Saturday, September 6, 2014

McDonalds Happy Meal Artwork Controversy

So I'm proud to say today that some art work got some controversy last month. I'm proud, because the art work was created by a very dear friend of mine, Robert Clements, known to his close friends as Newt.

I met Newt back in 2008 when I befriended his partner at the time, Faris. Faris and I hit it off as friends right away, and trust me when I say we left a lecherous trail of destruction in our wake. Faris introduced me to his partner Newt, who I later discovered was an ultra-talented artist.
Newt showed me his portfolio of all of the art he created, and it was stunning. All freehand drawings which he would draw from memory in most every case. His art work is simply astounding and incredibly realistic.

After some time Newt went on to practice more with computer  graphics software, fine tuning how he made art by hand now on the computer. A result of this was the Happy Meal art that swept the internet.

For awhile Newt cranked out these awesome Happy Meal graphics, some were really horrific, others were absolutely hilarious. It was due to the artwork itself in part, but it's entertainment value also came from the fact that no one in their right mind would market McDonald's Happy Meal toys in the shape of say the main characters from Night of the Living Dead, or a toy of Jaws eating the boat, or even Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror Picture show. Others include Carrie, from the titular movie, a crazed Jack Nicholson from The Shining, and Ash from Evil Dead.

Newt even made one for me especially! I loved it! But what I loved most about it was that we barely spoke when Faris and I were friends, yet he knew of my love for anime and made me a Cowboy Bebop Happy Meal featuring a Faye figurine.

Newt's artwork just exploded in the news recently though, when Amy Bruni from SyFy's Ghost Hunters re-posted a piece that Newt made of a Happy Meal containing a Ouija board. She received a lot of flak for posting that image, because people seriously believed that McDonald's was going to be offering these "Ouija Happy Meals".  The funny thing is that she even wrote in the SAME post that these were not real.
Amy's post:
SO excited for McDonalds' Halloween Happy Meal this year!!!
;) <---- -WINKY FACE AKA THIS ISN'T REAL But for those concerned with the future of our children, you might want to march those pitchforks and torches right on over to Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target, etc - they all sell, *GASP*, OUIJA BOARDS!!! Millions of them a year! To anyone who wants one! __________________________________________________
Let's cut the shit, she is absolutely right. And I think the flak that she caught for this bullshit was because she IS in fact right. If McDonalds wanted to market these kind of toys to children the outrage toward McDonalds would be overwhelming, yet these toys are sold in your local retail store in the kid's toys section.

Some argue, "Well that's because I have a right to buy a toy or not buy a toy when I go into Target. But at McDonald's it's shoved down me and my kids throat."

What bullshit, I mean really think about this one folks. You have the choice to buy your children a Happy Meal, you have the choice to censor your children's TV viewing so they aren't exposed to things you find harmful. You think McDonald's is going to screw up your children by giving them stupid Ouija board toys? Isn't McDonald's already screwing up your children because the food is pretty much not the shit you should be feeding them in the first place? Yet you have no problem shopping at a store that markets these devices to your children? Hmm.

The point is, Amy Bruni had a lot of people read her the Riot Act for making a joke about something neat she found on the interNewt (<-- Intentional). She has even admitted that this was a learning experience for her to not joke about things that may upset stupid people. Yet the crazy responces she has received are just...well, crazy! I don't believe in this ghost bull crap, I had a Ouija board and used it many times when I was a lad. Nothing ever came out of it, except for me scaring the hell out of my stupids friends who didn't notice me moving the icon myself. And that's all these people are doing is moving that little piece of plastic and glass by themselves. They warn people that they are dangerous devices that shouldn't be used by children, when all they really are is a piece of cheap cardboard and plastic with neat graphics printed on them. Cost on that has to be less than five dollars, yet it is packaged and marketed to kids at three to four times that cost.

Remember folks, the human mind is weird piece of organic equipment. We truly create the world around us with our thoughts. And if you believe in 'magik' and witchcraft and Ouija boards than fine, that's just you seeing the world the way you want to see it. It has no effect on me, since no one has ever or will ever release some evil demon spirit that will require the likes of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroid, Harold Ramis (Maybe FROM the Ouija Board), and Ernie Hudson to vanquish.

But! This is not about the controversy of Amy Bruni's post, nor her naive audience. This is about my dear friend Newt, whom I love very much, and his artwork making it into celebrity circles and into controversy. I guess, maybe, you are not a real artist until something you create makes someone uncomfortable. What an admirable goal, one that I strive for daily.
Thank you, for your awesomeness, Newt! Keep up the good art!

Hash? Yes Please!

#Newt #Happymeal #Ouijaboard #happymealouijaboard #mcdonalds #amybruni #Ghosthunters #controversy #artwork #horrorhappymeal #happymealartwork #SyFy #Ghostbusters

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Threat of ISIS

So these crazy religious fucks who called themselves the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (also known as ISIL the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) have gone and straight up beheaded a fucking American journalist, Steven Sotloff. Just some innocent man of the pen-er-keyboard, who was only doing his god damn job writing about the things he saw, was filmed being beheaded by a jihadist coward.

