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Evil clown arrested

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Everyone thought it was some kind of mass kid-hysteria inspired by marketing for the new version of Stephen King's IT, but guess what! There was an evil clown after all!

Kentucky police have arrested a man dressed as a clown lurking in a wooded area amid a wave of clown reports in at least six US states.

Jonathan Martin, 20, was charged with wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct in Middlesboro.

He was found at about 0100 EST (0600 GMT) on Friday in "full clown costume" and mask crouching among trees by an apartment complex, according to police.

"Wearing a mask" is a crime, eh?

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satadru
12 hours ago
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Raccoon Wants More

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raccoon-wants-more

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satadru
13 hours ago
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Why Hillary Clinton hasn't been able to leave Donald Trump in the Dust

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I don’t accept some of the explanations proffered by her supporters: that the media tilts toward Trump or that there is a silent majority of racists and sexists in America. I think she does suffer from representing the party that has controlled the White House for the last eight years and for 16 of the last 24. In these cases, voters accumulate grievances with a long half-life that affect their view of the current candidate. And the candidate finds it difficult to advocate dramatic change without appearing to repudiate her predecessors. But I think that in addition to this handicap, Clinton suffers from having run a less than stellar campaign – one sadly reminiscent of Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Beyond not wanting her opponent to be president, I have my reasons for supporting Clinton – and they begin with Supreme Court nominations – but I can’t think of three positive reasons why the average voter would support Clinton. Her own ads have been almost entirely devoted to warning about a Trump presidency, which is why complaints from her camp that the media devotes too much attention to Trump run hollow. Voters want to know what she really wants to do as president. When I presented this conundrum to a friend, he pointed me to Clinton’s website, where there are detailed proposals on 38 issues – from climate change and campus sexual assault to HIV and AIDS and protecting animals and wildlife. But that’s not really what I mean by standing for something.

Political campaigns are thematic. They are not about detailed proposals. That’s what governing is partly about, although politics is crucial to governing, too. The most successful campaigns can be summed up in slogans and simple demands. I think of Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H.W. Bush in 1988 (who had to face the third term problem), Bill Clinton in 1992, George W. Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008. These campaigns had easily remembered slogans -- yes we can, compassionate conservatism, putting people first, kinder, gentler nation, making America great again (Reagan and Trump) and they had simple programmatic proposals – end welfare as we know it, an across the board 33 percent tax cut, read my lips; no new taxes, withdraw from Iraq, and not a dime from special interests. Trump’s campaign is very much along these lines, which is one reason he has gotten this far. Clinton’s is not. Nor was that of Dukakis (competence, not ideology) who at one point in the summer of 1988 was 17 percentage points up on Bush.

There is one important aspect to many of these thematic campaigns. What a candidate is against is as important as what a candidate is for. And I am not referring to being against your opponent. It’s a simple principle of linguistics. Positives are defined by negatives, and vice versa. As the philosopher John Austin once remarked, what “real” means depends on whether it is being used in opposition to being toy, artificial, virtual, insincere, or apparent. Franklin Roosevelt was famously against “economic royalists,” Reagan was against “welfare queens” and the “evil empire.” Presidential candidates can’t declare too many enemies for fear of losing votes. Clinton dumping Trump’s supporters into a “basket of deplorables” certainly wasn’t good politics. But if candidates have no enemies, their message becomes fuzzy.

Compare for a moment Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton's response to the consumer fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. During Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s appearance before the Senate Finance Committee, Warren told Stumpf, “You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

By contrast, Clinton’s response was an open letter to Wells Fargo customers. “I was deeply disturbed when, last week, we found out that Wells Fargo had engaged in widespread illegal practices over many years… Today, Wells Fargo’s CEO will appear before Congress. He owes all of you a clear explanation as to how this happened under his watch. There is simply no place for this kind of outrageous behavior in America.” Clinton then went on to present a raft a proposals for reforming the banking system:

First, we need to defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… Second, we need real consequences when firms on Wall Street break the law…it’s frustrating that a bank can simply pay a fine and keep doing business as usual – with massive compensation for the executives responsible. That compensation should be clawed back. I’ve put forward an agenda to enhance accountability on Wall Street. Executives should be held individually accountable when rampant illegal activity happens on their watch. .. Third, we need to make sure that no financial institution is too big to manage. I’ll put additional safeguards in place to address the risks that the big banks continue to pose to our system. .. I’ll appoint regulators who will stand with taxpayers and consumers, not with big banks and their friends in Congress.

