DeRay Mckesson running for mayor: "I am a son of Baltimore"

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Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson is running for mayor of Baltimore. He would get my vote if I lived there.

I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs. Many have accepted that our current political reality is fixed and irreversible — that we must resign ourselves to accept the way that City Hall functions, or the role of money and connections in dictating who runs and wins elections. They have bought into the notion that there is only one road that leads to serve as an elected leader.

A member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Mckesson has done much to draw the public's eye to America's lingering problems of race and power, especially when it comes to policing. The Baltimore Sun says his jump into politics, though, is a surprise.

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.

Watch for this narrative in the media: that he's just a protest candidate. Then, if he does too well for their comfort, watch for this one: that by seeking to win, he's becoming like all the other politicians, i.e. betraying the role they prefer him to play. Read the rest

UN panel determines Assange "arbitrarily detained"

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A UN panel has concluded that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained," reports the BBC

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, knowing that he will be arrested if he leaves. Originally detained in connection to rape and sexual assault claims out of Sweden, Assange says the claims are false and crafted to disrupt his whistleblowing work.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," he added.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden." The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

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Pharma price-gouger Martin Shkreli smirks at Congress, refuses to answer questions

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Summoned to a congressional hearing into price-gouging, entrepreneur Martin Shkreli smirked, dodged and insulted those before him, even when all they wanted to talk about was Wu-Tang Clan.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the committee treated with such contempt,’’ Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, said after Mr. Shkreli was excused and left the room. Mr. Mica asked if Mr. Shkreli could be held in contempt of Congress. The committee chairman, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, said he did not intend to do so. The theatrics surrounding Mr. Shkreli’s appearance, which included his smirking at some remarks by committee members, overshadowed some of the more substantial discussion about huge overnight price increases in the prices of old drugs by Turing and another company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Shkreli famously raised the price of a cheap generic medication to $750 a pill, knowing that it would take years for other companies to get products approved. He was recently arrested on unrelated fraud charges and released on bond, thereby justifying his use of a phrase — "On the advice of councel… I respectfully decline" — used seemingly to mock his interrogators today.

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Watch Judge Vonda Evans sentencing racist cops to years in jail

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Racist cops in Inkster, MI., set out to pull over a black motorist and beat him up. One of them, William Melendez, was jailed for no less than 13 months today for his part in the attack, and Judge Vonda Evans's sentencing statement was a powerful and stirring moral condemnation of his behavior and that of his fellow officers, police culture, and the cynicism it leads to.

Watch the footage at Fox 2 Detroit's website. Warning: racial slurs.

Judge Vonda also spoke before the sentencing, saying Melendez and his officer were playing a "game" when they decided to pull over Dent.

"You forgot the eye of justice was watching. The dash cam designed to protect you - caught you. You knew better," she said.

Update: thanks to Aaron Hamer for the embed link. If you're looking for the best quote, it starts at 4h 22m Read the rest

Legal pot industry already bigger than Cheeto industry

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Americans spent more last year on legal marijuana than they did on Cheetos, Doritos and Funyuns combined. The Denver Post reports that the $5.4 billion total includes medical and recreational sales.

But as they also note, plenty of challenges to the industry remain. First and foremost is the vast and growing disconnect between federal policy, under which marijuana is 100 percent illegal, and laws in the states that have legalized it. Because of federal restrictions, marijuana businesses don't have access to banks. They can't take advantage of the tax breaks other industries enjoy. The threat of raids by overzealous drug cops is present, despite congressional efforts to curtail these actions.

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Video emerges of Pittsburgh cop beating up teen

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Only after assault charges against Pittsburgh police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich were dropped did the public get to see the video of him beating up a teenager.

The off-duty cop, working as a security guard, claimed that 19-year-old Gabriel Despres kept his hands in his pockets after being ordered to remove them and was therefore a "threat."

A judge agreed Monday that Despres was the aggressor and dismissed the charges against Matakovich, reportedly to cheers among police gathered in the courtroom.

But now the FBI plans to review the case after the video of the Nov. 28, 2015 incident outside Heinz Field was posted online.

