That one left me rather stunned.

Kitchen cosmos: the universe made from food.

A planet and moon made from glasses filled with water, food colouring and coconut milk. The stars are made of salt, cinnamon and baking powder.

A planet and moon made from glasses filled with water, food colouring and coconut milk. The stars are made of salt, cinnamon and baking powder.

Hat tip to Marcus for sharing this amazing art by Navid Baraty.

From cinnamon galaxies and floury superclusters to coconut planets and sugary stars, photographer Navid Baraty has cooked up an entire universe out of the contents of his kitchen cupboard. Baraty has said the ‘fictional space scenes’ are inspired by Nasa and Hubble space telescope images. Here are a few of his otherworldly confections.

For his Wander Space Probe series, Navid Baraty made a planet by scanning the bottom of a glass containing water and food colouring, and conjured stars from salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Photographs: Navid Baraty.

For his Wander Space Probe series, Navid Baraty made a planet by scanning the bottom of a glass containing water and food colouring, and conjured stars from salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Photographs: Navid Baraty.

You can see much more of this beautiful work at The Guardian, Navid Baraty’s Gallery, and the Wander Space Probe.

Wattlebird and the Interloper.

From Lofty. All photos are 1500 x 996, click for full size. Such a beautiful bird! This is a Red wattlebird, (Anthochaera carunculata).

Sitting at the window this morning I heard the “chirrup! chirrup” of the a wattle bird attacking its image in the driveway mirror on top of the woodshed. Once its mate arrived to watch its hero attacking the interloper the wattle bird had a quick preen and then rushed off.

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© Lofty. All rights reserved.

Ferrofluid Photographs, Wow!

Photographer Philip Overbuary

Photographer Philip Overbuary.

Usually CGI is used to fake reality, but Copenhagen-based artist Philip Overbuary uses reality to fake digital images, using magnets and magnetic ferrofluid for an experimental photo series called Ferro. “I wanted to create something that didn’t look like photography,” Overbuary tells The Creators Project. “I wanted to do something people wouldn’t believe was actually real. Like a dream, or a psychedelic trip—but it actually happened and could be captured.”

Ferro stems from Overbuary’s work as commercial photographer where an overwhelming number of his commissions request heavily Photoshopped and 3D-rendered images. He enjoys using analog technology, like oscilloscopes and TVs with antennas, so it’s immensely satisfying for the artist to use mediums like ferrofluids to create images that look computer-generated but aren’t.

Photographer Philip Overbuary.

Photographer Philip Overbuary.

You can check out two photos from Ferro in The Censored Exhibition at this week’s Copenhagen Photo Festival, or see the full set at The Creators Project.

Embracing Tech to Brainwash Children.

Lincoln Samuelsen, 8, from left, Alex Blair, 8, Michael Vukich, 8,  Sophia Rygiol, 8 and Sarah Powers, 8 sing a song to end Bible class in  Kim Kihm's classroom at Capistrano Valley Christian School at San Juan Capistrano. The class is beta testing a new $1 million Bible curriculumin. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: sjc.biblecurriculum.0219 - shot date 021716-ANA VENEGAS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Capistrano Valley Christian Schools is developing and beta testing a new $1 million Bible curriculumin Kim Kihm's classroom. The program teaches students Christianity on a digitial platform incorporating apologetics, which will equip the students to use factual evidence based in historical documents, archeological finds and science to defend their faith. Kim Kihm teaches the curriculum on iPads.

Lincoln Samuelsen, 8, from left, Alex Blair, 8, Michael Vukich, 8, Sophia Rygiol, 8 and Sarah Powers, 8 sing a song to end Bible class in Kim Kihm’s classroom at Capistrano Valley Christian School at San Juan Capistrano.  Ana Venegas, staff photographer.

Some religious schools in southern California are using technology to prepare students to defend their faith against the scourge of “secular roommates” they might encounter in college.

Two Orange County families who wish to remain anonymous have donated $1.5 million to set up an Internet-based program to teach Christian apologetics — a field of theology that uses logic to defend faith — starting in elementary school, reported The Orange County Register.

“Our goal is to revolutionize the way the Bible is taught in Christian schools so kids will be firm in their faith,” said Kim Van Vlear, director of Bible curriculum development at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools. “We want to show why the Bible is true with proven evidence like science, archeology and history.”

They are worried about kids meeting an evil secular student in college. Is ‘paranoid’ an adequate description here? Serious shades of the notorious Jesus Camp here.

The program uses a variety of activities to teach students about scripture and biblical philosophies, including salvation, truth and knowledge, and the origins of the universe.

“The curriculum will give students the opportunity to learn, understand and compare and contrast the claims of Neo-Darwinism and the claims of the intelligent design thesis,” said program editor Catherine Waller. “We invite students to follow the evidence where it leads.”

Christian teens are becoming less engaged with their faith as they grow older and encounter tough questions about their beliefs, studies have shown.

“There are so many kids going to college and having their faith rocked by a secular roommate,” Van Vlear said.

[…]

The theology depends on confirmation bias, the tendency to seek out or interpret evidence to confirm a particular worldview, but school officials say the curriculum is necessary “to maintain cultural relevance.”

Full Story Here.

 

We Will Line Up For Crucifixion to Defend Our Bigotry.

Gov. Phil Bryant. AP Photo.

Gov. Phil Bryant. AP Photo.

Well, Misssissippi Governor Phil Bryant must be bursting with pride – he’s made Right Wing Watch. ‘Over the top’, melodramatic, dramatic, glurgetastic, none of these is an adequate descriptor anymore. A brand new word is needed.

At least week’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins presented Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant with the first ever “Samuel Adams Religious Freedom Award” for having signed a radical anti-LGBT bill into law earlier this year that will allow businesses to deny service to gay people.

While introducing the governor, Perkins said that America’s elected leaders should be “ministers of God,” while Bryant praised the hate group leader as something of a modern-day David.

[…]

Later, Bryant recalled how “all of the secular progressive world had decided that they were going to pour their anger” out on him for pledging to sign the legislation, wrongly thinking that he could be pressured into backing down because they were unaware that Christians like him would line up to be crucified before turning their backs on Jesus.

“They don’t know us very well, do they?” he asked. “They don’t know that Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages. They don’t know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So if we are going to stand, now is the time and this is the place.”

Gee, Phil, did you ask all the other Christians if they are good with being crucified?

 

Onbashira Festival

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Held every 6 years in Nagano, Japan, the festival involves moving enormous logs over difficult terrain completely by hand with the help of thickly braided ropes and an occasional assist from gravity as the logs barrel down hills. The purpose is to symbolically renew a nearby shrine where each log is eventually placed to support the foundation of several shrine buildings. The event has reportedly continued uninterrupted for 1,200 years.

Onbashira is split into into two parts, Yamadashi and Satobiki, taking place in April and May respectively. Yamadashi involves cutting down and transporting the logs, each of which can weigh up to 10 tons. The logs are harnessed by ropes and pulled up to the tops of mountains by teams of men and then ridden down the other side. The event is exceedingly dangerous and comparable to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, where a brush with peril is seen as a form of honor. The second part, Satobiki, is a ceremonial raising event where participants again ride atop the logs and sing as each is hoisted into the air. Participants of both events are frequently injured and sometimes killed, but despite the obvious risks the tone of Onbashira is quite festive with lots of singing, music, and colorful costumes.

Via Colossal Art.

The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code.

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Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place—and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void. New research from Barna reveals growing concern about the moral condition of the nation, even as many American adults admit they are uncertain about how to determine right from wrong. So what do Americans believe? Is truth relative or absolute? And do Christians see truth and morality in radically different ways from the broader public, or are they equally influenced by the growing tide of secularism and religious skepticism?

Again with this “oh no, Christianity is on the very brink of extinction!” The hell it is. If that were the case, then why are constant attempts to legislate Christian bigotry happening every 5 bloody seconds? Why is there a never ending fight against Christian based hatred of this group, that group, every group but the Christian one? All this wailing and weeping over nothing.

While most American adults agree that culture plays some role in establishing moral norms, a majority also agrees “the Bible provides us with absolute moral truths which are the same for all people in all situations, without exception” (59%). There is broad agreement across age groups, which is surprising when one considers the notable generational differences on other questions related to morality. When it comes to faith groups, practicing Christians (83%), as one might expect, are much more likely to agree with the statement than others, especially those with no faith (28%). In fact, more than half of practicing Christians strongly agree (56%).

I am sick to death of Christian ‘morality’. There’s no such thing. What there is, is Christian hate. What passes for Christian morality is patriarchal privilege, sitting in judgment and ruling over every tiny aspect of others’ lives. If that patriarchal privilege is eroded even by the smallest amount, the wailing, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and panic sets in.

Americans are both concerned about the nation’s moral condition and confused about morality itself. As nominally Christian moral norms are discarded what, if anything, is taking their place? Barna’s research reveals the degree to which Americans pledge allegiance to the “morality of self-fulfillment,” a new moral code that, as David Kinnaman, President of Barna argues, has all but replaced Christianity as the culture’s moral norm.

Emphasis is mine. Once again, the fuck it has. Mr. Kinnaman, is the president of Barna, supposedly a non-partisan organization, who has written a book about faith and being a good Christian. So, we continue with the stream of melodramatic glurge from those who insist that Christianity is dying, slain by secularism.

The morality of self-fulfillment can be summed up in six guiding principles, as seen in the table below.

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“The highest good, according to our society, is ‘finding yourself’ and then living by ‘what’s right for you,'” says David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group in Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme. “There is a tremendous amount of individualism in today’s society, and that’s reflected in the church too. Millions of Christians have grafted New Age dogma onto their spiritual person. When we peel back the layers, we find that many Christians are using the way of Jesus to pursue the way of self. . . . While we wring our hands about secularism spreading through culture, a majority of churchgoing Christians have embraced corrupt, me-centered theology.

There’s much more, including more graphs and charts, here.