These are reasonable proposals, but they belong in a transition committee’s report on financial reform. Did Clinton expect that many of Wells Fargo’s customers would actually read this letter (I significantly condensed the proposal section)? By not singling out Stumpf and not taking the kind of tough stance that Warren did, Clinton missed a golden opportunity to tell voters what she really cared about – and do so without alienating a significant bloc of voters. And it certainly wouldn’t have put her at odds with Obama. I simply don’t understand why Clinton and her campaign took a pass, but it’s more or less characteristic of her campaign, and it is one important reason Trump has pulled close to her in the polls.

Clinton and her campaign do see a problem. They recently put out a positive (non-Trump) ad showing, in the campaign’s words, “Hillary Clinton’s lifelong record fighting for children and families.” But I’m not sure that kind of ad does the trick. Sure, she’s for families and children, but the ad lacks any edge and dramatic demand and there isn’t an enemy lurking in the back yard that needs to be slain. Will average voters, after seeing this ad, feel Clinton cares about their own family and children? I doubt it. Clinton’s got demographics on her side in this election, and she’s facing a damaged opponent. She should win. But by this time, she should be well ahead, as Johnson was in 1964 and Nixon in 1972, but she’s not, and I think some of the fault lies in the kind of campaign she and her advisors are running.

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satadru
1 day ago
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sigh
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“The most powerful artwork I have ever seen”

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Niaux Cave Drawing

New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz has presumably been to most of the finest museums in the world, seen the works of the great masters, and generally spent a lifetime looking at great art. But he encountered what he calls “the most powerful artwork I have ever seen” in a French cave with drawings from about 13,000 years ago.

The idea that perspective was invented in Florence in 1414 collapsed in an instant. Here, larger mammals are in front of smaller ones who trail behind; animals at the back of packs are smaller than those in front. There’s also what’s called reverse perspective, the sort of system used in China, where closer things are rendered smaller than farther things. Elsewhere, an ibex is depicted from behind and over the shoulder — an incredibly sophisticated perspective. One horse is seen from a highly accomplished three-quarters view. Imagery seemed adjusted for curvatures and protrusions of the walls in the same ways that Renaissance frescoes adjust for distortions, distance, and odd viewing angles. I saw a bison with one horn curving up, the other curving down — either from battle or birth. Whatever the cause, this was something that had been seen and intentionally rendered.

Just penciled this in for my next trip to France, whenever that is.

Tags: art   Jerry Saltz
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satadru
1 day ago
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Perspective drawings also exist in the ~ 1500 year old Ajanta buddhist caves in India, but these predate those by some not insubstantial number of years...
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Joss Whedon: Donald Trump slammed in Save the Day video

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Joss Whedon is back with a new passion project, and he’s enlisted a few friends — a few very famous, superhero friends — to help.

The writer-director has launched Save the Day, a super PAC focused on encouraging Americans to get out and vote on Election Day. The first phase of that effort is a star-studded PSA that launched Wednesday featuring the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Leslie Odom Jr.

Whedon debuted the initiative on his newly-restored Twitter page, writing, “Hey! Did I miss anything? Lol jk the world is on fire here’s a thing I made.”

The Save the Day website reads, “We are a short-form production company dedicated to the idea that voting is a necessary and heroic act. That every voice in this wonderfully diverse nation should, and must, be heard. That the only thing that can save democracy is the act that defines it. We are committed to fighting the apathy, cynicism, and honest confusion that keeps citizens from using their vote. And to reminding an increasingly out-of-touch and compromised set of representatives that they are answerable to the people they were hired to serve.”

The Whedon-helmed PSA, titled “Important,” features that bevy of celebrities urging Americans to vote on Nov. 8. While it doesn’t mention either Republican or Democratic presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by name, Cheadle warns against “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.” Odom Jr. also asks, “Do we want to give nuclear weapons to a man whose signature move is firing things?”

In an interview with BuzzFeed released Wednesday, Whedon explained how he was able to get so many stars onboard for the project. “There is almost nobody that I wouldn’t approach to say, ‘If you can pitch in, do it now,’” he said. “It was pretty much the same spiel to everybody: ‘Doing a voting PSA to help get out the vote and stop orange Muppet Hitler.’”