Though Matakovich also maintained that Despres lunged at and punched him, the video shows otherwise. The grainy footage depicts Matakovich shoving Despres to the ground and launching a series of punches to his head. Despres lifts his arm at one point to shield himself from the blows, but does not appear to retaliate or resist.

It's not Matakovich's first time in the news: in 2003, he was videotaped threatening to beat up a superior officer on the Pittsburgh Police force, but was let off the hook despite protests from his own commander.

Word of the review came a day after a district judge dismissed charges against Sgt. Stephen Matakovich, a 22-year veteran, who had been accused of using unnecessary force in taking down Gabriel Despres, 20, of South Park.… District Justice Robert Ravenstahl’s decision Monday to dismiss charges of simple assault and official oppression against Sgt.

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Cushy plea deal for Maryland Judge who had defendant tortured in court

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Maryland Judge Robert Nalley pleaded guilty Monday to ordering deputies to shock a defendant with a 50,000-volt charge. Nalley, who presided over Charles County Circuit Court, reportedly agreed to a plea deal whereby he receives a year of probation.

It's not Nalley's first trouble, either: In 2010, he pleaded guilty to tampering with a vehicle after deflating the tires of a cleaning woman's car, to punish her for parking in his space. For that, he was suspended for five days without pay.

CBS News reports that he was charged with violating the victim's rights in the July 2014 stun cuff incident. The maximum sentence is a year in jail and a fine of $100,000.

During jury selection, the defendant, reading from a prepared statement, objected to Nalley's authority to conduct the proceedings. After the man repeatedly ignored Nalley's questions and his commands to stop speaking, Nalley ordered a deputy sheriff to activate a "stun-cuff" the defendant was wearing.

"Do it. Use it," Nalley said.

The defendant stopped speaking when the deputy sheriff approached him and activated the device, which administered an electric shock for about five seconds. The defendant fell to the ground and screamed and Nalley then recessed the proceedings, according to the plea deal's statement of facts.

Ars Technica's David Kravets reports that stun cuffs are the hot new thing.

[Victim/defendant Delvon L.] King eventually agreed to serve two years after withdrawing a motion for a new trial. In that motion, he said he could not adequately represent himself out of fear of being shocked again.

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Vintage PC-compatible fonts

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The Oldschool PC Font Resource is your one-stop shop for the fonts bundled with classic PC-compatible computers of the 80s and early 90s. It even has little reviews!

AT&T PC6300

The rebadged Olivetti M24, with its enhanced CGA-compatible video, introduced 400-line text and graphics modes for increased resolution. These supported a 8x16 character set, which was similar to the IBM MDA font, but with more of a slab serif style on the uppercase letters, and more consistent metrics for the lowercase and accented Latin characters.

This is the text mode version - in the 640x400 graphics mode, the only difference is a more rounded 'h' (identical to the IBM MDA one). The 8x8 BIOS font, on the other hand, was exactly the same as IBM's.

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In wake of Trump slump, fans nurse conspiracy theories

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You knew it would happen: Trump barely beating Rubio for second place in the Iowa Republican Caucus means that something must be up. The Washington Post reports on the conspiracy theories emerging from Cruz's unexpected victory. Top of the list: Microsoft, a major Rubio donor.

theorists pointed to failures of the Microsoft system during the night as evidence that something was funky. Because if Microsoft wanted to turn a 10 into a 20 on behalf of its favored candidate, it would need to shut down the system to do so.

By far the weirdest part of the conspiracy theory, though, is that Rubio still came in third. Rubio was predicted to come in third; Rubio came in third by less than was predicted. The theory appears to be that Microsoft switched votes from Trump to Rubio to make Trump not come in first -- but then why does that help Microsoft if they want Rubio to win? "Momentum," colorful eggs on Twitter reply, willfully ignoring that Rubio had momentum before Microsoft theoretically intervened.

