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General Discussion / Yep
« on: January 25, 2015, 09:06:17 PM »

A year after marijuana legalisation in Colorado, 'everything's fine' confirm police

It's been a year since Colorado became the first state in the US to legalise marijuana, and its impact on health, crime, employment and other factors can now be more empirically measured.

So, did it bring about an apocalypse leaving the streets strewn with out-of-work addicts as some Republicans feared?

"We found there hasn't been much of a change of anything," a Denver police officer told CBC this week.

"Basically, officers aren't seeing much of a change in how they do police work."

Not only has the legalisation of cannabis not come with a rise in crime, it has also created thousands of jobs, as tourists flock to the city's 60+ marijuana outlets.

A local newspaper even appointed its first cannabis critic in April.

"So the sky isn't falling?" a CBC reporter asked the officer. "The sky isn't falling," he replied.

Impaired driving, property crime and violent crime were all dropping in Denver prior to legalisation, and the trend has only continued. Even drug use among young people is down, the report claims.

Colorado's unprecedented move led to Washington, Alaska and Oregon voting for legalisation, and this week a bill was filed to legalise it in New York.

Cannabis remains a Class B drug in the UK, carrying a prison sentence for possession of up to five years.


A Florida man was arrested on criminal mischief charges for smashing the car of his “spiritual” girlfriend after she prophesied that his dead grandmother would return to him in his dreams — and violate him with what police called “an adult erotic device.”

According to TCPalm‘s Will Greenlee, Casey Molter and his unnamed girlfriend had gotten into a physical altercation earlier that morning, and police were called to break them up. At that time, Molter had only inflicted minor damage to her car and smashed her cell phone.

After police left, however, Molter continued to attack his girlfriend’s car, breaking a passenger side mirror, deflating its tires, and strewing the hood and windshield with used condoms and what the police referred to as “love notes” written in creams and lotions.

When police returned to the scene, they asked Molter why he was so intent on damaging his girlfriend’s car. He replied that she is a “‘spiritual person’ and can tell a person about their dreams.”

He said that she had told him that his deceased grandmother was going to return to him in his dreams, and that she was going to “commit an unusual sex act to him involving an adult erotic device,” the police report stated.

“Molter said that he could not get the image out of his head and he ‘snapped,’” the report continued.

Molter posted his $500 bond, and is due back in court later in January.

General Discussion / Child Molester Won $3 Million Lottery Jackpot
« on: December 12, 2014, 12:21:32 AM »

Convicted Sex Offender Timothy Poole Wins $3 Million Lottery Jackpot in Florida

A convicted sex offender won a $3 million lottery jackpot in Florida and will be able to keep his winnings.

Timothy Poole, 43, won the prize after buying a $20 ticket from a 7-Eleven store in Mount Dora, Florida.

Poole pleaded guilty in 2002 to attempted sexual battery involving two victims under the age of 12, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.

He was released from custody in 2006.

Poole, now working as a cab driver for his family’s taxi company, asserted his innocence in an October report by WKMG-TV, a CBS-affiliated station in Orlando.

“It may be hard for some to believe, but sometimes people are wrongly accused,” Poole said in the October report.

There are no laws preventing anyone convicted of committing a crime from winning the lottery. The odds of winning a $3 million jackpot in the Super Millions scratch-off game are 1-in-1,680,000, according to Florida Lottery.


This is not your ordinary Top 10 Buzzfeed list. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs, created this list to show why the War on Drugs has been one of the most disastrous policies in American history. From mass incarceration and tremendous loss of life to billions of dollars seized from citizens every year, drug prohibition is a colossal failure. We need you to share this list to help get the word out. Help grow the number of people in this country and around the globe demanding legalization, regulation and control.

1. Mass Incarceration

The U.S. currently has less than 5% of the world’s population, but nearly 25% of its incarcerated population. We imprison more people than any other nation in the world. Our high levels of imprisonment are largely due to current drug policies – drug arrests account for more than 50% of people in federal prison, and more than 16% of people in state prison. Nowadays, about 500,000 Americans are behind bars on any given night for a drug law violation, 10 times the amount in 1980.

2. Racial Bias In Arrests

According to Human Rights Watch, as of 2009, black people were arrested on drug charges at more than three times the rates of whites and sent to state prisons with drug convictions at ten times the rate of whites. All this despite the fact, the Washington Post informs us, that whites and blacks use drugs at about the same rates and white people are more likely to sell drugs.

3. Asset Forfeiture

Several U.S. laws passed in the 1970s and 1980s have enabled the government to seize and forfeit private property even if no one is ever charged with a crime. In seizures, 81% of folks are never indicted. Police departments generally get to keep much of the profit from what they take, creating an incentive for police to support the drug war. In 2012, the Justice Department took in nearly $4.2 billion in forfeitures.

4. America’s Heroin Epidemic

From 2006 to 2010, heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. increased by 45%, and the numbers continue to climb. As the nation has cracked down on prescription opioid abuse, people suffering from addiction have turned to heroin, a cheaper, easily accessible option. As it is unregulated and attached to great social stigma, people use heroin in shame, not knowing what they are consuming and often afraid to ask for help in case of overdose or addiction. And our friends, family members, and neighbors are dying from it more than ever – four decades into the so-called war on drugs.

5. The Breakdown Between Police and the Community

Police officers are supposed to protect and serve communities. However, since the drug war has ramped up in this country over the last forty years, the relationship between police and community has soured. Police officers come into communities – many times, low income communities or communities of color – and meet its members with aggression. Practices such as stop and frisk and the increasing militarization of police officers have deteriorated trust in police forces, which compromises the opportunity for cooperation and justice when violent crimes are committed.

