Watch cops handcuff black store owners and let looters flee

In Van Nuys, California, black store owners, trying to protect their store from looters, called the police. When the police arrived, they promptly handcuffed the store owners and let the looters run away. Meanwhile a TV news reporter on the scene was yelling at the cops, “They're the owners!”

For good measure, the police also pulled an innocenet woman from her car, for the simple reason that she was black and within grabbing distance.

Trump's goons also gassed and grenaded St. John’s clergy, says reverend

Along with a gathering of peaceful protesters, clergy members of St. John’s Episcopal Church were gassed and grenaded to clear a path for Trump to pose in front of the church holding a Bible,  said Reverend Gini Gerbasi in a Facebook post.

From her post:

We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square.


Watch Spike Lee's new short film combining "Do the Right Thing" with George Floyd and Eric Garner footage

Spike Lee released the above short film, "3 Brothers," combining footage of the arrests of George Floyd and Eric Garner, black men who were killed by police, with the scene from his classic movie "Do The Right Thing" (1989) in which police choke and kill the fictional character Radio Raheem.

Lee premiered "3 Brothers" during the CNN special "I Can’t Breathe: Black Men Living & Dying In America. Also watch Lee's comments below:

Do libraries fumigate books to disinfect them?

AskSmithsonian always has a fascinating and eclectic collection of reader questions and answers from Smithsonian Institutions experts on topics ranging from scientific phenomena to art history to pop culture. (What exactly is duck sauce? Has anyone ever run for president from prison? How does a hippopotamus swim so fast?) In the current issue, a reader asks if libraries fumigate books to disinfect them. Here's the answer:

That practice was used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when book-borrowing was seen as a possible disease vector. Today, collections use nonchemical methods, like freezing, to treat mold and insect infestations. The observation that the coronavirus can survive on paper and cardboard for up to one day is leading libraries to disinfect nonporous surfaces and quarantine recently circulated materials for 24 hours, says Vanessa Haight Smith, the head of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Preservation Services Department.

image: David Flores/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

BBC coverage of 1990 tax riots in London

One of the things that led up to Margaret Thatcher's resignation as Britain's prime minister was the imposition of a poll tax on every adult in the U.K.: a crude per-head charge just for existing. Londoners rioted on 31 March 1990, with hundreds hurt and 339 arrests made. Trafalgar Square was wrecked, police charged the crowds on horseback only to be forced back, and shops throughout the west end were looted.

It's a world away from the experience of black people in America and contemporary protests here, but interesting all the same because of what's different and what's the same. The rioters included many people with large family sizes (a head tax!), people with limited incomes but too well-off to escape the tax. It was a hard-to-define segment on the margins of prosperity, working white people rubbing shoulders with immigrant Muslims and well-off Catholics. All sharing the burden of those targeted by the law.

The police lied through their teeth about their incompetent tactics and excessive use of force and, in an age before ubiquitous video recording devices, enjoyed largely servile coverage in the press. But almost all those arrested were ultimately acquitted, suggesting the police had fabricated or inflated charges.

Thatcher was gone within months, the poll tax proved hard to collect, and her replacement won re-election after promising to abolish it entirely, then did so.

The revolutionary art of Black Panthers graphic designer Emory Douglas, a short documentary

From 1967 through the 1980s, Emory Douglas was the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, the revolutionary social justice and political organization founded in Oakland, California. Douglas was the art director, designer, and primary artist for The Black Panther Newsletter and created the iconic Black Panther flyers, handouts, and posters. Hw work is as relevant, and as necessary, right now as it was 50 years ago.

Art historian, artist, and professor Colette Gaiter referred to Douglas as "the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto, concentrating on the poor and oppressed."

To this day, Douglas creates powerful work that communicates urgent ideas and calls for action.

image: "All power to the people" by Emory Douglas (1970)

How to pick up a cat

In this video, the Helpful Vancouver Vet explains how best to pick up cats: "Dr. Burstyn and his feline friends demonstrate how to pick up a cat in a way that is comfortable for the cat and safe for you. A must watch for anyone with a feline in the family."

If you're trying to hold the cat down, squish that cat. All you need to know about cat restraint is to squish that cat

I wonder, does this work for rabid mustelids? Asking for myself.

News of the Times: Another CEO Killed During Regulatory Investigation

The two upcoming Tom the Dancing Bug books, Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse, and The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader, are now available for order, but will only be available by online pre-order.

Information about the books, including how to pre-order, and special offers here. The deadline for ordering is June 30, 2020.

"This fine collection of work by Mr. Bolling provides ample evidence as to why he is unanimously considered one of the greatest cartoonists in the known universe. How he would rank in that other part of the universe is, of course, a matter that’s still being hotly debated within the scientific community."
-"Weird Al" Yankovic

JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE. Get exclusive access to comics before they are published, sneak peeks, insider scoops, and lots of other stuff. JOIN TODAY.

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book perhaps some Insta-grams, and even my/our MeWe.

READ more Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing.

Why is there a two hour line at this particular ATM in New York City?

