Buzzfeed

Just Another Day (Mad Mat Mix)

Kim Davis and Friends: Detail of cartoon by Kevin Siers, The Charlotte Observer, 10 September 2015.

Here is a question: What do Kim Davis and Donald Trump have in common? Before you reach for a punch line, I should note it’s not actually that kind of a setup. In truth, it is hard to follow either story, because it is difficult, to the one, to comprehend the full dimensions of what is actually happening, and to the other that it happens so damn fast. Either absurdist tragedy leaves us breathless trying to keep up.

For instance, adding the Oath Keepers to the mix probably isn’t any specific reason to be alarmed, but still, it can’t be good news.

In a phone call with Jackson County Kentucky Sheriff Denny Peyman, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes said members of his group had reached out to Davis’s legal team and were already forming an on-the-ground presence in Kentucky’s Rowan County, but remained tight-lipped on specifics, Right Wing Watch reports. Rhodes said his group’s action had nothing to do with same-sex marriage, but instead was focused on his belief that Davis had been illegally detained after being found in contempt of court by not issuing marriage licenses.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said in the audio clip above. “This judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted, and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to.”

(Wong)

(more…)

Advertisements

Something

India Clarke, murdered 21 July 2015, in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Clarke's death is recorded as the tenth murder of a transgendered person in 2015. On 29 July 2015 the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff's Office arrested a suspect, Keith Lamayne Gaillard, and charged him with First Degree Murder with a Firearm.

It’s … something.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is launching a new transgender sensitivity training program.

The training comes two months after a Tampa transgender woman’s murder, and law enforcement’s handling of it, captured national attention.

After 25-year-old India Clarke’s body was found in a Tampa park July 21, law enforcement identified her by the name and gender she was born with even though she had identified as female for years. Backlash from across the country followed, surfacing a discussion about how law enforcement handle the identities of transgender people.

(Associated Press)

We can’t have our friends and neighbors back. But, at the very least, we can have this little shard of decency, that we might wish the true selves of those we leave behind some manner of dignity in rest.

And we’ll take it, because that’s all we have left.

Her name was India Clarke. Please say it. Please, say her name.

____________________

Image note: India Clarke, murdered 21 July 2015, in Tampa, Florida. Ms. Clarke’s death is recorded as the tenth murder of a transgendered person in 2015. On 29 July 2015 the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect, Keith Lamayne Gaillard, and charged him with First Degree Murder with a Firearm.

Associated Press. “St. Pete Officers to be Trained on Transgender Issues”. WTVJ. 7 September 2015.

Holden, Dominic. “Transgender Woman Of Color Killed In Tampa, Florida”. BuzzFeed. 22 July 2015.

What Passes for … er … ah … Something … in Oklahoma

Mao (left), and Suou react to July (not pictured) in Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 9, 'They Met One Day Unexpectedly ...'.

“I know a lot of people, actually a lot of people who are friends of mine in the gay community, who also think it was a bad decision.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)

No, really.

Seriously, is there anything we can possibly add?

____________________

Kaczynski, Andrew. “Republican Sen. James Inhofe: My Gay Friends Think Court Ruling Was Bad”. BuzzFeed. 27 June 2015.

The Jeb Bush Show (Berlin Blitz)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) is 'seriously considering' running for president, according to his nephew, George P. Bush.

“Having Jeb Bush come to Berlin to argue on behalf of US foreign policy in Europe is a bit like sending Edward Snowden to give a speech on NSA reform to the Republican National Committee.”

Max Fisher

If that version doesn’t work well for you, well, it’s the sort of simile one works and polishes. Max Fisher of Vox also tried the joke on Twitter.

It’s a tough joke. That’s the thing. Or maybe the Serious Clown is just not conducive to cheap, overwrought punch lines.

More substantially, Fisher notes:

Bush has come up in nearly every conversation I’ve had here since arriving, and always with a warning: that skepticism of the US is already high here, that the German public’s support of tough policies toward Russia is tenuous, and that the mere sight of a Bush makes Germans want to run in the opposite direction of US foreign policy.

