Nixon's war on drugs was a war against blacks and the antiwar left


In Dan Baum's excellent article in Harper's about the devastating consequences of the US government's war on drugs, there's a revealing quote from John Ehrlichman, Nixon's Watergate co-conspirator:

I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

I must have looked shocked.

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Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dead at 46

Toronto Mayor Ford makes his closing remarks during a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough

Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor famous for political scandals and drug abuse, is dead at 46. He was suffering from pleomorphic liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

In 2013, the Star revealed that Ford had attended a military ball intoxicated and then that a cellphone video apparently showed him smoking crack. That bombshell triggered months of controversy and worldwide headlines as Ford angrily denied, and then finally admitted, abusing drugs and alcohol. Council stripped him of most of his powers. …

In October 2014, following his re-election as councillor and in between chemotherapy treatments, Ford talked to reporters about his legacy. “People know that I saved a lot of money, and people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles,” he said. “So you can remember it for what you want, but they’re definitely going to remember it.”

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The Republican Munsters


Chuck Ungar did a terrific job pasting the heads of Cruz, Rubio, and Trump onto Grandpa, Eddie, and Herman. Great lettering, too.

Here's the original for comparison:

[via] Read the rest

Mein Drumpf


Welcome to what may well be our future, America.

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Scan of original 1977 35mm print of Star Wars released online

A restored high-definition digital scan, taken from 35mm prints of the original, unmolested version of Star Wars, is now available online to those who are looking. May the celluloid be with you. Always.
While this isn't the first time that attempts have been made to restore Star Wars to its original theatrical version—that's the one without the much-maligned CGI effects and edits of later "special" editions—it is the first to have been based entirely on a single 35mm print of the film, rather than cut together from various sources.

Here's a post from the team who located usable prints and spent years working on their restoration.

Despite having access to the original source, and to all the cleaned footage as the project progressed, I was still completely blown away by the final version. I had no idea it could look so good! Honestly! Way back at the start I had created a comparison clip with the 2006 Bonus DVD on top and the raw scan of LPP on the bottom, in order to see which frames (if any) were missing from the print, and I remember being rather alarmed that it made the GOUT look good!:

Creator George Lucas said, in disowning his original work, that all the copies of it were destroyed. "The only issue with Team Negative 1's version of the film," reports Mark Walton, "is that it isn't exactly legal."

Here it is, compared to the official Blu-Ray:

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Gripping article about Tumblr, teens and the rise and fall of bloggers


Read Elspeth Reeve's fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the "secret lives" of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made.

It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it.

Then it happened. On August 19, just days before his twentieth birthday, Lilley tried to log in to So-Relatable but couldn’t. Greenfield checked the site, which redirected to an error page: “There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address.” They’d been terminated, their blogs revoked by Tumblr for violating its terms of service.

Tumblr had just dissolved the sites of some of its most popular teenage users, an estimated 30 million follows gone. Including Pizza. Blogs that had brought relief from unremitting high school agony and then miraculously made their teen creators more money than they could have ever imagined, were erased from the internet, except for fragments reblogged on other sites. The day before, if they’d had a funny thought, they could share it with half a million people. And now, nothing.

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens [New Republic] Read the rest

Hackers demand $3.6m bitcoin ransom to unlock Los Angeles hospital medical records


A cyberattack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's computer system has locked up access vital patient data, and the hackers responsible are demanding payment of over 9000 bitcoins ($3.6 million) to unlock the data.

From IBT:

An unnamed doctor has admitted that the hospital's computer system was hacked and is currently being held for ransom, adding that departments are now communicating through fax machines because they have no access to email. Furthermore, a number of patients have been transferred to other hospitals.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Fox (Los Angeles) reaffirmed that the cyberattack has directly affected the 'day-to-day' operations of the hospital.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Space tourism posters from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

What a delight: NASA itself published a series of retrofuturistic tourism posters for other worlds. Better yet, the images are less unfree, though they also sell prints. I'm off to the exoplanets, see ya!

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Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire


Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders won their respective primary elections in New Hampshire today. Trump, with about a third of the votes, prevailed over John Kasich, with Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush in a virtual tie for third as of 10:30 p.m. Sanders won 58% of the Democrat vote, to Hillary Clinton's 40%; Clinton's concession speech was well-received and conciliatory, suggesting that the ground underfoot has definitively moved left.

Somewhere, Chris Christie is bullying an underling, burning himself out so he can quit without looking like a total asshole on TV. His greatest achievement in the race, nuking Marco Rubio's surge from orbit, offers a delicious irony: no-one has ever so completely proven that debates matter, yet gained so little from having done so. There are now many "Marco Rubio robot" nicknames in circulation. The correct one is Rubot.

