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Beauty blogger and her new husband ruined their wedding photographer’s reputation over a $125 fee, so a jury told them to pay her $1 million.

Sorry, Google memo man: women were in tech long before you.

How a Maryland town is turning its New Deal past into a new economy present.

An Indian woman was born into the Dalit caste, which made her “untouchable” by society. Despite the odds, she managed to immigrate to America where she became the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York Subway.

Adobe to (finally) pull the plug on Flash, for real this time.

She encouraged a girl she babysat to continue with her interest in art. Eleven years later she got this letter.

The Italian highlanders who may have Scottish roots.

World’s oldest smiley face found on a jug from 1700 B.C.E.

Meet Anatomic Anna and Andy, dolls with removable organs.

Extinguished, a stunning animated short, will positively melt your heart.

Interactive art center Meow Wolf is forging a new business model for artists.

11 women who did groundbreaking things that men got the credit for.

The British Museum creates 3D models of the Rosetta Stone and 200+ other historic artifacts for free download or view in virtual reality. 

How the plastic pink flamingo became an icon.

A free tutorial on how to make a cardboard geodesic dome den.

An entire Manhattan village owned by African Americans was destroyed to build Central Park.

Why the myth of meritocracy hurts children of color.

Comic Parchment, the ultimate font.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game, which was designed by author Douglas Adams in 1984, for free online.

How classic cartoons created a culturally literate generation.

People are furious at these new shirts from Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian are accused of stealing ideas from indie African American designers. 

See photographs of figures in Russian history rendered in colorized portraits, such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and more.

This artist is brining out the beauty in stretch marks.

The rise in art protests: how the gallery became a new battleground.

What it means to be on the left.

Interactive Periodic Table of Elements shows how the elements actually get used in making everyday things.

Someone called this white girl’s Japanese tea party racist on social media but then this Japanese user stepped in.

Gorgeous color autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago.

Creative mom dresses up in amazing cosplay to represent older women characters.

Fender custom shop recycles Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars.

Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.

Director Michel Gondry makes a charming film on his iPhone, proving that we could be making movies, not taking selfies.

This man spent 6 years crocheting a Super Mario Bros map blanket.

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals.

Transgender soldiers of the American Civil War.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

Meet the unconventional family who lives in a 1940s time warp.

$330,000 in financial aid bought this person a slot in the American meritocracy. He writes about the flaws in that system.

Last November my Unitarian Universalist church joined the many other houses of worship across the United States in putting up a Black Lives Matter sign.

photo1

My congregation did one better with this sign. It also added the heart logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Standing on the Side of Love campaign and a rainbow banner indicating that it’s a welcoming congregation for the LBGTQ community. My congregation voted to erect this sign despite the fact that other houses of worship who have put up Black Lives Matter signs and banners have had them either defaced or stolen outright.

This morning I learned that my congregation has had the sign stolen. Yes, it’s distressing but, no, my congregation is not deterred. The word is that we will get a new identical banner and put it up. My congregation refuses to cower to the forces of racism, homophobia, and other types of ugly prejudice that has especially sprung up in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election.

This morning I came across a brief video rant from Ed Schultz where he tells it like it is on how Baltimore got so bad that it made yesterday’s riots possible. As someone who grew up in the Baltimore area, I can easily verify what Schultz said.

Baltimore’s problems are multi-faceted and they go back several decades, including chronic underfunding of public education, segregation, white flight, zero-tolerance policies on drugs, and outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to places like India and China. My story focuses on just one aspect of Baltimore’s problems. I know that certain members of my own family, especially those on my late father’s side, may be upset that I’m being so open about this. But I’m at an age and position where I really don’t care about what other people think. My husband has since divorced me and gotten remarried. I don’t have any children. I don’t have any brothers or sisters. My mother is currently busy dealing with her ongoing MS. Thanks to my circumstances I have a certain freedom where I can be this open about my family without much blowback from immediate family members because I don’t have many of them left and I don’t have to worry about any disapproval at the next family get-together.

When I was a child my paternal grandparents lived in Ellicott City and my parents would take me to visit them a few times a year. Things weren’t perfect. While my grandfather was very doting towards me, my grandmother was always so standoffish and I later learned that she didn’t even like children. I didn’t notice this while my grandfather was alive because he made up for my grandmother’s disinterest. It was after he died when I was 12 when I noticed this more and, well, we never developed a close grandmother-granddaughter relationship but that’s another story.

About a year or two before my grandfather died, my grandparents began to invite a friend of my grandfather’s over for dinner while I visited with my parents. I don’t know how my grandfather met him in the first place or why they became friends. I only knew him as Mr. Multz or, alternatively, as Mr. M because I was told to address him that way. (I don’t even know the man’s first name.) I remember he was an elderly guy who was about 60 or so. He usually arrived to my grandparents’ home alone. I don’t know if he was a widower or if he had ever been married. I don’t recall him mentioning any grown children or grandchildren but, then again, he mainly socialized with the adults and he didn’t bother much with me. While the man could be charming at times I remember he was also obnoxious. He was a bit of a loudmouth. He made Archie Bunker seem like a sensitive caring creative type by comparison.

Mr. Multz was a landlord who basically purchased what were once stately homes near the Pimlico Race Track (whose biggest claim to fame is being the venue for the annual Preakness, the second jewel in the Triple Crown) then broke them up into rental apartments where he didn’t do much maintenance or upkeep on them. Thanks to people like him, the area around the race track went from being a white middle class Jewish area with a low crime rate to being a predominantly poor African American area with all the crime and other social problems to match.

When it was time for the family to sit down to dinner would be when my parents and I got a glimpse of Mr. Multz at his worst. First he would rant about the Jews and how inferior they were while they had a lot of money and they’re trying to take over the world and stuff like that. So, yeah, he proclaimed himself a big anti-Semite. Then he would go on about African Americans and people of color and how inferior they were compared to whites. He may have even dropped the “n” word (I don’t remember). So he proclaimed himself a racist.

My grandparents would nod politely while not even protesting what Mr. Multz said. My parents would just sit there stunned but I don’t recall them saying anything either.

Finally Mr. Multz would start going on an anti-Catholic rant and my grandfather would speak up and ask him not to go any further mainly because his daughter-in-law (my mother) was Catholic and I was being raised in that faith at the time. Then Mr. Multz would change the subject. (Here’s some family background. My father was raised Episcopalian. My mother was raised Roman Catholic. When they decided to marry, my mother wanted a Catholic wedding and my father went along with it mainly because he had dropped out of his own church. The priest told my parents that he would marry them only under two conditions: they first had to attend a series of private lessons and consultations with the priest for a few months before the wedding and any children they had must be raised as Roman Catholics.) Despite my grandfather’s intervention, one can still conclude that Mr. Multz hated Catholics just as much as he hated Jews and people of color.

Mr. Multz would also brag about how he purchased those one-time stately homes and rented them to people of color while bragging that he wasn’t doing much to take care of those rental properties while he was raking in the cash. To be honest, I think he thought of his own tenants as being little more than feral animals who didn’t deserve anything other than the roof over their heads (which may have even been leaky at times) that he was charging rent for. Basically that man was a slum lord.

My parents couldn’t stand Mr. Multz yet my grandparents kept on inviting him over to dinner during our visits. I remember my parents basically just gritted their teeth and bared it.

My grandfather died of cancer when I was 12. Not long afterwards, my uncle had contacted my parents about something that totally distressed him. While he was calling friends and relatives in the days following my grandfather’s death he called Mr. Multz to inform him about the death. While Mr. Multz was initially friends with my grandfather, he told my uncle (my father’s brother), “That’s okay. I’ve always liked your mother better anyway.”

Yeah, Mr. Multz was a nasty piece of work.

I think I may have seen Mr. Multz one other time after my grandfather’s death when my grandmother had him over for dinner but that was it. I think my parents had put their foot down and told my grandmother that they would no longer visit her while Mr. Multz was at the house. I don’t know if anything ever happened between my grandmother and Mr. Multz because my grandmother never remarried.

In the years since that time, my grandmother has also died and I never saw nor heard from Mr. Multz again. I doubt that he is still alive because he was elderly when I was a child.