If you read my shit-rag often enough you'll know that I am a proud atheist and opponent of the religious right-winged political machine. However at the same time I respect other people's rights, and as far as I am concerned they can live their life in the manner that they please, so long as it's not affecting me or my pursuit of happiness. As this goes I'm often a firm fighter for people of the Islamic faith. This is because there is a growing intolerance in America toward Muslims, something the media calls 'Islamophobia'. I like to educate all of those ignorant people, and remind them of every person's rights to worship, to protest, and to build a place of worship. If you ask me, if Christians can have this right then so can Muslims.

This isn't a predilection or some jab at conforming Christian followers. I just feel everyone has the right to find happiness they way they want, as long as it doesn't affect me in my pursuit, so don't push you're sharia law or your mosaic law on me. It's that simple. But these extremist twats in the Middle East have just become a Kaposi's sarcoma on everything that is decent and mend-able in that tempestuous region.

So how did this shit happen? Why is this shit going on?

I have actually heard some folks say that it happened because President Obama pulled all of the troops out of Iraq, and that it's because we haven't invaded Syria. And when I hear these, I just laugh, and cry a little.

First off, the ISIL was created when Bush was in power, shortly after the invasion of Iraq began. The vacuum of power that was created gave birth to this ultra-radical group that even al Qaida believes is way too extremist. And with good cause too, as the ISIS is astonishingly more powerful than al Qaida. Secondly, Bush made the order to pull the majority of the troops out of Iraq before he left office.

And yes, I said that the ISIS is more powerful than al Qaida. Remember this is not a terrorist cell we are dealing with. The ISIS is an organized war force, one driven by genocidal maniacs, and one that is worthy of US intervention.

Now this may come as a shock to you, as I have in the past been against US intervention in foreign countries. But in this case we are dealing with a group of powerful, genocidal, religious maniacs who are hellbent on killing more innocent people on camera and off, in the name of their insanity. They are so insane that they make Kim Jong Un, the  "Dear Despot" of North Korea seem sane by juxtaposition.

Unfortunately, as I lead the cheers for US intervention, I realize as well that this is all a great excuse for America and the EU to get their hands on some rich land and flex some military muscle in front of Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. It could possibly even lead to American airstrikes in Syria. That's right, airstrikes in Syria.

How weird is it that last year we were bound to strike Syria, but thankfully, due to it being very unpopular to Democrat voters the plans didn't go least until now. Seems to me the perfect reason to go in and airstrike Syria and Assad.

Republicans have been shouting that they want action, and god damn it I want some fucking action as well. This is the one time I think it is OK to use force and invade into another country. These assholes are genocidal maniacs who need to be stopped immediately.

Genocide is usually pushed by people who believe they are 'cleansing' the human race. But the real facts of the matter are that genocide hurts the human race, because when you eliminate diversity you severely injure humanity's survival rate. Evolution works, folks. This is why we have people of different color skin, different builds, different attributes, different everything.

So don't have the old G'Dub Bush, knee jerk reaction when I say that the ISIS needs to be dealt with now, by force, and swiftly and harshly. 

Folks, don't take this time to feed into nonsense that the hateful actions of people are that of all of those who practice the Islamic faith. They're not all like these barbarians, they just want a good life for themselves like everyone else. So remember that your Muslim neighbor isn't some invading terrorist, or member of some organized war force, just because you don't understand them. Treat others how you would like to be treated, and let's band together so that we end the tyranny of ISIS as humans united before we have more Steven Sotloffs on our hands.

 Hash? Yes Please!

#ISIS #ISIL #Obama #Genocide #Syria #jihad #stevensotloff #Islamicstate #Iraq #beheading #journalist

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dave Matthews Band: My First Experience At the Gorge

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful out door venues you will ever go to is the Gorge in eastern Washington. I know, I just got back from there for a Dave Matthews Band concert, and let me tell you nothing prepares you for when you first climb that hill within the venue and you gaze upon this vast area of land that nature has carved out over millions of years. It was my first time to the gorge, it will not be my last.

First off, let's just say that the entire area is unlike anything I have experienced in northwestern Washington, and it really showed me how diverse this state actually is, and I'm not talking ethnically. Most of northwestern Washington is cold and rainy, and the mountains in the east form jagged peaks, however there's also Mt. Rainer and Mt. Baker which are larger and much smoother looking then what you can see to the east around Pilchuck.

Eastern Washington on the other hand seemed very flat and desert-like, as we were on the other side of the mountains. It was much warmer, even with the overcast skies (which promptly reminded me of the climate in southern California), and a lot more windy than western Washington. Flatter lands for sure, used for farming of what seemed to be mostly hay, which littered the sides of the freeway in large stacks covered by tarps. There was also a lot of wind powered turbines and even a small solar array.