(more…)

The Bobby Jindal Show (Exploratory Sneak Peak Preview Pak)

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers' 'freedom of conscience,' which he argues 'must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.' It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: 'The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.' (McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed, 19 May 2015; photo uncredited))

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to be another culture warrior fighting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed offers a glimpse of the governor’s groundwork:

With a new political ad airing this week in Iowa, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is informally kicking off his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by casting himself as the conservative movement’s leading voice in the culture war battle over religious freedom.

The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers’ “freedom of conscience,” which he argues “must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.” It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: “The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”

In keeping with what is bound to be a relatively low-budget, scrappy campaign operation at the outset, Jindal’s ad doesn’t have much money behind it. According to an operative at The American Future Project — the pro-Jindal advocacy group launching the ad — the commercial is debuting in Iowa with a “five-figure ad buy,” meaning the organization spent somewhere between $10,000 and $99,000 to get it on the air. It will appear on cable and online and it will run for one week, according to the group.

There really is no question about what is about to happen. Yesterday the presidential hopeful announced his exploratory committee:

“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement Monday.

“If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”

He said he won’t make a final decision until after the legislative session ends next month. The creation of an exploratory committee allows him to raise money for the White House, though, and is just the latest signal toward Jindal’s seriousness about jumping into the 2016 contest, despite his low ranking in many polls on the large Republican field.

As Elizabeth Crisp reports for The Adovocate, Mr. Jindal is finished as executive of the Pelican State according to term limits, and has begun moving about like a presidential candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire, and turned much of his public expression toward more nationally-oriented policy discussion. That said, there are still opportunities to mix Pelican politics with Beltway dreams.

(more…)

The Reason Why

Detail of BuzzFeed "More News" sidebar, 23 February 2015, 07:28 PST.Only twenty-seven?

Your number of the day. We did not bother reading the article. No, really, if there are twenty-seven “important moments” from the Oscars, well, where does that fall in the range? Is it a mean? That would make 2,349 important moments from eighty-seven Academy Awards ceremonies, but that projection is probably unfair since our age of mass media means we can increase the number of important things per second.

Still, though, where are we going to fit in all those important things? Arts education is already woeful in these United States, and nobody really seems to like history despite it being both one of the easier courses on the curriculum and also one of the most important a person can learn. Maybe if we cram it into a business education sequence.

Because that, more than whatever twenty-seven things, is the important lesson to learn: Growing the brand. It is why we teach kids math, not so they can grow up to take pretty pictures of the sky. Pretty pictures are pretty and all, but they don’t put food on the table.

And don’t give us any of that excremental hippie line about math and science saving lives. You can’t save lives if you don’t grow the brand.

Priorities, people.

That’s why twenty-seven.

____________________

Image note: Detail of BuzzFeed “More News” sidebar, 23 February 2015, 07:28 PST.

An American Moment

“After considering the text of Title VII, the relevant Supreme Court case law interpreting the statute, and the developing jurisprudence in this area, I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Oh, yes. Our America still has its good days.

Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed delivers the news, and while it might seem like a small thing compared to yesterday’s breathtaking tales from Washington and Havana, this really is one of those important things.

And while it is true that the last two years of a second-term presidency often include some of the maneuvers that president should have started with six years before, what, really, does this administration have left on the list of reasons to not do certain things? Maybe if they pile on enough over the next year and some months, and just keep pouring on through the election cycle, Democrats will actually get up and aim for more daring goals than holding the line against whatever has become of the Republican Party.

But, you know, for the moment, yes, it is perfectly acceptable to pause and say, “Wow! Why didn’t I see that one coming?”

And we would also take a moment to say, Thank you, Mr. Holder.

____________________

Holder, Eric. “Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”. United States Department of Justice. 15 December 2014.

Geidner, Chris. “Justice Department Will Now Support Transgender Discrimination Claims In Litigation”. BuzzFeed. 18 December 2014.

What Frightens Minnesota

Framegrab from KTSP. Mayor Betsy Hodges (left) with Navell Gordon. The Minneapolis television station considers pointing a "gang sign", and thereby sparked the #PointerGate controversy.

Thus it should occur that a goofy diagram of gangland sign language makes its way around the Facebook intertube thingy. And while there are plenty who would suggest that gang violence is serious business that should not be taken so lightly, it might be more useful to point out that the guide is incomplete.