6. Mexican Drug Cartel Violence

The Mexican government has escalated its war with drug cartels and traffickers since late 2006. Since that time, more than 60,000 people have been killed. On top of the human suffering and loss, it is estimated that Mexican drug cartels take in between $19 -$20 billion annually from U.S. drug sales.

7. The War on Women

Women are the fastest-growing population within the prison industrial complex. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of women in prison increased by 646%. Roughly 85% of women in prison now are serving time for nonviolent offenses. The war on drugs is the primary reason behind these statistics. Here are two breathtaking cases of women affected by the war on drugs: the Kemba Smith story and Amy Povah story.

8. The Entrapment of Minors

Unfortunately, there are law enforcers around the country who choose to prey on vulnerable minors to get their arrest numbers up so that their departments can earn coveted federal grant dollars. In the case of Jesse Snodgrass (an autistic teen also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome who struggles socially), a police officer posed as a high school student, pretended to be Jesse’s friend, and harassed him until he sold him marijuana. Entrapment of minors is a pathetic excuse for police work and a waste of our tax dollars.

9. SWAT Raids Kill People and Family Pets

It happens all around the country. A SWAT team bursts into the wrong home, shoots an unarmed innocent victim, the family dog, and traumatizes the rest of the family members. It happened to these people, all of whom lost their lives in one type of botched drug enforcement operation or another. And it happened in epic fashion in July 2008, when a SWAT team stormed the home of the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, PA, shot and killed his two dogs, and held him at gunpoint.

10. The Drug War Spends Tax Dollars

In addition to the increase in crime, corruption, and the restricting of civil rights that has resulted in drug prohibition, legalizing and regulating drugs would create an estimated $88 billion per year in tax dollar savings and new tax revenue for U.S. federal and state governments. Despite this potentially massive economic boost, there has been little productive dialogue on the subject of legalization and regulation from policymakers.


‘It’s gross, it’s racist’: Ben Affleck and Bill Maher clash over criticizing Islam

ll Maher and author and neuroscientist Sam Harris battled actor/director Ben Affleck on Real Time on Friday concerning Maher’s recent remarks criticizing Islam.

“Why are you so hostile about this?” Maher asked Affleck.

“It’s gross, it’s racist,” Affleck replied.

“It’s so not,” Maher insisted, though Affleck compared it to using the term, “Shifty Jew.”

“You’re not listening to what we are saying,” Maher insisted.

“You guys are saying, if you want to be liberal, believe in liberal principles,” Affleck said, referencing Maher’s monologue last week. “Like, we are endowed by our forefathers with inalienable rights, all men are created equal.”

Harris, who had complained about criticism of the Muslim religion being dismissed as Islamophobic, countered that liberals should be allowed to criticize bad ideas.

“Islam is the motherload of bad ideas,” Harris argued.

“Jesus,” Affleck said in frustration.

“That’s just a fact,” Maher said, backing Harris up.

“Or how about the more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, and don’t do any of the things you say all Muslims do?” Affleck said.

But Harris countered that the strongest voices in Islam belong to not only extremists, but conservative Muslims who, while criticizing terrorist groups, still follow practices that keep other members of their communities “immiserated.”

“It’s the only religion that acts like the mafia,” Maher said. “They will f*cking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”

Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele pointed out that Muslim clerics from several countries have condemned the actions of groups like the Islamic State, without getting much attention for it.

“Where was the coverage?” Steele asked. “Where was that story to create a different picture?”

Affleck then rebuffed Maher’s attempt to laugh the discussion off.

“I’m simply telling you, I disagree with you,” Affleck said, before Maher cut him off.

“I know, and we’re obviously not convincing anybody,” Maher said.

Maher did not address criticism directed toward him by religious scholar Reza Aslan, who said on CNN that his views on the religion were “not very sophisticated.”


JEFFERSON COUNTY Colo. (Reuters) - Sitting with friends by a skate park near a Colorado high school known more for an infamous shooting than conflict over curriculum, 17-year-old Charlotte Beierle said attempts to play down the darker parts of U.S. history mystify her.

The Columbine High School student was one of more than 1,000 placard-waving pupils who walked out of classrooms in the largely white, middle-class district in suburban Denver last week after one school board member proposed changing parts of a history course.

"People thought we were punks because we walked out of class," said the teenager, sitting across from the site of a 1999 shooting that left 12 students and one teacher dead. "But why would you teach history and not teach the negative bits?"

The question of how U.S. teens learn history in public schools is the latest flash point in a liberal-conservative fight over national curricula that had previously focused on more scientific topics such as teaching creationism versus evolution.

Opponents say the revised guidelines for the Advanced Placement (AP) history course cast the United States in a harsh light by giving undue emphasis to topics such as slavery and the treatment of Native Americans.

Supporters of the new outline decry what they call a bid to block teachers from teaching U.S. sins of the past in a course for high schoolers deemed ready for college-level content.

The fuse was lit in Colorado when three conservative members were elected to a five-person school board in Jefferson County last November, changing the political balance in the state's second-largest school district with nearly 150 schools and 84,000 students.

Responding to the new AP U.S. history course framework, which was rolled out this fall, one new board member called for instructional materials to promote "patriotism" and "respect for authority."

The materials should not, she wrote, "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

The contentious proposal was quickly tabled after all three conservative board members agreed to not pursue it, but it caught the attention of students, many of whom demonstrated last week outside schools waving signs reading "Don't make history a mystery!" and "How will we learn from our mistakes if you don't teach us about them?"

Dozens of teachers also called in sick or used personal days, causing some schools to cancel classes. Even some students at a middle school staged their own protest.