We stayed at a place called Vantage, and let me just say that these "camping resorts" are a fucking racket. It cost us $15 to stay per night per person, and on top of having to place a pass in the dashboard of the car we had to wear wrist bands at all times. I assume this was there way of making sure everyone paid, and a great way to get those who lost their wristband or decided to be rebellious to pay again. Either way, $15 dollars per night per person is a rip off of asshole-ish proportion, Dave Matthews Band concert or not.

However we all paid those crazy prices of course, because no price was too high to stop us or anyone from seeing Dave. That's including the spectacular mark up on the 24 ounce cans of Bud Light inside the venue, which were handsomely priced at $13 a can. Again, worth it to get high and watch Dave. Besides, a portion of the incredible mark-ups most likely went to help fund the clean up efforts of the lawn and closer sections of the auditorium, but I digress...

We had tickets for Saturday night's showing, and having never been to this part of the state, or to a Dave Matthews concert, I didn't know what to expect. When you're driving down that highway toward the venue you can see the gorge before actually getting there. It isn't too much of a view, but it's still breath taking in it's own way. One thing that I found neat was that you could see the other side of the gorge the string of wind turbine generators there. They all blinked simultaneously at night which I thought was also pretty cool, but again I digress.

We got to the venue and picked up our tickets at will call, as we had forgotten our actual tickets at home and had to call Ticket Master to get them to switch our order so we could pick them up there. Once we were done with that it was off to the line and through the incredibly lax security and into the venue. Feeling quite ashamed of myself for not packing a flask of booze with me.

Once we got in and had our tickets scanned it was just a small trek through the food and beverage and "official merchandise" stands 'til we reached a hill and began our assent to the amphitheater. Once at the top it all became clear to me. "This is what Washingtonians mean when they talk about DNB at the Gorge." Pictures do it no justice, and words cannot begin to describe that awesome beauty and force of nature, the very spirit of the place.

All I could think of was Neil deGrasse Tyson in that Cosmos episode where he talked about the age of the earth and used the layers rock in the Grand Canyon as an example. As I gazed out at the entire panoramic scene I couldn't help but think I was looking back into the past witnessing the creation of the land around me. If only Dave or Brandi Carlile, who opened for Dave, had played "I can see for Miles" by The Who. That's about the only way to describe the Gorge.

Oh and the show was great, too. I can see what all the fuss is about DMB out here now, that man puts on a spectacular performance, one like I have never seen before, and it's only boosted by the venue's natural acoustics. We had lawn tickets, so weren't exactly that close to the stage, but it was still entertaining enough, both on and off stage. The smell of pot is awesomely overwhelming, at least where we were, which prompted some burning of our own.

The group of youngsters ahead of us had snuck in a flask (bastards) and were abiding heavily from it, as well as partaking in  a small dosage of magic mushrooms. They didn't even have the common decency to share either of them (double bastards). This made up for itself however, when one of the girls in the group decided to show off her flexibility and acrobatic skills in front of us.

She bent herself backwards until her hands were firmly planted on the ground and held it there for about five seconds until her boyfriend decided that now would be the perfect time to tickle her rather sensitive belly since she was absolutely defenseless. In reflex she catapulted herself forward into an upright position and inadvertently launched herself forward, which led to her inevitable face plant into the concert goers who were ahead of her.

There's that moment when you do something incredibly embarrassing, where you realize that you have done something embarrassing, and you seem frozen in time as you actually have to contemplate whether or not you actually did that embarrassing thing. Unfortunately time is not frozen and all the time you took to figure out whether or not you did something embarrassing actually did pass for others around. This causes a sudden reaction of concern from your fellow friends, who moments ago were laughing at you. It's finally even more awkward when you get up and look to the people behind you and feel the urge to joke with them about your folly. But it's all good fun in the end...just wished they shared that flask with us afterward.   

But aside from the goofiness of our fellow Dave fans the entire experience was great, and I would suggest to anyone that they put this place on their bucket list of places to see. Whether you go for the Dave concert that is held there ever year or not, the gorge Washington state is beautiful, and also boasts a winery called Cave B Winery and Inn which seemed interesting. I found out on Twitter that it had a record 700 people come through their doors today, revenue brought in by the concert. I believe the next time we go out there may be to check it out.


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#thegorge #dmb #davematthewsband #gorgeamphitheater #vantageresort #caveb #letrockrule #Walkthisway #overpricedbeer #dmborbust #bradicarlile


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

"You Can't Trust the Media"

One thing I am tired of hearing from people is, "you can't trust the media". Well no shit you can't trust the media. The media skews just about everything. They don't even have to lie, they can just report something in a certain tone and make you think differently from what was actually reported. So yeah,believing everything you read or hear or watch is foolhardy.

However, the following blog deals with how the saying is used to make smart, or at least half way intelligent people seem stupid to cover for one's own stupidity. Allow me to explain:

Today I was told by someone that they heard on the news that the protestors in Ferguson, MO had fired shots at police, prompting police to use more force in dispersing the crowd. The person told me this specifically because they side with police in this case, and believe that the protestors are criminals who are outraged by what they believe to be the legitimate shooting of another criminal.
Well at first I had no other frame of reference, so I shrugged and said, "That's just what happens when a large group of oppressed people get together and protest. A small amount of them are just bad seeds, ruining it for the rest of the protestors.

