Best of the Best:
Internet Provider Gagged for Decade Reveals What FBI Wanted Without Warrant [Steven Nelson on U.S. News and World Report] (11/30/15) – RW
Merrill, owner of now-defunct Calyx Internet Access, provided Internet service to about 200 customers when he received the order in February 2004. He refused to turn over the records of the targeted customer and went to court with American Civil Liberties Union representation. Merrill won the right to identify himself in 2010, but could not say what the ultimately withdrawn letter said. In August, a federal judge ordered the associated gag order lifted, with a 90-day pause to allow the Justice Department time to appeal, which it chose not to do. Victory in hand, Merrill said Monday that the NSL he received demanded his customer’s full Internet browsing history, records of online purchases, a list of Internet Protocol addresses for the target’s contacts and location information. A copy of the document with more technical language was released.
A redcoat solution to government surveillance [Mike Gatto, a lawyer, assemblyman from California’s 43rd District in Los Angeles County, and the chairman of the Assembly’s Consumer Protection and Privacy Committee, via The Los Angeles Times] (9/29/15) – RW
Technical reasoning aside, when the Supreme Court has interpreted the 3rd Amendment, it has emphasized privacy and the constraint of federal powers. In Griswold vs. Connecticut, the court stated the 3rd Amendment evinced the founders’ belief that a person’s home should be free from agents of the state. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube vs. Sawyer, the court mentioned the 3rd Amendment to support limiting executive power, even during crises. In Laird vs. Tatum, the 3rd Amendment was cited to support the notion that the military should have a limited role in civilian affairs. These themes remain relevant in the modern debate. In the only case in which the 3rd Amendment was directly applied (to disallow stationing National Guardsmen in prison guards’ housing during a prison guard strike), a federal appeals court decided that the “property-based privacy interests protected by the Third Amendment … extend to those recognized and permitted by society as founded on lawful … possession with a … right to exclude others.” Well, your computer is your property. You can exclude others from it with a password. So we shouldn’t tolerate a branch of the military establishing itself there either. I’m not alone in seeing the ever-expanding federal government’s military-run surveillance as a modern form of quartering troops in our homes. Several mainstream but inventive constitutional law professors have argued that the 3rd Amendment applies to surveillance. Like me, they see that the ubiquitous incorporeal presence of a military agency in our household systems is as significant to us as the physical presence of redcoats was in the 1700s.
Ex-US Intelligence Chief on Islamic State’s Rise: ‘We Were Too Dumb’ [Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark on Der Spiegel] (11/29/15) – RW
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The US invaded Iraq even though Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.
Flynn: First we went to Afghanistan, where al-Qaida was based. Then we went into Iraq. Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Islamic State wouldn’t be where it is now without the fall of Baghdad. Do you regret …
Flynn: … yes, absolutely …
SPIEGEL ONLINE: … the Iraq war?
Flynn: It was huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.
What I Learned from Four Years Working at McDonalds [Kate Norquay on Medium] (11/28/15) – DaCole
McDonalds is supposed to be a job for people who can’t do anything else. I noticed that majority of entry level jobs didn’t hire people who looked like the people I worked with. At McDonalds there were people with disabilities, overweight people, people who weren’t conventionally attractive, people that couldn’t speak much English, young teenagers, and a lot of racial diversity. These people made up the backbone of the store. They were respected as some of our best workers. Then I would look at a store like Glassons, or Whitcoulls or Starbucks and the majority of the time I would see people that looked like me. White, early twenties, reasonably attractive, slim, English speakers. This was the bias that both me and the people around me were applying to my job. I meet the criteria for a ‘good’ job at a clothing store. People who come from good backgrounds aren’t supposed to end up in McDonalds alongside those who couldn’t do better if they tried. If you’re a white girl in your early 20s you will be ridiculed for working at McDonalds. But I don’t think the same applies for disabled people, or middle-aged Pasifika women or immigrants. Their friends aren’t quietly snickering, ‘when are you going to get a real job?’ Because this is the job we expect them to have.
