February 24, 2015

Obama, Giuliani, and The Use of Dog Whistles to Obscure the Real Problem

By Zachary C. Sneddon
24 February 2015

It is my considered opinion that President Obama should be impeached for taking the unprecedented step of openly authorizing the drone strike assassinations of natural-born American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan without due process of law, in direct contravention to Article III Sections 2 and 3 and the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution he swore an oath to uphold when he took office.

Traitors the al-Awlakis and Khan may well have been, but the Constitution guarantees even traitors due process of law, which consists of more than just executive fiat.  It bewilders and dismays me that more people aren't outraged and incensed by this unprecedented subversion of Constitutional authority, but nobody else seems to give two shits because the assassinated natural-born American citizens in question were ethnically Arabic Muslims.

Then again, I don't harbor any suspicion that Barack Obama loves America any less than Rudy Giuliani.

At a recent fundraising dinner with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said, and I quote:

"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."

That isn't the considered argument of a rational statesman; that's the inflammatory polemic of a chicken hawk with a war boner pandering to a xenophobic base, playing up the apparent 'otherness' of the President on no basis other than his own narrow personal definition of what it means to love this country.

You know who Giuliani sounded like? He sounded like Joe fuckin' McCarthy.  Who the fuck is he to tell me what it means to love my country?  I served honorably for more than seven years on active duty in the United States Navy, don't you DARE presume to tell me what it means to love my country.  I don't respond well to this line of polemic.

You know who does respond well to this horseshit?  Racists.

I'm not a fan of this administration, but trotting out a white supremacist dog whistle to rile up the bigots who suffer from an utterly irrational anxiety born of living under the administration of a black President with a non-Anglo-sounding name--as Giuliani did--does nothing to advance the nation's political discourse.  Meanwhile, the drone war continues unabated and unremarked upon by the establishment bloc of either major party.

Relevant Links

The Atlantic:
Obama's Execution of the Drone War Should Terrify Even Drone Defenders

American Civil Liberties Union:
Blog of Rights: Anwar al-Awlaki

The New York Times:
The Drone That Killed My Grandson

Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute:
United States Constitution, Article III, Section 2
United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3
United States Constitution, Fifth Amendment
United States Constitution, Sixth Amendment
United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment

Rudy Giuliani: President Obama doesn’t love America

The Guardian:
We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike

January 22, 2015

Dadaist Response to the 2015 #SOTU

How to shoot a video that doesn't completely suck, with no $

Before the A/V nerds go postal on all the fine arts and technique that I am not talking about: this isn't a tutorial on how to make a high quality video.

Not remotely so.

This is a tutorial on how to make a video that doesn't completely suck with no money.

So with that in mind, let's start:

STEP ONE -- where are you shooting?

Is it neon pink? Then paint the walls or hang up some sheets, because otherwise you're going to reflect neon pink off your face in the shoot.
The best color walls are neutral colors, like white, off white, beige, brown, or black. They won't really affect the color of your shot, which is helpful.

STEP TWO -- camera angle. Make sure you are actually in the shot, for starts. Then you want to make sure that you are shooting from above, for a more flattering shot. (nobody wants to look up your nose at your boogers)

Shooting from below is weird. Don't do that. I think people have better posture, breath control, and chin definition when they are standing.  So if you're going to stand up for your shoot, put your laptop on a box or something so that it's level with your face, and so that the camera is a little higher than you are.

If you're taller, like me, you may have to sit down.  That's okay.  Put a pillow behind your back and sit on the edge of the seat.  Plant your feet firmly on the ground.  Don't slouch, you'll look like you're falling asleep.  Nobody wants to watch you fall asleep.

STEP THREE -- Lighting. Lighting is important.
Don't light yourself from behind, unless you're in the witness protection program.

HOW TO AVOID: Make sure there are no light sources behind you. Common nuisance backlights are room lights on the ceiling positioned behind you or between you and the camera (or behind you), open windows curtains that are bleeding in light, etc. Try to film with your back to a wall, or even better, a light-killing black curtain.