Administered by the New Jersey-based College Board, AP classes are a mainstay for students headed to elite universities, allowing them to earn college credits.

Critics say the new history course consistently casts the United States in a negative light, omitting or distorting key historical events or topics such as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. involvement in World War II.

In August, the Republican National Committee denounced the framework as "radically revisionist," calling for a congressional probe and threatening to withhold federal funds from the College Board.

In politically purple Jefferson County, which bills itself as the "Gateway to the Rocky Mountains," the school board member who made the controversial proposal, Julie Williams, said important figures, such as founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, escape mention. So, too, she noted, does civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The authors of the new framework say it seeks to de-emphasize rote memorization in favor of critical thinking. They say they have never provided a detailed list of which figures need to be studied so teachers can decide for themselves what content to include according to state mandates.

The school board is scheduled to address the issue again at a meeting on Thursday night.

The controversy has not been limited to Colorado. In Texas, the State Board of Education last month recommended the course be revised "in a transparent manner that accurately reflects U.S. history without an ideological bias."

Conservative board members have accused the Jefferson County teachers' union, already upset over a new pay deal, of spurring the protests. The union denies it, and the reaction from parents defending their children has been fierce.

Jodi Lundin, a mother of two, said the new board members put their political and religious views ahead of students.

"You all have bullied the teachers and the community, and I ask you to stop blaming and take a good, hard look at yourselves," Lundin wrote in an open letter to the three.

General Discussion / Deadpool Teaser
« on: September 18, 2014, 10:41:25 PM »

Spamalot / Heh heh
« on: September 15, 2014, 09:32:55 PM »


Yesterday, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly and his team posed the following question on O’Reilly’s poll center:

Do you favor the legalization of marijuana?

The poll’s purpose was, in O’Reilly’s pipe dream world, to facilitate an extremely negative response and then to air a segment on The O’Reilly Factor derailing cannabis legalization (like he did Monday night). By polling his own audience, O’Reilly and his team could paint a delusional picture, but one supported by “data.”

And at first, it worked. 81% of the initial voters responded with a resolute “No.”

Then, the internet caught wind of the poll, made it go viral in the cannabis community, and worked its marijuana magic.

First, NORML posted the following message to its constituency on Facebook:

NORML Nation: Bill O’Reilly is hosting a poll on marijuana legalization, but unlike most polls, we are losing! Click to vote and turn the tide. Let’s show Prohibitionist O’Reilly that it is time to end the madness and legalize marijuana. Think we can flip these results?

That post got over 3,000 likes and 1,500 shares. Despite feeling “dirty” by giving O’Reilly’s poll serious web traffic, the NORML community rallied, and hit the poll hard.

UPDATE: We went from 18% for, 81% against (1,483 votes) to 70% for, 30% opposed (~4,000 votes) in about 20 minutes. Good work everyone!

Then, the same message made its to Reddit’s popular marijuana community. Then, this happened:

Update: The poll is holding steady with legal weed holding a comfortable 90%-10% lead.

This graphic paints a clear picture: the internet’s love of legal weed has become a force that cannot be reckoned with.

It’s unclear whether or not O’Reilly will ever air this ironic poll which pretty much derails his entire anti-pot hypothesis. It is clear that if Bill O’Reilly and Nancy Grace had a baby, the world would be doomed.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced today that it is leaning toward finally allowing its female population to use forks.

The highly anticipated move comes as the autocratic Islamic regime faces ongoing criticism around the world for its record on women’s rights, which critics say is among the worst in the word.

“We hope this gesture of goodwill today will assure our critics that the Kingdom is open to reform on all issues and is sensitive to the needs of its female population,” a spokesperson for the Saudi government says.

Saudi Arabia has banned women from using forks since its formation in 1932 over fears that the utensil represented a threat to the kingdom’s conservative sexual mores.

"There is something very unclean about a woman putting four long hard things in her mouth at once," explains a leading Islamic cleric close to government policymakers.

"When a man sees a woman putting metal with such shapes into her sacred orifice, he cannot help but think the most unnatural thoughts. This measure exists to prevent sexual chaos between men and women."

However, Mario Santerelli, an Italian expatriate who runs an upscale Italian restaurant in Riyadh, has a different view.

“I can’t wait for the ban to be lifted,” he says. “It’s frustrating having to watch women eat pasta with a knife and spoon. Many of my customers are couples looking for a romantic night out. Being unable to properly eat your food kinda kills the mood.”

Once the ban on female fork use is lifted, women will still face a variety restrictions unique to the kingdom, where the status of women is arguably analogous to that of blacks in apartheid South Africa.

All women in Saudi Arabia are required to have a legal male guardian, are barred from mixing with the opposite sex in public, forced to use separate entrances to most buildings, and are most notoriously banned from driving automobiles.

Although there is a growing movement within the kingdom for greater freedom for women, this is the first concrete step the conservative ruling monarchy has made in that direction.

According to sources close to the government, the fork ban is expected to be lifted in a matter of weeks.


The city of Compton in Los Angeles County has been synonymous with gangsta rap since N.W.A.’s groundbreaking Straight Outta Compton album in 1988, but it’s now also famous for a steadfast opposition to fracking.

This week, Compton was hit with a lawsuit by the Western States Petroleum Association, a mega-bloc of some of the most powerful oil and gas companies in the nation. Although Santa Cruz and Beverly Hills both voted in fracking bans this May, only Compton’s ban (which passed on April 22) is being challenged by the industry in court.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of natural gas extraction in which a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand is injected with high pressure into deep underground rock formations like shale. The rock is then broken up into fractures, which fill with natural gas or petroleum.

