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The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

We have a special bike!

Dratch & Fey's 1999 two-woman show. (SLYT) The audio is terrible, the video's no better, the tracking on the VHS tape should have been adjusted... and it's still well worth the 45 minutes.

Re: Applicability of Federal Criminal Laws and the Constitution

In May, David Barron was confirmed as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, after a half-hour filibsuter by Rand Paul, and opposition stemming from a confidential memo (previously) he wrote, justifying the use of targeted drone strikes against terrorists, e.g. Anwar al-Awlaki (previously). After a court ruling in the FOIA lawsuit filed by the ACLU and New York Times, Court Releases Large Parts of Memo Approving Killing of American in Yemen.

Justice Department Memo Approving Targeted Killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, partially redacted. The ACLU has a PDF, here. Cryptome has a white paper dated a year later, also in PDF, here.
Emptywheel: Whither the Assassination Consideration?

As I noted earlier, I'm doing a fairly detailed comparison of what parts of the white paper don't show up in the drone memo released Monday. But that's going to take a while.

Far easier is to compare what Charlie Savage's sources said the memo included but doesn't. I've noted before that they told him there was one memo when there were really two. Given these discrepancies, it's possible they merged the two memos in their descriptions:
more at Emptywheel

Lawfare: The Al-Aulaqi OLC Memo: A Quick and Dirty Summary
more at Lawfare

Peter Van Buren writes at TomDispatch:
Dead Is Dead: Drone-Killing the Fifth Amendment
Death by Pen

For the killing of an American citizen to be legal, the document claims, you need one essential thing: "an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government [who] has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." In addition, capture must be found to be unfeasible and the act of killing must follow the existing laws of war, which means drones are okay but poison gas is a no-no.

The rest of the justification in the white paper flows from that premise in a perverse chain of ankle-bone-connected-to-the-leg-bone logic: the president has the obligation to protect America; al-Qaeda is a threat; Congress authorized war against it; and being in al-Qaeda is more relevant than citizenship (or as the document crudely puts it, "citizenship does not immunize the target"). International borders and the sovereignty of other nations are not issues if the U.S. determines the host nation is "unwilling or unable to suppress the threat posed by the individual targeted." Basically, it's all an extension of the idea of self-defense, with more than a dash of convenience shaken in.
Informed Comment: Obama's Drone Memo Revealed: US Gov't can over-rule 4th Amendment

The Guardian: US cited controversial law in decision to kill American citizen by drone
Obama's 'drone memo' is finally public. Now show us the library of secret law - "To this administration, transparency comes in the form of deleted pages. But too much of America's legal excuse for killing an American citizen remains classified"

Naughty Nuns & Flatulent Monks: Surprises of Sacred Medieval Manuscripts

The images vary widely, but they tend to be very strange and even disturbing—overt sexual acts, defecation, monsters, human-monster hybrids, animals acting like humans. There's also examples of clergy behaving very badly, the sort of thing you would not expect to see in the margins of a sacred book.
Kaitlin Manning of B & L Rootenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts talks to Collector's Weekly (previously) about the exquisitely detailed religious texts surrounded by all manner of illustrated commentary, known today as marginalia.

But then I suppose we have all read the reviews. We can talk about those

"So what is going on here? Should we be reassured that critics are sticking loyally by a work they admire regardless of sales, or bemused that something is being presented as a runaway commercial success when in fact it isn't?" Tim Parks: Raise Your Hand If You've Read Knausgaard.

Knausgaard previously on MetaFilter 1 (!), 2

Leia ambivalence

Reelgirl: Slut-shaming Princess Leia or protecting childhood from adult sexuality? HitFix: The Terrible Unspoken Implications Of Star Wars' Slave Leia

Bitchflicks - Princess Leia: Feminist Icon or Sexist Trope?
Tor - Carrie Fisher's Sound Thoughts on Princess Leia in 1983 (discusses & links to this 1983 Rolling Stone interview)


previously on MeFi:
- Genderbending, Nerdery, and Armorsmithing, Oh My
- ...and then you strangle a giant slug with a chain

Reason magazine and racism

Last week, Pando.com's Mark Ames posted an article on the efforts of the GOP to recruit in Silicon Valley using libertarianism as a wedge and the history of libertarian links, particularly through Reason magazine, to racism. Reason responded, calling Ames a "conspiracy theorist". Ames, who has a history of digging into the seedy history of libertarianism, has responded by posting a copy of Reason's holocaust denial and revisionist history issue, along with profiles of its contributors and their involvement with Reason and late 20th century libertarianism.

