White Spots App.

Visualization of networks in Brooklyn, and a map to escape them, on the White Spots app (screenshots by the author for Hyperallergic).

White Spots: A Journey to the Edge of the Internet was launched last year as an app for iPhone and Google Play. It visualizes the digital networks around us, mapping those “white spots” where there is no network connection.

[…]

The multimedia project involves a VR experience where you can use Google Cardboard to scan local digital signals in real-time, as well as a smartphone world map pinned with short documentaries on living with and without the internet. If you visit a white spot, you can add a pin with the story of your experience.

On launching White Spots, my screen was immediately swarmed with cellphone networks and a jarring digital noise. You can click the text “get me out!” to map directions to the nearest white spot. From my apartment in Brooklyn, I am 156 km (97 miles) to the nearest one, a quiet corner of Lake Waramaug State Park in Connecticut. However, for me, and potentially most White Spots users, disconnecting would be a choice. The app’s world map shows much of North America and Europe in the black, while large sections of South America and Africa are white voids.

Documentary stories on the White Spots app (screenshots by the author for Hyperallergic).

White Spots is free to download for iPhone and Google Play.

You can read and see much more about this app at Hyperallergic.

You Can’t Free My Slaves!

Steve Prattor, Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, addresses reporters (Screen cap).

Apparently, Sheriff Steve Prattor is not the least abashed in hollering out his displeasure over non-violent convicts being released early.

Steve Prattor, the Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, is not a fan of his state’s new criminal justice reforms that will free many prisoners convicted of nonviolent offenses earlier than they had been scheduled to be released.

In a press conference held this week, Prattor said that keeping some of the “good” prisoners in jail was necessary for the prisons to keep functioning because they could provide needed labor that you couldn’t get out of more violent and dangerous prisoners.

“The [prisoners] that you can work, the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs — but guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing!” Prattor fumed in his attack against criminal justice reforms. “In addition to the bad ones… they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen… well, they’re going to let them out!”

My, my, you’re going to lose your slaves, what a pity. Perhaps you should learn to wash your own cars, how to change the oil in them, and strap an apron on, Sheriff, and get your arse to work.

Via Raw Story.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, have a book! Nothing like some good reading. Give As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson a read, you won’t be sorry! Ms. Simpson’s site is here, Peter d’Errico reviewed here, and the book can be purchased direct from UMN press.

Repeating: 6 Banal Defenses of Columbus Day, And How You Should Respond to the Moron.

Photo courtesy starpulse.com

Photo courtesy starpulse.com

We’re going to go back in time a bit, to an article Simon Moya-Smith wrote in January this year. He’ll help you out with Columbus apologists. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

Glaring contradictions. Stupid fucking lies, and good ol’ American bullshit.

Yes, folks today we are talking U.S. history, and there’s nothing more politically correct than American History. It’s RIFE with soft language to spare the feelings of fuckers who desperately want to believe their homesteading great-grand-pappy wasn’t a murdering, raping, thief.

OK. So today let’s hit on the numbskullery surrounding Columbus Day. “Why in January?” you ask. Well because Colorado State House Representative Joseph Salazar, a democrat, is currently working to repeal the foul thing from the state’s list of recognized holidays. And lately he has received an onslaught of hate mail from dipshits who don’t seem to understand the seemingly elusive concept of logic and facts.

Recently, Rep. Salazar has been forwarding me these messages, and they range from fucking hilarious to seriously fucking delusional. They’re more on the seriously fucking delusional side, though.

So, I thought I’d share with you some responses you can use against the common, hackneyed pro-Columbus Day arguments you will surely continue to encounter for as long as you engage the willfully blind. Feel free to share the following with your friends or family, or maybe just that fucker who sits at the end of the bar incessantly defending the bullshit American narrative as written. (Remember: The American narrative HATES to be fact-checked. So fact-check that goddamn thing any time you can.)

Okey dokey, here’s what you can say to those dullards spewing trite claims and arguments about Columbus and Columbus Day, and let us start with the most common and least accurate:

[Read more…]

Repeating: The Lie That Is Columbus Day.

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© Marty Two Bulls

Other posts from last year:

The why of the “holiday”.

A Rapist, A Murderer, Deserves No Holiday.

Columbus Didn’t Kill Us All: Taino Daca.

For Indigenous Peoples Day, Write to Columbus.

Moron Bingo!

That one may smile…

Apparently, It’s World Smile Day, originated by Harvey Ball, the commercial artist who came up with the ubiquitous smiley face in the 1960s. Perhaps Mr. Ball wasn’t a fan of Shakespeare: That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain. – Hamlet.

I’m not a fan of Mr. Ball’s smiley face, I’ve always hated that damn thing, and I’ve had a lifetime of seeing it everywhere, and it’s all over the bloody net, too. Give me Kilroy any day. As a girl, and a woman, I’ve been subjected to the “smile!” command my whole life, from those I know, and perfect strangers. You can’t go anywhere without getting that obnoxious command from someone, usually a man.

Smiles don’t necessarily mean one damn thing, especially as so many of us are expected to fake smile throughout the day no matter what. Out in public, you can rarely be lost in your thoughts without hearing “smile!” or “it can’t be that bad, smile!” Kindness, courtesy, and thoughtfulness can easily take place without a smile, as well as with one. If you have a genuine reason to smile, by all means, do so, but do we really need a smile command day?

As Shakespeare noted so long ago, a smile can easily mask villainy of all kinds. Those looking to con someone are known for their easy smiles. And so on. I also have little use for making shit like this a “day”. Great, so you’re gonna smile your way through this day, then what? Go back to being an asshole the other 364? Screw smiling. If you want to make a difference, work on small kindnesses whenever you’re out and about, if you can manage them, with or without the smile. That will stretch further, and have a good chain effect, rather than a bunch of people being smiley because it’s an ‘official day’. All this crap does is promote the artificial smile, and makes people think it’s perfectly okay to keep on with the “smile!” command aimed at people they don’t know. Please, don’t do that, and if someone is not smiling, perhaps they have reason not to do so, and refraining from insisting on a smile would be a small act of kindness.

Note: Anyone who decides it would be clever to pepper a comment with smiley faces will most likely find it edited.

Well Said.

Jacob Worrell: As a former “troop”, I give you permission to kneel during the National Anthem. And I give myself permission to give the finger to any asshole who invokes the dead bodies of my brothers and sisters to shut down dissent. Want to honor their sacrifice? Make fewer dead bodies.

It’s a fucking flag. It’s a fucking song. If you don’t like it, change the fucking channel and slap another yellow ribbon on the back of your jeep. #VeteransForKaepernick

Jacob Worrell: No holding back on this one. Public profanity is warranted.

The Violet Sister.

Louise Michel pictured at home in her later years, around the time she is presumed to have penned the piece translated below — Source.

A husky voice barked: “Entrez!”

Through a long, dim hallway, I followed the voice, until I reached a spare, curtained room. One empty chair stood near the entrance. Another, across the darkened space, was occupied by a slender, shadowed figure with erect posture, white hair long and flowing as in the fashion of the 1840s, in an elegant black suit, immaculate linens, a neckcloth of Persian design. A bright gaze set into a finely featured face pierced the gloom.

“Sit”, the figure commanded. As if under the influence of a powerful magnetizer, I sat without pause.

My host spoke sharply, gruffly. “Welcome, Mademoiselle. You have come to meet me, no? You wish to learn of my ideas, my thoughts. But should you not first know to whom you speak?” I nodded.

The figure straightened. “You wrote to Octave Obdurant. This is the name with which the person before you entered the Ecole Polytechnique. It is the name on my entrance papers to the Ecole de Ponts et Chaussées. It is the name with which I signed my first articles in geometry, my first statistical tables, as well as Free the Earth, which you were kind enough to notice.”

The voice was clear and occasionally guttural; there was a warmth beneath its unyielding syllables.

“But as you have certainly realized, this is not my true name.”

I felt my mind begin to spin. I was unsure of where I was, what I was doing here, in these isolated rooms. I stammered out:

“Excuse me, Monsieur. What, then, is your name?”

“I was baptized Tranchot.” Despite the pause which followed, the name meant nothing to me until it was repeated, with its prenames before it.

Marie Violette Tranchot.”

I was moved by an emotion of shock and recognition at once. Some part of me had already realized that I was not in the presence of a great man, but rather a great woman — no wizened brother of the struggle, but a sister. Instantly, I felt myself uncannily at home, safe at last in a place I’d never been — truly at home, perhaps, for the first time in my life. This hero, epitome of the courage and intelligence the world saw as masculine, was a woman like myself.

Fascinating reading, from Louise Michel, in Le Libertaire, iii, 1895. She writes about the Scoundrel Laws, and the paucity of an overly-praised history, and her meeting with Octave Obdurant.

You can read the whole thing at The Public Domain. Highly recommended.

Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)!

In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, white nationalist demonstrators walk into the entrance of Lee Park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va. (Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber).

Leave it to lawyers to figure out a brilliant troll, which will help to fight hate and bigotry.

A group of Jewish lawyers in San Francisco has discovered a clever new way to fight white supremacy: adoption.

Of course, the Jewish Bar Association isn’t actually encouraging anyone to adopt or sponsor white supremacists. Instead, the group is asking the public to donate to its “Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)” GoFundMe campaign, which is being used to raise funds for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that monitors hate groups across the country and litigates on behalf of marginalized groups. So far, the campaign has raised more than $92,000—far beyond its original goal of $10,000.

The strategy is simple: according to the GoFundMe page, donors are encouraged to give some amount of money for each of the 300 expected attendees at an upcoming “free speech” rally put on by the right-wing Patriot Prayer group at Crissy Field on August 26. Many of the attendees will likely be white nationalists or members of similar hate groups.

According to the Adopt-a-Nazi campaign, no donation is too small.

“Two cents per attendee is a $6 donation,” organizers wrote. “A dime is $30. Why not a quarter? That’s only $75.”

You can read more about this at Think Progress, or just head over to the fund to donate or share. Yep, I donated, and now I’m sharing. :)

White Supremacy: Just Background Noise.