Exxon Mobil's CEO says no to fracking… near his Texas ranch. Read more here.

Environmentalists and residents of areas near fracking wells oppose the method because of its potential to pollute groundwater and air. But opposition in California is also concerned with one of fracking’s other suspected dangers: inciting earthquakes.

This March, the Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, and Earthworks co-published a report titled “On Shaky Ground: How Oil Companies Increase California’s Earthquake Risk.” The paper found that over half of California’s active wastewater wells (where fracking chemicals are dumped after use) are within 10 miles of the San Andreas fault.

Kassie Siegel, director of Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, told VICE News that scientists have proven that wastewater injection heightens the likelihood of earthquakes.

“It increases earthquake risk in our seismically active state and puts millions of people at risk,” Siegel said. “It’s completely unsafe and unacceptable for this to be going on.”

After large earthquakes hit Oklahoma and Colorado in 2011, scientists began to suspect that they were induced by nearby fracking operations. In May, the Seismological Society of America held a press conference to warn the public that there’s no way to predict which fracking wells will cause tremors.

Compton sits on top of the Avalon-Compton fault, but the massive San Andreas fault — a rupture of which caused the 1906 San Francisco quake that leveled the city — passes just to the east of Los Angeles County.

New York's silent but deadly fracking problem. Read more here.

The Western States complaint alleges that Compton’s ordinance is unconstitutional because it bans fracking outside of the city limits under the stipulation that any oil or gas wells nearby would “bottom out” in its city. Basically, Compton doesn’t want any fracking-related pollution coming its way — and Western States claims that the city doesn’t have the right to try and avoid it.

The Compton ban is an ordinance imposing a moratorium on fracking “from any surface location in the city or from any site outside the city limits where the subsurface bottom hole is located in the city.” By using such specific language, Compton essentially laid claim not only to its land boundaries on the surface, but also to the miles and miles of rock and gas deposits underneath the city.

So why sue only Compton? After all, not only have other California cities banned fracking, several more are hopping on the bandwagon. Santa Barbara and San Benito counties just approved November ballot measures to ban the controversial method, and Los Angeles is currently drafting a permanent ordinance after the city council temporarily banned fracking earlier this year.

Wasting water in California will now cost you $500. Read more here.

A spokesperson for Western States told VICE News the company filed the suit “on behalf of its members who own mineral rights or currently produce oil and natural gas in or near the City of Compton.”

It’s the in or near part that defines the legal battle: Western States says Compton has no authority to regulate activities outside of the city limits. But far from being arbitrary, Compton’s ban on nearby fracking came as a response to a huge drilling project proposed in the neighboring town of Carson. Carson imposed a complete moratorium in March in response to the project, but it expired after just 45 days.

VICE News spoke with Carson resident Dianne Thomas, who has been working with the Carson Coalition to drive fracking from her city. She’s fighting Occidental Petroleum Corporation, which proposed opening over 200 fracking wells to be built on the Carson-Compton border over the next ten years. The wells would also be less than two miles from Thomas’s house.

“Compton is aware of the struggle we’re under,” Thomas said. “At our city council, someone announced that if we don’t pass it here, they’ll just go to Compton and drill there. But they don’t really need to be in Compton to affect Compton, because of the slant drilling.”

Slant, or directional, drilling is a method of drilling horizontally underground to maximize shale access. But it’s also been criticized as the method most likely to pollute groundwater and cause toxic air emissions.

“If you’re going to be in Carson, you’re going to spill over into Compton — and you don’t need permission to be there,” Thomas said, explaining why Compton’s ban includes nearby fracking operations that would “spill” into its city limits.

The strange case of Pictou County, Nova Scotia — a community supported by toxic mills. Read more here.

As in Compton, the majority of Carson residents are African-American or Hispanic. Those are the kinds of South LA neighborhoods that have reported the worst effects of fracking pollution.

After years of trying to bring the government’s attention to the mysterious nosebleeds, nausea, and other illnesses affecting the community, residents of a housing project near one oil production site invited Environmental Protection Agency agents to come see for themselves how toxic the area had become. The investigators became sick almost immediately upon arrival, and this January the EPA cited AllenCo Energy for violations of the clean air and water acts.

A statewide bill proposed by State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would impose a moratorium on fracking throughout California. But the legislation, SB 1132, has repeatedly failed to pass the Senate.

When the bill failed, Senator Mitchell called out the oil and gas industry for racism.

“When the impacts on the public of a for-profit endeavor are unknown, we try it out first in minority neighborhoods — assuming low vigilance and the need to bring in jobs makes safety irrelevant,” Mitchell said in a May 30 statement. “But we’ve put big industry on notice: That ploy won’t fly forever. People’s neighborhoods aren’t fodder for fracking.”

But the oil and gas industry is pouring lots of money into the fight. After the California Senate voted down SB 1132 in late May, the nonpartisan financial research group MapLight revealed that senators who opposed the bill had received an average of $24,981 each in campaign contributions from the industry.

The bill stalled at a 16-16 vote because eight Democrats abstained. According to MapLight, these Democrats took over four times as much oil and gas money as Democrats who voted in support of the bill.

One oft-quoted group, Californians for Energy Independence, purports to be a citizen’s activist coalition that is pro-fracking. But the website Follow the Money exposed the group as a front for the oil and gas industry: Californians for Energy Independence received 96 percent of its funding from four energy companies, totaling over $22 million.

A whopping $18 million of Californians for Energy Independence funding came from one company: Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of Seal Beach, California.

Despite the seemingly endless piles of cash being spent, anti-fracking advocates think the oil and gas companies are fighting a losing battle.