Study: Some Deepak Chopra Tweets Are Indistinguishable From Bullshit [Matt Novak on Gizmodo] (11/30/15) – R.W.
The paper, titled “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit,” doesn’t pull any punches. But it carefully notes that, “None of this is intended to imply that every statement in Chopra’s tweet history is bullshit.” (Emphasis mine.)…“Ten novel meaningless statements were derived from two websites and used to create a Bullshit Receptivity (BSR) scale,” the authors explain. The researchers asked people to rate the statements on a scale ranging from profound to complete bullshit. Unsurprisingly, the sample tweet from Chopra’s Twitter feed was largely indistinguishable from bullshit. As Dr. Emily Willingham explains in a post over at Forbes, the researchers found that there were a variety of reasons that some people found Chopra’s bullshit to be profound. They looked at the participants’ analytical thinking skills and willingness to accept implausible ideas. Those who found Chopra to be profound tended to be less skeptical of the paranormal and scored lower on cognitive and reasoning ability tests. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Willingham also points out what effect this kind of garbled nonsense has on the real world, especially as it relates to pseudo-science and bullshit “cures” for some diseases.
How a Marvel Comic Hero Became the Icon of the Fight Against ISIS [Rebecca Collard on Time Magazine] (4/13/15)
The stencils of skulls on the vests of Iraqi fighters entering Tikrit last week may look familiar to many Americans. The long fanged, wincing face is that of the Punisher, a Marvel comic character whose mission is to fight evil employing all means necessary…As a poorly-guided vigilante the Punisher is a well-suited icon for the Iraqi security forces and Shi’ite militia that have been accused of looting towns, burning homes and murder in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Italian journalist Daniele Raineri documented the popularity of the Punisher image throughout Iraq in a series of tweets last week. “I think they forget the American association and just think, ‘oh, look how cool we are with these death skulls’,” says Tamimi. He points out that Iraqis appropriate “American symbols, despite of course the rampant anti-Americanism particularly with the Shi’ite militias. It’s an interesting discord.” These Iraqi fighters are not the first Middle East militants to appropriate American insignia. Tamimi points to the example of the Iraqi Shiite militia Faylaq al-Wa’ad al-Sadiq, which uses the famous image of American soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima during World War II on their logo—despite its association with the U.S. In the case of the Punisher, it was actually U.S. soldiers that first brought him to the battlefield in Iraq. The unit of Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, called themselves the Punishers, labeling their gear with the four-fang skull and painting it on walls of Iraqi homes and buildings to mark their territory.
What no politician wants to admit about gun control [Dylan Matthews on Vox] (12/3/15)
A study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University estimated that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people led to a statistically significant drop in firearm suicides — 74 percent, in fact, with no parallel increase in non-firearm suicides. While gun control opponents have tried to rebut those results, those responses have been riddled with methodological flaws, and even some of the study’s critics have conceded that the laws likely cut down on suicides. The results on homicides were a little less clear. Leigh and Neill found that the buyback resulted in a 35 to 50 percent decline in the gun homicide rate, but because of the low number of homicides in Australia normally, this change wasn’t statistically significant. Supporters of Australia’s policy often argue that no mass shootings have occurred since, which is only true for a certain restrictive definition, as last September a man shot himself, his wife, and their three children in a murder-suicide in rural New South Wales. There have also been a number of non-gun massacres in the years since the Port Arthur massacre. This past December, a mother in a suburb of Cairns, Queensland, allegedly stabbed to death seven of her own children and one niece. In 2000, a man burned a backpackers’ hostel to the ground in Childers, Queensland, killing 15.
Woman’s Parents Accepting Of Mixed-Attractiveness Relationship [The Onion] (1/14/15)
Admitting it took them some time to come around to the idea, the parents of local woman Laura Stevens said Wednesday that they had finally accepted their daughter’s mixed-attractiveness relationship with Kyle Baker, a man who is considerably worse-looking than she is. “To be honest, we were quite surprised when Laura brought Kyle to the house for the first time, but eventually we came around to it,” said Stevens’ mother, Janet, who noted that the pair were still met with uncomfortable stares and disapproval from other family members—especially Laura’s grandmother—at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
How Star Wars Conquered the Galaxy [Chris Taylor on Reason] (January 2016)
In 1978, the company sold more than 42 million Star Wars items; the majority, 26 million, were action figures. By 1985, there were more Star Wars figures on the planet than American citizens.
Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack [BBC News] (12/21/15) – DL
A group of Kenyan Muslims travelling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups, according to eyewitnesses. They told the militants “to kill them together or leave them alone”, a local governor told Kenyan media. At least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border. The Somali based al-Shabab group is the main suspect for the attack.
The Rise And Fall Of ‘Pinky And The Brain,’ A Clever Cartoon Too Smart For Its Own Good [Ashley Burns on Uproxx TV] (12/30/15)
From the moment they were introduced in the Animaniacs story, “Win Big,” Pinky and the Brain became the most important laboratory mice in television history. It was the first time that the lovable, dimwitted Pinky would ask his best friend Brain, “What do you want to do tonight?” The reply, as any ‘90s junkie can still readily tell you: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.” They’re laboratory mice, their genes have been spliced, and they would become so popular over Animaniacs’ early run that in 1995 The WB wanted Pinky and the Brain to not only be its own series, but also a cornerstone of the new network’s primetime schedule. Unfortunately, the two cartoon mice who wanted to take over the world couldn’t even conquer their time slot.
Protecting People From Protected Speech [Noah Feldman on Bloomberg View] (12/30/15)
Here’s the issue in a real free-speech case just decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Can someone be refused a teaching certification because of his otherwise protected social or political views? The answer sounds like it should be no, doesn’t it? Now let me frame the exact same case differently: Should a state have to grant teaching certification to someone who says sex with children should be legalized and that there’s no point in trying to mainstream disabled students? It doesn’t sound like the answer should be yes, right? Behold the beauty, and the challenge, of First Amendment law. Not only are the questions hard, but it’s also hard to say what the right questions really are. So what did the court do? If you like the common-sense concrete, you’ll be pleased to know that the Ninth Circuit decision crafted a new doctrine for student certification cases, and held that the University of Hawaii could block Mark Oyama from becoming a teacher.
‘The Woman Who Wasn’t There’: The true story of Tania Head, who lied about being a 9/11 survivor [Bart Bealmear on Dangerous Minds] (6/15/15) – VicEq
On September 27th, 2007, the New York Times ran a front-page story about Tania: “In a 9/11 Survival Tale the Pieces Just Don’t Fit.” In the piece, it was revealed that no part of Tania’s story could be validated. Merrill Lynch, the company she claimed she was working for—the reason she was in the World Trade Center on 9/11—had no record of ever employing a Tania Head. Harvard, the school she claimed to have graduated from, didn’t have a record of her having attended. The family of Dave, who did die in the north tower, said they never heard of her. Friends and associates spoke of varying accounts that Tania had told over the years. The Times noted that she had nothing to gain financially from the deception…Tania’s real name is Alicia Esteve Head. She was born and raised in Barcelona, and led a life of privilege (she even had her own horse). Though her family lived on a glorious estate and hobnobbed with politicians and royalty, Alicia struggled with her weight and often felt like an outsider. She began telling fantastical stories about herself and amongst her friends she became known as a storyteller. Alicia loved Americans and even had an American flag hanging in her bedroom. During September 2001, she was enrolled in business school in Barcelona, and there is no evidence she was out of the country on September 11th. Not long after that, she moved to New York City and became Tania Head, the face of the 9/11 survivors. Not long after the Times story was published, Head disappeared, having never explained why she did what she did.