Flag Flags and Furl On

The North American Vexillogical Association [previously] guides you through the 5 Basic Principles of Flag Design, citing examples of good and bad flags. Badflags, however, focused on the latter -- "the most vexing examples in vexillology."

a series of "whoas" strung together

The success of "24" was just one innovation of the '00s that helped change the TV landscape into what we're living with today. Another was the rise of the premium cable drama. "The Sopranos" wasn't HBO's first original series, but it was its first to draw comparisons to Shakespeare. Broadcast networks, seeing all that prestige flowing higher on the dial, started pushing the boundaries of what kind of language and imagery they could get away with in order for network series to be as dark and transgressive as premium-network fare. Or at least, I assume that's how I came to see a human corpse turned into a cello on NBC's "Hannibal" last year.
Tara Ariano on Why Jack Bauer Is to Blame for 'Bonkers TV'
(Article contains some SPOILERs for Game of Thrones, Salem, Scandal, and American Horror Story.)

A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents an experiment in cultural democracy – the first crowdsourced photo gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day: May 10, 2014.

The day was May 10, 2014, the 145th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railway. The Transcontinental Railway was an unprecedented national project that relied heavily on Chinese labor, but whose Asian history was excluded from its visual documentation in the iconic picture of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory, Utah taken on May 10, 1869. This crowdsourced experiment is motivated by this exclusion.

[Suit not actually available]

A PSA by St John Ambulance illustrates the cost of overprotective parenting. [SLYT]

Treading Water

Prinna Boudreau tells the story how she and her husband became the focus of a police investigation after the loss of their infant daughter (audio - Boudreau's story begins at 20:17). From The Moth. [Warning: No graphic details but this is a very harrowing story]

Uncontrolled Orbital Lizard Sex Satellite

On July 18th, Russian researchers launched a Foton-M satellite in hopes of study how reptiles reproduce in a zero-g environment. They lost the ability to send commands to the biosatellite later that same day.

It's not like she walked in here for a Diet Coke and I broke her arm

The New Yorker talks with "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, the worlds best female fighter, about why she loves to be hated.

Ronda Rousey is the first and current UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion. She's aggressive and unapologetic, and has a brutal arm-bar submission hold that can break her opponent's arm if her opponent doesn't submit quickly enough.

I don't want every girl to have the same ambitions as me, but I want them to be ambitious. I'm tired of seeing girls that shut up and have no ambition being idolized.
- Ronda Rousey, in an interview with ESPN's Hanna Storm

Previously.

WAF? More like WTF.

Still shaking your head over that ridiculous "Women Against a Feminism" tumblr? The inimitable Bloggess weighs in with some welcome comic relief. (Time, right on schedule, helpfully pops up to explain it all for you).

Our nation's preschool-to-prison pipeline

"My son has been suspended five times. He's 3."

CNN video: Pre-K suspensions target black students

L.A. Unified bans suspension for 'willful defiance'

Black Preschoolers Far More Likely To Be Suspended:

Across age groups, black students are three times more likely than white students to be suspended.

While boys make up the large majority of students who are suspended (about eight in 10), about 12 percent of black girls are suspended and 7 percent of Native American girls are suspended. That's a rate higher than that of white boys (6 percent).

Black students make up about 16 percent of enrolled students, but make up more than a quarter of all students who are referred to the police.

Native Americans are also overrepresented among the suspended. They make up one percent of enrolled students but two percent of the suspended.

Students with disabilities make up about 12 percent of the student population, but they make up 75 percent of those restrained at schools. There's a racial gap there, too: blacks are about 19 percent of the population with a disability, but make up more than a third of students who "are restrained at school through the use of a mechanical device or equipment designed to restrict their freedom of movement.


