Terrific cartoon on the American Revolution, but oversimplified

One of the most wonderful history channels is Oversimplified, which has returned with an entertaining and informative two-part history of the American Revolution. Read the rest

Nicaragua sprints deeper into fascism

This past Friday, the citizens of Nicaragua declared a national strike in protest of their president, Daniel Ortega, and his oh-so corrupt government. In the city of Managua, pro-government paramilitaries and the police cornered roughly 200 protesters in a church and opened fire on the building. During the siege, the pro-Ortega forces murdered two of the unarmed protesters trapped inside of the church and wounded several others.

The Pro government El 19 called the protestors “terrorists” and “thieves”: in effect, they declared the people, brave enough to demand that a dictator return their country to them, an enemy of the people. This labelling of Nicaraguans who would dare to speak out against their government as terrorists, is kind of a thing now. According to El Nuevo Diario, Roger Martinez, a respected psychologist with a practice in the Nicaraguan city of Granada, has been given the same label. He was picked up, along with 23 others by, you guessed it, police and paramilitaries, during a national “cleanup operation.” At the time that this post was written, Martinez was still in prison. Yesterday, Dr. Blanca Cajina and Dr. Irvin Escobar, were whisked away from their lives as well. They’re the latest in the growing number of professionals and intellectuals and community leaders, to be accused of terrorism by the Ortega government. As this handy guide from the U.S. Holocaust Museum notes, cracking down on a nation's intellectuals is one of the signs that your nation is well on its way to being controlled by a fascist regime. Read the rest

As with Nicaragua, so too America

On April 18th, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, announced that changes would be made to the country’s social security system: workers would be forced to pay more but would receive fewer benefits, despite their increased contributions. Understandably, people were pissed. They staged peaceful demonstrations. Then came the not so peaceful ones: the outrage the nation’s citizens felt over the changes to a system they had paid into the whole of their working lives, spilled over into resentment for the Nicaraguan government as a whole.

Since then, 300 civilians have died.

On July 14th, Nicaraguan police and pro-government paramilitary types trapped a group of student protestors inside of a church and commenced firing on those inside with military-grade arms. The whole, bloody, terrifying show was captured on video and in Twitter posts from inside of the church. One young man named Gerald, was from the city of Masaya. He was in Managua, Nicaragua's capital, attending university. Gerald was shot in the head—dead at 20 years old. His last rites delivered by a priest who was trapped in the church with him. Those trapped in the church have since been allowed to go free. Its said that there is at least one other dead and several wounded as a result of the incident.

Daniel Ortega’s been in office as the President of Nicaragua for 11 years. To get there, he ran for the position from 1990 until 2007. It was with a promise to improve the lives of the poor, to end the rampant corruption that infected Nicaragua’s political elite. Read the rest

Brilliant new photography book captures the American West's vanishing signs and symbols

Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks collects Steve Fitch's important photographic record of iconic imagery in the western United States: hotel neon, drive-in movie theaters, even ancient petroglyphs. Read the rest

Judge was supposed to preside over a Pennsylvania couple's wedding. She called ICE on them instead

If you want to erode the public's trust in the legal system, making a court house an unsafe place to be, even during what's supposed to be a joyful occasion, is a great place to start. Just ask Alexander Parker and Krisha Schmick: They went to a courthouse in Pennsylvania, intent on getting married. The pair had known one another since high school and it seemed like the right time. There was just one problem – Alexander's skin was brown and the judge he and his bride were to stand before was a raging bigot.

According to Newsweek, when Parker and Schmick stood before Judge Elizabeth Beckley in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, instead of presiding over their wedding ceremony, she called Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents to check out Parker.

Parker, originally from Guatemala, was adopted by American parents and brought to the United States when he was eight months old – he is legally allowed to be in the country. He has the paperwork to prove it, too. But for some reason, maybe because, I dunno, HE WAS GETTING MARRIED, he forgot the official documents that proved his right to be in the country at home. All he had on him was a Guatemalan identification card. Court staff, believing for some reason that the document was a fake, contacted ICE to check Parker out.

On his wedding day, when he should have been exchanging vows, Parker was answering questions. Instead of having a ring slipped on his finger, he was forced to provide fingerprints. Read the rest

Trump to Guggenheim: lend me your Van Gogh? Guggenheim: Nah, howbout a gold toilet instead?

