Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Xmas Pics

Here are some pictures from Christmas. I didn't get very many scenic pictures because it was raining most of the time we were in San Diego (it made for many bad hair days too). I know most of these pictures are of my family so they aren't that interesting, but I love them.


Hope everyone had a good holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lobbying Video

I thought this was pretty awesome:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lego Antikythera Mechanism

This is amazing! It's a fully-functional replica of The Antikythera Mechanism made out of Lego:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sarah Palin, Memorialized with Porn Art

I've came across this post that's been sitting in my drafts for six month. Crazy how I could forget about something as awesome as this.

From Artinfo:
click to embiggen
... As part of the "Porn in the U.S.A." exhibition at the London-based Lazarides Gallery's L.A. pop-up space, British artist Jonathan Yeo — who rose to international attention after making a collage of George W. Bush out of clippings of pornography in 2007 — will unveil another series of provocative collages. Among them you'll find Tiger Woods, Sigmund Freud, a wizened image of Sean Connery as James Bond, and the piece de resistance, Sarah Palin, wrapped in a moose head frame, no less. Instead of oil, the former Alaskan governor's face is rendered with images of pubic hair, lace panties, and engorged reproductive organs of both sexes. "They're not insults, per se," Yeo told ARTINFO. "They're just comments on people who trade off their morality and sexuality.

While these works are primed to spark a political uproar, and perhaps outshine his deftly rendered portraits and wallpaper, "it was important to do a couple of eye-catching ones where people would get the joke as a way of leading people into it," said Yeo, who's currently installing the show in Los Angeles. "But hopefully they'll come in and find there's all sorts of things they weren't expecting." He added, "There are two potential audiences: the knowing art world people — people who will come down because they have an idea of what's going on — and the people who come by because of the massive walk-by pedestrian traffic."

"I try to make collages that don't look like collages, and I think I'm really kind of painting with the porn," Yeo said. "I don't want to sound pretentious about it, but the process is more like painting in terms of the compositional decisions you make." As a result, Yeo's star seems to be on the rise outside of the studio as well. Last year he was tapped by Soho House owner Nick Jones to curate the art at his Hollywood outpost. The artist brought in 70 works from the likes of Ed Ruscha, Hirst, Raymond Pettibon, Shepard Fairey, and Tracey Emin, and is currently at work on Jones' New York and Miami properties. "I've become an accidental curator," he joked.

While Yeo expects the work in the new show to fool the eye, at least at first glance, he looks forward to the "interesting delayed reaction once people figure out what's going on," he said. "On past experiece most people enjoy it. One or two have been shocked. Bear in mind, we've always tended to show the pieces at places like the [Lazarides] gallery in Soho where people are expecting slightly provocative things. I don't know if that's the case in Beverly Hills, but that's the fun of it, really. It would be disingenuous to think we won't shock and offend people, but I hope we get a range of reactions."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Heading Home

Just wanted to let you guys know I'm heading for San Diego today. I'll be back on the 26th and I can't wait to see my family and friends. Because of that my posts will probably few and far between. I have a few scheduled, but it's mostly just random stuff that's been sitting in my drafts.

Hope everyone has a good holiday! Try not to miss me too much. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why Has the Media Ignored the Prison Strike in Georgia?

Prison Cells
Prison Cells by Dana Gonzales
Sometimes I lie in bed questioning the career path I've chosen for myself. Journalism is a hard industry to get into and I start freaking out when I think of the school loans and all the uncertainty. There's something really scary about trying to find a career rather then just a job. But then I read about something that no one seems to care about, and I remember why I made this decision in the first place. Information is my favorite currency and I don't understand why some stories are overlooked for no reason at all.

One example of this, is the prison work strike in Georgia that started on December 9th. Lasting for one week, the strike is the largest prison strike in American history. Spanning ten different prisons, the prisoners were able to coordinate a non-violent work strike by thousands of inmates. And yet, where has the media coverage been? Where are the statements by the Congressional Black Caucus? While President Obama felt the need to get involved in a squabble between one man and one officer, the actions of thousands of people doesn't seem to warrant any attention at all. Not if those people are inmates it seems.

The prison industrial complex is one of the most disgusting enterprises in America and our habit of disenfranchising inmates once they do leave prison ads insult to injury. The prisoners in these prisons are fighting for basic human rights. Their list of demands is simple and reasonable.

The full list of demands:
* A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.

* EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.

* DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.

* AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the Eighth Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.

* DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.

* NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.

* VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.

* ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.

* JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
Inmates are currently forced to work for free, are living three to a cell in cells made for only one person, and given no education opportunities. Anyone who knows someone in prison knows how racially devided the prison population is. Racism is rampant in a way that doesn't compare to our everyday lives. And yet these inmates found a way to come together. That alone should say something about how bad the conditions are.
“They transferred some of the high Muslims here to max already,” one prisoner told Black Agenda Report this morning. “They want to break up the unity we have here. We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground. We all want to be paid for our work, and we all want education in here. There's people in here who can't even read... They're trying to provoke people to violence in here, but we're not letting that happen. We just want our human rights."
In response to the strike, prison officials cut off the hot water and transferred inmates they thought may have been leaders in the strike. They also confiscated cell phones, that inmates bought from correction officers, and forced the prisons into lockdown.

The Black Agenda Report said it perfectly when they said:
It's simple. With one in twelve Georgia adults in jail or prison, parole or probation or other court and correctional supervision, prisoners are us. They are our families. They are our fathers and our mothers, our sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and cousins. Most prisoners will be back out in society sooner, not later. It's time for us all to grow up and realize that warehousing, malnourishing, mistreating and abusing prisoners does not make us safer. Denying prisoners meaningful training and educational opportunities, and forcing them to work for no wages is not the way to do.

It's time to fundamentally reconsider prison as we know it, and America's public policy of mass incarceration.
We have to ask ourselves what it is we think our prison system should be doing. Is it punish people and teach them the "error of their ways?" If so, then how does dehumanizing and demoralizing these men and women turn them into better citizens? Far too many prisoners are poor and black for us to refuse to believe there's not a fundamental problem with the way our prison system is currently set up. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens then any place in the world. The line between us and them is thin and tenuous. While I agree that these inmates should be held accountable for their actions, we can't forget they're people.

And in all of this, just another example of how the mainstream media is failing us. But that's okay. Let's talk about Michael Moore and Julian Assange some more.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Julian Assange Clusterfuck

People all over the interwebs are losing their fucking minds over the Julian Assange shit storm. Not too surprisingly, not one person in my unplugged life gives one tenth as much as the screeching banshees you'll find on twitter or tumblr. And because it's all driving me up the walls, I'm going to say my peace about it here and be done.

This is a tangled clusterfuck of misinformation and sensationalism, so I'm going to break it down as easily as I can.

1. It is very possible for Julian Assange to be a champion for freedom of information (or whatever you want to call it) and be a rapist at the same time. These things are not mutually exclusive. We like to say that sometimes good people do bad things and bad people are capable of good deeds, but the reality is there are no good or bad people. Making Assange a hero or a villain does nothing to further the conversation.

I think Wikileaks is good. I think rape is bad. See how that works?

2. It is possible to think Assange's arrest was politically motivated and still think rape is wrong. Not every person who brings up Wikileaks is a rape-apologist. People need to stop being so ridiculous. Was Assange's arrest political? Of course. If you don't think so, congratulations on being an idiot. The handling of this case by Swedish police has been a joke and people are right to question their motives.

3. A lot of people have pointed out how most people don't give a shit about rape, but the world came to a fucking halt for one man who hasn't even been formally charged with a crime. This is valid. The women reported the incident with police in August, when the assaults took place, but the case wasn't pursued until recently. Why? I don't see any reason why these questions don't deserve answers.

But even though Assange's arrest was politically motivated, it doesn't mean the charges (if they ever come about) should be dropped. Just because most people don't care about rape doesn't mean we shouldn't care about this one. What kind of fucked up logic is that anyways? "Most rapists are never charged with their crimes so this rapist shouldn't be charged either." Wow.

4. Even if the Swedish and British governments have arrested Assange under dubious circumstances, it doesn't mean the charges, or the women who claimed to have been molested and raped, are dubious as well. These two women should not be treated like shit or reduced to some caricature of jealous women scorned. They deserve better than that.

5. Having sex with someone while they're asleep is rape. It's not "surprise sex" or any other b.s. people have said. It's rape. Because, shockingly, you can't consent if you're unconscious. (And anyone who feels the need to bring up how many times this means they've been "raped" by their significant other really is a rape apologist. Or an idiot incapable of thinking complex thoughts and differentiating between two seemingly similar but very much different scenarios.)

6. When you get through all the muck, the real issue here is the fact Assange was arrested and detained without being charged with any crime. He was arrested on allegations. We can't ignore this fact. Assange is not Roman Polanski, for all the enraged people online would like us to think. Assange left Sweden with permission, offered to be questioned at the Swedish embassy in London, and voluntarily surrendered to police. And yet he was still denied bail.

It's important that we realize that these women should be not be victim-blamed but that it's also possible that Assange is not guilty. He hasn't even been charged with a crime yet and it's presumptuous for anyone to treat him like some heinous monster. Even if he is a rapist, it's silly for anyone to treat him like some heinous monster. Treating Assange like our savior or the Antichrist are both pointless and stupid.

For me, it would be more helpful if we were talking about the way most rapes are ignored or minimized in our society and our limited and narrow view of consent in America. We should also be talking about the way these governments are abusing their power with the help of Interpol and what it means for the rest of us. Everything else is just posturing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010