Widespread, illegal debtors' prisons in Ohio

A new ACLU report called The Outskirts of Hope (PDF) documents the rise of illegal debtors prisons in Ohio. A majority of municipal and mayors' courts (an unregulated and rare system of courts only permitted in two states) surveyed by the ACLU routinely imprison people for their inability to pay fines, a practice banned in both the US and state constitution. 20 percent of the bookings in the Huron County Jail are "related to failure to pay fines."

Taking care of a fine is straightforward for some Ohioans — having been convicted of a criminal or traffic offense and sentenced to pay a fine, an affluent defendant may simply pay it and go on with his or her life. For Ohio’s poor and working poor, by contrast, an unaffordable fine is just the beginning of a protracted process that may involve contempt charges, mounting fees, arrest warrants, and even jail time. The stark reality is that, in 2013, Ohioans are being repeatedly jailed simply for being too poor to pay fines.

The U.S. Constitution, the Ohio Constitution, and Ohio Revised Code all prohibit debtors’ prisons. The law requires that, before jailing anyone for unpaid fines, courts must determine whether an individual is too poor to pay. Jailing a person who is unable to pay violates the law, and yet municipal courts and mayors’ courts across the state continue this draconian practice. Moreover, debtors’ prisons actually waste taxpayer dollars by arresting and incarcerating people who will simply never be able to pay their fines, which are in any event usually smaller than the amount it costs to arrest and jail them.

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Skrillex cuddles Minnie Mouse

Dubstep legend Skrillex is apparently visiting a Disney themepark somewhere in the world and getting cuddles from a Minnie Mouse head-character. The world is a big and odd place.

my new chick, sorry Mickey Read the rest

Wrist-straps for pocket-watches

Polish leatherworker MK makes some very nice wrist-straps for pocket-watches and car-watches. He's not the only one making these, but I find them particularly handsome, and rather nice retro-modern take on the massive wristwatch phenomenon.

Wristbands for pocket watches. (Thanks, Nic!) Read the rest

PetaPixel interviews photographer Clark Little

PetaPixel has an incredible interview up with Clark Little and showcases many of his fabulous surf photos. Read the rest

Heather Gold's "I Look like An Egg, but I Identify as a Cookie" interactive baking comedy comes to the East Bay (free tix!)

Years and years ago, I saw Heather Gold's innovative, interactive baking comedy "I Look like An Egg, but I Identify As A Cookie" in San Francisco. It was fabulous. Now it's about to have its debut in the East Bay:

While baking chocolate chip cookies with the audience and special guests (Bakesale Betty), Gold combines heterosexuality (DRY), lesbianism (WET), and the Left (MIX). "Cookie" is a story of first kisses, rugby drama, Mrs C's secret honeycake recipe and slow dancing to Air Supply. Gold transforms the coming out story, making mincemeat of the identities that keep us from our whole selves and each other. "Cookie" is a show of sweet and simple truths.

Heather's making two pairs of tickets available, all you need to do is tweet you favorite secret ingredient with #eggcookie and she'll get in touch. Oh, and here's a great post Heather made explaining why she uses CC licenses in her performances.


Ice-cube-tray in a bottle

The "Polar Bear Ice Tray" is a sealed bottle that makes icecubes and then facilitates their easy removal. The sealed container keeps freezer flavors away, and once it's all frozen, you can dislodge the ice by giving the bottle a whack on a countertop and then pour it out of the mouth. Looks like a clever way of solving an old problem, though I haven't tried it myself.

polar bear ice tray (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Reprints of classic EC comic book stories by Jack Davis and Al Williamson

EC is best known as the publisher of MAD, but they also published a line of horror and science fiction comics that featured some of the best cartoonists and writers in the history of comics. Today, Fantagraphics released two beautiful hardbound books that collect the work of two of their superstars: Al Williamson and Jack Davis. The reproduction quality is superb.

The Williamson collection also includes a short comic story by Frank Frazetta, called “Squeeze Play.” Sample below. (The Fantagraphics book is in black and white and the art is much cleaner than this sample.)

50 Girls 50 and Other Stories Illustrated by Al Williamson

'Tain't the Meat...It's the Humanity! and other Stories Illustrated by Jack Davis Read the rest

Consensual kidnapping service, inspired by The Game

Adam Thick, an ex-con who did time for counterfeiting, runs a company called Extreme Kidnapping, which stages consensual kidnappings for fees ranging from $500 to $1000 (he was inspired by the movie The Game).

GQ magazine gave him $1500 to kidnap a writer called Drew Magary and hold him overnight, torturing and terrorizing him to the best of their ability and within the confines of their prior agreement. Magary documented his experiences for the magazine, describing a few moments of real terror, some inadvertent bathos, and a reflective moment at the end where he compared his experience to that of a friend who was kidnapped and held by terrorists. It's a good read:

I heard the hiss of the blowtorch. Someone else in the room—Cody—grabbed my cuffed hands and began prying loose one of my fingers. I could feel the heat from the torch and became momentarily alarmed. Even though this all still felt fake, I tend to recoil from blowtorches.

"Gimme your finger."


He let go and I yanked my hands back. They ripped the tape off my bare skin and led me to a filthy, half-inflated air mattress. They gave me a sip of water, duct-taped my mouth shut, and chained my right leg to a weight bench. Then they left.

More hours passed, and I found myself missing my kidnappers. At least when they were around, things happened. The story advanced. I desperately wished I had brought a friend along, someone I could turn to and say "This sucks" every few minutes.

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