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Ramadan

Budweiser’s new beer is based on George Washington’s handwritten recipe.

Suhad al-Khateeb, the first female communist elected in Iraq’s holiest city, calls for social justice.

How Amazon is holding Seattle hostage.

A look at why babies in medieval paintings look like middle-aged men.

Between financial troubles, lawsuits, and trailer park brawls, has the alt-right peaked?

New NRA President Oliver North once worked with cocaine traffickers to arm terrorists.

Working for free is not an opportunity, it is an imposition.

How American racism influenced Hitler.

Yes, there are worker-friendly alternatives to Walmart. Here are four good ones.

The Internet Archive “liberates” books published between 1923 and 1941 and will put 10,000 digitized books online.

Almost all violent extremists share one thing: their gender.

What it’s like to work in the sex industry in the wake of #MeToo.

These tiles turn your walls into a giant Lego playground.

An open letter that every LGBTQ+ person needs to read.

A presidential historian speaks out about Donald Trump.

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This weekend I came across a GoFundMe campaign on my Facebook feed on behalf of a burlesque performer known professionally as Sophia Sunday. She’s currently being sued for defamation by an acquaintance. For the details about that lawsuit, you can either see that GoFundMe page or, for a more even-handed version (meaning both sides of the story are depicted), this Baltimore Post-Examiner story.

I’ve drawn sketches of Sophia Sunday at the Baltimore Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School events in 2014 and 2015. (Both links are NSFW.) Here are just two of the more tame drawings I did of her.

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I wasn’t there that night the alleged sexual assault took place and I’ve never met the plaintiff in this case so I really can’t say who’s right or wrong. But if I had any money to spare, I would definitely throw a few dollars Sophia’s way because I know what it’s like to get sued while not being able to afford to fully pay your own legal fees (mainly in the form of my now-ex-husband sending divorce papers in a .PDF format attached to an email that was dated Christmas Eve and I had to go to my mother for money so I could afford to hire my own lawyer). The fact that it’s so expensive to get legal representation so you won’t get screwed is a total indictment on the current state of U.S. justice, but that is the topic of another rant (if not another series of rants).

One of the reasons I would like to have a steady day job is not only so I could support myself financially but also so I could do things like donate a few dollars to someone who’s in a tough bind like Sophia Sunday. I wish I could afford to help her but I can’t. So I’m doing the next best thing—writing this blog post in the hope that anyone reading this will help Sophia out financially.

I’m pretty sensitive about the fact that this alleged sexual assault happened within the confines of BDSM because of what happened to one of my friends, Julie, who decided to spend a weekend full of BDSM play with her new boyfriend only to have her boyfriend brutally murder her. (All I can say is that, compared to poor Julie, at least Sophia is still alive.)

If you can afford to send a few dollars Sophia’s way, you can do so right here.

UPDATE (July 18, 2018): The case ultimately went to mediation in December, 2017 and it is now settled with neither side admitting to any wrongdoing and no money will change hands. Click here for more details about the case.

Here’s something that showed up on my Facebook news feed.

Etsy investors sue for fraud over fears that millions of items sold through crafts site could violate trademarks

I’m not surprised that it’s come to this. It seems like ever since Etsy decided to go for an IPO on Wall Street, things with that site has gone downhill. It all started with the lifting of its requirements that all items sold through the site must be handmade and allowing the use of manufacturing, which resulted in a flood of cheap items manufactured in companies like China. I’ve heard about longtime Etsy shop owners who closed up shop because they just could not compete on price or their items literally got lost in the shuffle of the flood of cheap items.

Of course China has long been notorious for producing bootlegged products that infringe on copyrights and trademarks that are held by others. Etsy definitely opened a Pandora’s Box when it allowed manufactured items to be sold on its site. Had the powers-that-be at Etsy done a quick five minute Google search on Chinese bootlegging (like I did), they would’ve come across a solid argument against lifting that “handmade only” rule.

Etsy definitely has issues with how it is being run by upper management and, in my humble opinion, they should have never pursued an IPO to begin with until upper management made a sincere effort with reforming how things were operated at that company. The fact that Etsy has done nothing about a complaint I filed against a customer for nonpayment back in December speaks volumes on how it is managed these days. (This customer still has an active Etsy account, which means that he’s free to go to other Etsy sellers, make an order on an item, doesn’t pay for that item, and ignore all e-mails asking if and when they plan on paying for that item.)

Etsy had a great idea of providing a platform where people can sell their handmade wares at a fraction of the price that eBay was charging at the time. (Etsy charged 20 cents per item and the listing lasted three months. eBay listing prices started at $5—and that’s for a no-frills listing—and the listing lasted seven days.) But it seems like Etsy’s top executives are hellbent on shooting themselves in the foot over and over again. So bad, so sad.

Passover

Free Tutorials

For those who have paper maps gathering dust because you’re using your smartphone’s Maps app instead, here are 16 Crafty DIY Projects That Will Help You Recycle Old Maps.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

I already wrote at length about the reactions of the fans of controversial trophy hunter and college cheerleader Kendall Jones regarding my parody art. I found this video from Erin Janus where she refutes the claims that Jones has made regarding her hunts (such as Jones is promoting conservation by killing lions and other African beasts for sport) and she backs her points up with facts.

Back in the 1990’s there was an infamous lawsuit where a woman sued McDonald’s because of a cup of coffee spilled in her lap and she received a settlement. For years that lawsuit was derided in the media as an example of a frivolous lawsuit and how Americans have become more and more lawsuit happy as people rush to the courtrooms over minor trivial matters that shouldn’t even require a judge in the first place. Many comedians had a field day with that one as they told jokes about that lawsuit. It turns out that this lawsuit wasn’t quite as frivolous as was popularly assumed. The woman suffered third-degree burns on her skin and she needed skin grafts. She only sued McDonald’s because she needed help in paying her medical bills. The full story behind the lawsuit can be found here.

It’s the wedding of the year as Joel Burger will soon marry Ashley King. Of course Burger King is helping to pay for this wedding so the couple won’t have to worry about going into debt as the minister asks “Do you, Mr. Burger, take Ms. King to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

From Hats To Pants And Other Outfits, 22 Hilarious And Ugly Knitting Fails proves that just because, theoretically, you can knit just about anything out of yarn doesn’t mean that you should.

Spain recently passed the National Security Act, which critics claim is totally draconian. Some tech-savvy Spaniards responded by holding a first-ever hologram protest, which is a pretty cool idea regardless of where you stand politically.

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