Archive for March, 2010

Phun With Numbers: Po-Po Edition

On Saturday, Minneapolis’ notoriously leftist, populist newspaper the Star Tribune ran an article about newly-reappointed Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, who, OMG, “only” disciplined officers under his command in connection with four of the twenty-four “sustained” complaints received by the city’s “Civilian Review Authority”, or CRA.

This is not exactly news, and certainly not hard-hitting investigative journalism; rather, it’s a rehash of stories that have been circulating in local alternative media circles for almost two months now, and it pretty just much re-hashes what the bloggers and activists on that side of the river have been parroting.

I suspect the reality of the situation is a bit different than how it’s being presented, however.
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on March 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

Like Living in an Anime World

I like to make jokes about the differing characters of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the not-very-similar “Twin Cities” here in Minnesota. For the most part, comparisons usually favor Minneapolis – which has a bustling nightlife, competent software developers, good restaurants, interesting places to shop, and a thriving arts community – over Saint Paul, which, for the most part… doesn’t.

To be fair, it’s not entirely lopsided – Minneapolis is nicknamed “Murderapolis” for a reason, and the Saint Paul Police are evidently rather less prone to, you know, inadvertently beating, abusing, or robbing those they’re supposed to protect and serve. Minneapolis is also home to far more hippies, anarchists, street people, street preachers, and general wierdos than its sister city on the other side of the Mississippi.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm, here. Finding myself in Minneapolis with about an hour to kill, I decided to celebrate spring – and avoid the revelers in and around all the bars – by having my first milkshake of the year at an ice cream shop somewhere. There, I ran into two people – and a situation – straight out of one of the more absurdist anime series from Japan…
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Published in: Geekiness | on March 18th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Here it Comes Again! – Paranoia, the Destroya’

Wikileaks, the increasingly irrelevant, un-transparent, un-accountable, and un-trustworthy “whistleblowing” website that has grabbed so many headlines in recent years is up to their usual mildly embarrassing tricks again, willfully misrepresenting an (American military) document as something substantially more nefarious and sinister than it truly is.

You can read more about the latest idiocy on the part of Mr. Julian Assange over at the wikileak.org website, which has a pretty good look at the supposed plan to “destroy” Wikileaks.

Assange claims the United States Army is trying to “fatally marginalize” Wikileaks by destroying its web of “trust” online. I have to wonder, in truth, whether he really believes that, or if he’s attention-whoring at the expense of principles again. From this side of the mirror, dear Alice, it looks like all the marginalization and destruction of trust are the work not of the NSA or CIA or FBI or ODNI or MI6, but Mr. Assange and Mr. Assange alone.

Indeed, I for one find it extremely amusing that Assange has engaged and continues to engage in exactly the same (highly deceptive) tactics that he finds so unbelievably onerous and objectionable when used by governments and (“corporate”) media outlets.

Wikileaks was, once upon a time, a grand and interesting experiment in anonymous communication and collaboration. Julian Assange, however, has euthanized that experiment and turned the site into an infrequently-updated personal blog with no transparency or accountability… not even a (moderated, natch) comment system. And, implausible as it might seem, he’s raised – or claims to have raised, rather! – over a quarter million dollars in the process, albeit from people who – one presumes – wanted something rather different.

Julian Assange and Wikileaks and “The Sunshine Press” (all of which I basically consider to be synonymous, at this point in time) have lost any moral high ground they may have ever had, as far as I’m concerned. They’ve become, really, no better than the evildoers they once supposedly existed to expose… and they’ve raised rather a tidy sum of money by doing so, as well. Viva el capitalismo, eh Julian?

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General | on March 17th, 2010 | No Comments »

Bigotry and Hate

The whole world, somewhat oddly, seems to be taking notice of the plight of Jene Newsome. Newsome, if you’re somehow unaware, was until recently a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, but was discharged after seven years’ service because, oops, she’s gay, which is a bit of a no-no in the military just at the moment – at least if you “out” yourself…

…which she didn’t, technically speaking. Hence the controversy.

Coverage of the story in the last couple days has been fairly interesting, with – guessing here – eight out of ten articles blaming the Rapid City Police Department, and the remainder mainly blaming Newsome, because some people are just like that.

This isn’t particularly surprising, in modern-day America. When you’ve got a salacious story involving a police department, a lesbian, and the military, it’s not too hard to tell where most of the criticism is going to end up – everybody loves to hate on teh po-po, and nearly everybody loves a little gay bashing.

Criticize the military, though? What are you, nuts? Or, worse yet, some kinda commie pinko fairy who hates America?

Unfortunately…
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on March 15th, 2010 | No Comments »

Southland, Season Two

Some of you may remember Southland, the (former) NBC drama that I wrote about several months ago. Its second season got canceled by NBC late last year after they’d already filmed half the episodes, in a truly stupendous WTF moment.

The show later got bought by cable network TNT, who agreed to re-air the first season and air the episodes of the second season that were already shot; no decision has yet been made on whether or not to produce new episodes… but hope springs eternal.

At the time, NBC’s explanation for canceling Southland was that the show was “too dark” and “too gritty” for prime-time network television. It was originally supposed to air at 10pm, but got briefly moved – at least in theory – up to 9pm because of The Great Jay Leno Debacle.

Not a lot of people believed NBC’s explanation that, once they’d seen the first two episodes of season two, they didn’t feel it fit well with the network at 9pm – everyone figured it was all down to Jay Leno.

The first two episodes of season two have now aired on TNT… and NBC’s original explanation is a bit more believable, now.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on March 12th, 2010 | No Comments »