Still Ales: What You Need to Know About the Flat Beer Trend [Spike Carter on Bloomberg News] (12/31/15)
Teo Musso of Italy’s Le Baladin is a dreamer. Roughly 10 years ago with a vision of what he idiosyncratically refers to as “couch beers,” he created Xyauyù, an approximately 14% ABV barleywine that goes through a macro-oxidative aging process similar to port or sherry. There have been a number of Xyauyù variants produced over the years (the smokey Fumé for example, aged in Scotch barrels, or with Lapsang Suchong tea added), but the experiment perhaps reached its peak with Kentucky. This still brew is aged in bourbon barrels with tobacco steeped cold during the maturation. (Whole tobacco leaves were even hung ornamentally around the bottle-necks for the first batch.) The base beer’s dark fruit profile melds terrifically with the bourbon backdrop and earthy tobacco undertones. Note: While Kentucky is available in Europe, ironically the United States’ policy on alcoholic beverages containing tobacco is more…conservative.
Thai king’s dog, Khun Tongdaeng, dies days after ‘insult’ arrest [Agence France Presse via The Guardian] (12/29/15)
The favourite dog of Thailand’s ailing monarch has died, days after a man was arrested under the kingdom’s strict royal defamation laws for allegedly making a satirical online remark about the beloved canine. The dog, called Tongdaeng (Copper), became both a household name and a publishing sensation in Thailand after King Bhumibol Adulyadej adopted her as a stray puppy and penned a heartfelt book about her attributes in 2002. She was praised for her loyalty and obedience, with the book widely interpreted at the time as a parable about how Thais should live and remember their place within the kingdom’s rigid society.
Interstellar most pirated movie of 2015 with 46m illegal downloads [Ben Childs on The Guardian] (12/29/15)
93% of Executions Happened in Just 4 States This Year [Kristen M. Clark on The Miami Herald via Governing Magazine] (12/16/15)
Nationwide in 2015, executions dropped to their lowest level in 24 years, and the number of new death sentences imposed fell sharply from already historic lows, the center found. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have outlawed the death penalty, while another 12 haven’t executed anyone in nine years or longer, the center said…According to the report, 93 percent of the 28 executions this year came from four states: Texas (13), Missouri (6), Georgia (5) and Florida (2). Oklahoma and Virginia had one each.
Poetry used as ‘a perfect weapon’ for recruiting violent jihadis, study finds [Emma Hartley on The Guardian] (12/29/15)
Kendall argues that it is the Qu’ran that keeps poetry alive – even more so where the oral tradition is still strong, in areas where electricity and the internet barely penetrate such as eastern Yemen, where only 3% of the population has web access. Kendall’s research is based partly on data collected in conversation with 2,000 people in the sparsely populated but geographically huge Mahra region. Interviewees were asked about the significance of poetry in their lives, as part of a wider socio-economic survey conducted by the Mahra Youth Unity Organisation, an independent non-governmental body. “The survey was conducted in December 2012 by local fieldworkers, men and women, face to face, to capture illiterate respondents of both genders. A startling 74% of respondents believed that poetry was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in their culture today,” she writes. “Poetry was found to be very slightly more important among the desert tribes than along the more sedentary coast, among those in the poorest economic group and among those who carry a gun (a result that was not explained simply by any greater prevalence of guns in desert locations). Surprisingly perhaps, the presence of a television and level of education made no discernible impact, and the importance of poetry was only very weakly correlated to increased age. Finally, poetry was found to be more important among men (82%) than women (69%). This is not surprising, since it is the men who mainly recite at formal gatherings.”
Most Billionaires Can’t Stay That Rich After 20 Years, UBS Says [Margaret Collins on Bloomberg News] (12/15/15)
Most of the world’s richest families 20 years ago have seen their fortunes shrink in the intervening decades, according to a report from UBS Group AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers released Tuesday. More than half, or 56 percent, of people with at least $1 billion in net worth in 1995 were not in that bracket as of 2014, the study said…Of the 289 billionaires in 1995, 126 remain in the group. Of the 163 who dropped out, 24 saw their wealth diluted among family members, 66 lost it to death and taxes, and 73 saw fortunes decline due to business failures and other issues, the report said. New billionaires more than replaced those who lost their riches. UBS and PwC gathered data on 1,300 billionaires globally, more than 1,000 of them minted since 1995. The majority derived their money from finance, technology or the consumer and retail industries over the past two decades.
