Hawaii cop "to plead guilty" after forcing homeless man to lick public urinal

KHQ6 reports that John Rabago, a Hawaii cop accused of forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal, plans to plead guilty on a civil rights charge. Another officer, Reginald Ramones, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge: "Ramones says Rabago convinced him not to report it."

More from the AP:

The homeless man feared he would be arrested and reluctantly obeyed Rabago’s orders, according to Ramones’ plea agreement. Rabago had previously threatened another man he was questioning by saying he wouldn’t be arrested if he stuck his head in a toilet, the document said.

Alt headline: Blue water blues for the boys in blue

Stephen King-themed, anti-Susan Collins merch from the Maine Democrats

The Maine Democratic Party has teamed up with the progressive sticker-and-more company Bumperactive (previously) to produce a line of Stephen King-themed, anti-Susan Collins merch, with proceeds going to unseat the Republican Senator whose repeated acts of cowardice (especially during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings) demonstrated that she had no commitment to either her stated principles or the people of Maine. There are four graphics in all: "Trump as Pennywise the Clown, Susan Collins in 'Debt Sematary', Susan as Jack Nicholson from The Shining, and of course, Stand By ME," available as tees ($30), posters ($25 or $45 for four) and vinyl stickers ($4 for 2 or all four for $15). (more…)

DoJ to scrap the Paramount antitrust rule that prohibits movie studios from buying or strong-arming movie theaters

Through the 1940s and 1950s, the DoJ went to war on the "studio system" -- a system whereby studios locked up actors in exclusive contracts and then bought or strong-armed all the movie theaters in America so that they'd screen whatever the studios made, freezing out independent productions from movie companies that might offer their talent a better, less restrictive deal. (more…)

When Republicans say "How will you pay for Medicare for All?" Democrats should answer: "Mexico will pay for it"

The "pay-for game" is that gotcha game that Conservatives like to play, wherein the ridiculous boondoggles favored by the right (billions for Trump's wall, more than a trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy, massive increases in Pentagon and intelligence agency spending, even a $16 million bomb used for no military reason) can be financed with infinite amounts of deficit spending, while any program that benefits the majority of America needs has to be "fully funded," generally by making cuts in other programs that benefit the majority of America -- something that the idiotic Democratic establishment has bought into. (more…)

Twitter censures UK Tory Party for changing its blue-check account name to "FactCheckUK" during the prime ministerial debates

The UK is having an election in less than a month, and last night, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn debated Tory archclown Boris Johnson for a televised debate in which Johnson had to defend his record as a lying, racist, philandering, cowardly failure of a human being, and of a leader to his party and the nation. (more…)

How to make vast amounts of "thick and glossy" slime

Here's a Facebook video explaining how to make "thick and glossy slime", for any and all slime-related needs you may have.

The key ingredient is Elmer's Glue-All [Amazon]; the basic slime recipe is to add baking soda and contact lens solution to "activate" the glue, but that won't be thick and glossy enough. For that you need school glue, baby oil and generic lotion, added in the precise quantities shows in the video.

There is one remaining Woolworth lunch counter left

Bakersfield, California. That's where you'll find the last Woolworth's Luncheonette in America — and it's still serving food!

Eater Los Angeles:

Step into the Five & Dime Antique Mall in Bakersfield, California, and that rarity becomes reality. There, in the back corner at the ground-floor level of the four-story building, is a fully functioning former Woolworth luncheonette counter, complete with 22 counter seats, Formica tables ringing the room, and an open kitchen for griddling burgers and making milkshakes. But this well-protected bit of ephemera isn’t cordoned off with Do Not Touch signs — it’s still a real, thriving luncheonette counter called the Woolworth Diner, serving police officers, antiquers, and locals daily.

Head over to Eater Los Angeles to see lots of photos of this fifties time capsule.

screenshot via NorCalCorsello

Persistence of Pong

The Persistence of Pong is an art installation by Jesse Stiles, augmenting a standard game of ping-pong with sounds, colors, intense flashing lights and moments of complete darkness.