Afterward, I started to think to myself, "damn it man, I wish people could just stick with peaceful protests....because now the conservative media is going to go to town with this one and ruin the perspective of the protest."

Shit like this happens all the time though, there is always some ass-hats who has to commit an act of violence or some other crime. This type of behavior by a few individuals is reflected on the whole group, which makes everyone look bad.

Some time later I read multiple reports from different news agencies which confirmed that the sounds heard were not from civilians firing weapons, but rather fireworks that were set off by an unknown group of single individual. So I went back to this person and showed them the report, and they replied, "That's BS, you can't believe everything you read or see in the media."

This is where I draw the line on ignorant bullshit. You can't believe everything you see or read in the media? Well then how do these people get their information in the first place? You had to have heard it from someone, who heard it on the news, or you yourself heard it on the news. The same media people say you cannot trust.

So why then is it OK to believe what the news says or repeat it if you shouldn't believe everything you hear or read?

I'll explain why:

Because when the media says something you agree with then it's true. When they say something you don't agree with then the media becomes this agency of misinformation and you can't trust them. It just amazes me how many people quote news agencies when it suits them, and then say they are reporting falsehoods when it's not suiting.

Here's the deal; if you think the media can't be trusted than fine. But stop using the media as your source of news if they cannot be trusted. They cannot be right when you believe they cannot be trusted, and that includes stories that you are in favor of. If you cannot believe the media then don't spread the stories you hear. It makes no sense to say the media cannot be trusted and then go off and talk about things that are happening in the world that you heard from the media. If you truly believe they cannot be trusted then by your own admission when you spread stories you hear on the news you are technically spreading misinformation.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Police Misconduct: Ferguson PD Arrest Reporters for Reporting

#MichaelBrown #Ferguson #FergusonPD #Policemisconduct 

There is still a lot of news coming out of Ferguson, MO today as the investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer is still underway. Protests are also still underway as outrage is growing due to the police refusing to release any information to the public regarding Brown's death.

Tonight it was reported that the Ferguson PD as ordered civilians and the media to cease recording of police activities while police advance on protestors who have been speaking out against the slaying of Brown and the denial of information. Police have already arrested two reporters from the Washington Post and the Huffington Post today for trying to cover the events that are taking place there.
The two reporters, Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly, were at a McDonald's located just a few blocks away from where Brown was murdered. The McDonald's has been described as a staging area for the media who are reporting on the protests there. They say that while working on their reports police came into the restaurant and confronted the two, asking them for ID.

When asked why they had to show their IDs the police, "didn't press the point, but one added that if [they] called 911, no one would answer." The police soon left the restaurant, only to return moments later ordering everyone to leave. It was here that Lowery took out his cell phone and began to record the incident. He reported that the police were giving them conflicting instructions, telling them they had to exit, but couldn't exit from a certain exit.

Lowery then told an officer that he just needed to grab his stuff when they moved in and began to arrest him. He allowed police to handcuff him saying, "I'm not resisting," all the while the police were saying, "You're resisting, stop resisting." Typical fat headed police bullshit.


“Go another way,” he said.
As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”
Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.
“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

The two reporters were then taken to a police van, where they said a large man was inside screaming that he could not breathe. The police of course did nothing about this.
The two men were then taken to a holding cell where they were briefly detained before being released without any charges being pressed or any explanation as to why they were arrested. They were also denied information about the officers who arrested them, refusing to even give them their badge numbers.

Thankfully, these men were able to escape this frightening situation with the police without any injuries. However many other people who were unjustly detained and released were not so luckily, as they were victims of assault by the very people we pay to protect us. Reilly stated that the police who perpetrated these crimes weren't dressed like police at all, but more like para-military wearing camouflage and carrying high powered assault weapons. He said they treated people more like enemy combatants than American citizens.

 Now why on earth would the police not want to be recorded? As Americans we have the right to video record the police in their public duties, just as long as it doesn't interfere with said duties. And besides, how can video recording be interfering with police duties exactly? Also, why are these para-military men barging into public places and demanding to see IDs anyway?

This isn't just misconduct, it's gross misconduct, and all of these people's rights were violated when they were forced to leave an establishment they were peacefully occupying. They had no regard for the US Constitution, and have trampled all over our right to free speech and free press.

As this investigation continues one minor update has occurred. The Chief of Police in Ferguson said he will release the 911 calls made regarding Brown's death. There is no exactly time given for the release, as the chief merely stated it would be released 'shortly'.

There is also an unconfirmed report coming from conservative websites stating that the Chief of Police issued a statement saying that the officer who shot Brown was seriously injured and that the side of his face is swollen. To conservatives this notion "turns the case on it's head", because to them if a black teenager gets into a scuffle with a police officer it's justification for said teenager's murder.