Fox News Holds Its Lead in a Year of Growth for Cable News [John Koblin on The New York Times] (12/30/15)
It also certainly helped that the Republican presidential debates, featuring Mr. Trump front and center, broke records. In August, when Fox News broadcast the first Republican debate, it drew 24 million viewers, surpassing even the most optimistic expectations and shattering the record for most widely viewed nonsports event in cable history. CNN had three debates, which also ranked among the highest-rated nonsports cable events ever: two Republican debates with 23 million and 18 million viewers and a Democratic debate with more than 15 million. The cable news channels, however, still tend to skew older: The median age for CNN viewers this year was 61, while it was 63 for MSNBC and 67 for Fox News…Fox News had an average of 207,000 total-day viewers in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, compared to CNN’s 149,000 and MSNBC’s 89,000. And even though this is the closest CNN has been to Fox News in that demographic in seven years, Fox still averages more than a million more viewers in prime time than CNN, including more than 100,000 viewers better in the 25-to-54 demographic.
Millennials’ views of news media, religious organizations grow more negative [Hannah Fingerhut on Pew Research Center] (1/4/16)
Younger generations tend to have more-positive views than their elders of a number of institutions that play a big part in American society. But for some institutions – such as churches and the news media – Millennials’ opinions have become markedly more negative in the past five years.
Children among the victims in the 2015 homicide surge [Christine Byers on The St. Louis Post-Dispatch] (1/4/16)
Jamyla Bolden, 9, was doing her homework on her mother’s bed when police say De’Eris Brown, 21, of O’Fallon, Mo., fired shots into the girl’s home in Ferguson on Aug. 18, fatally wounding her. Her mother was also hit, suffering a gunshot wound to the leg. She was treated and released. The death prompted vigils and a manhunt for the suspect. Ultimately, investigators with the Major Case Squad working on a case in another municipality got a tip about Brown. Sources say Brown believed someone else was in the home at the time he opened fire, and he cried during his statements to police over the death of Jamyla.
The Last King of Coal Makes His Stand as Mines Vanish Around Him [Andrew M. Harris on Bloomberg News] (12/28/15)
At 75, Robert E. Murray may be the last of the old-time coal barons. He’s not about to go quietly. At a time when the U.S. coal industry is beset on all sides — by environmentalists, by regulators, by the economics of shale gas — Murray has positioned himself as King Coal’s warrior-in-chief. And his main antagonist is the country’s commander-in-chief. He calls Barack Obama “the greatest enemy I’ve ever had in my life.” His fight with the president, he says, has gotten “beyond personal.”
Not-So-Happy Holidays in the Emergency Room [Mattie Quinn on Governing Magazine] (12/24/15)
There are a number of reasons emergency rooms get chaotic around the holidays: People are drinking more and eating less healthy, cases of depression often spike and colds and flus are common. “The most common things I see are gastrointestinal issues — people don’t watch their salt intake this time of year — and issues dealing with heart disease and depression,” said Friedman. But emergency room doctors in destination cities aren’t the only ones facing a hectic few weeks. James Williams, an ER doctor in Lubbock, Texas, which few would call a destination city, says there’s a roughly 10 percent uptick of patients during this time of year — many of whom come in for accidents involving Christmas lights. (The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were 15,000 holiday decorating-related injuries in November and December 2012.) In addition to the issues that holiday festivities bring, Williams also sees an increase in elective procedures like laser eye surgery and skin biopsies this time of year. That’s likely because people have hit their deductibles for the year and want to take advantage of cheaper, non-emergency surgeries before their health insurance renews in January.
Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own is Violated [Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept] (12/30/15)
The Wall Street Journalreported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people. The long-time GOP Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyieldingNSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant to learn of this surveillance:
- WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power. — Pete Hoekstra (@petehoekstra) December 30, 2015
- NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted if any truth to WSJ reports. NSA loses all credibility. Scary. — Pete Hoekstra (@petehoekstra) December 30, 2015
In January, 2014, I debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking. “Spying is a matter of fact,” he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported: Hoekstra “laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information” – referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, “Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans.” But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime of spying on him and his friends.
