Tenaha, TX has apparently been using the state's forfeiture law to fleece—guess who? Mostly blacks and Latinos.

From CNN:

I've mentioned my girl-crushes before, haven't I?


Hmmm...eyelash flutter...stentorian throat clearing.


Well, as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock would say, consider me bi-adjacent/curious where Rebecca Traister is concerned, as well as Heather Havrilesky, Amy Poehler, Samantha Power, Wanda Sykes, Ani DeFranco, Anne Lamott, Dolly Parton, and Bjork. (Or so their attorneys tell mine.)

Awesome as Traister is (and we've Salon-overlapped in person a few times. She rocks in person AND on paper), each week she wows me with her insights. Finally, this week, I had to blog my frickin' heart out over her. She's talking about two bad-mommy/bad-daddy memoirs that just came out. (Mom's here. Dad's here.) Damned if her childless ass doesn't see through to the heart of things:

Like Hillary Clinton, who proposed healthcare reform that made her a pariah in 1993, and 15 years later found herself campaigning against half a dozen candidates using her ideas as a model, Waldman may have found that her outrageous reputation has been eclipsed by a blogosphere drowning in bad mother confessionals. But she is still a true lightning rod, and her new book is generously studded with Ayelet-astic grenades. She writes of aborting a baby at a comparatively late stage because of a genetic abnormality, and in her ensuing grief and guilt, wreaking havoc on other women suffering similarly by joining their online "heartbreaking choice" support group and then insisting that they use the word "abortion" to come to terms with what they had done. Waldman writes about how she gave up her beloved criminal defense job not because she was anxious to slough off her professional responsibilities or because it was a pragmatic necessity, but because she was jealous of her work-at-home husband's days alone with their baby. She writes about her disappointment at the fact that her children are not exceptionally gifted, and the stages of denial, grief and anger upon learning that one of her kids had some learning issues. She confesses her surety that she will one day be jealous of her son's wife, and her fears that her kids will inherit her bipolar disorder.
Waldman remains an invaluable answer to Caitlin Flanagan, the silver-tongued specter of maternal servility. From the first, she admits to escaping the doldrums of her self-determined stay-at-home motherhood by developing her writing career, something Flanagan rarely cops to in her profitably published paeans to opting out. Where Flanagan flogs her formula for marital bliss, which is that if you serve your husband hot meals, keep his house, raise his kids and give him blow jobs, he will repay you by remaining faithful and caring for you through illness, Waldman's considerably more appealing equation is that if your husband cooks a hot meal, does a load of laundry and shoulders his half of the childcare, he will get a blow job.

Take that! Fucking Flanagan.

Lewis (whom I idolized at the dawn of my New Republic-launched career), Traister channels thusly:

When will bigots come up with slurs our children can relate to? From the Raleigh-Durham News and Observer:

In a homespun start to the movie American Violet, Dee Roberts (the exceptional Nicole Beharie), a young mother of four, lovingly waters her potted violets. Before the roots have drunk their share, a police task force has swooped into Dee's housing project in Melody, TX, and conducted a military-style raid. Dee's daughter, caught in the eye of the storm, holds her grandmother's heirloom pottery in the parking lot. There are gunmen on all sides. She is saved; the dish breaks. This overwrought metaphor of family ruin is realized when Dee is then arrested at the diner where she works, charged with distributing narcotics in a school zone.

Once in jail, Dee is assigned to a court-appointed lawyer who, the film suggests, is really there to represent the local DA's interests in furthering prosecutions. Claiming that the police have incriminating audio tapes, the lawyer urges Dee to accept a plea bargain that would spring her from jail. But Dee will have none of it. Innocent, she'd rather wait it out in jail than accept a guilty plea that would label her a felon and deny her future government assistance. Who will win, Dee or the slimy DA? Is the answer a surprise?

I've recently had to spend a great deal of time on the Web site of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The ONDCP is, frankly, fascinating. It's a source of an incredible amount of information. Of course, it is not always the information you're actually looking for, but it is thrilling all the same.

It contains, for instance, the office's official list of drug street names. Below, let's see what the least drug friendly institution on the planet has decided to let concerned citizens know about the "word on the street." What's today's lingo?

The Daily Beast is reporting on Barry Levinson's new documentary about the good and bad of celebrity political involvement, something most of us have probably been long of two minds about.