You can see the full video at the top of this post, and a few behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot below.

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superiphi
1 day ago
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orange muppet hitler?
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satadru
2 days ago
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Mass. High Court Says Black Men May Have Legitimate Reason To Flee Police

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Black men who try to avoid an encounter with Boston police by fleeing may have a legitimate reason to do so — and should not be deemed suspicious — according to a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Citing Boston police data and a 2014 report by the ACLU of Massachusetts that found blacks were disproportionately stopped by the city's police, the state’s highest court on Tuesday threw out the gun conviction of Jimmy Warren.

Warren was arrested on Dec. 18, 2011, by police who were investigating a break-in in Roxbury. Police had been given a description of the suspects as three black men — one wearing a “red hoodie,” one wearing a “black hoodie” and the other wearing “dark clothing.” An officer later spotted Warren and another man (both wearing dark clothing) walking near a park. When the officer approached the men, they ran. Warren was later arrested and searched. No contraband was found on him, but police recovered an unlicensed .22 caliber firearm in a nearby yard. Warren was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and later convicted.

In its ruling, the court made two major findings: They said police didn’t have the right to stop Warren in the first place, and the fact that he ran away shouldn’t be used against him.

On the first point, the court said the description of the break-in suspects’ clothing was “vague,” making it impossible for police to “reasonably and rationally” target Warren or any other black man wearing dark clothing as a suspect. The court said the “ubiquitous” clothing description and the officer’s hunch wasn’t enough to justify the stop.

"Lacking any information about facial features, hairstyles, skin tone, height, weight, or other physical characteristics, the victim's description 'contribute[d] nothing to the officers' ability to distinguish the defendant from any other black male' wearing dark clothes and a 'hoodie' in Roxbury."

On the second point, the court noted that state law gives individuals the right to not speak to police and even walk away if they aren’t charged with anything. The court said when an individual does flee, the action doesn't necessarily mean the person is guilty. And when it comes to black men, the BPD and ACLU reports “documenting a pattern of racial profiling of black males in the city of Boston” must be taken into consideration, the court said.

"We do not eliminate flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis whenever a black male is the subject of an investigatory stop. However, in such circumstances, flight is not necessarily probative of a suspect's state of mind or consciousness of guilt. Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for FIO [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests a reason for flight totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt. Such an individual, when approached by the police, might just as easily be motivated by the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity. Given this reality for black males in the city of Boston, a judge should, in appropriate cases, consider the report's findings in weighing flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion calculus."

The SJC concluded that police lacked reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop in this case.

Matthew Segal, the legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, called the decision "a powerful ruling" that demonstrates what role courts can play in addressing community concerns about policing.

"The state’s highest court, in talking about people of color, it’s saying that their lives matter and under the law, their views matter," Segal said. "The reason that’s significant is that all the time in police-civilian encounters there are disputes about what is suspicious and what is not suspicious. So this is an opinion that looks at those encounters through the eyes of a black man who might justifiably be concerned that he will be the victim of profiling."

The ACLU's report found that between 2007 and 2010, 63 percent of Boston police encounters were with blacks, though at that time the city's black population was just 24 percent. Notably, the report said that taking into account high-crime neighborhoods did not explain the disparity.

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans blasted the SJC ruling and said he was "troubled" the court cited the ACLU report, which he called "heavily tainted against the police department."

"I think they relied heavily on an ACLU report that I think was clearly way out of context," Evans told reporters Tuesday. "I’m a little disappointed that they relied heavily on a report that didn’t take into context who was stopped and why. That report clearly shows that we were targeting the individuals that were driving violence in the city and the hot spots."

The SJC ruling also cited the Boston Police Department's own analysis, which found blacks were 8 percent more likely to be stopped repeatedly and 12 percent more likely to be searched and frisked even when controlling for factors like criminal history, gang affiliation and violent crime areas.

Evans said the department's report found there was no indication of bias. The department's report did outline steps ensure fair stops, including increased training on racial profiling and unconscious bias.

The SJC ruling comes a week after the launch of a long-awaited police body camera pilot program in Boston -- a program many, including Segal, see as a positive step toward police accountability and transparency. Body cameras have been part of a larger national conversation on policing since the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and other high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men across the country.

WBUR's Delores Handy contributed reporting.

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superiphi
1 day ago
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yup
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
satadru
3 days ago
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New York, NY
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