News from the internet

Today is my birthday. I took the day off from work, but I still plan on posting something. That said, it’s my damn birthday, so I’m taking it easy today. I figured I’d just throw together some smaller snippets to make today’s blog post.

I read a great piece this morning by JT Eberhard, I am voting for Obama. So should you.  I wish that I could make every conservative I know read every last word of this piece. It highlights several of the problems that I have with Obama, and why I’m voting for him anyway (spoiler alert: it’s because Romney would be much, much worse). I’m not happy with drones killing people halfway around the world, with the idea of people being indefinitely detained, and with how secretive his administration can be, especially since he ran on a platform of more transparent government. However, I would be just as (if not more) disappointed with these things under President Romney, and there would be the added uncertainty of having a religious zealot in the White House who wants to decimate many of the safety nets and social progress we’ve won since the early 1900s.

One of my favorite sites, Photography Is Not A Crime, recently relaunched. The photographer that runs the site, a man by the name of Carlos Miller, is one of my personal heroes. Not because of his photography, which is good, but rather because he tirelessly fights for the rights of photographers, earning him the attention of the Miami-Dade police department. He’s currently involved in a lawsuit against them, stemming from an allegedly unlawful arrest while he was covering Occupy protests back in January. The police deleted footage from his camera that would have proven what actually happened, but Carlos was able to recover it with specialty software. His court date is current set for November 7.

Police and government accountability is an area of great interest to me. I think that those with authority have a responsibility to use it both ethically and lawfully, and we have an obligation to hold them accountable if they do not. In the several years that I’ve been closely following stories of police brutality, I’ve seen pictures and videos that have turned my stomach and that have, quite frankly, diminished my trust in those who are appointed to protect us. Of all the stories I’ve seen– beatings, execution, excessive force, coverups– absolutely nothing compares to this recent story from New York, where a police officer was arrested and charged with conspiring to kidnap, torture, cook and eat women.

Investigators uncovered a file on Valle’s computer containing the names and pictures of at least 100 women, and the addresses and physical descriptions of some of them, according to the complaint. It said he had undertaken surveillance of some of the women at their places of employment and their homes.

In an excerpt of a July online conversation with an unnamed co-conspirator, Valle is quoted in the complaint as saying:

“I can just show up at her home unannounced. It will not alert her, and I can knock her out, wait until dark and kidnap her right out of her home. I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus … cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible.”

I’m not going to offer much commentary on this one, just read the article. Life truly is stranger than fiction, and there are a lot of fucked up people in the world.

Stay safe out there, friends. Here’s to another year.

This has been Day 29 (happy birthday to me!) of my blog-a-day goal for the month of October. I hope to write 500 words or more per day, or ~15,000 for the month, to get myself in the habit of writing every day. How do you keep yourself motivated for creative pursuits? It’s definitely something I find difficult.

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