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16 Apr 01:55

An Asshole Says What?

by Scott Lemieux
Matthew Connor

this, um..... what

Matt Bevin, everybody:

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) lashed out against teachers participating in a statewide protest Friday, saying educators exposed some of the “hundreds of thousands” of children to sexual assault and drug use by walking out of class.

“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” Bevin told reporters Friday evening after teachers swarmed the Capitol by the thousands over a battle to raise education funding in the state. “I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were left alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”

“Children were harmed — some physically, some sexually, some were introduced to drugs for the first time — because they were vulnerable and left alone,” he added.

Bevin, whose veto of a two-year spending bill with a nearly half-billion-dollar tax increase was overridden by fellow Republicans in the legislature, has recently sparred with teachers groups amid educator protests across the country fueled by claims of low pay and underfunded school systems.

The fact that a state could produce the world’s best whiskey and this chud is proof of the fundamental irrationality of the universe.


10 Apr 14:29

Avoid Post Office Square at rush hour

by adamg
Matthew Connor


Vice President Pence will be in town for a private Republican fundraiser (no, Charlie Baker won't be there) at the Langham that starts right about, oh, the time the afternoon rush hour begins.

05 Apr 00:10

Brazilian Girls' 'Karaköy' Is A Teary Daydream

by Andrew Flanagan
Matthew Connor

i’m SO HAPPY to have brazilian girls back :’)

Brazilian Girls.

From Brazilian Girls' first album in a decade, Let's Make Love, Sabina Sciubba sings a little sun-dappled novella of pain.

(Image credit: Nora Lezano/Courtesy of the artist)

27 Mar 19:36

Building More Housing Does Not Necessarily Lead to Cheaper Housing Without Government Regulation

by Erik Loomis

I have long railed against simplistic ideas that the solution for housing costs in cities is to simply build more housing. First, the so-called “law of supply and demand” is more of a simplistic ideological construction of capitalism than a reality, yet it’s power in our society blinds people to the many factors that go into to determining economic markets. Housing is one example. Given that the cost differences between constructing urban housing for the poor and urban housing for the wealthy are not that great, all the profit margin for developers is at the high end. And while the supposed law of supply and demand says that if those high-end apartments remain empty that costs will come down, that’s not actually true, as we are seeing in New York.

There’s a hidden city in the five boroughs. Though its permanent population is zero, it is growing faster than any other neighborhood.

Early numbers from the Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Survey show the unoccupied city has ballooned by 65,406 apartments since 2014, an astonishing 35% jump in size in the three years since the last survey.

Today, 247,977 units — equivalent to more than 11% of all rental apartments in New York City — sit either empty or scarcely occupied, even as many New Yorkers struggle to find an apartment they can afford.

The Vacant City — let’s call it that, with a tip of the hat to the 1948 movie and old TV series “Naked City” — has tripled in 30 years. A generation ago, there were just 72,051 apartments in the Vacant City. Back in 1987, when rents were cheap by today’s standards at a median $395 a month, the Vacant City made up less than 4% of rental apartments.

Today, the median rent is $1,450, having risen twice as fast as inflation, even while the Vacant City tripled in size.

The numbers just don’t add up the way conventional wisdom said they should.

For years, development officials, the real estate industry and think tanks have told us that artificially low rents are holding the city back. Higher rents, the argument went, would free landlords to make a reasonable amount of money and serve as an incentive to increase the housing supply.


The article goes on to state that AirBNB may be one reason for this, and in cities like New York and Seattle, where you really do have a shortage of hotels, I don’t doubt it is. But also, it just makes no financial sense for the developers to move their high-end places for less money, not when they figure New York will continue going through financial boom cycles. What is actually required is government action to more tightly regulate what sorts of housing is built and who is it is for. The government has to ensure that there is affordable housing for people in cities. And yes, that should include public housing projects, which were always a good idea in theory. It was in execution, i.e., blindly assuming that they would pay for themselves and thus having no backup funding plan when they became housing for the truly poor, that they failed. It doesn’t have to be that way and we should be proposing a vigorous public housing program in our cities. Right now, you have a major homelessness crisis in New York and many other cities around the nation and there are hardly any real answers on what to do about it. Going back to the article:

We’ve largely conquered dilapidation and abandonment. Statistically, there are no more slums in New York City. But we’ve achieved this through a supply-side fantasy that created an unaffordable and increasingly vacant city.

More than 63,000 New Yorkers are living in homeless shelters (almost three times more than in 1987), and 30% of city households are shelling out more than half their income in rent. What they and all New Yorkers need is not simply the construction of more housing, but better means to keep rents within reach.



24 Mar 12:44

The John Bolton I Knew

by MWaxman
Matthew Connor

I’ve been good at managing my feelings of “we are well and truly fucked” lately, but this latest turn has really put a pit in my stomach.

Former Ambassador John R. Bolton speaks at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Most of the commentary about John Bolton's appointment as national security adviser has focused on his extreme policy views, especially with regard to military strikes against North Korea and Iran. I want instead to offer here a few firsthand thoughts about his formidable skills—which are what make him so dangerous. The Trump White House is something of a clown show, but Bolton is no clown. Rather than just adding a Fox-newsy ideologue who shifts the balance of the administration team’s view further toward the president’s most hawkish outlook, Trump has added someone who can actually help him make that outlook into reality.