Donald Trump wrote to the Guggenheim Museum asking if he could borrow a Van Gogh to hang in his living quarters in the White House; curator Nancy Spector wrote back and demurred, offering instead to lend him "America," Maurizio Cattelan's "18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet" made as a "pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country." Read the rest

The once-dreamed wonders of trailer life

Trailers have a mostly negative reputation, these days, drawing working-class resentment and middle-class contempt. But they once embodied a compact, affordable rendition of the American Dream. So let's talk about "Tiny Houses" and how it navigates a stigma that must end...

The trailer-trash myth took off after World War II, when soldiers coming back from the war were faced with a housing shortage. Much of the travel-trailer and mobile-home industry got its jumpstart at that time. Confronting the housing situation, a lot of returning servicemen chose to move into RVs and mobile homes, at least for the short-term. It’s unfortunate that our veterans were also then associated with this notion of being “trailer trash.” In the ’40s, people living in “regular” homes also looked upon those in RVs and mobile homes as “trailer trash” because they had to go to the outhouse or the campground wash facilities just to use the toilet. We have hundreds of postcards in our trailer-themed collection just about outhouses.

Trailers are stigmatized because the poor can afford them, and when the first generation of Tiny House dwellers start selling up in earnest, Tiny Houses will be stigmatized too. Read the rest

William S. Burroughs: "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (1986)

Uncle Bill, in keeping with tradition, please lead us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.

Read the rest

Smalltown America finds ecstasy at Dollar General

I love dollar stores, and so does rural America. Read the rest

Computer-generated maps imagine America redivided into equal-population areas

America votes Democrat but elects Republicans, and it's all thanks to how the country is divided up. Read the rest

Shopper brandishes gun in Walmart fight

Shopping tip of the day!1 If you need to end an argument over who gets to buy the last item on the shelf, try whipping out your concealed-carry firearm and threatening other shoppers with it. According to reports, it worked a treat in this example from Walmart, where a gun-toting woman won her prize and was free to check it out after the confrontation.

1. Tip recommended only for white shoppers.

Here's video from another shopper, apparently showing the aftermath:

Read the rest

Reader reviews for animal medication tell a grim story about human healthcare in America

If you want an idea how desperately bad the U.S. healthcare system is for those unable to afford it, the reader reviews on Moxifish—aquarium antibiotics—make for grim reading.

Worked in two days! My fish no longer has a tooth infection:) lol

My fish started work at a new job and his insurance hadn't kicked in yet. Well, of course, my fish got a bad case of bronchitis or something like that. Nevertheless, we decided to get him some meds and boom! Within 2 days he was all new again and just kept swimming!

My fish got bronchitis the first week of a new job and didn't have the time or money to go see a doctor. I received these quickly after ordering them and now my fishy's nasty cough is gone!

My fish have been sick for two weeks straight and having trouble sleeping at night. I finally figured out that the fish have a bad sinus infection and swollen glands. After just a few hours the swelling is gone and my fish can breath again. They were even outside all day building a shed and didn't feel sick at all. :).

$40 for thirty 500mg amoxycillin capsules isn't a good deal, and it seems likely the reader reviews have become more about the joke than the broke. But doctor visits can cost hundreds of dollars without insurance (and $50 or more with it), alternatives are not easily accessible, so here we are.

P.S. survivalists have long suggested stocking up on pet antibiotics for the comic-book apocalypse. Read the rest

The richest person in every state, by industry

You might think every American state is overrun with tech billionaires, given the amount of press they get, but Forbes shows that the richest person in each state is more likely to have made their fortune in fashion, retail, finance, or investing: Read the rest

American-born Muslim harassed in line at supermarket: "I wish they didn't let you in the country"

Jeremy McLellan posted a video to twitter that he reports was taken by a Muslim friend of his being "harassed at a Trader Joe's in Reston, VA." Read the rest

What do South Koreans really think of America?

From the Statue of Liberty and Chipotle to big boobs, Trump and racism, South Koreans tell us what they think of America – and Americans – in this episode of "What Asians Think of America" series by Asian Boss. Read the rest

Boy Scouts of America to allow transgender boys to enroll

The Associated Press reports that Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in scouting programs.

Rebecca Rausch, a spokeswoman for the organization, emailed a statement Monday. She said the organization's leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender, but the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.

"For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," the statement said. "However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state."

In Britain, the home of scouting, it's just "The Scouts."

In fact, here's the list of countries with more than a handful of scout troops, where girls can't join:

Nigeria Pakistan Saudi Arabia Sudan United States Read the rest

What Target's graphic designers know about America that you don't

I was in Target yesterday and spotted this remarkable work of art disguised as a marketing hoarding (it is in fact a tryptich with Darth Vader off to the left.) I'm hoping someone well-educated might explain to me what it means. Read the rest

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