The Daily Kos is also reporting that the governor of Missouri is suspending the Ferguson Police Department from investigating this any further, and has placed in their sted the county and state police, as well as asking the FBI for assistance.  These reports are also unconfirmed.

So remember folks, you have every right to record the police in the daily public duties, and they have no right to ORDER you to stop recording. Sure, they can ask, but denial of said request is not illegal.
Join me in standing up against this type injustice but so-called protectors of the peace. You can call the Ferguson PD at (314) 522-3100, or write them a letter at 222 S Florissant Rd, Ferguson, MO 63135.

I have tried to find the Chiefs email or direct number, but so far no luck as the official website for the police department will not load up.

Let them know that we, the American people, will not stand for this type of injustice as they walk all over our rights and violate the US Constitution itself.


Reporters Arrested

Police Order Civilians and Media Not to Record Them

Daily Kos Report



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Police Misconduct in America: The Michael Brown Shooting

#MichaelBrown #Ferguson #Policeshooting #policemisconduct #misconduct #racism #policeracism #michaelbrownshooting

You hear a lot of stories on the internet these days about police misconduct, and they just keep coming with no end in sight. From shooting family pets to throwing flash grenades into rooms with infants in them, the stories seem to become more violent and gruesome as time goes one.

Police misconduct isn't a new thing of course. Ever since police and others in authority have existed so has their misconduct, and in the past it seemed seldom reported. But thanks to advances in technology, private citizens can now own a video camera that is built right into their phone, which can record action in higher definition than we have ever seen. This is most convenient when at Disneyland filming the kids having fun, to take a picture of that awesome steak you were served at the restaurant, and even to record occurrences of police doing what they shouldn't be doing.

Most of these videos are of cops shooting family pets, and one video in particular, which is relatively more recent, shows an officer laying on top of a 13 year old boy, punching him for tagging a park bench. Luckily there were citizens on the scene who had camera phones, and captured the brutal misconduct of this officer.

Unfortunately, even with this great technology in almost everyone's pocket there are still terrible occurrences of police misconduct happened all across the country that are not being filmed as proof of said misconduct. The most recent situation at hand is that of Michael Brown, the 18 year old black teenage who was shot to death when a single police officer pulled his trigger not once or twice, but according to witnesses, several times.

This happened on Saturday, August 9th in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. As Michael Brown and his friend were walking down the street a police car pulled up beside them, and according to Brown's friend the officer very quickly opened his door to jump out of the vehicle,only to have the door bounce off of Brown and return to the officer. From there, the officer grabbed Brown through the open window of the police cruiser and tried to place him into a head lock. Naturally frightened, Brown and his friend took off running, a a few moments later the officer opened fire.
Brown had apparently turned around and put his hands up to show that he was unarmed, a move which ended up costing his life.

 The officer proceeded to fire at Brown several times while the teenager was stopped, facing the officer with his hands up.  Brown died on the scene in the middle of that street that he and his friend were walking on. His body was left there for hours before being taken away.

However, the police tell a different tale. A tale of a violent teenager, whom when stopped by a police officer who just wanted to ask him to not walk in the middle of the street, pushed the officer back into his car and slammed the vehicles door on him. A tale of a teenager who fought with the officer and threatened the officer's life, which prompted the use of deadly force.

Police in Ferguson are standing by this story, saying it is the way the events took place. But there is just one problem with that; the police have taken no witness statements at all since the shooting took place on Saturday.

Wait, what was that? Police have taken NO STATEMENTS from any witnesses. 

Anyone who has even been in a car accident where the police were involved know that the police will take your statement right away in order to investigate the accident and get to the bottom of it. In fact, once police make it to the scene one of the things they have to do is collect statements. And in the case of an act of violence in a public square with many witnesses collecting statements is the biggest, most important part of the job.

But in this case, the Ferguson PD has decided to wait until time has passed to do any serious police work, including collecting statements from witnesses. Because as we all know, memories are much more accurate when you wait days after an event has occurred to ask about the details.

Ferguson's population is around 60% black according to reports, and the PD has around 50 officers, of which only 3 are black. It's certainly a divided town, with a majority of black citizens, a white police force, a white governor, a white mayor, and a white city council.

Since the killing of Brown, the town has become outraged and began protesting, which of course were immediately countered by the police force. The majority of the protesters are black no doubt and some would say they are waging a battle against corruption.

But corruption and misconduct are not the only things on trial here, as the action (or inaction in this case) that is being taken is blatantly racist. An all white police force (minus three) are all covering for one white officer who unnecessarily killed a black teenager, by placing blame on the black teen and by not collecting any statements. 

Now of course the officer who committed this murder, and it is a murder, as not been named, an most likely will not be due to safety concerns. Yes, safety concerns. There are many angry men and women out there who would love to picket on this guy's lawn, or even worse, commit an equally unnecessary act of violence against him. Some media outlets are crying foul on this, saying that it is just more proof that the police are trying to cover up their misconduct. But honestly, the reasons for not releasing this man's name are in fact pretty logical, and necessary.

