Are Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr white enough to star in a Hollywood biopic of medieval Muslim poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi?

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The producers of a Hollywood biopic about 13th-century poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi hope to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the role—and they're eyeing Robert Downey Jr. for the part of "enigmatic mystic" Shams of Tabriz. Read the rest

With 3,500 U.S. legal actions, Trump is most litigious presidential nominee ever

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An analysis from USA Today finds that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is currently involved in 3,500 legal actions. Who else is involved? Everyone from the government to vodka makers. This number is unprecedented in scope for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and likely far too many for the entire American press corps to really get down to the bottom of, in time for voters to determine what that means for their choice in November.

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Algorithmic risk-assessment: hiding racism behind "empirical" black boxes

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Courts around America and the world increasingly rely on software based risk-assessment software in determining bail and sentencing; the systems require the accused to answer more than a hundred questions which are fed into a secret model that spits out a single-digit "risk score" that courts use to decide who to lock up, and for how long. Read the rest

Drinking milk at school while black: Student arrested for larceny over 65-cent milk and racism

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Virginia authorities handcuffed a middle school student and charged him with larceny for "stealing" a milk carton from the school cafeteria earlier this year. The child has also been suspended from school.

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Billy Corgan upset that "the wrong racial epithet" could destroy his career

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Billy Corgan, of the Smashing Pumpkins, laments the fact he can't say a certain word without becoming unpopular, which is the result of social justice groups shutting down free speech.

"It's pretty remarkable that I could say one word right now that would destroy my career," he said, as the screen displayed images of Michael Richards and Paula Deen, both of whom faced derision after using the N-word. "I could use the wrong racial epithet or say the wrong thing to you or look down at the wrong part of your body and be castigated and it's a meme and I'm a horrible person. Every day through the media, through advertising, we see people being degraded, we see people doing all sorts of things that we should be horrified at as a culture. So we've normalized all sorts of things, but we live in a world where one word could destroy your life but it's OK to, if you're a social-justice warrior, spit in somebody's face."

Yet, he says, such groups "don't have power." The epiphany: always hovering just out of view. Good luck sticking to the right racial epithets, Billy. Read the rest

George Zimmerman to auction the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin (Update: auction cancelled)

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George Zimmerman, acquitted in 2013 of murdering Trayvon Martin, plans to auction the gun he used to kill the unarmed teen. The proceeds will be used to "fight violence against Law Enforcement officers" by black activists, Zimmerman says.

"I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American Firearm Icon," he wrote in the description of the gun used to kill the unarmed, black teenager. "The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012."

" He wrote that the proceeds will be used to "fight [Black Lives Matter] violence against Law Enforcement officers" and to "ensure the demise of Angela Correy's persecution career and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric," though he hasn't expounded upon how.

Zimmerman pursued Martin after finding the 17-year-old's presence in his Florida neighborhood "suspicious," then shot him dead during the resulting confrontation. Martin was visiting a family member who lived nearby; Jurors acquitted Zimmerman after finding that the 200lb Zimmerman was "standing his ground" against the boy, who was black. Zimmerman's last effort to court controversy was his sale of a painting of the Confederate battle flag.

Update: The auction was cancelled, without explanation.

Update II: Gunbroker, the auction site, canned Zimmerman's auction when it realized what was going on.

"Our site rules state that we reserve the right to reject listings at our sole discretion, and have done so with the Zimmerman listing," the GunBroker statement said.
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One woman defies neo-Nazi marchers in striking portrait from racist march in Sweden

David Lagerlöf [@davidlagerlof]

What a stunning portrait of one brave person.

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Florida man arrested in FBI sting over “weapon of mass destruction” synagogue bombing plans

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A man in Florida was arrested last week for planning to use “a weapon of mass destruction” at a synagogue near Miami, federal authorities said today. The ill-fated words that James Gonzalo Medina reportedly uttered to the undercover FBI agent who sold him a fake explosive device, words which will likely seal the suspect's fate: “I’m ready, bro!”

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Reverse Godwin: KKK darling David Duke says Trump may help improve Hitler's image

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Ladies and gentlemen, Reverse Godwin.

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Dictionary.com to stop saying pow wows are where Native Americans practice “magic”

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Sometimes, the right thing happens. Read the rest

Should a programming conference host a reactionary weirdo?

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LambdaConf is a conference for people who are into functional programming. If you don't know what that means, it suffices to say that these are stout, yeomanly Hobbits of computer science. What's news is that they invited Mencius Moldbug to speak at it. Moldbug (real name Curtis Yarvin) is a Hollywood archetype of coders: the programming whiz who has strange and comically retrograde opinions of minorities, slavery, ladies, etc. So. Should he be invited to speak?