An ordinary ping pong table is augmented with reactive sounds and lights, turning the game into a disorienting synesthetic experience for players and spectators alike. The installation presents players with syncopated patterns of light that play with the illusion known as persistence of vision – the phenomenon that distinguishes between the perception of still images versus continuous motion. These patterns are triggered directly by the bouncing of the ball, which is detected by microphones embedded in the table. Similarly, the installation presents disorienting patterns of sound that teeter between rhythm (individual sounds) and pitch as the speed of the action increases and decreases based on game play. Players may choose to cooperate by trying to keep the ball in play through increasingly hallucinatory levels or may seek to destroy the competition in the most disorienting ping pong environment technology can provide.

You can play yourself at the LikeLike gallery in Pittsburgh, but you have to arrange an appointment outside of specified dates.

Video shows cop lied

A Brooklyn man faced serious jail time for driving his car at a cop. But the attack never happened, writes Radley Balko, a fact revealed by surveillance video that shows the cop lied.

The surveillance video at the top of this piece, which was obtained by an investigator for [Pedro] Barbosa’s lawyer, backs all of this up. Barbosa did drive off, but at no time was either officer at risk of being struck by Barbosa’s car.

But [NYPD officer Michael] Bergman would later tell the grand jury an entirely different story. “The defendant locked eyes with me, turned the car into reverse, floored the vehicle into reverse approximately seven feet,” Bergman said. “As I’m still yelling, the defendant put it in drive, turned the vehicle towards me to the point where I was in between his headlights, and if I didn’t jump out of the way, I would have been under his vehicle.” ...

The video above shows that almost none of that is true. Barbosa never put the car in reverse, never accelerated in reverse, and Bergman was never “between his headlights.”

Local prosecutors released a list of NYPD officers it considers untrustworthy, police unions are enraged, but that video doesn't lie. Bergman pleaded guilty to perjury and was fired.

San Francisco Symphony to perform "Ghostbusters" score live alongside the film

Looking for something special to do with the family? The San Francisco Symphony has a fun ongoing film program where they put a popular movie on the big screen and their orchestra performs the score live. The next performance is for Ghostbusters on November 29 and 30, at Davies Symphony Hall. Adult tickets start at $65.

Future film nights with the symphony include:
December 3 and 6: It's a Wonderful Life
July 2 and 5 (2020): Apollo 13

And, San Francisco isn't the only one doing this. Check Film Concerts Live! for shows near you.

Lawsuit: Burger King cooking vegan burgers on same grill plate as meat

Does cooking a Impossible Burger on the same surface used to cook normal burgers "contaminate" them with meat by-products? Is Burger King doing this? A vegan diner makes these claims in a lawsuit filed Monday against the fast-food chain. Reuters:

The lawsuit filed in Miami federal court seeks damages for all U.S. purchasers of the Impossible Whopper, and an injunction requiring Burger King to “plainly disclose” that Impossible Whoppers and regular burgers are cooked on the same grills. [Burger King] describes the Impossible Burger as “100% Whopper, 0% Beef,” and adds that “for guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request.”

Hollywood exec wanted to cast Julia Roberts as Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a slave who became an abolitionist after escaping, saving dozens of other slaves through the Underground Railroad. Julia Roberts is an Oscar-winning actress and producer, the star of Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich and Homecoming. Tubman was black, Roberts is white. No problem for one Hollywood executive, in 1994.

In a Q&A with Allen published earlier this month by Harriet studio Focus Features (and reiterated in an L.A. Times essay published Tuesday), Allen recalled how “the climate in Hollywood … was very different” some 25 years ago.

“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,'” Allen explained. “When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'” Thankfully, for everyone involved, Roberts was not cast as Tubman.

The Tubman movie is out now, starring Cynthia Erivo, who is black. Trailer below:

Review: "Liebestrasse" is a frighteningly relevant LGBTQ graphic novel set in the Weimar Republic

Liebestrasse is a new original digital graphic novel from Comixology, but it follows more in the European tradition of small, character-focused slice-of-life stories than the bombastic speculative fiction that's made the American graphic novel field so popular. In less than 100 pages, it tells the story of an American businessman named Sam who takes a job in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, where he meets and falls in love with an art dealer named Phillip.