So if this isn't racism then what is? Lately there has been a pretty obscure line as to what some people find racist, and that line begins with conservative Republicans. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with Republicans who say that it's not racist to say things like "blacks are criminals" or "Muslims are terrorists". A news story pops up about a black man who shoots a 7-11 clerk and to them it's perfectly fine to say things like "Of course he is black" or "well yeah, blacks are criminals". Their defense is the news story itself, so how can they be racist when they are just mentioning the fact that the criminal is black.

What's even more frustrating about this is that video of the protests in Ferguson have emerged which show one police officer yelling to protestors, "Bring it, fucking animals." This is the way cops should be acting when a community comes together to find justice for one of their own fallen?
This is nothing new though, this culture of police misconduct has been around for ages, we're only just now seeing more of it because of technology, and in this case, because of the community out cry.
But think about it critically, if the cops have nothing to hide then why are they not collecting statements and investigating this like they should be?

I respect police officers, I understand how hard the job can be, and I think they really are the repository of society's apathy. I have taken multiple ride alongs with the police here in Everett, Washington and see how they act first hand. Now granted they could have been hamming it up and acting professional because a civilian rider was in the car observing them, but face it folks, cops have one of, if not the most dangerous and hardest jobs in the country.

That being said, I think that some cops are just not meant for the badge, and this unknown cop who murdered Michael Brown is no exception. When you put on that uniform and wear that badge you have a great responsibility and duty to the truth. It doesn't matter whether that truth is truth in justice, truth in history, or truth in yourself. If you cannot uphold the duties of the position, or you do not think those are the duties of the position, then you don't deserve to wear that uniform or badge.

My heart goes out to the Brown family. Instead of planning a graduation they must plan a funeral for their son who was gunned down by the very men we appoint to protect us from harm and give us justice. It just makes me sick to think a young life was extinguished because one police officer decided that shooting someone was much easier than learning the truth.

The Brown family has come out to their community and pleaded to them that while it's OK to be angry and protest it must be done in a civil matter, with no violence or looting. It takes courage to speak to your community like that, to tell them "let's not give these hateful pigs another reason to kill us off."

I would like to convey that same expression but I would also like to add what I said above about police officers. Not all of them are bad people, and most of them truly do want to help serve and protect, not scare and destroy their community. These are the cops that we need more of.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams: From the Crazy Alien, to the 'Crazy One'

#RobinWilliams #RIPRobinWilliams

It saddens me today to know that one of my favorite actors/comedians has died today of an apparent suicide.

Robin Williams made us laugh on the screen and stage, and sometimes he made us cry. My memories of Robin Williams begin with 'Mork and Mindy' when I was a child. I'll never forget that funny little man who was being hatched from a space egg in the open credits, nor that funny little way he greeted people, "Nanu-Nanu." It was often what I would say to my parents before being put to bed.

But what caught my attention was when he went on to play one of the greatest children heroes of all, Peter Pan, with the twist that he was a grown up Peter Pan who had lost his memory and had to return to Neverland to save his children and rediscover himself. It was most definitely here that parents realized how child friendly this comdian really was, and he captured all of our hearts with the swashbuckling tale.  

Thinks got risky but over all hilarious when he played the cross dressing out of work voice actor Daniel Hillard, a man who's divorce and separation from his children prompt him to take on the persona of a 60 year old English house keeper woman in order to stay in close contact with his kids.

This movie hit me really hard as a child, and it turned out to be one of my favorites not only because of Williams' hilarious appearance and portrayal as an overweight elderly lady, but because the movie came out while my own parents were in the middle of a very rough divorce. So the movie coincided with what was actually happening in my life, and I'll never forget her words at the end of the movie when she said,

"You know, some parents, when they're angry, get a long much better when they don't live together. They don't fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together, and sometimes they don't, dear. And if they don't don't blame yourself. Just because they don't love each other anymore doesn't mean that they don't love you."

It was then that Robin Williams had a place forever in my heart. Whenever I was sad, I thought of that seemly insane man who went to such great lengths to prove his love to his children. 

It wasn't until later I discovered that he loved the video game Legend of Zelda, and I knew I loved him even more. He even named his daughter Zelda. I mean hell, who isn't a Zelda fan?

Another thing that I didn't know about Williams until today was that he spoke in front of a Senate panel back in 1990 on the subject of homelessness in America.

Another one of his gags I liked came in the Woody Allen movie, 'Deconstructing Harry', where he plays a movie actor who is 'out of focus' or 'soft'. It was a sight gag of course, as Robin was completely out of focus and you couldn't see his face, but knowing that it was him made it great.

I don't know what else to write about Robin Williams, other than this comes as a shock to me as I am sure it does to all of you. I express my deepest condolences to those Williams left behind. Robin gave us all one of the greatest gift ever, laughter.

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Capitalism and Retail: Do You Understand Business in America?