LambdaConf founder and chief organizer John A. De Goes wrote in a blog post that the conference decided to keep Yarvin as a speaker in order not to set a precedent of discriminating against attendees because of their beliefs. "LambdaConf does not and cannot endorse any of the wildly different, diametrically opposed, and controversial opinions held by speakers, attendees, volunteers, and vendors," he wrote. …

Jon Sterling, organizer of LambdaConf workshop PrlConf, decided to cancel the workshop, writing in an open letter: "We cannot possibly organize a workshop under the umbrella of a conference that values the free expression of racist and fascist views over the physical and emotional safety of its attendees and speakers."

Not all who oppose Yarvin's views say they will boycott the conference. The writers of a forthcoming book on the programming language Haskell say they are coming to support other speakers and attendees.

There's a passage in one of the Hannibal Lecter novels, probably Silence of the Lambs, where it's made clear that the good doctor, though incarcerated as a serial killer, is still engaged as a professional in his field of study. Read the rest

DA: Racist texts shared by SF cops mocked previous scandal in which SF cops shared racist texts

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr walks through Super Bowl City in SF, Jan. 27, 2016. [REUTERS/Noah Berger]
The San Francisco Police Department is in trouble all over again, over claims that officers swapped texts that appear to mock public outcry over a previous texting scandal--stay with me here, now--a previous scandal in which another group of SFPD officers are said to have circulated racist texts.

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Violence erupts at Ku Klux Klan rally in Anaheim, home of Disneyland

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In Anaheim, California, three people were stabbed, one critically, and several others were arrested when a Ku Klux Klan rally erupted in violence.

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Mexico's former president is 'not going to pay' for Donald Trump's 'fucking wall'

Vicente Fox. Yes, it's ‘shopped.

Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos interviewed former Mexican President Vicente Fox this week. Fox says he is troubled by the GOP presidential frontrunner's success in the recent Nevada caucus. The ex-Presidente also had a few zingers to let loose about that rhetorical device Trump loves to flog, The Great Wall Mexico is Going To Pay For To Keep Mexican Rapists Out Of Make-America-Great-Again-istan.

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Trump praises mass-execution of Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs' blood

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ended a rally in South Carolina Friday by recalling, approvingly, the probably-apocryphal tale of General Pershing's execution of Muslims.

… an apparent myth about how General John Pershing summarily executed dozens of Muslim prisoners in the Philippines with tainted ammunition during a guerilla war against the occupying United States.

“He took fifty bullets, and he dipped them in pig’s blood,” Trump said. “And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”

The story appears to be a hoax spread via e-mail forwards, according to rumor tracker Snopes.com, with no evidence it occurred.

The moral of the tale, according to Trump: “We better start getting tough and we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using our heads or we’re not gonna have a country, folks.”

A lifetime of glory; a cup of sake. Read the rest

Anti-Beyonce rally a flop

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The only people who turned up to the much-hyped Anti-Beyonce rally in New York? Fans, one of whom waved a placard asking "Where yall at?"

New York magazine's The Cut reported a grand total of three anti-Beyonce protesters, including a man named Ariel Kohane who told reporters he thought the song "Formation" was a call for violence against police.

Early Tuesday a tweet from "Proud of the Blues" account called on protesters to attend.

Conservatives tried to organize the event, at NFL headquarters, to protest Beyonce's recent performance at the Super Bowl. Featuring black-clad dancers in vaguely-military outfits (and followed-up by a music video portraying police violence against minorities) it led to complaints she was being "divisive" and "the real racist."

But so few turned up to support the complaints yesterday that it's became an embarrassment to those who had promoted the event online.

Here's Saturday Night Live poking fun at white folks dealing badly with getting woke by the new song:

The above photo was taken by Miss Al Boogie on Twitter. Read the rest

Black travel guide for a racist America

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In 1936, postal worker Victor H. Green worked with his colleagues in the Postal Workers Union to create a guide for black travelers navigating a country where many restaurants, hotels, and shops were still "whites only," and the real threat of physical assault and arrest hung in their faces.

"You needed The Green Book to tell you where you can go without having doors slammed in your face," civil rights leader Julian Bond once said.

The Green Book was updated and in print until 1966.

"There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published," reads the introduction.

More at Atlas Obscura: "Object of Intrigue: A Jim Crow Era Guide for Black Travelers" (Thanks, David Steinberg!)

Previously: "New York Public Library does the public domain right"

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