- SEE ALSO: US ‘spied on Binyamin Netanyahu during Iran nuclear deal talks’ [David Smith on The Guardian] (12/30/15)
Fetal abduction: brutal attacks against expectant mothers on the rise in US [Joanna Walters on The Guardian] (12/2/15)
Every fetal abduction case has unique details, but there are also some clear patterns, experts said. The perpetrators, sometimes derisively dubbed “womb raiders”, almost always fake their own pregnancy. Then, they target a friend, co-worker or neighbor, or befriend a pregnant stranger online – sometimes several – and make plans to steal a full-term fetus. They have usually lost a baby of their own at some point and may be unable to have another, but often desperately want to produce a baby in order to keep a boyfriend or husband in the relationship. Theresa Porter, a Connecticut state forensic psychologist who specializes in female violence, scotched the notion that the prime motive is an obsessive desire for motherhood. “This is not the maternal urge run amok,” she said. The perpetrators are driven more by narcissism and grandiose delusions than an obsession to nurture, she said.
Hundreds of Sex Offenders, One Judge’s Order and a Defiant Governor All Clash in Minnesota [Elizabeth Mohr and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger on The Pioneer Press (St. Paul, MN) via Governing Magazine] (11/2/15)
Clearly frustrated by the state’s inaction to remedy what he deemed an unconstitutional civil commitment program for sex offenders, a federal judge Thursday ordered Minnesota officials to make specific, immediate changes. In his 43-page order, marking the apex of a highly publicized class action suit, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank directed state officials to take steps to remedy the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, including: — Begin reassessing all individuals held in the MSOP facilities. — Begin the discharge process for program residents who should no longer be there. — Ensure less restrictive facilities or placement options for residents deemed eligible for a custody reduction. — Establish a plan for annual risk assessments. A defiant Gov. Mark Dayton rejected Frank’s order Thursday and promised the state would seek to reverse the judge’s instructions.
Homan Square revealed: how Chicago police ‘disappeared’ 7,000 people [Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian] (10/19/15)
Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal. From August 2004 to June 2015, nearly 6,000 of those held at the facility were black, which represents more than twice the proportion of the city’s population. But only 68 of those held were allowed access to attorneys or a public notice of their whereabouts, internal police records show. The new disclosures, the result of an ongoing Guardian transparency lawsuit and investigation, provide the most detailed, full-scale portrait yet of the truth about Homan Square, a secretive facility that Chicago police have described as little more than a low-level narcotics crime outpost where the mayor has said police “follow all the rules”.
Meet the Woman Who Makes Porn GIFs for a Living [Chauntelle Tibbals on Mic] (11/20/15)
Marie-Chantal is a self-described “porn GIF-making gamer girl” in her mid-20s. She lives in Montreal, runs her own NSFW Tumblr and makes exclusive GIFs for some prolific porn producers, including Blacked, Tushy, New Sensations and Girlsway. She’s one of a handful of people who make GIFs to promote the content porn companies are producing, and she’s among the most popular: Marie-Chantal gets hundreds of Tumblr notes (NSFW) per day, and some of her posts garner thousands of reblogs or reposts. Two years ago, Marie-Chantal was stuck in a dead-end job, so she decided to go back to school. She took a multimedia production course, where she learned the basics of everything from Photoshop to After Effects. Eventually, she started her first porn GIF blog on Tumblr. “I started making [porn] GIFs as a way of sharing moments I liked from the scenes I was watching,” she told Mic. “Tumblr being one of the best place to find porn GIFs, I started my first blog on it.” Marie-Chantal spent about a year growing her site and her GIF library, focusing more on summarizing scenes than capturing key moments. After noticing another “giffer” had partnered with a porn company and was posting GIFs with affiliate links, she attempted to monetize her efforts in a similar fashion. She said she gained nearly 50,000 followers before an inadvertent terms of service violation resulted in her first account being yanked from Tumblr. But by then her name, KinkyMarie, was out there.