The #MicrosoftRubioFraud hastag is a blast. Read the rest

Canada is Cool

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Canada is Cool is a beautiful canvas-based single-serving website that, to my mind, successfully establishes the fact that Canada is cool. There are shirts to buy. Read the rest

Wolf-themed Russian biker gang is exactly as you expect

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It's like something out of Mad Max: a Russian biker gang-cum-militia wearing wolfy helmets, operating in the ruins of Eastern Ukraine. They are "fiercely loyal" to Vladimir Putin and to Christ, but not to families they left behind. Read the rest

Cruz soundly beats Trump in Iowa; Hillary edges past Bernie

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Ted Cruz, the right-wing psycho largely despised by his own party, prevailed yesterday over Donald Trump, the nativist inflatable Cheeto largely despised by everyone, to claim most of Iowa's Republican presidential candidate delegates.

On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton, the shifty centrist who rarely says the same thing twice, narrowly edged a .3% margin over Bernie Sanders, the disheveled pinko grandpa.

With the whiff of Pyrrhic victory—22 delegates to Sanders' 21—it's a tantalizing suggestion of that rare thing in Anglosphere politics: interesting choices. Read the rest

INTERVIEW: Hip Hop Family Tree's Ed Piskor on the weird old tools of classic comics

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Ed Piskor, creator of Hip Hop Family Tree (which debuted right here at Boing Boing) shared with us some of the ancient artistic tools that inspires his unique technique.

While drawing a splendid Happy Mutant, he takes us through his "war chest": zip-a-tone sheets, letraset, a Leroy lettering gadget, risography, and the immortal spirit of great cartooning.

He also muses on what it's like to teach students who know every corner of a Wacom tablet, but recoil in horror when the only undo level is a splodge of white-out.

Enjoy the 35-minute visit to his studio! And keep an eye out for the Happy Mutant you see below—we'll be auctioning them for a good cause soon. Read the rest

The Trumperial March: Star Wars' Imperial March mashed up with Yakety Sax

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Last week, I suggested that Donald Trump is a walking mashup of Star Wars' Imperial March and Yakety Sax.

Markleford Friedman has provided. Read the rest

All the Dungeon Crawlers

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Dungeon Crawlers are those pseudo-3D maze games where you stomp around one square at a time, turning at 90 degree angles. The purpose of Dungeoncrawlers.org, then, should be obvious: to build "an online database for classic and modern first-person grid-based dungeon crawler games."

The design's great, too: nice and straightforward, but with a bit of period atmosphere! They've got everything from Alkalabeth to Grimrock. Read the rest

Epic Pokemon portrait in colored beads—and it's only half-done

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Nete, from Denmark, created this astonishing perler-bead pixel-art portrait of the 151 first-generation Pokemon. The design has so far required 45,544 beads, is 1.27m wide and 87cm high, she writes. Once complete, it'll be more than twice as high, with 115,200 beads.

Epic Pokemon first generation perler part one [mininete.deviantart.com] Read the rest

FBI thought Pete Seeger was a commie

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Legendary folk singer, activist and countercultural icon Pete Seeger died in 2014 at the age of 94, but we're only now learning that the FBI thought he was a communist as a young man because of the artist's "subversive" connections.

In a security investigation triggered by a wartime letter he wrote denouncing a proposal to deport all Japanese-Americans, the Army intercepted Seeger's mail to his fiancee, scoured his school records, talked to his father, interviewed an ex-landlord and questioned his pal Woody Guthrie, according to FBI files obtained by The Associated Press.

Investigators concluded that Seeger's association with known communists and his Japanese-American fiancee pointed to a risk of divided loyalty.

Seeger's "Communistic sympathies, his unsatisfactory relations with landlords and his numerous Communist and otherwise undesirable friends, make him unfit for a position of trust or responsibility," according to a military intelligence report.

Famously, Seeger was later blacklisted during the Red Scare as a member of The Weavers, his band…

Seeger and Lee Hays were identified as Communist Party members by FBI informant Harvey Matusow (who later recanted) and ended up being called up to testify to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955. Hays took the Fifth Amendment. Seeger refused to answer, however, claiming First Amendment grounds, the first to do so after the conviction of the Hollywood Ten in 1950. Seeger was found guilty of contempt and placed under restrictions by the court pending appeal, but in 1961 his conviction was overturned on technical grounds. Because Seeger was among those listed in the entertainment industry blacklist publication, Red Channels, all of the Weavers were placed under FBI surveillance and not allowed to perform on television or radio during the McCarthy era.

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