Mixed Media

"The Wire" Creator David Simon to Baltimore Rioters: "Turn around. Go home. Please."

| Mon Apr. 27, 2015 8:35 PM EDT

As tensions escalate between residents and police on the streets of Baltimore, David Simon, a former crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun and showrunner for the critically-acclaimed show The Wire, took to his personal site to call for an end to the protests.  

First things first.

Yes, there is a lot to be argued, debated, addressed.  And this moment, as inevitable as it has sometimes seemed, can still, in the end, prove transformational, if not redemptive for our city.   Changes are necessary and voices need to be heard.  All of that is true and all of that is still possible, despite what is now loose in the streets.

But now — in this moment — the anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease.  There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today.  But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death.

If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore.  Turn around.  Go home.  Please.

The demonstrations erupted Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimore resident who died in police custody over a week ago. Reports of looting, cars set aflame and violent clashes between protestors and Baltimore police led Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to declare a "state of emergency."

In March, President Barack Obama, a self-described fan of "The Wire", riffed with Simon about the challenges in today's criminal justice system for communities like Baltimore affected by the drug trade. Watch that interview below:

Update: Andre Royo and Wendell Pierce, cast members from "The Wire", joined Simon in calling for an end to the violence in Baltimore on Twitter.

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We Buy an Insane Amount of Cheap Fashion. John Oliver Reminds Us It All Comes at a Huge Price.

| Mon Apr. 27, 2015 9:37 AM EDT

Despite decades of outrage over the widespread use of sweatshops and child labor overseas, cheap fashionable garments have continued to prove irresistible to American customers. On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver said the appetite for such low-priced fashion has gotten to the point where Americans now purchase an average 64 new items of clothing every year.

"For the consumer, low prices are fantastic," Oliver explained. "And nowadays those clothes will even look good because trendy clothing is cheaper than ever and cheap clothing is trendier than ever."

But Oliver reminds us that all of the cheap fashion we're scoring comes at an incredibly high moral price. Watch below:

Why CNN Wouldn't Cut Away From White House Shindig To Cover Huge Freddie Gray Protest

| Sun Apr. 26, 2015 11:06 AM EDT

As politicians, celebrities, and journalists gathered for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner last night in D.C., just miles away in Baltimore, Maryland, a big crowd marched to protest the death in police custody of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. By Saturday evening, 12 people were reported arrested as some in the largely peaceful crowd threw rocks and smashed windows, and the jumbotron at the Baltimore Orioles game warned fans to stay inside.

But you wouldn't have known any of that from CNN, which chose to stick with live coverage of every second of the White House dinner. "The most powerful man in the world is going to tell some jokes," contributor Errol Louis explained, with scenes of the gala in the background. If you wanted to know what was going on with the rallies, you could "find a live feed" somewhere, he said—just not, evidently, on America's 24-hour news network.

"We sort of make our best choices, and we'll catch up," Louis said. "They'll find out all of what happened in the streets of Baltimore by this time tomorrow." 

This Was Pretty Good/Sad/Awful

| Sat Apr. 25, 2015 11:05 PM EDT

I haven't liked Cecily Strong's speech tonight very much but this was pretty good/sad/awful.

 

Here is Obama's White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech

| Sat Apr. 25, 2015 10:55 PM EDT

Obummer's speech starts at 3:08.

What did you think?

Native American Actors Walk Off Set of New Adam Sandler Movie Over Racist Jokes

| Fri Apr. 24, 2015 10:37 AM EDT

About a dozen Native American actors quit the set of a new Adam Sandler film, produced by Netflix, to protest the script's portrayal of Apache culture and what the actors claim are racist jokes about native women and elders.

According to a report by Indian Country, the actors of "The Ridiculous Six," a spoof of the classic western flick "The Magnificent Seven," complained to producers about the offensive stereotypes, which include the naming of female characters as Beaver's Breath and No Bra. One scene also has a native woman "squatting and urinating while smoking a peace pipe."

Allison Young, a Navajo Nation tribal member and student, said the actors talked to the producers and told them what they found offensive. "They just told us, 'If you guys are so sensitive, you should leave,'"she said. "I didn't want to cry but the feeling just came over me. This is supposed to be a comedy that makes you laugh. A film like this should not make someone feel this way."

Loren Anthony, another tribal member and actor, told Indian Country that while he initially had reservations about appearing in the film, producers had assured him the jokes would not be racist. But from the very beginning, he said, things "started getting weird" and what were supposed to be jokes were simply offensive.

Netflix defends the film as a supposed satire. "The movie has 'ridiculous' in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous," the company said in a statement. "It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of—but in on—the joke."

"The Ridiculous Six" follows a string of flops for Sandler, whose recent films include the 2012 movie "Jack and Jill," which succeeded in winning every single category at the Razzies that year. His latest production stars Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Will Forte, and Vanilla Ice. A preview of what that looks like below:

 

Awesome time with all my fellow Native's - Navajo, Apache, Comanche, Choctaw. Cherokee.

A photo posted by Vanilla Ice ✅ (@vanillaiceofficial) on

 

"Nothing has changed," Young says. "We are still just Hollywood Indians."