Which gets back to the present. When you have enough people like Mr. Multz, who basically felt that anyone who isn’t a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant is a sub-human, renting properties they allow to fall into disrepair to people they basically disdain for decades, you create a powder keg that explodes when something happens like the brutal murder of Freddie Gray at the hands of the Baltimore police.

But it's a dry fascism in Arizona!

Soon after creating the first t-shirt regarding the passage of the new Arizona law (SB 1070), my husband came up with the slogan for another t-shirt. I finally got around to creating a t-shirt around my husband’s idea after I read Sarah Palin’s idiotic quote from yesterday when she said "We’re all Arizonans now." Uh, no, Sarah, we are not all Arizonans. Or at least we are all NOT the white Arizonans who support the police questioning anyone whose skin is darker than caucasian skin and who also support the ban on public schools teaching any kind of ethnic studies class (especially the ones that focus on African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos).

My husband came up with that slogan based on the "But it’s a dry heat" one that one can frequently find on t-shirts, shot glasses, and other stuff sold in Arizona souvenir shops.

You can now purchase that shirt in a variety of sizes, colors, and prices right here.


The excerpt from this link says it all.

http://www.racewire.org/archives/2010/05/arizonas_gov_brewer_signs_ethnic_studies_ban_into_law.html

Yesterday, Brewer signed HB 2281 into law, a bill that prohibits schools from teaching classes designed to teach students of color about their heritage and history because such classes promote resentment and encourage students to want to “overthrow” the U.S. government. Such classes, the bill says, advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treating students as individual people.

Wow. Just wow. Why doesn’t Governor Brewer just proclaim that Arizona is for whtie people only and get it over with?

Alice at the Tea Party

Alice at the Tea Party
ink and watercolor
10 inches x 8 inches
26 cm x 21 cm

This is one of my recently finished pieces that I managed to finish just in time to display at last weekend’s Artdromeda show in Baltimore. I was inspired to create this piece by two phenomenons that have gotten attention in the media–the resurgence in popularity of Alice in Wonderland (fueled in large part by Tim Burton’s hit movie) and the rise of the Tea Party movement in the U.S.

I attempted to emulate the John Tenniel illustrations that were in the original Lewis Carroll books–Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. (Even though there have been numerous Alice in Wonderland editions with illustrations done by other people, one can still find the editions with the Tenniel illustrations on sale in many book stores.) As I worked on it, my own style crept in so it’s not a one-hundred percent copy of John Tenniel’s illustration of the Wonderland tea party.

I did this political parody piece where Alice arrives at a tea party that made the original tea party depicted in Lewis Carroll’s novel seem tame and sane by comparison. The various tea party denizens are based upon the politicians and right wing talk show hosts who have expressed support for the Tea Party movement. The Cheshire Cat is based on Rush Limbaugh (complete with a cigar and the infamous quote where he hoped that Barack Obama fails in his presidency). The Queen of Hearts is based on Rep. Michele Bachmann. The Mad Hatter is based on Glenn Beck (complete with tears in his eyes). The woman who shot and killed the White Rabbit is Sarah Palin. The tiny person in front wearing a Texas state flag jacket and carrying a sign with a misspelled racial slur is based on an actual photograph of a Tea Party activist who actually worn such a jacket and carried such a sign with the misspelled racial slur. The chicken in front is a parody of Sue Lowden (who is running for office in Nevada in the hopes of unseating Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), who has frequently said that the high costs of health care can be best achieved by returning to the days when the U.S. was primarily an agrarian society and people paid for doctors visits with a chicken.

There are also the hidden activists who are behind the main characters but are only seen as arms holding various signs. The signs are based on actual photos of real Tea Party rally signs that I’ve seen throughout the Internet. All I had to do was concentrate to make sure that the original misspellings and gramatical errors were left intact.

When my husband first saw this piece, he remarked that Alice seemed pissed. Well, there’s a reason for that pissed off expression on her face. If you were blundering through an unfamiliar place like Wonderland in pursuit of the White Rabbit only to discover that he had been shot to death and his body was being displayed at a mad tea party with far right wing political overtones you happened to stumble upon, you’d be pissed too.

