Meet Kristina Karo, the woman who is suing—or claiming to sue—Mila Kunis over a pet chicken that Kunis allegedly stole when they were children in Ukraine. This is her new hit song “Give Me Green Card.” At the risk of editorializing, I think I love her?
But when the media asks questions like, “Where have all the rock stars gone?,” what the writer really means is, “Where have all the charismatic, platinum-selling white guys in tight pants gone?”
Every few years, music fans are asked to mourn rock ‘n’ roll’s death. Apparently the genre is in worse condition than Keith Richards himself. The eulogies often bemoan the so-called lack of great rock bands these days — a scenario … Read More
Hey, remember how Disney isn’t even putting Black Widow on team T-shirts because girls aren’t part of Disney’s “desired demographic” with Marvel? In an announcement that seems rather well-timed, DC has just rolled out an initiative aimed squarely at 6 to 12 year old girls.
The initiative isn’t just a comic book or two either. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DC has brought on partners like Mattel, LEGO and Random House and plans to have TV specials and direct-to-video movies. Apparently the line was inspired by the success of Batgirl and more relevantly, DC’s teen-aimed and quite good Gotham Academy.
Well, that and the fact that they got called out by an eleven-year-old. And, on a larger level, one suspects DC’s higher-ups saw an opportunity their competitors couldn’t, or wouldn’t, aim for. Hasbro and Marvel don’t have a great track record of catering to little girls with their nerdy product lines, something that is increasingly annoying the hell out of parents.
Of course, this is really just the start; it’s nice that Bumblebee is in the character lineup, but she’s MIA from DC’s actual comic books. Similarly, it’s weird they’ve got Harley Quinn in the mix since her current book, while a huge hit, is essentially a string of dumb-blonde jokes. And for all we know, this is going to turn out to be a Computer Engineer Barbie-style mess when the actual content arrives. But hey, at least DC is trying, unlike almost everyone else.
London-based aspiring pop star Isaac Adni has the right idea. Honestly, if you could cast aside all the burdens and heartbreaks that come with adulthood, wouldn’t you choose to live freely as a water fowl instead? And Isaac isn’t looking to be a collar-popping loner duck, either. He wants to fit into the duck community. He wants to learn how to quack the right way. Plus, he can already swim (and dance!), so he’s halfway home. I hope the duck king grants him his wish, but if he doesn’t, I know Isaac will be successful because he’s literally walking along the path of UK musical greatness in his video.
Stinson, 50, has become an indispensable source for researchers and reporters looking into alleged crimes and acts of violence by police officers because he has built a database tracking thousands of incidents in which officers were arrested since 2005. His data has shown that even the few police officers who are arrested for drunken driving are rarely convicted and that arrests spike for cops who have been on the force 18 years or longer, contrary to prior research showing it was mostly new officers who were acting out.
The whole data-collecting operation is powered by 48 Google Alerts that Stinson set up in 2005, along with individual Google Alerts for each of nearly 6,000 arrests of officers. He has set up 10 Gmail addresses to collect all the alert emails, which feed articles into a database that also contains court records and videos.
It all adds up to a data set of alleged police misconduct unmatched by anything created inside or outside of government, which itself often uses Google Alerts to catch these cases.12 Yet Stinson’s database inevitably has holes because it relies on the media to cover every officer arrest, and because it takes immense effort to code each entry. The data set keeps falling behind.
Stinson’s path to police-misconduct expertise was a winding one. A high-school dropout, he worked for police departments in Arlington, Virginia, and Dover, New Hampshire, before getting his law degree, then turning in his license after mishandling client funds. He switched to criminology, getting his Ph.D. in 2009. He chose his research subject in part because of his experiences as a cop, seeing police officers get away with crimes others wouldn’t, and in part because he wanted to win a bet he’d made in his Master’s program. Now he’s the recipient of a National Institute of Justice grant to study police misconduct, host of an occasional podcast on the topic, and a go-to source for the media.
Stinson says he has no bias against his former profession. “This isn’t anti-police,” he said. “I hope to write papers and get things published that are helpful to law enforcement, not that bash law enforcement.”
The following is an edited transcript of my telephone interview with Stinson, with some followup questions by email.
Carl Bialik: You’ve worked with the media on stories about arrests for killings by police, and recently you’ve also been a source on arrests of police for DUIs. You’ve also studied sex crimes and corruption. How did you become the expert on police arrests?