“In New York, the oil industry threw everything they had at fracking bans and they went to the highest court in the state, but they still lost,” Siegel told VICE News. “Even if [Western States] wins the lawsuit, Compton will just look at it as a fix-it ticket and go back and adjust the ordinance. They’ll still be able to ban fracking.”

General Discussion / Help sign the petition to support the FAIR Act.
« on: July 25, 2014, 03:10:29 PM »
The first step to ending the war on drugs is ending the financial incentives for local police to support it.

S. 2644: A bill to restore the integrity of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Sen. Rand Paul [R KY]

Endorsed by Americans For Forfeiture Reform

The FAIR Act introduces three core reforms to federal civil asset forfeiture practices: (1) it attempts to eliminate the perverse incentives driving asset forfeiture abuse by directing forfeiture proceeds to the Treasury department's general fund in lieu of the DOJ's asset forfeiture fund; (2) it would prevent state and local police from evading state laws governing the availability of civil forfeiture and the distribution of forfeiture proceeds (for instance, several states' police agencies circumvent state laws directing forfeiture funds to education by having the DOJ adopt their forfeitures in a process called equitable sharing); and (3) the Act would increase the Government's burden of proof for a forfeiture from a preponderance of the evidence standard to that of a clear and convincing evidence standard (the standard originally proposed for the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000).


Sexagenarian and Game of Thrones novelist George R R Martin has given a strongly-worded response to claims his readers worry he will die before finishing A Song of Fire and Ice.

A Dance with Dragons, the latest instalment in the series, took six years to write, and some fans fear the 65-year-old will not be able to offer enough material to keep up with the TV adaptation of the series. But others reportedly fear he won’t finish the series at all in his lifetime.

Asked to respond to the suggestions during an interview with Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Martin replied: “I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating as to my death and my health.

“So, f*** you to those people,” he added, gesturing at the camera with his middle-finger.

Martin has been working on the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, but has not giving fans a release date.

But analysts using Martin’s average rate of 350 words per day, have predicted that he will be able to finish the book by 2017.

In a recent interview with Mashable, Martin admitted that he “needs to write faster,” but added: "I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game."


It’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid. It’s a strongly conservative news network blatantly copying the logo of video game in which the villain is a strongly conservative evil mastermind who wants to destroy the world. Not only is one of those things actually ironic, but it also actually happened earlier this week.

First, the backstory: BioShock Infinite is a game that takes place in a flying city run by a religious zealot named Zachary Hale Comstock. He has populated his city with racist assholes who literally worship America’s Founding Fathers, and he uses American iconography to rile up his citizens in support of a war with all of the heathens of the world that aren’t a part of his flying city.

Meanwhile, in the world of cable news channels, there’s a network called Fox News that is known for leaning a bit conservative. At the risk of saying something overtly political, we’ll just let you make your own connections between the flying city using patriotism to push people into war and the TV network that paired footage of the U.S. bombing Iraq in 2003 with a waving American flag.

With that established, we can all appreciate the humor in Fox News appropriating BioShock Infinite’s logo for some kind of “Defending The Homeland” segment:

The above picture comes from Ken Levine, the creator of BioShock (via Nerdist), who seemed more tickled by it than annoyed. “Glad to help, Fox. Glad to help,” he posted on Facebook. You can see the original Infinite logo below and compare them yourself, but the funny part here isn’t that Fox News copied it—which it totally did—it’s that it apparently copied it without recognizing what the logo represents: A violent video game about killing right-wing crazy people. It would’ve been weird for Fox News to take any game’s logo like this, but for it take the one with a message that specifically diverges so strongly from its own? That’s irony, Alanis.

The last single player game I played was Knights of the Old Republic 2 on the Xbox. Ever since then, I haven't bought a new single player game or a new console. Right now I'm burned out on reading books, so I want to start growing my neckbeard again and catch up on games. The games I'm interested are the ones that have a good story, everything else is just gravy. I don't want games that makes you grind items or exp like Diablo 2. Hell, I couldn't grind past level 36 on Everquest.

Also, I recently built a new machine, so I just want PC games. Any single player game recommendations post 2004 is welcomed, doesn't necessarily have to be an RPG.

Here's the list of games that I recently got and started playing:

Dragon age 1-2
The Ghostbusters Game
Back to the Future Game
The Walking Dead Game: Season 1-2
Mass Effect 1-3
Bioshock Infinite
Starcraft 2

I haven't bought Bioshock 1 & 2, the expansion for Starcraft 2 and Skyrim yet. I heard good things about Bioshock 1, but I heard mix reviews on Bioshock 2. I don't know if I will like Skyrim either.


Florida woman Sara Barnes avoided jail time after she burned down a 3,500-year-old tree so she could see the methamphetamine she was trying to smoke.

"The Senator" was the fifth oldest tree in the world, standing at 125 feet high and 17 and a half feet in diameter.

The tree went up in flames around 5:30 a.m. on January 16, 2012 after Barnes lit a fire inside of it. She admitted to frequently visiting the tree when she used meth and described herself as a "tree enthusiast."

Within hours, the tree was reduced to nothing but kindling.

Police later found pictures of Barnes lighting the fire on her phone and laptop. She was arrested after bragging to friends that she had burned something down "older than Jesus."

Barnes pleaded no contest to unlawful burning of lands, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She will perform 250 hours of labor and pay more than $12,000 in restitution.

Barnes has admitted to being a meth addict and plans to participate in drug counseling as part of her sentencing.


"Would you like to know more?"

Those are words with a whole lot of weight behind them for Starship Troopers fans, so when they're dropped by a production heavyweight on Twitter, people stand up and listen.