Every day, people from all over New York travel to the ATM at the East 22nd Street branch of KeyBank in Manhattan and wait more than two hours for their chance at the machine. Why? One reason is to avoid the fees they'd get hit with by withdrawing their unemployment benefits from many other banks' ATM. Unemployment benefits are distributed via KeyBank debit cards sent to residents; unfortunately, there are only two KeyBank branches in NYC and one of them is closed due to the pandemic. There are other fee-free options — including direct deposit or non-KeyBank ATMs with lower withdrawal limits — but apparently scores of people didn't read or understand the fine print, or the bank didn't clearly communicate. From the New York Post:

Some said they endured the line and rolled the dice on their health to avoid getting gouged with surcharges at out-of-network banks. Others said the KeyBank machine was the only one where they could get a daily maximum withdrawal of $1,500. And some simply didn’t know that the bank was part of a network of 1,000 ATMs — because neither the state nor the bank told them when they sent the “Key2Benefits” cards.

“It’s crazy, but we have to do it,” said May Adams, 73, who withdrew $500 for rent. She walked across town to the East 22nd Street branch from her home in Chelsea.

Eric Kwan, 40, a former Food Network “Chopped” champion who is now out of work, said he biked from Chinatown to save $3[...]

“There are more than 1,000 ATMs in New York City that KeyBank debit cardholders can use for free, including over 100 in each borough, and it is entirely unacceptable that the bank failed to communicate those options to unemployed New Yorkers,” said state Department of Labor spokeswoman Deanna Cohen.

image: Google Maps

Trump's tweets about Antifa show his ignorance of US law

On Sunday, May 31st, 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that Antifa would be officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US government.

Despite his position in the highest seat of national power, Trump's tweets are (fortunately) not legally-binding. And even if they were, it wouldn't matter — the United States has no official statute for designating domestic terrorists, a fact which has ironically served to benefit homegrown mass murderers acting on white supremacist agendas. There's also the fact that Antifa is … not a formal organization. There is no hierarchy, no centralized leadership — it's just individuals, occasionally clustering together, engaging in direct action. Even if you could legally designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, it would be impossible to develop any sort of criteria to decide who or what qualifies as "Antifa."

This is, unfortunately, the likely aim of Trump's provoke tweet: to invoke the chillingly Orwellian logic that "anti-fascist action equals terrorism."

Most of the criticism of "Antifa" is actually aimed at people employing Black Bloc tactics. Many of them are probably anarchists; many are probably not, and may just have legitimate reasons for protecting their identities. There are valid complaints about the effectiveness of these methods; there are also valid arguments that they ultimately work. But one thing is certain: no one in America has been killed by "Antifa" or Black Bloc tactics. I suppose one could argue that there is an intimidation factor to Black Bloc tactics, but it's hardly organized in the deliberate sense of most terrorism.

It's not illegal to wear black; at this point, most people are actually legally required to wear masks in public places. So unless the plan is to outlaw all acts of public protest or gathering — which it very well could be — then it would still be impossible to figure out why, exactly, is a "member" of "Antifa." It's all about creating a boogeyman to shift the Overton window and fuel a PR campaign that lets radical right-wingers do what they want.

And in the meantime, right-wing violence continues to accelerate.

Trump's crazy designation of Antifa as terrorist organization [Peter Bergen / CNN]

Trump tweets Antifa will be labeled a terrorist organization but experts believe that's unconstitutional [Evan Perez and Jason Hoffman / CNN]

Trump says US will designate Antifa 'terrorist organisation' [Al Jazeera]

Trump says he's naming antifa a 'Terrorist Organization.' Can he do that? [Betsy Woodruff Swan / Politico]

Black Bloc tactics weaken our struggle [Sarah Levy / Socialist Worker]

Is Antifa counterproductive? White Nationalist Richard Spencer would beg to differ [Natasha Lennard / The Intercept]

Why we should listen to anarchists in the age of Trump [Nathan Schneider / America: The Jesuit Review]

Letter to the American Left: Antifa is not your friend [Nicholas Goroff / Occupy]

Image: Old White Truck / Flickr (CC 2.0)


Grindr removes ethnicity filter

Grindr, a popular hookup app, yesterday announced it was removing its "ethnicity" filter.

Announcing the change, Grindr said it had a "zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech" on its platform.

It's a problem Grindr long ignored, but something has forced its hand. The BBC's Ben Hunte says because white users have started speaking out:

But some are angry that it has only happened as a result of white people speaking up on social media. Indeed, the most-shared social media posts written to shame Grindr into action were posted by white gay men.

This means that it's just a resolved PR issue to Grindr, not the start of a different approach to related issues. For example, it's likely that the ethnicity filter hid problems with algorithmic racism that will now be readily apparent to searchers

The suicide rate in Colorado has dropped 40% during COVID quarantine

From the Denver Post:

Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April as social-distancing policies aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus kept residents home, according to provisional death-certificate data from the state health department.

