Nearly two weeks after the city of Baltimore's internal networks were compromised by the Samsam ransomware worm (previously), the city is still weeks away from recovering services -- that's weeks during which the city is unable to process utility payments or municipal fines, register house sales, or perform other basic functions of city governance.
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'Healthy Holly' author in a heap of trouble
Where Is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh?
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is now being investigated by the state prosecutor over questions of corruption surrounding sales of her self-published children’s book series, 'Healthy Holly.' Read the rest
Amid a growing number of lethal anti-Jewish hate attacks, including a gun massacre at a synagogue that left 13 dead, a man shouts “Heil Trump” in a crowded theater. Audience members told a reporter they believed they were about to die in a mass shooting. Read the rest
There is a major retrospective of John Waters' visual art that's just opened in his hometown of Baltimore. It's called Indecent Exposure and it pulls pieces from his entire career. In this PBS NewsHour video, we get to see a glimpse of it guided by Waters himself. In the interview that follows, the filth elder himself gives young people some advice on how to look for opportunities to break into the contemporary art world:
"It's a secret biker club that hates you. I even have a piece that says, 'Contemporary Art Hates You.' because it does if you hate it first. It's a thin line. You can't have contempt about it and go in. You have to learn. You have to study a little. You have to figure it out... and suddenly this whole world opens up to you. You can see it in a completely different way. It was like you were blind before."
There's more, watch.
You can catch Waters' exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art until January 6, 2019.
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Exhibition highlights include a photographic installation in which Waters explores the absurdities of famous films and a suite of photographs and sculpture that propose humor as a way to humanize dark moments in history from the Kennedy assassination to 9/11. Waters also appropriates and manipulates images of less-than sacred, low-brow cultural references—Elizabeth Taylor’s hairstyles, Justin Bieber’s preening poses, his own self-portraits—and pictures of individuals brought into the limelight through his films, including his counterculture muse, Divine.
The Associated Press reports that two Baltimore police officers were convicted today of racketeering and robbery. I'm not sure off the top of my head which case it is, because it's Baltimore and the apple barrel is so rotten as to be a gooey tub of lovecraftian matter that converts public trust into settlements.
UPDATE: 2 Baltimore detectives convicted of racketeering, robbery
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Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were shackled and led out of the courtroom after the verdict was read.
Federal jurors deliberated for two days after hearing nearly three weeks of testimony centered on details of police wrongdoing. The jury was released late Thursday afternoon after a few hours and returned to their deliberations Monday morning.
Hersl and Taylor faced robbery, extortion and racketeering charges that could land them up to life in prison. They were convicted of racketeering and robbery under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits interference with interstate commerce, but were cleared of possessing a firearm in pursuance of a violent crime.
Hersl put his head down and shook it as the verdict was read. Taylor had little reaction. Hersl’s family in the gallery wept and his father called out, “Stay strong, Danny.”
Detectives Marcus Taylor and Daniel Hersl of Baltimore's elite, seven-member Gun Trace Task Force are on trial for years of robbery, home invasions, drug dealing, gun dealing, and worse -- their defense is that they were not the primary participants in these activities, not that the crimes did not take place.
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A team of public health researchers studies mosquito populations in neighborhoods in Baltimore, looking for correlation between socioeconomic status and mosquitoes. Read the rest
An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest
The fountain of eternal meth has been located in Baltimore, where a study found the drug in local waterways. Plants and animals are even getting addicted, reports Jen Christensen.
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It appears aquatic life -- the moss that grows on rocks, the bacteria that live in the water and the bugs that hatch there -- are the unexpected victims of Americans' struggle with drug addiction. ... Drug-addicted water bugs may not be on the top of your regular list of things to worry about, and it doesn't mean you'll be getting high off your tap water any time soon, but the kind of change these scientists saw could be a bigger concern. Here's why: These plants and bugs are the base of the aquatic food web. Birds eat the bugs, as do frogs and fish. As emergent contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors become more common in ground and drinking water, they could affect humans. Scientists say the direct health effects are pretty much unknown, and more research will need to be done.
A report out this week from Bloomberg says that since January, 2016, people in the city of Baltimore, Maryland have secretly and periodically been spied on by police using cameras in the sky. Authorities today effectively admitted that the report is accurate. Read the rest
A new use-of-force policy from the Baltimore Police Department requires its officers to de-escalate violent situations, to report colleagues who use inappropriate force, and to respect the "sanctity of life." Read the rest
A second Baltimore police officer involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray was acquitted Monday. Gray, who was black, died in police custody one year ago, in Maryland. Read the rest
Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson is running for mayor of Baltimore. He would get my vote if I lived there.
I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs. Many have accepted that our current political reality is fixed and irreversible — that we must resign ourselves to accept the way that City Hall functions, or the role of money and connections in dictating who runs and wins elections. They have bought into the notion that there is only one road that leads to serve as an elected leader.
A member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Mckesson has done much to draw the public's eye to America's lingering problems of race and power, especially when it comes to policing. The Baltimore Sun says his jump into politics, though, is a surprise.
He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.
Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.
Watch for this narrative in the media: that he's just a protest candidate. Then, if he does too well for their comfort, watch for this one: that by seeking to win, he's becoming like all the other politicians, i.e. betraying the role they prefer him to play. Read the rest
When Baltimore's Julie Baker hung some rainbow-colored solar lights in her yard, a helpful neighbor slipped a charming note through her door chastising her for her "Relentlessly Gay" yard, threatening to call the police unless it came into compliance with the "Christian" neighborhood ethic. Read the rest
Matt Taibbi writes that the recent blow-up is about much more than the killing of Freddie Gray. Beyond that murder, there is a complex legal infrastructure that encourages — and covers up — police violence.
Most Americans have never experienced this kind of policing. They haven't had to stare down the barrel of a service revolver drawn for no reason at a routine stop. They haven't had their wife and kids put on an ice-cold sidewalk curb while cops ran their license plate. They haven't ever been told to get the fuck back in their car right now, been accused of having too prominent a "bulge," had their dog shot and their kids handcuffed near its body during a wrong-door raid, watched their seven-year-old dragged to jail for sitting on a dirt bike, or dealt with any of a thousand other positively crazy things nonwhite America has come to expect from an interaction with law enforcement. "It's everywhere," says Christen Brown, who as a 24-year-old city parks employee was allegedly roughed up and arrested just for filming police in a parking lot. "You can be somewhere minding your business and they will find their best way to fuck with you, point blank. It's blatant disrespect."
Photo: A demonstrator raises his arms as he faces law enforcement officers near Baltimore Police Department Western District during a protest against the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, in Baltimore April 25, 2015. Thousands of people marched peacefully through downtown Baltimore on Saturday to protest the unexplained death of the 25-year-old black man in police custody but pockets of violence erupted when a small group smashed windows and threw bottles at officers. Read the rest