Meanwhile, in old Hampshire, English coastguards have told children to stop playing on the beach during storms, and a legendary local stray cat that lived at a bus stop died of "horrific injuries," having been run over, possibly by a bus.

Update: beaten to it by Xeni. Read the rest

FBI arrests nearly all of the top officials of Crystal City, Tex.


The FBI have arrested five of the six top officials of the town of Crystal City, Texas, accusing them of taking bribes and allowing an illegal gambling operation to run in the town of 7,500 people.

According to the indictment, those in the town leadership who were charged “used their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting payments and other things of value” from [alleged gambling operator, Ngoc Tri Nguyen] and others. The document accuses the officials of voting to award contracts in exchange for bribes, extorting payments from contractors, turning a blind eye to Nguyen’s illegal gaming business while taking action to shut down would-be competitors, and agreeing to reduce Nguyen’s taxes in exchange for him waiving debts, among other dealings. Mayor Ricardo Lopez, the indictment alleges, instructed city inspectors to “make it easy” while looking at Nguyen’s property. Authorities said he also made extra effort to shut down other operators of “8-liner” gaming rooms, which are nominally illegal in Texas but flourish informally in the southern part of the state. In exchange, he allegedly accepted $6,000 from Nguyen to buy a car.

(Image: Photo of beautiful, bustling Crystal City Billy Hathorn/Wikipedia) Read the rest

New York village to keep seal depicting man choking Native American


The residents of the small New York village of Whitesboro voted last night to keep this emblem that appears to show a man choking a Native American. From the Associated Press:

In a non-binding vote Monday night, residents voted 157-55 to not change their current seal, according to Patrick J. O'Connor, mayor of the Village of Whitesboro.

Whitesboro's website says the emblem dates to the early 1900s and depicts a friendly wrestling match between village founder Hugh White and an Oneida Indian. It says White won the match and the lasting respect and goodwill of the Oneidas...

After a notice of claim was filed in the 1970s calling the picture offensive, a new version was drawn with White's hands on the Indian's shoulders instead of on his neck, (village clerk and historian Dana) Nimey-Olney said.

"New York village votes to keep logo that shows man choking Native American" (AP) Read the rest

Man loves bear, and bear loves man right back. For now.

Медведь играет с человеком ("Bear Plays with a Man"). Indeed. (YouTube)

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NZ police broke the law when they raided investigative journalist's home


The New Zealand High Court has ruled that the NZ police broke the law in 2014 when they raided the home of Nicky Hager, an investigative journalist whose work was sharply critical of the NZ government, and who was working on Snowden-related disclosures. Read the rest

Watch The Munsters... in color!

Pop Colorture hand-colorized 1,300 frames of The Munsters title sequence, turning the grimly fiendish and funny family into the full color characters that were originally black-and-white only due to budgetary reasons. From Pop Colorture:

As I learned from (Addams Family colorizer) Stuart Manning’s blog post, early color television programs often chose yellow in place of white to add an extra pop of color, while still registering as a white object on black and white sets. The dress that we see Marilyn wearing in the Munsters opening was white, and this can be seen in a few color promo photos featuring the first actress to play Marilyn, Beverley Owen. Yellow seemed like the natural choice for several reasons. It adds necessary color to the shot and I have no doubt that the wardrobe department would have chosen something similar, had it been shot in color. Yellow also fits with the grayscale values of the dress, so it looks very natural. Had I tried to color the dress red, green or any other color, it would not “stick” to the gray values as easily and would not look very good. My final reasoning in choosing yellow was because recent Munsters memorabilia items feature the character of Marilyn wearing a yellow dress that looks similar to the one seen in the opening. Although it has nothing to do with the show’s original creative team, I feel that it supports my choice. The second artistic decision I made was the color of The Munsters’ drippy, melted wax logo and title cards.

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Crazy edit of Wizard of Oz - alphabetical ordering of dialog and titles


Of Oz the Wizard from Matt Bucy on Vimeo.

I can't imagine how much time it took Matt Bucy to cut up The Wizard of Oz and reassemble every word of dialog into alphabetical order. The resulting movie is called Of Oz the Wizard Read the rest

Free Stanford course on surveillance law UPDATED


Aw, crap, this was last year

Stanford is offering a free online course by computer scientist/law professor Jonathan Mayer that surveys the baroque, interleaved world of US surveillance law through the Coursera MOOC platform. Read the rest

Gentleman drives his truck through hotel lobby after his credit card was declined


The AP description says, "Surveillance video shows a man allegedly driving his pickup truck into the lobby of an Oklahoma hotel." And the employees in the lobby allegedly didn't like it when they were almost murdered. Read the rest

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