GangSignChart-bwNote that one notorious (ahem!) “gang sign” is omitted, and that is the one-fingered point oft-known as the “fingerbang”. This is a well-known gesture that indicates, “Hey! Look at me! I’m standing next to a black dude!” and is the most dangerous of all gang signs known to Minnesota.

Or … something like that.

#PointerGate!

____________________

Mack, David. “TV Report Accusing Mayor Of Gang Signs Prompts Online Ridicule In The Form Of #Pointergate”. BuzzFeed. 7 November 2014.

Hayes, Mike. “Minneapolis Mayor Explains Why Pointing Is Not A Gang Sign In #Pointergate Response”. BuzzFeed. 14 November 2014.

#GamerGate: Moving Pictures and Megalomania Mix

Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, via Daily Kos, 31 October 2014.

Hold the Line, against new and different games produced by girls … who are not sufficiently buxom and supportive of your awesome manliness!

Be Brave, good gamer soldiers … and continue your anonymous attacks against these upstart good-for-nothing girls!

Mark Fiore

In a way, it really does seem to come to that. The #GamerGate phenomenon would be entertaining for all of a few seconds, much like we stare at someone we think is attempting spontaneous and nearly-insane comedy right before we realize, to our horror, that we are about to laugh at a spastic disability. In truth, the phenomenon would not even be a one-hit wonder except for a spectacular nexus of bigotry and juvenilia.

Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, via Daily Kos, 31 October 2014.Mark Fiore’s moving (ha!) editorial might sound like open satire, but such an assessment would be somewhat insulting, as it would suggest the artist required some sort of herculean labor to simply run down the checklist of hashtag-GamerGate.

Online, we are supposed to call it Poe’s Law, which is an alpha geek’s attempt to claim originality for pointing out that truth is necessarily stranger than fiction. However, we ought not knock Poe’s Law, because the internet age does raise, by orders of magnitude, the frequency with which the question arises whether we are viewing the real thing or a vicious satire. Evangelical Christianity, the Republican Party, Fall Out Boy, and now #GamerGate.

(more…)

The Iowa Question

Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R-12)

Retrospect. Hindsight. We should have seen this coming. All of that. But the thing about the clarity of hindsight is that every once in a while, we might feel compelled to pause and ask ourself why certain things are expected.

For instance, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R-12). What’s that? She’s a plagiarist? Well … right. Should have seen that one coming. Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir of BuzzFeed posted the seemingly inevitable lede:

Passages of local paper pieces under Ernst’s name appear to have been copied word for word from templates sent as guidelines to Republican members of the Iowa Senate.

The Ernst campaign responded by arguing that the copied materials were produced specifically to be compied as if they were a person’s own work.

If it seems reasonable enough to argue that Gov. Terry Brandstad’s “Condition of the State” address in 2012 was intended to be reproduced by fellow Republicans as if it was their own writing, well, that covers plagiarism.

But it doesn’t cover one’s inability to convey their own thoughts and feelings.

Ken Rozenboom, one of several state senators who published articles with text identical or nearly identical to Ernst’s told BuzzFeed News that the common language was drawn from summaries of the week’s events sent to members of the Senate Republican caucus by their communications team.

“Some … use them in their entirety, some use tidbits,” he said, noting the summaries sent were meant to be used as guidelines.

Another state senator, Sen. Michael Breitbach said, “I write my own. I don’t know what they do.”

Gregory Orear, editor of Red Oak Express, one of the newspapers that ran the suspect columns, explained that he “wouldn’t be shocked”, as he considers them “bottom of the barrel” editorials. “I’m sure some of it was cut and pasted,” he told Buzzfeed. “It’d be nice if she had her own thoughts in it.”

Any number of punch lines suggest themselves, here.

Meanwhile, the nation waits with bated breath as election day approaches. Will Iowa send seditious incompetence to the U.S Senate for the sake of a parenthetic note? That is, if the winning argument is that Joni Ernst’s name is followed by an “(R)”, well, frankly there would be many around the nation who just aren’t surprised.

Iowa, we’re looking in your direction.

____________________

Kaczynski, Andrew and Ilan Ben-Meir. “Iowa Republican Copied And Pasted Passages In Newspaper Dispatches”. BuzzFeed. 29 October 2014.