If there is anything that pisses me off more than ignorant Americans who are in politics it's ignorant American consumers. You know the type, they're the ones that walk into stores and get upset at employees because the store doesn't carry, or is out of a particular product, or when the employee is simply follow the policies and rules of the business they work for, or because the store is short handed. You've most likely been in a store and overheard some of the ugliness up at the customer service counter or other parts of the store, or have been apart of it.

You know, the old saying, "the customer is always right" is one hell of a farce. Some customers come into stores saying things like, "I'm looking for that one piece that fits into the other piece for this water thing I'm hooking up that I can't explain to you because of how complex it is." And usually the associate follows up with something like, "Oh, you mean a nozzle for the end of your garden hose?"
Some customers have no idea what they are looking for, they just know that somehow or another they need it, and the associate has to know exactly what it is. This ignorance in the search of one's product can lead to customers to feel inadequate, which can almost always lead to defensiveness and hostility upon not being understood.

But that's not the only place that hostility can stem from, especially when a customer believes that they are being as clear as day when describing what  they want. They are never wrong, however they can never remember exactly what the product is and rely on an under paid associate and better know exactly what the customer is talking about, or else.

But the ones that really get me are the ones who don't even understand how business even works in our society. They get up to the cashiers to pay for their items and they are just insulted by the lack of employees waiting to service them or the lack of employee knowledge about every item in the store.
At my employment I have been witness and victim to all of the above mentioned, and more. 
But what get's me is that being in this business for as long as I have, I have noticed that most customers, rude or not, have no idea how business works, or capitalism for that matter.

For example, I have had customers yell at me because we don't have a full compliment of staff in the store. They tell me that they were in the store the other day and there was a lot of employees waiting to help, but today there are hardly any. Then they tell me how horrible the company is and that we will be going out of business very soon. Sometime they end their argument with, "It's all because of Obama."

These are sometimes hilarious conversations, and other times they are very frustrating because I can tell that these people are just pissed off because they can't have their way. They think that they know better than the educated CEOs and CFOs and other experienced management personal of the company, as well as historic marketing trends.

I sometimes wonder if a lot of these people are Republicans, and I don't mean to generalize on this, but some of the conversations I have had with these people usually end with, "Look at what your generation has done," or "the liberals are ruining this country," or, my personal favorites, "it's all Obama's fault," and "this is because of Obamacare."

So let's get one thing clear here, folks; this is capitalism. And if you don't like your capitalist system, then why are you so in favor of it when you go to the ballot boxes?

Let's use a simple example to explain this situation from a business stand point. Lets says that on August 4th 2011 my company made $130,000 dollars in sales. That's a great sales day!

August 4th, 2012 I made $135,000!

August 4th, 2013 I made around $130,000.

See the trend yet?

August 5th, 2011 I made $96,000

August 5th, 2012 I made $95,900

August 5th, 2013 I made $96,100

It would go without saying that typically August 5th isn't such a great sales day. Now here comes the critical thinking part. On August 5th, would it be a good idea to spend as much money on payroll as I did on August 4th? 

 Going by these trends, I would figure that I do not need to pay as many people to be out on the sales floor on the 5th, because historically we never made anything past one hundred grand. So all I need are a few of my harder workers out there on that day, and I can save money in payroll and make more money for the store. 

However, if I do somehow manage to make $105,000 on August 5th, 2014 that would be stupendous! But does that mean that next August 5th I'm going to give people more hours?Why would I, when I have just proven that I can make more money on that day with less people on the the sales floor?
This is just another way companies make money so they can stay in business. Profits and expenditure ratio. It is a business model, and a successful one at that. Because at the end of the day the bottom line is "how much money did we make today?"

This is business in a capitalist society folks, the system you wanted.

Now I am not saying anything bad against capitalism. The only thing I will say is that I think businesses are greedy and will stop at nothing to make more and more money at the expense of others. What I am saying is that I find it absolutely amazing how many people there are in this country that don't know how the system they favor the most even operates.

People go into stores and expect it to be like a fairy tale, where they are swept off of their feet by handsome and intelligent floor associates who use their clandestine magic to make the customer's every wish come true. And hey, it's not one hundred percent the customer's fault in believing this at all, because the businesses themselves are the ones who are training customers to behave this way. They want the customers to think this way, because the more sunshine that get's blown up their pants the more they are willing to come in and buy shit that half the time they don't even need, making the company even more money. I can't tell you how many customers have said to me, "came in and got way more than I wanted or needed."

This isn't just an isolated issue either, so I don't mean to to seem like I'm bashing any one type of party for this. It's a cultural thing for sure.  It's almost like we've all become addicted to this drug, and when we go into stores and can't get our fix due to things we can't understand like pesky payroll, marketing trends and business models we tend to get quite grouchy. And it's all based around this ignorance of how business actually works.

Carl Sagan said it best, although he was talking about technology I think it can be applied here when he said, "“We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it.”

The same goes for capitalism and big business. We created these things, we asked for things to be this way, and we love it, yet we don't even know how it works, we don't want to know how it works. It's an inferiority complex that we are each guilty of giving ourselves. Instead we just lean on the notion that it's so much easier to blame it all on someone else, like the cashier, the manager, or the bank teller, than it is to look within ourselves and see the true root of the issue. 