The heavyweight in this instance is producer Megan Ellison, currently working on the latest sequel to The Terminator, who took to Twitter in what would seem the most innocuous way possible this past week:

Megan Ellison: Would you like to know more?

Except, when a fan correctly guessed the reference, her response was...revealing:

It almost suggests - depending on how you generally interpret Twitter - as though she's confirming something. Something...Starship Troopers-y.

Ellison's Annapurna pictures were the ones who acquired the rights to the Terminator franchise a few years back, so their buying up similar sci-fi properties with a view to produce seems highly plausible. The question is though, would Ellison leak that information via Twitter, or save it for a press release?

Either way - it sure does look like that Starship Troopers remake is a step closer to becoming a reality.

General Discussion / You Can Now Text 911 in an Emergency
« on: May 26, 2014, 02:10:26 PM »
Just a heads up.

Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device.

In the future, text-to-911 will be widely available in the United States. However, for now, the ability to contact 911 using text is only available on a limited basis in a few markets. For this reason, you should not rely on text to reach 911.

On January 30, 2014, the Commission adopted a Policy Statement and 2nd FNPRM stating the goal that all wireless telephone companies and providers of interconnected text messaging services should enable consumers to send text messages to 911. The Commission encouraged industry-developed solutions to achieve this goal, and proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014. (See also: Best Practices for Implementing Text-to-911:

How to Contact 911

IMPORTANT! If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible.
Remember - in most cases now, you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message.
Bounce-Back Messages

The FCC has rules to help keep consumers safe during the transition to text-to-911. These rules are intended to minimize the risk if consumers attempt to send text messages to 911 where the service is not available. Specifically, beginning September 30, 2013, all wireless telephone companies and certain other text messaging providers are required by the FCC to send an automatic "bounce-back" message to any consumer who tries to send a text message to 911 where this service is not yet available.

Consumers who receive this "bounce-back" message will be advised to contact emergency services by another means, such as by making a voice call or using a telecommunications relay service (the latter for consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability). The nation's four largest wireless telephone companies – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon – have agreed to voluntarily begin sending these "bounce back" text messages across their networks as of June 30, 2013, a few months earlier than the September 2013 deadline established by the FCC's rules.

When Will Text-to-911 Become Widely Available?

In a Policy Statement adopted January 30, 2014, the Commission expressed its belief that every wireless carrier and every provider that enables a consumer to send text messages to telephone numbers should support text-to-911 capabilities.

In an agreement with NENA and APCO, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have voluntarily committed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014 in all areas served by their networks where a 911 call center is prepared to receive texts.

The Commission encourages wireless providers and interconnected text providers that are not parties to the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement to work with the public safety community to develop similar commitments to support text-to-911 in a timely manner, so that all consumers will be assured access to text-to-911 regardless of what text provider they choose. The Commission has also proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014.

The Commission has encouraged 911 call centers to begin accepting texts as text providers develop text-to-911 capability. It is up to each 911 call center to decide whether and when to begin accepting texts. Some call centers have started to accept text messages already. We expect that others will do so and that text-to-911 will become available in more areas over time.

Nevertheless, even where text-to-911 is available, consumers should continue to contact 911 by making a voice call if they can, and use text only if voice is not a feasible or safe option.

Status of Text-to-911 Deployments

Information on Specific Areas Where Text-to-911 Is Available (PDF)
Quick Facts & FAQs
For More Information

To learn more about FCC programs to promote access to telecommunications services for people with disabilities, visit the FCC’s Disability Rights Office website.

For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

General Discussion / Star Wars Episode VII cast announced
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:12:14 PM »

Actors: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, "We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud."

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.

The budget of this film will be approximate 200 Million.


No, legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t lead to crime, according to actual crime stats

Opponents of medical marijuana envision all kinds of insidious ways that legalizing the drug might lead to crime. Make marijuana more accessible, and more people will use it. If more people use it, more will tumble through the weed "gateway" to cocaine, or worse. Those people will then engage in crime to fund their hard-drug habits, or violence in the service of getting the stuff.

Furthermore: Once word gets out about medical dispensaries, those locations will become hotspots for criminals who now know exactly where to find prey carrying cash and drugs. Same goes for grow houses, which just invite property crime.

Pondering all of these dark possibilities, it's no wonder anyone suspects mayhem in medical marijuana laws. Actual historic crime data, however, suggest there's no evidence that legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes leads to an increase in crime. In fact, states that have legalized it appear to have seen some reductions in the rates of homicide and assault.

These findings come from a nationwide study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One (which is notable for the fact that no one seems to have done this crucial analysis before). Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas looked at the FBI's Uniform Crime Report data across the country between 1990 and 2006, a span during which 11 states legalized medical marijuana. Throughout this time period, crime was broadly falling throughout the United States. But a closer look at the differences between these states – and within the states that legalized the drug before and after the law's passage – further shows no noticeable local uptick among a whole suite of crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

The robbery and burglary findings are particularly interesting, as those are the crimes we'd most likely expect to see outside of medical dispensaries. But what about the apparent declines in homicide and assault?

The researchers, Robert G. Morris, Michael TenEyck, J.C. Barnes and Tomislav V. Kovandzic, caution that this may be a mere statistical artifact of their analysis. But there's also a plausible explanation:

While it is important to remain cautious when interpreting these findings as evidence that MML reduces crime, these results do fall in line with recent evidence [29] and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol [see generally 29, 30]. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime [31], it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.

Their analysis controlled for other potentially confounding factors:

employment and poverty rates in each state, income and education levels, age and urban demographics, per-capita rates of prison inmates and police officers, as well as per-capita rates of beer consumption (per the Beer Institute).

The results don't definitely prove that medical marijuana has no effect on crime (or that it might even reduce it). Maybe the researchers failed to account for some other crucial variable here, some common factor that further depressed crime in precisely these 11 states, precisely after the moment that each passed a medical marijuana law, masking the actual crime increase caused by the policy. Or, there's this interpretation, from the authors:

Perhaps the more likely explanation of the current findings is that [medical marijuana] laws reflect behaviors and attitudes that have been established in those societies. If these attitudes and behaviors reflect a more tolerant populace that is less likely to infringe on one another’s personal rights, we are unlikely to expect an increase in crime and might even anticipate a slight reduction in personal crimes.

General Discussion / Where are all the black men at?
« on: March 01, 2014, 08:32:32 PM »

A sign in front of a church in Harlem, N.Y. led by a polarizing and controversial anti-gay pastor is not only making its rounds on the Internet, but raising quite a few eyebrows along the way.

Called the ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church, the religious organization is led by Dr. James David Manning, a man who has been outspokenly critical of the Obama administration and the progression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights over the course of the past six years.

The sign reads: "Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man"

The sign was reportedly inspired by the above video, in which Manning makes some jarring statements about both gay culture and black culture -- though these extremist statements from the pastor of ATLAH are nothing new. In explanation of ATLAH's sign in the above video, he tells viewers,

This is devastating what Obama is doing to the black man and the black woman, and how the white homo is now moving into the black neighborhoods looking for black men that have been converted into homosexuality. But black woman let me say something to you: you have a very hard time competing against a white homosexual male. He's usually got money -- a white homo usually has an American Express card. He usually has an opportunity at the theater -- homos love the theater. They love to go out to dinners, parties, they love that kind of a thing... black people need to rise up in mass and recognize the utter destruction that Obama is going in to destroy the black family with these homosexual statements that he has done and release of demons.

Manning also tells his viewers that his church fully supports the anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria that have enabled a pervasive culture of fear and violence for members of the LGBT community. Just yesterday, a Ugandan newspaper published the names of 200 "Top Homos," with many on the list saying they "are scared and they need help."

This certainly not the first time that Manning has made headlines for his extreme claims. Last November, he provided a platform for and conducted an interview with a woman who claimed to have been a former classmate of Obama's, stating that the president was formerly a cocaine-using gay hustler.

General Discussion / How they LARP in Russia
« on: February 27, 2014, 10:44:24 PM »

General Discussion / Check out this trailer
« on: February 25, 2014, 04:52:34 PM »


Andy's mom has always been a bit of an enigma. In the first Toy Story, we barely even saw her face. That's all fine because throughout the movies, the real focus has been on Andy and the love he has for those toys.

But this is Pixar, and it stands to reason that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Davis family (Andy's last name).

In order to understand who Ms. Davis really is, we have to start with something seemingly simple: a hat.

In the picture below, you see Andy's cowboy hat that he plays with throughout his childhood. Study it closely.

Notice anything weird about the hat? It looks nothing like the hat worn by his favorite toy, Woody. Why wouldn't Andy wear a hat that was brown?

We don't think about it because most of us are normal human beings with things like jobs and tax exemptions. But I want you to take a quick journey with me: Andy got this hat from his mom.

In Toy Story 2, young Andy Davis left for summer camp, and his mom held a yard sale. "The Chicken Man" found Woody in one of the boxes (he was trying to save a fellow toy) and pleaded with Ms. Davis to sell him because Woody is a collectible from the 1950s.

Ms. Davis refuses, acknowledging that Woody is "an old family toy." Not that much time has passed between the Toy Story movies, but we know that Andy has had Woody since Kindergarten, according to Mr. Potato Head. Andy's 6th birthday is in the first Toy Story, which makes him 7 or 8 in this movie. Woody doesn't seem all that old in comparison.

Further, Woody has no recollection of who he is. Many have suggested that this is because he was owned by Andy's father, who is never mentioned in the movies. Molly is a baby in the first movie, which means Andy's father either died or walked out not long before the movies started.

A reasonable assumption is that Andy's mom gave Woody, his father's toy, to him on his 5th birthday. After all, she gave him Buzz Lightyear on his next birthday. If Woody had been a new toy when Ms. Davis gave him to Andy, then he would know exactly who he is was, which is unlikely because he is so rare.

Now, back to the hat. I believe Andy received the hat from his mom, as well. There's another instance in the movies when this hat is shown:

Notice anything familiar? That is the same red hat with a white lace. Why would Andy have a hat that looks exactly like Jessie's? Because his mom did. Look at this:

See that hat on the bed? Emily, Jessie's previous owner, wears that hat throughout the "When She Loved Me" sequence in Toy Story 2. The sequence clearly takes place in the 60s and 70s, as evidenced by the decoration and qualities of Emily's things.

That is about as 1970s as it gets.

That makes Emily the same age as Andy's mom, who had him in the 80s. They also have the same hat, except the white lace on Andy's hat is missing, but you can clearly see where it once was. There's even a faded mark:

That makes this an old hat.

We know that Emily donated Jessie and her other "cowboy" accessories as a teen, so wouldn't the hat be included? If you watch closely, the hat isn't in the box. The box isn't even big enough to hold it.

We do see that Emily has short, auburn hair. It almost looks like...

Albeit her hair in the movies is lighter. Age is funny like that. And yes, Andy's mom is Emily, Jessie's previous owner.

Now you may be wondering if Emily/Andy's mom noticed that Andy suddenly had a toy she once had as a child. Think of it this way: how would you react if you saw that your kid had a toy that looked like one that you had? You probably wouldn't assume they're the same, even if you're in a Pixar movie.

The theory is that in a twist of fate, Emily (Andy's mom) loved a cowboy toy but gave it away during her adolescence. Her son would grow to love a cowboy toy as well, in a weird way that resembles the strong love she once had. She passed the hat down to him, and as destiny would have it, Andy would one day receive Jessie, as well. This would redeem his mother's abandoning of her, making Emily's story come full-circle.

And much like Emily, Andy also grew tired of his toys and moved on. He also gave them away and let them go.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the true story of Andy's mom.

LoLz / Sear
« on: February 16, 2014, 03:23:58 PM »

General Discussion / Congrats Scotland for gay marriage bill
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:11:40 PM »

Scotland's same-sex marriage bill is passed

A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland's two main churches were opposed to it.

The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn.

Religious and belief bodies can "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages.

Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

During a debate at Holyrood, MSPs rejected amendments which were said to provide "protection" for groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage.

The SNP's John Mason tabled an amendment stating that no-one could be "compelled by any means" to solemnise gay marriage, including by a contract or a legal requirement.

Mr Mason said that this was similar to a measure included in the bill passed by the UK Parliament allowing same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Health Secretary Alex Neil insisted there were "robust protections for religious bodies and celebrants" in the bill and the amendment was unnecessary.

Mr Mason tabled further amendments, including one calling for recognition that "a belief in marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society".

He said: "This has been the prevailing view in Scotland for centuries, and may now be considered a minority view or even old fashioned, but it is an integral tenet of faith for many Christians, Muslims and others as well as the belief of many of no faith position at all."

Mr Mason added: "We have seen volunteers in the third sector removed from the board for publicly supporting traditional marriage."

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales will take place from 29 March, in the wake of legislation already passed by the Westminster parliament.

In Scotland, same-sex couples currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, but SNP ministers brought forward their Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill, saying the move was an important step for equality.

General Discussion / Debate: Bill Nye vs Ken Ham
« on: February 04, 2014, 05:10:39 AM »
The link to the debate:

You may disagree with this article, if you actually think Bill Nye is going to change the mind of a guy who believes the earth is 7,000 years old --and is raking it in from the followers.

Ken Ham vs Bill Nye Science Guy: Nye Sure to Lose

Across America, the debate between creationism and evolution continues to rage. Now, world-renowned scientist Bill Nye is set to debate Ken Ham who is the president of an Apologetics ministry, Answers in Genesis, as well as the Creation Museum. However, regardless of any facts or elements of reasoning, “The Science Guy,” is sure to lose this debate, as would any scientist in a creationism vs evolution debate like this one.

Evolutionists have been scratching their heads at the idea of a scientist giving any sort of credence to creationist theories. They argue that a forum such as this upcoming debate only props up those who believe in intelligent design as the architect of life.

However, that is not the real reason why evolutionists are so steadfastly against this debate. Frankly, the ball is in Ham’s court and it is Nye’s game to lose.

First of all, there is the issue of the venue. Essentially, Ham will be on his home turf inside the Creation Museum. Tickets for the event sold out long ago, but it would not be surprising if a great number of those purchases were fellow creationists.

On top of that, there will be a world watching. Students at Liberty University will be watching the entire ordeal via live stream, and it is likely that hundreds of thousands of other individuals will closely follow the action during and after the February 4 debate. After all, with about 50 percent of the country in support of creationism and only 15 percent sure that evolutionary theories are true, Nye has the odds stacked against him in terms of his audience.

As well, Ham knows what he’s talking about, and there is some debate over whether or not Nye will be as prepared. Both men are skilled oral communicators, but Ham is the more well versed as a debater. Furthermore, Ham knows his theories and Nye’s theories inside and out, whereas Nye is not actually an evolutionary biologist at all, and his experience with creationism to this point seems to be the continual assertion that creationists are wrong because science said so.

However, most importantly is the “quit while you’re ahead,” concept. Evolution is already considered fact; it is a theory that has somehow cemented itself as the only viable belief system in Western schools and text books. In terms of creationism vs evolution, evolutionists have already claimed victory. If Ken Ham is to out perform Bill Nye, the repercussions in the scientific community could be quite significant. Evolutionists may have their coveted seat of being the only theory that is fact further eroded, and other viable concepts may come to the forefront once again. Say what you will, but even if he wins by most measures, ‘The Science Guy,” is sure lose.

That’s right; even if Nye is to make better, more factual, and simply more convincing arguments than Ham, he is nonetheless a servant to the fact that his side has already won. It is expected in the academic community that creationists are fundamentally unintelligent people, and if one of these people proves to be rational and coherent, it would be a disaster for science as it is known today.

This points to a much larger problem, though. Of course creationism is not the same as evolution in terms of its support within the scientific community and in regard to its compatibility with some other scientific theories. However, that does not mean that it is a view-point that makes people unintelligent or irrational.

The idea that science cannot evolve or accommodate other theories is preposterous and fundamentally flawed. Simply to call another theory wrong and to advocate aggressively to ignore it is not rooted in any sort of scientific method. Intelligent discourse is required, criticism of long-held theories is required, and by consequence, considering other view points honestly is required for science to make any sort of progress.

The scientific community is afraid of this upcoming Ken Ham vs Bill Nye debate for the same reasons that the Catholic Church was afraid of the protestant reformation and the enlightenment. The criticisms of evolution, regardless of whether or not they are true, are valid arguments that should be discussed. The fact that so many are criticizing “The Science Guy’s” decision on the grounds that other view points should not be heard is extremely alarming. Much like the Catholic Church vs Martin Luther, this is a debate where Nye is sure to lose; but evolutionists should not be afraid of the results. After all, the Catholic Church is still standing.

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