Why are black students being paddled more in the public schools?

Black Boys Viewed as Older, Less Innocent Than Whites, Research Finds (Previously on Metafilter)

The turmoil of the day freezes in a thousand absurd postures.

Samuel Beckett Cats

Not Unlike Gretchen Weiners' Hair

The Down and Dirty History of TMZ: Anne Helen Peterson (previously) recounts nine years of gossip site TMZ.

Inventor of the high five

When the high five subsequently exploded in popularity in the 1980s, historians, critics, and journalists all traced its origins back to this moment. Glenn Burke was championed as its inventor, and his story slowly emerged.
...
Then, at the onset of the 1977 season, Burke's teammates learned that he was gay when one of Burke's friends accidentally revealed the fact at a dinner party with the team. Burke watched his career unravel in a spire of prejudice, intolerance, and misdirected anger.
The story of Glenn Burke, who invented the high-five during a Dodger game on October 2, 1977

A Child Booster Seat Built Into Its Buttocks

On July 27th, the cross Canada journey of hitchBOT will begin in Nova Scotia and make its way to BC as part of an experiment that looks at the interaction between people and increasingly ubiquitous technology.

Elmo Can't Sleep. Ricky Gervais Sings a Celebrity Lullaby.

Elmo can't sleep and Ricky Gervais offers a Celebrity Lullaby. Poor Elmo. Ricky Gervais is no Brad Pitt.

Did all dinosaurs have feathers?

A fossil found in Siberia shows that an early ornithiscian dinosaur had feathers.

Ornithiscians are the other branch of dinosaurs. All previous feather discoveries were theropods, from whom modern birds descended.

With members of both branches of the dinosaur family tree now shown to have had feathers, this suggests that the original ancestor of the dinosaur had them, which would imply that every dinosaur had at least a few.

Why taunt me? Why upbraid me? I am merely a genius, not a god.

In the pantheon of fictional detectives, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe is among the best. If you haven't met the fat, cranky, sedentary, orchid-loving gourmand of a detective, and his street-smart, wise-cracking, witty right-hand of an assistant, Archie Goodwin, this introduction to the pair may be of use. Between 1935 to 1974, Wolfe and Goodwin solved mysteries, captured criminals of all ilks, and on one notable occasion, got the upper hand on J. Edgar Hoover. The books are very much of their time.

David Langford looks critically at the Nero Wolfe Mysteries.

For fans, The Wolfe Pack is rich with Wolfeiana and an active community of fans. It's deceptively deep. This is just a sampling of the research/documentation within: Wolfe's Beer. The case list (published and unpublished). Archie's eating habits. Rex Stout's activism. Nero Wolfe's reading list.

Other bits and pieces on the web: John Clayton has put together floor plans of the brownstone | Archie Goodwin on why Nero Wolfe likes Orchids | The 1950s radio shows some starring Sydney Greenstreet (some liberties are taken) | examples of the comic strips and more examples (even more liberties are taken!) | pre 1950s French book covers | There are more covers in the WolfePack's flickr group | Archie and Wolfe and more in cookie form | Robert Hughes on Rex Stout | PG Wodehouse on Rex Stout | Rex Stout addressing the 1966 Books and Authors Luncheon as if they were his "Committee on Grievances."

The truth is stranger than fiction

From behind the New Yorker's temporarily removed paywall, a postmodern murder mystery from Poland in 2007.

The Norwegian for 'Museum Filter' might be 'Museum Filter'

Norway seems to be particularly good at making interesting museums. If you're touring, the museum of magic is spell-binding. The museum of knitting is a real purl. The petroleum museum is a gas. The Lofoten Stockfish museum is off the hook. And the Norsk Hermetickk-museum is about the history of sealing things in cans.

The Fram manages to polarise audiences. The Alta Rock Art museum is etched into memory, while the Rosendal Stone Park is heavyweight (and not at all erratic).

Prove your music nerd cred

Slate wants to know if you can name those 70s, 80s, 90s or more recent hits from hearing just the first second of them.