While I automatically dismiss the right wingers like Tom Selleck, Bo Derek and Pat Sajak, even the lefties often give me the heebie jeebies. I still get nauseous when I remember Susan Dey on some talk show in the 80s stage-weeping while talking about "looking into the eyes of the homeless." Puh-leez. Just another stage for their never-ending need for attention, their belief in their own press reports and the conviction that they hadn't really needed the educations they never got before heading to Hollywood. Still, it's undeniable that celebrity helps, even more so when it's a celebrity of substance, like Susan Sarandon or Oprah. If only there were more of them. Here's a good nugget supporting this point:


Last December, Rolling Stone published a profile of a Florida man who calls himself "Master Legend." Who is Master Legend? A man "hellbent on battling evil." RS's Joshua Bearman (whose name sounds like he's a superhero himself) explains:

When Master Legend bursts into a sprint, as he often does, his long, unruly hair flows behind him. His mane is also in motion when he's behind the wheel of the Battle Truck, a 1986 Nissan pickup with a missing rear window and "ML" spray-painted on the hood. He and the Ace head off to patrol their neighborhood on the outskirts of Orlando, scanning the street for evildoers. "I don't go looking for trouble," Master Legend shouts above the engine. "But if you want some, you'll get it!"

Then he hands me his business card, which says:

Master Legend
Real Life Super Hero
"At Your Service"

If there was a flaw in Bearman's awesome piece, it was that he didn't really grapple with the possibility that, as The Dark Knight and Watchmen taught us, the existence of real-life superheroes might lead to the emergence of real-life supervillains. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, I have some bad news: our worst fears have become reality. Mother Jones has learned (via io9) that a supervillain going only by the initial "E" has put a bounty on the real identity of Shadowhare, a Cincinatti, Ohio ally of Master Legend (that's him in the photo). There's not just one villain, either—"E" claims to be part of a Consortium of Evil. (Not to be confused with the Media Consortium, of which Mother Jones is a member.) The bounty is $10 so far (offered on Craigslist), but if we know anything about supervillains, it's that they have access to unlimited resources. This is probably just the beginning.

(Our extensive past coverage of superheroes includes this awesome photo essay. Check it out.)

Ah, technology animating the voices, and the sins, of the past.

Huffpo links to a piece on how Google has stirred up Japan's past bigotry (read: forced it to acknowledge it) simply by taking an interest in its history and uploading vintage maps from its past:

The maps date back to the country's feudal era, when shoguns ruled and a strict caste system was in place. At the bottom of the hierarchy were a class called the "burakumin," ethnically identical to other Japanese but forced to live in isolation because they did jobs associated with death, such as working with leather, butchering animals and digging graves.
Castes have long since been abolished, and the old buraku villages have largely faded away or been swallowed by Japan's sprawling metropolises. Today, rights groups say the descendants of burakumin make up about 3 million of the country's 127 million people.
But they still face prejudice, based almost entirely on where they live or their ancestors lived. Moving is little help, because employers or parents of potential spouses can hire agencies to check for buraku ancestry through Japan's elaborate family records, which can span back over a hundred years.
An employee at a large, well-known Japanese company, who works in personnel and has direct knowledge of its hiring practices, said the company actively screens out burakumin job seekers.


 Please, please tell me I'm being punked. Please. From ThinkProgress:

Relying on an International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission translation of a recent Al Arabiya story, the blog Towleroad reports that Iraqi militias have been engaging in some particularly brutal tactics toward gay men in Iraq:

"A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using 'Iranian gum.' ...Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, 'Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.' According to her, the new substance 'is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.'"

OK. It's a punkin'. Has to be.

The Alarabiya.net link leads to something or other in Farsi or Arabic (I guess?) which gives the vast majority of us ig'nent 'Mericuns any idea of what's going on.

For once, I'll be ecstatic to learn that I was gullible beyond belief. 'Cuz I just can't believe this shite. But these days, it's hard to calibrate our once-reliable bullshit-o-meters.



Ta-Nehisi Coates has some interesting thoughts on how racism cosmetically updates itself to accomodate modernity but remains the same at its core. He's riffing on the whole tea party phenomenon; here's the (longish) setup for the thought I found most interesting: