The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.

It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.

I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.

Comfort Women have been the focal point of a festering controversy in intra-Asian relations for decades. Some of these women are still alive. Their fight to gain recognition has recently resulted in a memorial statue in Glendale that is currently being protested by the Japanese government and its apologists, both in Japan and Stateside. While American and colonized Asian history books are clear about the war crimes committed against Asian women during WWII, the Japanese have opted to completely omit this atrocity from their history books, exerting a concerted effort on all mainstream media platforms to suppress, deny, and erase the voices of these women.

Valleywag’s cynical, flippant clickbaiting only adds to this silencing; by reducing Comfort Women to a punchline, they erase the history and struggles of hundreds of thousands of women who have fought so long and hard to bring their painful realities to light and their abusers to justice. Valleywag’s joke, and Gawker’s refusal to apologize fully on behalf of its authors and editors and change their editorial policies, are salt in the wounds inflicted upon Comfort Women. Gawker and Valleywag are profiteers and collaborators; they convert suffering into gold in a cynical alchemy; they create revenue off the backs of the women whose physical and now digital bodies are continually abused and violated. They are a travesty.

In a charter school classroom in Northeast Washington, the President was placed next to Madison, a sixth grader, in a group inserting toys into backpacks that homeless children will get as birthday gifts.

The schoolgirl told the President that when she learned therer would be a special guest, she thought it would “be Beyoncé.”

"I really wanted it to be," she said, "but then I realized it was gonna be you."

"Malia and Sasha would feel the same way," the President smiled.

—  (Via Gawker)
Internet slang. We used to make an effort to avoid this, and now I see us all falling back into the habit. We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters. Therefore: No “epic.” No “pwn.” No “+1.” No “derp.” No “this”/”this just happened.” No “OMG.” No “WTF.” No “lulz.” No “FTW.” No “win.” No “amazeballs.” And so on. Nothing will ever “win the internet” on Gawker. As with all rules there are exceptions. Err on the side of the Times, not XOJane.
—  Max Read, Editor, Gawker, in a memo to staff, via Poynter. Gawker bans ‘Internet slang’.
How Much Are My Friends Gonna Love It When I Piss In Their Sinks?

Thatz Not Okay, 30 January 2014:

I have been peeing in my own bathroom sink for a couple years now (I’m a guy) as it’s more convenient, I save a ton of water, urine is sterile, and everything goes to the same pipes. I recently have started wondering if I should start doing that in friends’ homes as well to conserve water at a greater scale. I would of course clean up any drops with some hot water and antibacterial soap. Is that okay?



Here is what we’re trying to tell you, young writers of the world: You don’t have to do shit just because some media outlet asks you to. You are a writer. You are not a ‘brand.’ You can write about any topic in the whole wide world. You do not have to write about yourself. You do not have to write sexy, salacious, crazy, wild, demeaning, shocking, depressing, or self-glorifying stories about your own life in order to get published. The fact that such stories may be easier to sell does not mean that you have to write them. You can write about—never forget this—other people.

Writing about yourself as a character is a process that feeds on itself. If you set out with the intent of making yourself a ‘brand’ with a certain image and persona, you are locking yourself in a prison of your own creation. Media outlets will always be interested in cheap thrills. Your mom died in a fire? You were molested as a child? You slept with five different dudes a night every year at Harvard? You did something, anything, that will titillate a bored office drone slacking off on the internet? Sure, write it up. It’s ‘exposure!’ It’s good for your career! Blah blah blah!

Do not believe it. It is not necessarily bad to write about yourself; but remember that there are six billion other people in the world with equally compelling stories. Part of the reason that media outlets like to publish these types of confessional first-person essays is so that we, the readers, can mentally scold the writer for being so self-absorbed and unwise. First person writing about ourselves should be unleashed only on special occasions, like that Christmas sweater in your closet. Don’t rock it every day. You’ll just look ridiculous.

Hamilton Nolan, "The ‘Writing About Yourself’ Trap

I spent half an hour today trying to remember where I read this article and what it was titled. I’m linking to it here partially so that I’ll be able to find it in the future.

Evil Triumphs: Satanic Birds Attack Pope’s Peace Doves (via Gawker)

In the Vatican earlier today, two peace doves were viciously attacked by a crow and a seagull when they were set free by Pope Francis from a window at Apostolic Palace. We’ve spent countless years of our precious time on this planet debating over whether evil would triumph over good, whether the Dementors would eventually find us, and if birds — despite our blame in their pitiful helplessness — were actually hotblooded, malevolent predators searching fiendishly to corrupt their own.

It was confirmed today in St. Peter’s Square that the search for these answers was over when the malicious crow and its seagull henchman overtook the two peace doves as a horrified group of children watched from the window. The children were young, impressionable, and are now likely ruined.

Blood dripping from its beak, the seagull repeatedly went after one dove, pecking and taunting it, while the crow chased after the other, its mouth agape, ready to impart a Dementor’s kiss. The doves struggled beneath the grasps of their dark winged brethren, and it’s clear from the images above and below who the real victor is: unforgiving evil and soulless villainy. A Hitchcock film brought to life, the scene shook the tens of thousands of people watching below, a reminder that birds are not only angry, they also cannot be trusted, a notion that has been supported since biblical times:

Has not my inheritance become to me like a speckled bird of prey that other birds of prey surround and attack? Go and gather all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.Jeremiah 12:9

Prior to the fight, Pope Francis had prayed for peace in the Ukraine, where violent protests in Kiev turned deadly last week. Speaking from the palace, Pope Francis told the crowd below, “I hope that a constructive dialogue between the institutions and civil society can take place, that any resort to violence is avoided and that the spirit of peace and a search for the common good is in the hearts of all.”

Whiteface in America has a long, hurtful history. The first mass distributed instance I remember is the Eddie Murphy SNL skit in the early 80’s. This was extremely hurtful because it followed the roundup and internment of white Americans from their native lands of Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. The next instance I recall was that “White Chicks” movie which followed the Supreme Court decision to restrict white voter rights. Then, here comes Dave Chappelle, playing his white faced reporter just after BET denied white reporters the right to work for their network, using an insidious “grandfather clause” as their basis for denial. There is a long, painful legacy of whiteface and I stand along with you to ensure that that tradition is killed, along with the practice of restricting white rights in this country.
—  Comment response on Gawker to the “White Chicks” Blackface deflection: Because Mere Blackface Wasn’t Offensive Enough For These Partiers
We’re witnessing a week in which journalists are risking their own safety and well-being covering one of the year’s most important stories, a story where their very presence has done a traceable good — and then here comes the story of another journalist who lost his life while doing the same. But as quickly as that life is lost, the worst elements of the profession turn around and exploit it.

Not all those photos you’re seeing of burning cities and pitched urban battles are from Kiev. Even as the near-apocalyptic imagery of Ukraine’s violent protests have captured the top of the news, Venezuelan cities have gone from dangerous to “warzone” overnight. Here’s what you need to know.

Gawker’s Adam Weinstein has compiled an extensive breakdown on the increasingly violent demonstrations taking place in Venezuela, where at least five people have died as a result of clashes between protesters and government security forces in the last seven days.

We’re bad lovers, so we continue the cycle of hate and self-hate. We let the producers of 21 whitewash Asian characters. We let Spike Lee remake Oldboy and cast Josh Brolin as its lead. We let shows like Friends and Girls show only white relationships and use Asian and black actors and actresses to play interim lovers. We let SNL go thirty-nine years without casting a single Asian comedian. We make talented Asian actors come to America and play ninjas and yakuzas. We cast Asian actors and models with stereotypical Asian faces and un-stereotypical Asian bodies. We fetishize them by giving “sexiest man of the year” or “sexiest woman of the year.” And we ignore Baldwin’s warning that we could “lose our faith—and become possessed.”

We lose our faith in ourselves and lose our faith in our ability to love.

And instead, we partake in phony performances and dialogues of love. Drake singing “Shout out to Asian girls, let their lights dim-sum” is not love. A commercial saying “White, black, brown, yellow, purple, green, we’re all the same” is not love. I want to hear our pop culture honestly try to articulate love. I want to stop reading buzzwords like “safe space” that generate the false illusion of safety and the false sense of invasion. I want to see us love and fight for each other when no one is watching.