Of course, the dramatic irony abounds. As readers, we know what Germany's immediate future holds—and soon enough, that other shoe does indeed drop. But also as readers, it's easy to get wrapped in the simple tenderness of burgeoning romance and ignore the warning signs that lurk in the shadows—just like Sam and Phillip.

A preview page from Liebestrasse, with art by Tim Fish and colors by Hector Barros.

The rapport between the two lovers is charming and realistic, with Phillip's witty flamboyance playing perfectly off of Sam's strong silent Americanisms. Artist Tim Fish does tremendous work with the subtleties of facial expressions; though the style is slightly more cartoonish than what most American readers might expect, I found myself consciously commenting on the acting as I read through the pages, as if these were actual people rather than drawings. I read a lot of comics, and that's something rare and unique, at least in the American market. The color palette by Hector Barros also gives the story a very classical comic vibe that fits the time period. Though the pigments are digital, the simple, solid color patterns evoke a more innocent era. The overall artwork reminded me of Dick Tracy in a way, as if this were a story set in the same universe, but in the queer Berlin underground scene that we never get to see in those crime stories.

But once the story reaches its inevitable conclusion—these are two gay men on the cusp of Nazi Germany—it really starts to resonate. "The parallels between the end of the Weimar Era and today’s global political landscape are too terrifying to ignore and we want readers to see those parallels, too," explained writer Greg Lockard in an interview with Pride magazine, and this connection is hard to ignore. Artist Tim Fish expanded on this in the same interview, saying "I couldn’t help thinking about the gay men and lesbians, living in a relatively liberal place and time, their lives abruptly changed. … Ultimately, I wanted people to be reminded that despite our steps forward in acceptance, there’s always a threat of steps back."

A preview page from Liebestrasse

And that's the real strength of Liebestrasse: it's a simple and quiet period piece that starkly juxtaposes our current political climate, while also being eerily similar in ways that are all too easy to forget. These parallels are not an explicit part of the story, but they don't have to be—the bare facts of the reality faced by these queer men makes their story even more frighteningly relevant.

Liebestrasse is written by Greg Lockard, a former editor for DC's Vertigo line, with art by Tim Fish,  colors by Hector Barros, and lettering by Lucas Gattoni. It's available exclusively as a digital graphic novel on Comixology.

Sand thieves and unreliable GPS near the Port of Shanghai

Mariners rely on GPS to avoid collisions, but increasingly they're finding GPS cannot be relied on near the Port of Shanghai:

In fact, something far more dangerous was happening, and the Manukai’s captain was unaware of it. Although the American ship’s GPS signals initially seemed to have just been jammed, both it and its neighbor had also been spoofed—their true position and speed replaced by false coordinates broadcast from the ground.

...

Analysts noticed that the attacks had actually started the previous summer, increasing as the months rolled on. The most intense interference was recorded on the very day in July that the Manukai’s captain reported difficulties, when a total of nearly 300 vessels had their locations spoofed.

The spoofing could be China testing a new electronic weapon.  Or it could be sand pirates trying to sneak through the area:

Chinese builders call it “soft gold.” Sand dredged from Yangtze River, which has the ideal consistency and composition for cement, helped fuel Shanghai’s construction boom in the 1980s and 1990s. By the turn of the millennium, reckless sand extraction had undermined bridges, trashed ecosystems, and caused long stretches of the riverbank to collapse. In 2000, Chinese authorities banned sand mining on the Yangtze completely.

The trade continued illicitly, however, expanding to include the illegal dredging of sand and gravel from the Yangtze estuary and the open seas near Shanghai. By day, such ships look innocuous. By night, they lower pipes to the riverbed to suck up thousands of tons of sand in a single session.

Sand pirates were blamed for almost two dozen wrecks in 2018, and authorities have seized 305 sand-mining vessels in 2019.

Read on at Technology Review for a primer on how GPS works, and the strange effects being observed near the Port of Shanghai.

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