It's time for all of us to take a step back from what we are use to and view this situation from a different perspective. How much do you really actually know about the system of government you favor if you can't understand why businesses can't or won't do everything you want them to?

How can you expect to understand the world around you if you don't try to learn about it?

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they're being turned into a blind society, that would go as far as to trample their fellow men for the latest hot product on discount, by the very businesses we love, that we don't even understand?

So the next time you get pissed off at the guy behind the counter at the super market, stop and think about the monster you're feeding. That's the only way we're going to wake up.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brigitte Gabriel on Muslims

#terror #Muslims #Muslimterror #RadicalIslam #BrigitteGabriel #Christians

This is a comment I made in reply to my friend posting this video. This attitude that all Muslims are terrorists, or all Muslims are radical, like the ones we are constantly bombarded with in the media, needs to end now.

I find this a bit troubling. She says there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and she says about 25% of them are extremists and want to destroy western culture. Everything on the internet about this woman says she's Christian and believes that Islam is a backwards religion that sends people back into the dark ages.

I think she is forgetting that there are extremists on all sides. There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world today, how many of them are extremists? How many of them are people who would like to see the Middle-East converted to their religion? How many of them simply believe they don't have a right to exist? So why don't we hear any talk from her about Christianity being a backwards religion, one that sends people back to the dark ages? Simple, she has a predilection for the Christian faith, and for people of the Christian faith.

The Christian bible teaches all kinds of hate towards other people. It commands the death of homosexuals and non-believers, and legitimizes rape and slavery. Yet Most Christians argue this has being said in the OT, and that Jesus would never want us to do those things. Yet, it's in the bible is it not? Same thing with the Koran. It says some very ugly things about killing those who don't believe, stoning homosexuals, raping women, etc.

I had this same argument with a Muslim man. I told him he followed a religion that allowed for the murder of homosexuals, the rape of women, and the murdering of others who don't believe in their god. He told me that it was not the true way of Islam. And just like all of the Christians whom I had debated in the past, who said that those rules were simply a concession to the people who lived during the time those things were written, this man told me the same thing.

I think it is awful to say Islam a backwards religion, one that teaches terrorism, simply because that religion happens to have extremists. That's like saying, "stay away from gay people, they can give you AIDS" simply because AIDS is in issue in the gay community. Or "Only irresponsible hicks are gun owners" simply because a certain percentage of people go off the deep end and spray bullets into public areas with intent to kill.

How about this one? All Christians hate gay people. It says so in the bible, on top of that we have groups like this all over America, starting with the Westboro Baptist Church, and moving to the Army of God, Hutaree, the Covenant, The Sword, Defensive Action, Concerned Christians, and the Ku Klux Clan.

How about the Christian Re-constructionists that were founded by Calvinist theologian Rousas John Rushdoony? He was on the far right and said the construction of a Christian government would, in many respects, mirror the Taliban of radical Islam.

How about the Christian terror groups all over the world? Lords Resistance Army in Africa? Or the Iron Guard Movements in Romania? The National Liberation Front of Tripura? The Christian inspired terror and forced conversions in Nagaland?

Between 2002-2005 more than 90% of all terror attacks on American soil were committed by non-Muslims. (

All of this being said, how can you now not agree with her logic personally? There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world, and at least 25% of them are extremists. Now, that still doesn't mean I have better chances of being killed by a Christian terror attack than I do by lightening. But what it does mean is Christianity is a backwards religion that teaches inequality and terrorism.

Here's a great excerpt from an online article about Christian extremists:

Another voice of sanity on the subject of Islam and Christianity is journalist Leonard Pitts, Jr., author of Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood and a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald. In his columns, Pitts has had a lot to say about the way some people on the far right will try to paint Islam in general as a violent religion (as opposed to making a distinction between radical and non-radical Islam). And they get away with that double standard, according to Pitts, because it is easier to attack what is a minority religion in the U.S.

"Christianity is a known element in the United States, whereas Islam is a foreign faith," Pitts explained. He continued:

"Most people of faith in the United States are Christian. Most Americans know a lot of Christians but don't know any Muslims. So it's easy to look at the craziest, most dangerous Muslims and assume that they are representative of Islam as a whole. Christians in the United States will look at the Army of God and say, 'That has no relation to any Christianity I have ever known. That has absolutely nothing to do with any Christianity I have ever known,' but moderate Muslims will say the same thing about Muslims who commit acts of violence."

This woman was a Christian who grew up in a volatile area and was witness religious terrorism first hand. She has a bias opinion and is blind to what her religion has done. But I'm sure she doesn't care because she wasn't brought up Muslim, being terrorized by Christians.


That was what I commented with. What I wanted to add was that according to a 2008 FBI report on terror it showed that a little more than 50% of the acts committed were committed by Sunni Muslims. Off all terror attacks that year over 50,00 individuals were killed. According to the FBI report, well over 50% of the victims were Muslim. US fatalities were 33.