DO NOT LIGHT YOURSELF FROM BELOW. No matter how good you look in daylight, you will almost assuredly look like this when lit from below:

HOW TO AVOID: Don't light yourself with a desklamp that is sitting below your camera.
Don't light yourself with the cold lifeless glow of your laptop.
Make sure you don't have a flashlight in your lap pointed at your face.
Make sure your lighting is above your head (like where the sun is in the sky), or aimed at the ceiling to diffuse the light and reflect it back down onto you.
Just don't have a source of light that is below your field of vision, or if there is one, make sure to balance it out by having another light source that is stronger.


You can't afford proper lighting if you have zero $.


You should probably light from more than once source.
If you do that, you'll have two lights, a "key light" which is the stronger one and provides definition and shiz, and your "fill light" which is diffuse and fills the shadows on your face with a softer more diffuse light.

Or you can just put a couple lamps in the room behind the camera and call it good.

OH wait, you only have one lamp? Yeah, you can probably make that work too.

January 5, 2015

How Does Understanding "Whiteness" Explain Racism?

What does whiteness mean?
How does understanding whiteness help us understand racism?
Anti-Racism organizer Tim Wise explores this topic, and the conclusions he reaches... well, just watch:

White Like Me
Time Wise, 68min

December 10, 2014

Katie Couric Roundtable on Eric Garner

Awesome people here taking Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelley to task for his ignorance and just general douchey-ness.

I knew that Ray Kelley was a douchebag, but I was completely taken aback by how openly and unapologetically douchey he is.

December 5, 2014

Just Stop Talking About Race!

via chescaleigh

5 Tips for Being an Ally

Resources for allies: 

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize

White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

The Angry Eye - Blue Eye Brown Eye experiment 

A Powerful Lesson About Privilege 

Managing Privilege 

10 things allies need to know

Derailing for dummies

Resources for straight or cisgender people:
Queer 101: http://www.roostertailscomic.com/comi...

White anti-racism: living the legacy

10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism

GLAAD's resources for allies

Transwhat? tips for allyship

10 reasons to give up ableist language


Melissa Harris Perry Black Feminism syllabus

How to be a male feminist ally

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Why do 15% of top scientists believe in God?

Worth watching all the way through to the end.

45 min

December 4, 2014

Hacking BuzzFeed Lifehacks with Lifehacking

So buzzfeed has a few videos and "listicles" (a portmanteau of "list" and "testicle")* of lifehacks. I thought they were neat/interesting, but didn't actually do any of them.

I was recently at a cooperative office space with a real techie/startup culture vibe, and I noticed that those buzzfeed lifehacks were being applied everywhere.
Seeing them actually being applied in reality got me thinking about how those lifehacks could be further improved upon by additional lifehacks.

Here are my four lifehacking lifehacks:

1. Just drink when you're thirsty

Seriously, your survival instinct is so weak that you forget to do the most basic things you need to do to stay alive? Do you need an egg timer to remind you to eat as well? When you get that weird feeling in your pelvic area, do you just wait till you wet yourself?

2. It won't make your desk look like a hovercraft, but a tasteless multibulb room lamp from a box store can adequately light your workspace, and can be found FOR FREE outside any college dorm around May.
Instead of paying money for this:

Try picking up one of these for free outside of any college dorm in May when students move out:

3. You could use this two-cup solution to avoid ever having stale coffee again-- Or you could stop being a snob, and just shut up and fucking drink it. Let's face it, there's nothing worse than stale coffee, aside from everything else in universe, because coffee is awesome. 

 Enough sugar and cream, and even strained charcoal remains found in an electrical fire will be palatable enough to fuel your pointless paperpushing productivity. Meet that deadline!

4. Never go to BuzzFeed, ever
Even buzzfeed encourages you to install a program that prevents you from ever going to their website: it's in their lifehack list.

*I've been informed that it's actually a portmanteau of "Liskeardite" and "Article" since they are all articles originally written down on stone tablets made of a composite of Aluminum, Arsenic, Iron, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.