Okay, you can correctly guess that I have a less than favorable impression of the Tea Party movement. If the Tea Party movement had been something that was not affiliated with any political party, not backed by any media company, discouraged the use of racial slurs and/or waving Confederate flags, reached out to diverse groups of people, and stated policies that expressed real reforms aimed at dismantling monopolies in health insurance and oil companies and encouraging well-paying blue collar jobs being moved back to the U.S. from overseas, I would have at least respected that movement. (Heck, it’s possible that I may have even signed on to the movement myself.)

But I’ve heard that many of the Tea Party rallies were organized by Freedom Works (a company founded by former Senate Majority Leader Dick Armey). They have been endorsed by many Republican poiticians. Their rallies have been not only favorably covered by Fox News but they have been actively promoted on that network in such a way as to encourage people to attend them. Individual Tea Party people have waived signs using racial slurs aimed at President Obama without facing any negative consequences from the Tea Party movement organizers. Many Tea Party activists have seemed to refuse to say anything bad about the increased power of corporations (including the creation of monopolies) and–in some cases–have sided with the corporations on such issues as Net Neutraility. On top of that, many rallies seemed to be all-whtie people affairs with little or no minorities. (If the U.S. was a nearly all-white nation, this wouldn’t be an issue. But with the rise in population of people of color in recent years, it’s pretty ludicrous to have all-white movements in this day and age.)

For all the Tea Party movement’s frequent cries of freedom from government oppression, that movement has been strangely silent on Arizona’s recent passage of SB 1070. (Which empowers police officers to ask anyone on the street to prove that he/she are legally in this country and if the person doesn’t have such evidence on him/her at that moment, the police can arrest that person. On top of that, the police can ask that of anyone even if he/she have not been accused of doing anything illegal.) This is the kind of thing that communist and fascist governments do on a regular basis–the kind of governments that the Tea Party movement claim that they are fighting against.

I think there should be a real independent movement consisting of people from diverse races, ethnic groups, religions, social classes, educational levels, and political beliefs coming together for a common cause and who eschews racism and uncivilized behavior in general. I believe that, based on that criteria, the Tea Party simply fails as a real independent movement.

I support this effort on behalf of my Mexican-American sister-in-law and her three children who live in Phoenix (and are all American citizens) not because I am a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. I found out about this on Twitter and here’s the original message.

@EileenLeft We’re starting a campaign for MLB to boycott 1 game in AZ due to new racist, hate mongering law! Hashtag is #AZMLBB JOIN US!

The bitch has signed that bill into law so the police in Arizona now have the right to harass anyone–both citizens and noncitizens–simply because they look Hispanic. My Mexican-American sister-in-law and her three children (two of them adolescent boys) are now sitting ducks for police harassment and it will all be legal.

When I first heard about this bill, I immediately began to remember the stories I heard about the Third Reich. When Hitler first issued his anti-Semetic laws, the authorities were empowered to harass anyone who was Jewish or who even looked remotely Jewish and it was all legal. Well, I was watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last night when I saw this story about the lawmaker who sponsored that bill is a Republican lawmaker who forwarded articles written by white supremacists to his supporters via e-mail then attended an anti-immigration rally where he was pictured with a J.T. Reddy, a noted white supremacist.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#36726296

So a Republican lawmaker with ties to white supremacists have sponsored the bill that empowered the police to do the same thing to Hispanics what the SS did to the Jews during the early days of the Third Reich–harass them.

Of course the Third Reich didn’t stop with just harassing Jews. They came up with concentration camps, where millions of them were slaughtered. If this bill is allowed to stand in Arizona, will that same Republican lawmaker with ties to white supremacists sponsor a bill authorizing the creation of concetration camps in the desert? After all, why stop with harassing Hispanics when the authorities can come up with a Final Solution and get rid of them once and for all?

I hope the Federal Government intervenes in this and overrules Arizona because this bill is totally draconian.

Not all people living in Arizona like that new bill that has just passed the state legislature giving police the right to ask for ID of anyone who looks Hispanic, regardless of whether he/she is a citizen or whether he/she has been accused of a crime.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mario-solismarich/az-students-arrested-for_b_545958.html?ref=twitter

I’m still worried about the future of my Mexican-American sister-in-law and her three half-Hispanic children–all of whom live in Phoenix. If that bill gets signed by the governor, all of them will be sitting ducks for police harassment.

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