The data helps paint a complex picture of the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicides are down from 2019 levels, Colorado Crisis Services saw an almost 48% increase calls in March and April compared to last year, with most callers seeking help for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

Donald Trump (and all of his parrot pundits, by extension) have shamelessly exploited the threat of increased suicides as a reason to "re-open the economy" sooner. This rang hollow before, as it was an excuse often given by people who had never seemed overly concerned about suicide, addiction, or mental health beyond the generic self-serving platitudes that virtue-signal their bare-minimum humanity. Now, it seems like an even more disgusting excuse to profit on the back of human lives.

The Denver Post article does quote from a few experts, who share their possible theories on why this might be happening. Anxieties are, of course, running high, as evidenced by the jump in calls to crisis hotlines. But some people think that this unprecedented crisis may actually be helping to create a sense of community; seeing so many other people so visibly struggling might put things into perspective for some people. Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain.

This only applies to Colorado so far, but it could very well extrapolate outwards to the rest of the country. I'll keep an eye out for the numbers.

But if you are struggling, and overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the Samaritans at 877-870-HOPE. It's OK to hve a hard time; it's OK to be down on yourself; just don't keep it in. Please.

Suicides in Colorado dropped 40% during first 2 months of coronavirus pandemic — but calls to crisis line spiked [Jessica Seaman / Denver Post]

Image: Guillaume Paumier, CC-BY.

A US cop made an Irish "Blue Lives Matter" shirt that accidentally said "Black Lives Matter"

This is one of my personal favorite bits of Schadenfreude in the world.

This photo was taken by Karen Reshkin at the 2016 Milwaukee Irish Fest, and depicts a somewhat Irish-inspired riff on the standard Blue Lives Matter fascist fashion chic. Except no one explained to this idiot cop how translations work, especially when it comes to idioms.

A blogger named the Geeky Gaeilgeoir breaks this hilariously ironic failure with eloquent detail, and a much firmer grasp of the Irish language than I have. But essentially, this mean translated individual word of "Blue Lives Matter" without considering context or grammar. "Gorm" is indeed "blue." But "chónaí" means "lives" with a short "i," as in, "I live here." And "ábhar" means "matter," yes, but in the noun form — like a subject matter, or a material, as opposed to the verb of "mattering."

The syntax is all wrong, too. And that helps with the absurdity. Essentially, this shirt doesn't say anything.

But the real chef-kiss moment is with the word "Blue." "Gorm" is, technically, correct…in a certain context:

When color is used to describe a person in Irish, it typically refers to hair color. For example An bhean rua: The red-haired woman.

There are exceptions, of course: For example, Na fir bhuí (“The orange/yellow men”) is used to refer to members of the Orange Order because of the color of their sashes. But “blue/gorm” would not be used to refer to police officers as a group. That’s an American thing.

All that having been said, though, here’s the lovely, delicious irony: When the word gorm is used in reference to people, guess what it means?

It means “Black.”

What a glorious, glorious self-own.

The Geeky Gaeilgeoir goes way more in-depth with her explanation, and it's especially if you (like me) get a kick of linguistics.

Even Racists get the blues [The Geeky Gaeilgeoir]

Too few are checking their car insurance rates. This site can help you save serious money.

When you were 10 and your mom demanded you finish your vegetables or go to your room, you were mad. Even as kids, we hated it when we were ordered to do something. Car insurance is a federal mandate, yet that’s only one of the reasons why most Americans would rather do just about anything than deal with car insurance.

Over a quarter (28%) of Americans — 28 percent — think they pay too much for car insurance, yet almost 40 percent say they haven’t checked their current rates against competitors in at least three years. 17 percent have never checked at all. Ever.

The Zebra wants to change that car insurance aversion mindset. The nation’s leading car insurance comparison site, they’ve developed a free, safe, simple way to make sure users are getting the absolute best price on car insurance. And if they’re not, The Zebra paves the way for any driver to get the lowest rate available anywhere.

Through The Zebra website, users identify their vehicle make and model as well as where they live. With that handful of data, The Zebra stretches its legs, tapping their relationships with over 200 different national and regional insurance providers to find out which will offer gives that user the best possible coverage plan.

The Zebra checks in with providers like Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and GEICO, crunching the numbers and offering all the best coverage offers in a matter of seconds.

For users who find an option they like, The Zebra will facilitate the switch, working with the new provider to hammer out the policy details while all the user has to do is sign on the dotted line to make it official.

And while The Zebra can’t guarantee offers will always beat a user’s current deal, they definitely feel pretty confident about their odds. Those who do save by working with The Zebra saw an average of an extra $368 a year in their wallets, just for making the move.

Privacy concerns are also a major point of pride with The Zebra. Unlike other comparison sites that collect user information, then sell it off to digital marketers, The Zebra’s database is as tight as Fort Knox, all part of their hassle-free pledge to make sure you don’t get unwanted emails or any extra bother for using The Zebra.

If it’s been too long since you put your current insurance provider to the test, a quick check with The Zebra is all the answer you need about who deserves your business.

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