Philip Stinson: The idea came up in the fall of 2004, when I was finishing my master’s at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. I was taking an ethics class. Somebody in the class — it was a bunch of cops in class, mid-career — somebody made a comment that cops don’t get in trouble much. I said, “That’s just absurd.” I started looking into it and realized there are no government statistics, and no government agency tracking it well.
I set up 48 Google Alerts, let it rip, and started printing pages out. Originally it was to win a bet in the master’s class.
CB: What did you bet?
PS: I don’t know. It was a beer or something. I wasn’t a betting man. It wasn’t anything big.
I had two and a half years, three years of data in my dissertation, covering 2005 to 2007, with 109 quantitative variables.
And then over time at Bowling Green, we now track 270 or so quantitative variables. Everything is automated now. Because data collection is real-time — you can’t use Lexis Nexis, NewsBank, all these other archival news databases, because lots of stuff has disappeared from the Internet — so because of that it’s very slow and time-consuming. It takes forever to do.
Some reporters wanted everything I had — everything. I was like, go fuck yourself. You get everything. I just spent 10 years on this.
Now we’re up to almost 11,000 cases involving almost 9,000 officers. We log these cases, then make Google Alerts on individual names so we can track cases through courts and the media.13
CB: How sure are you that The Washington Post’s count of 54 police officers charged with fatal shootings while on duty is a complete count?
PS: I want to make it very clear I’ve never claimed I have every case. It’s possible that’s not an exhaustive list. If anything, I think we’re missing just a handful of cases of killings, because those kinds of cases get news coverage. I’d have to hazard a guess that we do a better job of collecting data in smaller metropolitan areas and rural areas, because arrests there are so newsworthy.
CB: How much do you think you miss by relying on media reports?
PS: If I had 1,100 arrest cases, I can’t believe there are another 1,100 out there. I doubt we’re missing half, but there aren’t none.
CB: You were a lawyer before going to graduate school for criminology. What happened?
PS: I fucked up in my law practice [Stinson Law Associates, PC, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania]. I was charged with several crimes and the commingling of funds in 2002. It was the kiss of death. I paid a heavy price and took a heavy hit.
CB: Did you do what you were charged with doing?
PS: I did it. [“Chronic sleep deprivation exacerbated mental health issues that I was not aware that I had and led to impaired judgment in many instances, and for that I’m very remorseful and in treatment,” Stinson told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002.] Everybody was made whole eventually.
I don’t like to leave that out [that I did this]. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I don’t like seeing it in print. It really has nothing to do with why I am doing this research.
I certainly think I’ve done everything I can to rehabilitate myself.
If I were teaching theology, it would never come up, but in criminology, it does come up sometimes with students, so I usually walk into the classroom and lay it out there.
CB: What was your experience as a cop and did it influence your work?
PS: When I went to New Hampshire, I saw some crazy shit. It really changed my outlook on things. When people were arrested, they would take them into the booking room, and sometimes the sergeant would come in and just beat the shit out of the guy while he was handcuffed — shit like that.
I was floored with my experience up there. In the two years I was up there, I saw all kinds of shit I did not know happened.
They faked reports, and there was creative report writing, to fit the arrest they wanted to have. There was evidence that was tampered with and overly suggestive court identifications to nail people with shit. It was quite an eye-opener. [When asked for comment, Anthony Colarusso, chief of Dover’s police department, said, “I feel strongly that the Dover Police Department has a high level of integrity and has had that since I joined the police department in May of 1985. In fact, our longstanding policy is that officers be terminated for any level of untruthfulness.” He added, “No police department is perfect, but we are very aggressive in holding ourselves accountable for our actions.”]
So I sort of had that kind of stuff in the back of my head for many years.
CB: Many who quote your stats use them to make larger points: Too many police officers break the law, or too few are punished for it, or police are too violent with citizens, or are biased against black people. Do you have a larger view based on the data you’ve collected?
PS: What we’ve seen is that courts are just very reluctant to convict cops who are charged with crimes. We see some interesting patterns with that. So juries, and even judges in bench trials, are not comfortable for prosecutors to prosecute cases.
We do look a lot at what gets them arrested, what gets them convicted or not convicted, and what gets them to lose their job. Two things that have come out that have just sort of blown me away:
1) Many cops are arrested for crimes that are serious and don’t lose their jobs. We have cops who were arrested in 2005 or 2006, and we’re startled to see they are still a cop — maybe still with the same agency, maybe not. That just blows me away. John Lewis in Schenectady, [New York,] is one example.
2) The other is, from prior research, it looked like if cops get in trouble, it will be early in their careers. What we found is that almost 20 percent of these cases involve officers with at least 18 years of experience.14
CB:The Washington Post investigation you contributed to found that in the last decade, just 54 officers were charged with fatally shooting someone while on duty. One open question is, what’s the denominator? How many people do you think police have killed overall in that time?
PS: I think it’s such a huge number. I don’t know how you could manage it. How do you verify it? We can at least go back and get the court records [for officer arrests]. It’s an impossible thing to do all of that [for the cases in which no one was charged].15
But we do have this file, that’s getting bigger, where we put articles that we come across where we’re just convinced they’re going to arrest the officer but they don’t. And the file just keeps growing. And we kind of scratch our heads. How does that happen?
CB: Seems like that’s more evidence that it’s much easier for police to avoid conviction.
PS: Absolutely. You’ve got to really fuck up to get convicted as a cop, of anything at all. We’ve seen some really weird things with charging incidents, like a cop charged with domestic violence incidents, hauled out of the house, and then charged with DUI. Because if he were charged with a simple misdemeanor of domestic violence, he can’t carry a gun, can’t own a gun, can’t carry ammo, can’t own ammo. We have dozens of police officers with qualifying crimes who’ve still got their job, carrying a gun every day.
CB: Did you ever help a cop avoid a domestic violence charge?
PS: No. No. I never would have thought of doing something like that.
CB: Do you think it’s the job of policing that makes some people violent or break the law, or are some of the people who are drawn to the job prone to violence or lawbreaking?
PS: It’s a chicken-and-egg situation. I know this from my own experiences, even from my own experience as a police officer, that the gun and badge become part of you. When you lose that, something is taken away from you. There is such a power element to it.
Brian Gilmore, whom I went to law school with, is now at Michigan State. Every once in a while we get together in Ann Arbor, halfway between us. I told him about my research. He said one time he worked at a law firm in D.C. and represented union members who were police and firefighters when they got in trouble. He represented a ton of cops charged with domestic-violence crimes, but not one firefighter. That’s quite telling. [Gilmore, asked to confirm the story, said, “My experience is anecdotal but true.”]
CB: Seems like now there are so many ways that officers can be filmed — by dash cams, body cameras, surveillance cameras and citizens’ cameras. Do you have a sense of whether that’s a growing factor in these arrests?
PS: We haven’t coded for that, and we’re three years behind. We haven’t gone back to code them. We need more grant money. I just don’t have the money to hire the staff.
Anecdotally, absolutely it’s made a huge difference. That starts with Rodney King forwards. But in the last few years, everybody is a videographer. You whip it out, very easily and with no cost, and take videos. The problem is, they don’t start filming until something has caught their attention. The combination of dash-cam video, citizen video and body-worn camera video gives you different pieces you can put together.
The problem with body cameras is that they can turn it off. We’ve seen that in a few instances, the cop will turn it off, beat the shit out of somebody, then turn it back on.
CB: What do your former police colleagues think about your work?
PS: Somebody who was a supervisor I worked under in the Arlington, [Virginia,] police department, she posted something on Facebook in response to something I posted. She posted this thing asking if I’d been on any ride-alongs recently. I responded, I don’t think there are too many police officers who are interested in having me ride along with them these days.
CB: You’ve mentioned “we” a few times. Who’s “we”? Who are your collaborators? Grad students?
PS: I’ve collaborated with John Liederbach at Bowling Green. Steven L. Brewer at Penn State has done a lot of work with machine-learning type stuff and decision-tree analysis.
Now that I don’t have grant money, and we’re in a weird time in higher education where there’s a push for more grad students paying fees, it’s harder to get help without grants.
In the last one and a half to two years, I’ve started to see what I can get away with from undergraduates. I have two grad students, and then 10 undergraduates who work six to 10 hours a week. They don’t get paid, and they do a great job. Everyone has a GPA over 3.5.
A friend of mine, who found Vince Foster’s body, pointed out that I would never be qualified to work for me, based on the standards for the students.
CB: What was your GPA?
PS: It was really low until I got medicated for ADD. I saw a doctor and realized I was out of control with impulse control. It made a world of difference. I ended up with a 3.94 GPA in my Ph.D. program. It was not until my late 30s that I was medicated. Both of my ex-wives would tell you I’m far calmer than before.
CB: Are you married now?
PS: No, I’m between wives and dogs.
CB: How do you code, and how long does it take? Do you have to code all 270 variables for every case?
PS: For my grant, we had 12 months, and I had eight graduate assistants working for me at the time. Four of them were just working on coding cases. I think it was 20 to 30 a week they would get done. They all worked for me for 20 hours a week. It takes even longer now. There are so many documents in the cases.
I have been running the same 48 search terms16 in Google Alerts since the beginning of 2005. What we’re doing just now is getting the database as tight as we can so when we have more grant money, we can go back in and code all the cases. Two years ago, I started collecting videos. Now I have 3,000 videos. I don’t even know what we’re going to use a lot of them for.
CB: Why track only arrests as opposed to so many other things police do that don’t result in arrest?
PS: I wanted to have something where somebody, some magistrate had signed off on an arrest warrant. So you gotta be charged — however you come in, whether arrested, arrested then indicted, indicted then arrested — somehow formally brought in and booked. That’s just to give it some rules.
CB: You mentioned before that you don’t like sharing the whole database.
PS: It’s my intellectual property.
CB: But do you think the government itself should be compiling a similar database, doing the work itself?
PS: Oh, absolutely. They haven’t figured out how to do it on their own. Survey research is not going to get the right answers. It’s seemingly hard to track for some reason.
CB: Are there any geographical trends you see? Are police officers especially likely to be arrested in certain states or cities, or in rural or urban areas?
PS: It’s everywhere. We looked at it at the county level. One variable is county FIPS [Federal Information Processing Standard] numbers. We mapped these cases and graphed them.
We see it in rural areas. We see it everywhere. It’s amazing to me. Everywhere across the country we see this kind of stuff, all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
CB: Cops are under lots of scrutiny and criticism. They’re increasingly filmed on the job. Has it become a tougher job since you had it?
PS: Over the last 10 or 15 years or so, a lot of police departments have had trouble hiring qualified people, especially during the height of war. Some police departments lowered educational standards. I don’t know if it’s a harder job. It feels like a more violent job.
You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. To receive this as an email newsletter, please subscribe.
Nine people were indicted Tuesday in Kentucky after allegedly stealing more than $100,000 worth of Wild Turkey and rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It is unclear to this author why they have not been charged with crimes against humanity. [The Wall Street Journal]
Proportion of campaign contributions in 2012 that came from people who were among the wealthiest 0.01 percent of Americans, according to research published by a political action committee trying to get the 99.99 percent more involved in politics. So you know, grain, salt, etc. [Daily Kos]
Proportion of independent doughnut shops in California that are owned by people of Cambodian descent. For decades, Cambodian immigrants have joined the doughnut business after fleeing the Khmer Rouge. [Lucky Peach]
Number of days left until Aug. 6, 2015, Jon Stewart’s final night hosting “The Daily Show.” [The A.V. Club]
At an expected cost of £400,000, London has successfully removed a 10,000-kilogram, 40-meter-long — ugh, screw it: At an expected cost of $600,632, London has successfully removed a 22,000-pound, 131-foot-long sewer disturbance composed of congealed fat and waste. Huzzah. [The Guardian]
How much veteran referee Kenny Bayless will be compensated to officiate the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. While it’s hardly chump change for a night — or more realistically, about an hour’s worth — of work, the fight itself is expected by some to pull in more than $400 million. [ESPN]
More than 88,000
Number of applicants for 55 affordable housing units in a new building west of Lincoln Center primarily slotted for luxury condos. This will presumably end with more than 87,945 applicants for pitchforks in the forthcoming revolution. [The New York Times]
A new study of 95,727 children found absolutely no relationship between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination and the development of autism spectrum disorders. Did you hear that, California? [The Guardian]
Size of the resealable-bag market, a business with a shocking amount of intellectual property and innovation, all things considered. [Wired]
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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.
Testimony in the trial of former Iowa state legislator Henry Rayhons concluded Friday; Rayhons, 78, is charged with felony sexual abuse for allegedly having sex with his wife Donna while she was in a nursing home and in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. On Friday, Rayhons denied having sex with Donna, testifying, “I treated her like a queen.”
Lola: Hello and greetings. Today, we approach a deceptively simple query: Why doesn’t anyone listen to Ani DiFranco anymore?
Meredith: I just want to make clear to you, most righteous of babes, that Ani DiFranco raised me. I know all the words to every single song, every single giggly live track interlude. When I was 14, the sun rose and set with Ms. DiFranco, but for the kids today, she seems to have all but disappeared off the cultural map. So what gives?
Lola: As professional lesbians and amateur cultural detectives in a committed lesbian cultural detective relationship, we (Meredith Heil and Lola Pellegrino) felt none were more qualified to solve this mystery. Let us begin.
Going Down Hypothesis.
In early 2015, we waged three (3) separate attempts to make out to three (3) separate Ani DiFranco albums. All three failed to yield anything save a foundational postulation from Lola: “Nobody listens to Ani DiFranco anymore because you really, really can’t make out to this music unless you’re a teenager.” Meredith countered, “But I diiiiiiiid!” But that’s what Lola’s saying.
Sick of Me Hypothesis.
Much like how the most fatal viruses kill their hosts too quickly to ever lead to widespread epidemics, Ani “infected” her victims so hard and so terminally that they failed to infect others, so the outbreak flamed out.
Outta Me, Onto You Hypothesis.
Today’s media landscape boasts so many out, queer-identified famous people that we’re no longer resigned to projecting our queer dreams and aspirations upon a cis woman who has two babies with a cis man. To whom she is legally married. A husband-man. Her SECOND husband-man.
School Night Hypothesis.
Because all of our Ani stuff is somewhere at our parents’ house? We don’t know, it’s like, a photo scrapbook, this notebook with poems inspired by her haircuts and some ticket stubs. We can show you when we go back there for Easter; we think it’s in the basement.
What if No One’s Watching? Hypothesis.
Folk festivals used to be such A THING in the 1990s. Like, you’d pony up $65 to spend the weekend camping out and eating hemp seed cookies and braiding your hair and watching a bunch of vaguely familiar acts with one or two headliners (cue Ani DiFranco). Then Bonnaroo ruined everything. Fests are no longer about bands you’ve never heard before playing a similar genre of music. Now they’re like, Steely Dan sharing a million dollar stage with Snoop Dogg. Or whatever. Holograms.
Small World Hypothesis.
She was ultimately limited by being on her own label because nobody else of note was on it.
a. But, Bitch & Animal were on her label!
I Know this Bar Hypothesis.
Based on preliminary ethnographic research (i.e. having attended an Ani show as recently as 2011), we can report that her concert-going fanbase is about 40% guitar dads and 60% nostalgic moms, leading us to the realization that these modern day parental units were once pimply-faced Ani fans just like us, which further led us to the realization that WE ARE NOW MOM-AGED. Maybe it’s all our fault—we’ve ushered Ani into a certain type of momzone, a vast wash of Facebook status updates and bootcut jeans. RIP us.
Not a Pretty Girl Hypothesis.
Too earnest, too makeupless, too patent-leather-platform-Doc-Martens. Lola asks, "Maybe because she wore these pants in 2008?" Meredith comments, “The year on that can’t be right.” But it is, Meredith.
Old, Old Song Hypothesis.
Meredith’s initial social media investigation revealed that instead of Ani DiFranco, the Tumblr generation is listening to Lana Del Rey (?!?).
The Million You Never Made Hypothesis.
“Do the kids still hate capitalism? All those cool sneakers might have quelled that fire.”
The Next Big Thing Hypothesis.
Now that musicians can get famous on YouTube in a matter of five minutes, maybe Ani’s much publicized DIY struggle to combat major label domination doesn’t exactly qualify as #TheStruggle any longer.
Make Me Stay Hypothesis.
Because the person in her band responsible for “percussion and vibes” quit.
Lost Woman Song Hypothesis.
If one compares Ani’s early crooning to her later years, one will notice a distinct lack of, well, voice. Her voice is gone, shredded, left behind long ago to smolder and die in a heap of discarded Peace Frog posters. Time is the cruelest master and he comes for us all—even our vocal chords.
Meredith started listening to Tegan and Sara around the same time she found Ani. She remembers T & S’s first record—a raw, underproduced compilation of sad/angry, folk-fueled college radio jams. She also lovingly remembers Ani’s first album (a raw, underproduced compilations of sad/angry, folk-fueled college radio jams). Yet Tegan and Sara are currently killing it on mainstream radio, selling out enormous venues and enjoying a cushy front row seat on the indie charts. Why? Because they changed with the times, applying production technology to slicken their songs, modifying their sound as they grew. Ani’s untethered acoustics no longer jive with a generation raised on the internet, where feelings are mediated through a series of shiny hooks and cross-fades. She’s too damn real.
A texted analysis from our friend Amelia, an actual folk singer making actual music in 2015: “I don’t think her mellowness is the prob as much as she already wrote all her biographical songs/songs about being a fighter. I think now the songs are less compelling for teenagers cuz shes deeply at peace…No, not deeply at peace. I just mean she was a young person when we was little.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Face Up and Sing Hypothesis.
She called folk an “attitude” in her press biography: says DiFranco, "I use the word 'folk' in reference to Punk music and Rap music. It's an attitude."
Icarus Hypothesis I.
She flew too close to the sun, man.
Icarus Hypothesis II.
And when her dreads melted, she lost all her powers.
The True Story of What Was Hypothesis.
Please see below: Figure 1, 1997 cast of MTV’s The Real World, the year Ani DiFranco released “Living in Clip,” her only gold record. Figure 2, the most recent cast of MTV’s The Real World, now in its 30th season.
Hide & Seek Hypothesis.
Since 2007, http://anidifranco.net has redirected to a site about dating married women, puzzling dozens of fans looking to trade bootleg cassettes and old set lists.
You only have to attempt to rap alongside Maceo Parker once to ruin your street cred forever: “sweepin ya off ya feel like we had a broom / with Ani DiFranco and Maceo / add a little freestyle flow and who knows?” We know. We found out.
Blood in the Boardroom Hypothesis.
We didn’t deserve this, Ani, and we’ll never forget.
Cradle and All Hypothesis.
She became a mom. The Kids don’t want to see a mom shouting about her “wound that won’t heal.”
Both Hands Hypothesis.
We’re getting nowhere with this; and we can’t let it go and we can’t get through.
Don’t Nobody Know Hypothesis.
Maybe people still listen to Ani. Maybe we’re just being assholes.
Every Angle Hypothesis.
“DiFranco” autocorrects to “Dog Rando” in Meredith’s phone.
Your Next Bold Move Hypothesis.
32 Flavors Hypothesis.
Does Baskin Robbins even still exist? Does anyone get this reference? Remember those clown cones? “Cause someday you might find you are starving/And eating all of the words you said.”
Texas man Rick Braun was fined $266 for riding his horse to Taco Bell.
Actually, that’s not quite accurate. Texas man Rick Braun was actually fined $266 for riding his horse “on a public sidewalk” or “within any portion of the street or right-of-way of a heavily traveled street,” as outlined in Allen, Texas city code Chapter 3-18F. The fact that he was going to Taco Bell is technically irrelevant. It’s not like there’s a specific provision outlawing riding your horse just to Taco Bell, even though it’s super fun to imagine a world where that particular act became such a problem that the city council was forced to step in to do something about it. So that’s kind of a let down.
On the bright side, the story did give us this wonderful three paragraph chunk of local news gold. From WFAA:
“It’s horse country!” he said. “Everywhere you go, there’s horses everywhere.”
But that argument didn’t register with Allen authorities after he and friends rode into that city from Lucas two weeks ago. They had stopped over at a Taco Bell on Stacy Road. Braun said he’s been going there by horse for years, often two to three nights a week.
Allen police spokesman Jon Felty said officers had warned Braun repeatedly. “We’ve asked them, please don’t do this,” he said.
Awful lot going on there. And the plot gets even thicker: The Taco Bell in question is seven miles away. He’s been riding his horse seven miles — both ways — to Taco Bell, multiple nights a week, “for years.” That might actually be the real story here.
This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week. http://t.co/OZMPA3nxij— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) April 09, 2015
Yes, that’s the food for one week, and we’re sure it’s all she’ll eat. She definitely won’t reach for something else when all that’s left after a few days is a handful of cilantro and four limes. Should’ve bought white rice, pinto beans, hot sauce, carrots, and potatoes instead of the brown rice, black beans, cilantro, an avocado, and limes. Way to go, Paltrow. Now you’re STARVING, and there’s nothing you could possibly do about it.
By the way, her follow-up tweet said, “We’re walking in their shoes to see how far we get.”
Okay, but it is for a good cause, and trying to replicate a low-cost budget to be more price-conscious isn’t a bad thing to try, but, man, did that “walking in their shoes” and SEVEN LIMES business hit me the wrong way. And I wasn’t the only one.
Twitter was its usual wharrgarbl of spite and sarcasm in response to Paltrow’s tweet, so we’ve collected some of our favorite jokes here. We left out the eleventy bajillion comments about the s in SNAP standing for “supplemental” (HURR DURR thanks never heard that before) and the ones cussing her out for being Gwyneth Paltrow (pretty sure those are just the standard reaction to all of her tweets, not this specific food stamp challenge one).
First, there were the people commenting on the most obvious first impression: SEVEN LIMES?
Dear Denver, Bro. You are far from what we might call a "subject matter expert" here. Let's stick to tips on things like tennis and crappuccinos
Encouraging high schoolers isn’t the easiest job in the world. But, rule of thumb, papering the school with lists of what “Black and Latina Girls Should Know” and including things like “wearing too much makeup looks like a clown” likely won’t go over so well.
A Redditor who went to Langstaff Secondary School (in Canada) during the 2009-2010 school year showed just how well he followed the school’s motto — “maturity through responsibility” — by posting his 11th grade student ID, which he probably hid for the last five years to escape any retribution. But now that the statute of limitations is up, he’s showing the world how clever he was (the answer: very clever). The best part of the ID? How specific it is. It’s not just ‘Jaffar,’ it’s ‘Jaffar from Aladdin,’ and not from any of the sequels. Points for style, if not for spelling.
According to the poster, the school had blank name tickets for students who’d lost their official ones, so he just grabbed a blank, put down JAFFAR FROMALADDIN as his given name and then reaped the rewards for an entire year. He says the teachers thought it was hilarious. And although he doesn’t mention if he also automatically became a school legend, a prank like that must have only been the beginning, right?
This is a weird choice: Walmart will reportedly sell copies of MMA fighter Ronda Rousey’s autobiography, but they won’t display them in the store. Customers can only buy the book from a Walmart if they order it online and then pick it up at the store. A report from the New York Post claims it’s because the book is “too violent.”
Snoop Dogg spent last month’s South by Southwest festival by giving the keynote address to attendees, reminiscing, among other things, about that time he flew to Amsterdam to meet country icon Willie Nelson.
He also took time to take (what appeared to be) a harmless picture with a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper named Billy Spears, which he uploaded to his Instagram:
That post has now gotten Spears into trouble. According to the Dallas Morning-News, Spears has been ordered to receive counseling for posing with the Doggfather:
DPS officials saw the posting and cited Spears for deficiencies that require counseling for posing with a known criminal.
Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Dogg, has been convicted several times of drug possession. In 1993, he faced a murder charge when his bodyguard shot and killed a rival gang member. Snoop Dogg and the bodyguard eventually were acquitted of the charge.
The paper then cites the Department’s detailed reasoning behind reprimanding the trooper:
“The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency.”
While this all seems innocuous, Spears’ attorney Ty Clevenger is calling attention to the issue because Spears cannot appeal since it wasn’t a formal disciplinary action. In a detailed blog post, Clevenger reveals what could be behind the punishment. He not only questions the DPS’ motives based on race (“Would the DPS hiearchy get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson?”), but he also points to a previous incident in which Spears was involved with a fellow trooper:
[T]he disciplinary counseling appears to be the latest act of retaliation against Billy since he reported misconduct by an officer from another agency last year.
According to multiple witnesses, Sgt. Marcus Stokke of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission detained Billy without probable cause while Billy was off duty. It appears that Sgt. Stokke thought Billy disrespected him in public (a charge disputed by Billy and other witnesses), but then “disrespecting the po-po” is not supposed to be a crime in this country.
Currently, the DPS sticks by its punishment, while Snoop hasn’t issued a statement.
Google really wants to get it on with your television. They’ve been aggressively pushing their Chromecast device at super low prices for over a year, and now they’ve partnered with ASUS to produce the Chromebit, a dongle that plugs into your TV and effectively turns it into a Chromebook:
It’s portable, cute, comes in three attractive colors, and has a super-smart swivel on the business end so you can plug it into practically any HDMI socket without needing an extension cable. (If you ask me, all dongles should feature that.)
In addition to your Rockchip RK3288 (with quad-core Mali 760 graphics) you get 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid state storage, 2×2 dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a single full-size USB 2.0 port on one end. It won’t be the most powerful PC you could plug into a TV, but it shouldn’t be too bad for the browser-based OS. Google also expects it to make quite a splash with small businesses and third-world countries due to price and easy manageability.
Google isn’t the first or only company that’s getting into the ‘computer in an HDMI stick’ game, but they do differentiate themselves by running their device on the fast and reliable Chrome OS. Trying to go full desktop on televisions has never really taken off – perhaps the Chromebit will simplify things to a point where it becomes the default choice for people pissed off at how stupid their Smart TV software tends to be.
The ASUS Chromebit is set to debut this summer at a retail cost of under 100 dollars.
Rob Corddry stopped by Conan last night to promote the new season of Children’s Hospital, and the conversation became about his children for a hot minute. Corddry admitted to Conan that he’s pretty sure his daughter — who might be 8 years old, someone check on that — is possibly a witch.
Sure, she may indeed be channeling crystal vortex energies and attending 2 a.m. Pagan rituals in the forest, but as long as she’s getting good grades, Corddry doesn’t mind. Hell, she could be dealing cocaine out there in the woods for all he cares!
Remember that movie Calendar Girls where Helen Mirren and other older women got naked for a calendar? This is like that, but 20 or more years older and no Helen Mirren. Residents at Pleasant Pointe assisted living facility in Barberton, Ohio (more like Babe-erton, amirite?) posed for the calendar to raise money for the local Kiwanis club’s Esther Ryan Shoe Fund, donating shoes to area school children. And the models were very excited to be photographed in the all-together.
“The residents were very excited to be a part of this calendar,” said spokesperson Michelle Clapper.
As is apparent when looking at the pictures, Clapper said the sharp-minded men and women are a fun-loving bunch who were eager to participate.
“That morning of the shoot … the residents were like 20-year-olds — giggling, and having the time of their lives. I do not believe the elderly should just sit around staring at each other. I want a fun environment where I challenge them and they challenge me,” said Pleasant Pointe administrator Teresa Morris. “I love supporting their independence and will go above and beyond for each of them.”
Even Grandma and Grandpa aren’t afraid to get sexy for a good cause.
A New Hampshire politician is trying to revive a bill that his colleagues merrily beat to death in front of the schoolchildren who authored it. State Senator Jeff Woodburn says the bill, written by fourth graders to make the red-tailed hawk the new state raptor, shouldn't have turned into a messy beatdown invoking both hot dogs and abortion. You don't say?
Run The Jewels’ new flick for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F***)” might be one the most important, poignant videos of the decade. Killer Mike, El-P and Zack De La Rocha don’t show their faces for most of it but the visuals illustrate their thoughts quite well. Directed by AG Rojas, this emotional roller coaster provides an unspoken narrative on law enforcement. Plus its subject matter’s prime for dissection as soon as the play button puts it in motion.
Mike and El are evidently mindful of authorities clashing with communities they’re supposed to protect. Their brand of edutainment here shows they have more to offer beyond rapping for sport. So RTJ’s aim, with the help of an anti-establishment legend like De La Rocha, could mold plenty of young minds to force positive change.
However, the same peace MLK demands on his porch and the same calm Obama requests in Ferguson seems hard to command with this track hitting thousands of impressionable ears. One thing remains true to this day from the civil rights movement – the rear-view is always clearer than the windshield.
Considering that The Goonies is one of Ready Player One‘s biggest influences, Spielberg actually seems like the perfect choice to direct the adaptation (although it’s hard to think of another project more suited for Edgar Wright).
Please fight. And sweet Jesus, please win. That would brighten my entire week.
It looks like we’ve got another person throwing their hat into the “call out Ronda Rousey” sweepstakes. This time, it’s Houston Texans cheerleader Antonieta Osuna.
She’s not just a cheerleader, though. Osuna, who also goes by “Miss Boxer,” is a former amateur boxer, having won a Texas state title back in 2005.
Osuna recently spoke with TMZ Sports and said she wouldn’t be afraid to step into the ring with Rousey, and she even offered insight into her game plan:
“If I can give her hooks and jabs and prevent her from taking me down, it’s possible that I could get her.”
My advice to Antonieta is pretty simple: Do not fight Ronda Rousey. It’s probably really hard to be a good cheerleader without use of both arms. If the fight does go down, my other advice is to not throw a flying knee at Ronda one second into the fight.
Maybe Osuna will fight Rousey on the same card as Chandler Jones fighting his brother Jon. Make a whole NFL versus UFC event!
Here's some news that might come as a big surprise to you: A baby cookboo called Bubba Yum Yum written by a TV chef, a mommy blogger and a naturopath may not be as safe as previously thought. Sure, it might stop your baby from developing autism, but only because your baby will be dead. (Better dead than neuroatypical, though, right?) (Wasn't that the anti-communist slogan back in the 50s?)