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This Incredible Video Captures a Chilean Volcano Erupting for the First Time in Over 40 Years

| Thu Apr. 23, 2015 5:21 PM EDT
 

BREAKING: Volcano Calbuco has just erupted in Chile and people have been evacuated. See updating story here: http://on.ryot.org/1bkdBMhBe sure to like our page too for any important updates: RYOT (h/t https://youtu.be/_MdUQY6xQG4)

Posted by RYOT on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More than 4,000 people in southern Chile have been evacuated after a powerful volcano, shown above, erupted twice—first on Wednesday evening and then again several hours later, resulting in a spectacular lightning display across the night sky. This is the biggest eruption of the Calbuco volcano since 1972. No deaths or missing people have been reported so far, according to Chile's interior minister, Rodrigo Penailillo. Below are more remarkable photos of the volcano's eruption:

Feminist Yelp, a Date-Rape Game, and Other Killer Apps From a Global Women's Hackathon

| Tue Apr. 21, 2015 9:00 AM EDT
The winning team with male volunteers in Porto Alegre, Brazil

What if there was a platform that was kind of like Yelp, but with a feminist twist—where you could rate businesses (specifically bars, clubs, and restaurants) according to how their staff and patrons treat women? That's the idea behind a mobile app dreamed up by a group of young female coders in Brazil. The women, ages 18 through 22, came up with it in February during an international hackathon organized by the Global Fund for Women. Tentatively named Não Me Calo (I Will Not Shut Up), it was chosen this week as the hackthon's winning idea. Through the Global Fund's partnerships with the tech industry, the team will get funds and mentoring to make their app a reality over the next six months or so.

Dozens of female coders, some as young as 11, spent 24 hours on ideas to build safer physical and virtual spaces.

Não Me Calo is a simple concept: Users will identify businesses where they've encountered physical and verbal abuse or harassment from employees or patrons. The app's ranking system will call out the worst offenders and encourage app users to spend their money elsewhere. With any luck, the business owners will then take steps to alleviate the problem. "It provides a way to leverage existing technology, sort of like Foursquare and Yelp, platforms that allow you to check into public spaces in major cities, with an additional piece of information that probably isn't being collected right now," said Michaela Leslie-Rule, the Global Fund producer who coordinated the hackathon. "Our hope is that this would be available to women and girls globally."

The event, which included girls as young as 11, brought together dozens of coders in New York City; Oakland, California; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Tapei, Taiwan; and Trivandrum, India. They spent 24 hours designing and building tools to create safe physical and virtual spaces for women and girls. Here are some of the other ideas that came out of the event:

Perv Radar: Coders in Tapei designed a map-and-alerts website that would track sexual harassment incidents by location. Their Pervert Map would show exactly where run-ins have occurred, with an anonymous comment feature that would allow users to log details about the incidents, as well as markers to identify safe zones like police stations. For a walkthrough, check out this video.

Red Alert: In Oakland, coders proposed an Android app to prevent kidnappings. It would come with a discrete GPS sensor you could attach to the underside of a bracelet or a bag zipper. In threatening situations, a woman could touch the sensor for five seconds to activate "red mode," notifying preset emergency contacts and the authorities. The app would pinpoint her coordinates on a tracking map, with a history page to show her previous locations, as well as provide a list of hospitals and police stations in the area.

In India, sex ed is rare, and talking openly about sex is taboo, for girls and women especially.

Anti-Gamergate: In New York City, one team came up with a video game that puts players in the shoes of a woman in a date-rape situation on a college campus to confront tricky questions around sexual consent. (Check out this similar idea by game designer Nina Freeman.) Another team in the Big Apple created a 3-D animated game that requires players to help an avatar find its way through a maze of obstacles in the quest for reproductive health care. In India, coders proposed an online game about self-defense.

Talk It Out: Sex ed is in a sorry state in much of the United States, as this Mississippi teacher knows. But in India, it's not even part of the curriculum in most schools, and talking openly about sex is pretty much taboo. Coders in Trivandrum created a website with a chat function that lets girls ask counselors about sexually transmitted infections, harassment, and sex. Back in Oakland, a team proposed an online chat room app to facilitate conversations about bullying and other forms of abuse. Another team in Brazil thought up a social network that would link women who want to learn a specific skill with other women who can teach it to them, with the goal of broadening job opportunities.

"Jurassic World" Is Apparently Not About Humans and Dinosaurs Teaming Up To Solve Crimes

| Mon Apr. 20, 2015 2:26 PM EDT

I was pretty sure the dinosaurs and the people were going to get along really well and maybe go around the country solving crimes together.

I was apparently incorrect.

If the scientists are making these dinosaurs from scratch why don't they just like take out their teeth or make them allergic to human flesh or something? I'm no big city scientist, but I feel like the whole "they keep eating us!" thing could be bred out of them.

Speedy Ortiz's "Foil Deer" Makes Second Albums Look Easy

| Mon Apr. 20, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

Speedy Ortiz
Foil Deer
Carpark

Second albums are supposed to be difficult, but Speedy Ortiz makes it look easy on the terrific Foil Deer. After a striking debut (Major Arcana) and memorable follow-up EP (Real Hair), charismatic Sadie Dupuis and company have polished their distinctive sound without abandoning the anything-goes sensibility that's made them so intriguing. The quartet long ago absorbed the basics of brainy early '90s guitar bands (Pavement, Pixies et al.) and has fashioned its own language. Like Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, Dupuis unleashes a torrent of words, seemingly inspired by rap artists to put her idiosyncrasies front and center; like Bettie Serveert's Carol van Dijk, she's a deceptively authoritative singer who has mastered the art of appearing poised and anxious at once, hinting at deep reserves of barely controlled emotion. With songs ranging from sludge ("Zig") to brisk pop ("Swell Content") to mutant funk ("Puffer"), Dupuis' often-oblique lyrics touch on longing, loss, and the difficulty of genuine interaction, creating the sensation of eavesdropping on free-form musings. Whether exclaiming, "I was the best at being second place but now I'm just the runner-up" in "The Graduates," or reflecting on "a heartache that numbs you even when it coats you" in the hushed "Dvrk Wvrld," Dupuis is an endlessly intriguing presence.