Tucker Viemeister.

It’s a forlorn hope, that republicans might stumble over a conscience, discover their humanity and embrace that of others. It really does not seem to matter what the Tiny Tyrant does, there are those who will squink all over, in an attempt to cover over the massive piles of shit left in the wake of the Tiny Tyrant. As we have all been witness to, Trump gets worse, week by week, day by day.

As CNN noted on Friday, in the last four weeks alone, President Trump has fired chief strategist Steve Bannon, fired Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, hired and fired communications director Anthony Scaramucci, publicly shamed his own attorney general and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, banned transgender troops via twitter, made up two phone calls, thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling American diplomats from the country, threatened nuclear war with North Korea, and defended attendees of a white supremacy rally.

And that’s not even half of it.

But Steve Cortes, a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, said on Fox News Sunday morning that if Republicans just cut taxes, all of that will be background noise.

“Clearly, he had a tough week. There’s no way around that,” Cortes said.

“All presidents have tough weeks,” Cortes said Sunday. “I believe that will become background noise once we get taxes done, and once this economy starts growing the way it’s capable of.”

Yes, a tough week, brought on by the defense of fucking nazis being “fine people”. You opened your mouth, and Trump obligingly shit in it, and you decided to swallow it. Nice.

[…]

“The economy’s already accelerating. There’s a lot of optimism out there in the country,” Cortes said. “If we can throw tax cuts into the mix, I think this economy can absolutely take off, and then I think we’d see those poll numbers rebound very, very quickly for the president.”

There’s a lot of optimism out and about? Where? Oh, yes, in the crowds of nazis, sure. Everywhere else, not so much. Perhaps you should get outside once in a while. People are not optimistic about an idiotic, ignorant, maniacal bigot being in control of things, for a given value of control. People are not optimistic about not being nuked. People are not optimistic about not getting into yet another fucking war. People are not optimistic about bigotry being elevated to “great america” status. People are not optimistic about the blatant slaughter of all things which could help us avoid the worst disasters of climate change. People are not optimistic about the economy. The list goes on and on.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) made similar comments last week, telling Bloomberg that Trump’s comments about white supremacists were “frustrating” because he wanted to start focusing on tax reform.

“[It’s] very frustrating for those of us who want to start focusing on the issues ahead—tax reform, infrastructure, the debt ceiling,” Ross said. “I wished we would start focusing on those issues, and we need to start healing and bringing people together—instead of peeling back the scabs.”

Right. Your idea of tax reform is handing tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, and you’ve made sure there are zero safety nets for everyone else. That will cheer everyone up for sure. You don’t start healing and bringing people together by announcing that nazis are “fine people” and everything was really the fault of those filthy liberals. The reason those scabs peel back so easily is that there is a massive wound underneath, still oozing blood, covered over, but certainly not healed. Healing does not take place by ignoring a wound. Now the Tiny Tyrant and his henchidiots, like you, Rep. Ross, have dumped toxic wasted in the wound, and you want to talk healing. Isolation, genocide, and subjugation are not things which heal. They do not unite. And those things are what you stand for, handwaving reality, because those people, they don’t actually matter to you.

Think Progress has the full story.

Squinkery.

I fell in love with a new word: Squink. It’s onomatopoeically delicious! I had expressed a desire to use this wonderful word, and PZ provided:

Here’s another good use that you’ll find opportunities for all the time: when someone throws out a cloud of incoherent obfuscations for something stupid they’ve just said, they’re squinking. Creationists, MRAs, and Republicans do it all the time — Just watch Jack Kingston or Jeffrey Lord or Kellyann Conway sometime. Nonstop squinking.

The conservative christians propping up the Tiny Tyrant are still busy squinking over the Charlottesville statement:

“I do not believe he was speaking of people giving a Nazi salute or giving racist chants,” Suarez, who is also an advocate for immigration reform, said. “I believe he was speaking of a few who sincerely would not like to see a monument removed, and were not participating in racist activities.”

[…]

Robert Jeffress — who made waves last week by making the highly disputed claim that God has given Trump the authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — told the Christian Broadcasting Network that Trump “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” and that the uproar over his press conference is “just more a style issue.”

Ah, a style issue. Right. It seems that the Tiny Tyrant’s style is to have a few Nazi uniforms hiding in his closet. You can read the full article at Think Progress.

Don Boys at Barbwire is squinking so hard you could hear him a mile away:

…I understand that sensitive Blacks might be offended at Confederate monuments; however, many of us are often offended by many things including their apparent desire to be offended, but we always get over it. They will too. However, they are being encouraged in their insanity by local and federal officials.

[…]

And once again, I will remind everyone that Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression against the genteel southland was not to free the slaves as Lincoln admitted, but he used it later as a “sales job” to prosecute the war. Taxes, tariffs, and states’ rights to nullification were the original reasons brother fought brother with over 600,000 dead. However, uninformed or dishonest people keep saying otherwise.

Hmmm, from where I sit, I see a white man with an acute sensitivity problem. No worries, Don, you’ll get over it. If you can stomach it, the full column is here.