Curiously Strong Remains:
- Kurdish fighters say US special forces have been fighting Isis for months [Fazel Hawramy and Shalaw Mohammad in Kirkuk and David Smith in Washington on The Guardian] (11/30/15)
- More than 11,000 Norwegians line up to shoot 16 wolves [Elisabeth Ulven on The Guardian] (12/1/15)
- Slapdown in Steamboat Springs: The Blue Tribe Targets Two Whistleblowers [Pro Libertate] (11/30/15)
- ‘North Korean’ boats carrying dead bodies wash ashore in Japan [The Guardian] (12/1/15)
- Porn industry groups cut ties to star James Deen amid sexual assault claims [Rory Carroll on The Guardian] (11/30/15)
- 6,000 Year Old Death Pit Points to One Hell of a Brawl [Maddie Stone on Gizmodo] (12/12/15)
- Asian Girl Band Detained at LAX Because Officials Think They Must Be Sex Workers [Elizabeth Nolan Brown on Reason] (12/14/15)
- In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared [Yanan Wang on The Washington Post] (12/15/15)
- Meet the Iraqi Jon Stewart Who Ridicules the Islamic State for a Living [Rosie Thompson on Vice] (5/5/15)
- The 40 Best Dramatic Performances by Comedians [Noel Murray on Vulture] (12/31/14)
- Pete Seeger’s FBI File Reveals How the Folk Legend First Became a Target of the Feds [David Corn on The Nation] (12/18/15)
- Inside Fort Hood’s Prostitution Ring [M.L. Nestel on The Daily Beast] (3/13/15)
- Man goes to doctor, gets told he has 30 minutes to live [Emma Henderson on The Independent] (11/5/15)
- Who Was the Cleric Saudis Executed and Why His Death Matters [Ladane Nasseri on Bloomberg News] (1/3/16)
- Mystery, Confusion Surrounds Americans Detained in Yemen [Shuaib Almosawa and Cora Currier on The Intercept] (12/16/15)
- From lumbersexual to Brexit: how many times did the Guardian print the words of the year? [Richard Nelsson on The Guardian] (12/29/15)
- Rwanda and the Evils of Politicized Christianity [ProLibertate] (12/23/15)
- Dean Strang is Making a Murderer’s unlikely sex symbol [Lillit Marcus on The Guardian] (1/4/16)
- On strike at 8,848 metres: Sherpa and the story of an Everest revolution [Henry Barnes on The Guardian] (12/19/15)
- Battered, Apologetic and Still Pitching Their Hedge Funds [Alexanrda Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein on The New York Times] (12/15/15)
- The Struggle Over Islam in Irving, Texas [Avi Selk on The Dallas Morning News] (12/4/15)
- How Stoya took on James Deen and broke the porn industry’s silence [Melissa Gira Grant on The Guardian] (12/4/15)
- Illinois inmates increasingly sued by state to recoup incarceration costs [Joanna Walters on The Guardian] (12/2/15)
- ‘Good guys’ with guns: how police officers became fixtures in US schools [Jessica Glenza on The Guardian] (10/28/15)
- South Sudan: ‘a level of human suffering I have never seen anywhere else’ [Sam Jones on The Guardian] (10/28/15)
- The paranoid world of London’s super-rich: DNA-laced security mist and superyacht getaway submarines [John Arlidge on The Evening Standard] (10/22/15)
- Lawmakers Struggle to Legalize Airbnb [Sophie Quinton on Stateline] (11/3/15)
- El Salvador is now one of the most violent countries in the world. Here’s what it’s like. [Elaine Denny on Vox] (11/2/15)
- Why Denver, Nashville, and Boston Are Booming [Paul Glastris on Washington Monthly] (Nov/Dec 2015)
- In Many States, Security Guards Get Scant Training, Oversight [Jenni Bergal on Stateline] (11/10/15)
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