Amb. Bolton may not remember me, but I certainly remember him. In the summer of 2001, I joined George W. Bush's National Security Council staff, serving first in the West Wing as the Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and later as a National Security Council director coordinating, among many other issues, U.S. policy toward the International Criminal Court (an issue on which Bolton dominated at the time, but later lost influence). I later served the Bush administration in the Defense and State Departments, where I watched Bolton often run circles around rivals or chew them to pieces.

Yes, Bolton is militantly aggressive about wielding American military and economic power. But what I saw in him also was an operator who was relentlessly effective in implementing—or stymying—policy, at least in the short term.

Here are three things to know about what Bolton brings to this job.

First, he's a masterful bureaucratic tactician. Unlike his predecessors, Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster, Bolton is a very experienced and adept creature of Washington institutions. Similar to former Vice President Dick Cheney, he knows the levers and knobs of the vast national security and foreign policy machinery: how they work, who works them, and how to exert control over them. He’ll work to put loyalists in key vantage points and marginalize those he distrusts (both of which I watched him do as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security). In particular, he has the already-weakened State Department, now lacking a secretary, especially mapped out for further hostile takeover.  

Second, he’s a crafty negotiator. I’ve never believed that Donald Trump is the artful dealmaker he pretends to be; he has a few plays that he just runs again and again. But Bolton is truly clever. He picks his battles much more carefully than Trump does. As U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Bolton is mostly remembered for his hostility to the institution and for his coarse bluntness. Yet in that multilateral diplomatic maze, he often delivered for the administration, including on North Korea at the U.N. Security Council. 

Third, he's thorough and methodical. Most senior policymakers simply cannot keep up with the details across so many issues. I watched Bolton dominate ICC policy meetings with mastery of the minute particulars, preserving a strategy that was more hardline—and unnecessarily costly—than I think even the president would have wanted (though I’d note that Bolton’s early victories on this issue didn’t last into Bush’s second term). Expect the same diligent readiness from him on issues like Iran and North Korea, but with the added advantage that he'll face less pushback than he might otherwise because of the fact that so many senior diplomatic posts remain unfilled. His ability to be meticulous and bombastic will probably serve him very well in this White House.

It’s anyone's guess whether the relationship between Bolton and President Trump will last. The president is, of course, a wild card. My best guess is that Bolton will be effective at managing his relationship with Trump and will be far more influential than Flynn or McMaster ever could have been. But, maybe the president will quickly turn on him as well, or just decide he hates mustaches. What’s more, John Bolton doesn’t suffer fools gladly—and that's bad news for Trump.

For now, the key takeaway is that Bolton brings to the president's national security agenda a competence that this White House has lacked. I generally agree with Benjamin Wittes that some of the president's worst instincts have often been tempered by sheer ineptitude. What makes Bolton dangerous is his capacity to implement those instincts effectively.

Matthew Waxman
Matthew Waxman is a law professor at Columbia Law School, where he co-chairs the Program on Law and National Security. He is also co-chair of the Cybersecurity Center at Columbia University’s Data Science Institute, as well as Adjunct Senior Fellow for Law and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served in senior policy positions at the State Department, Defense Department, and National Security Council. After graduating from Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter
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22 Mar 20:24

In the ’80s, Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton Recorded an Imaginary Civilization

by Editorial
Matthew Connor

wait WHAT

Kesh, Ursula Le Guin

Photo by Brian Attebery, 1988

If you came across Music And Poetry Of The Kesh blind, with no idea of its contents of context, you could spend an eternity trying to understand it.

Its 13 tracks span instrumental pieces, field recordings of nature, folk songs, and poetry in an unfamiliar language. There is yearning verse, beautiful lullabies, and choral pieces like “Yes—Singing,” which threads three female voices together in haunting harmony, set to handclaps and the distant chirrup of cicadas. Based on the vocal pieces alone, you might assume this record was the work of a wandering Alan Lomax sort, tracking down and recording secluded communities for release on Smithsonian Folkways. But other tracks suggest a different story: “Heron Dance,” with its chiming, zither-like strings and gentle drones recall the music of New Age icon Laraaji; on “A River Song,” the sound of flowing water becomes one with a bubbling, babbling synthesizer. Music And Poetry Of The Kesh doesn’t quite sound contemporary, nor ancient, nor futuristic. It feels like all of them, all at once. It poses a peculiar paradox: The more you know about language, or music, or culture, the stranger it sounds, the more mercurial its reference points become.

As it turns out, Music And Poetry Of The Kesh was recorded in the early ‘80s by the late sci-fi novelist Ursula K. Le Guin and her friend and collaborator, a musician from Oregon named Todd Barton. It was recorded over two years, in parallel with the writing of Le Guin’s 1985 novel Always Coming Home, an imagined history of a peaceful, pastoral future society based in and around California’s Napa Valley, which Le Guin tells through a mixture of first-person narrative, illustration, and cartography. Long out of print and largely forgotten, the music has now been uncovered and prepared for reissue by RVNG Intl. sub-label Freedom To Spend.

“One of the primary concerns of the label has been around the utopianism and problematic elements of fourth world music—this sort of notion of breaking down creative borders and creating a true ‘world’ music,” says Pete Swanson, Freedom to Spend’s cofounder. “I see this album fitting in awkwardly with that whole thread of work. A whole culture and language and anthropology had to be imagined, articulated, and put to page to eventually result in these strange languages and sonic traditions that never really existed.”

Always Coming Home is typical of Le Guin’s broad horizons. Her take on fantasy and science fiction looked beyond the familiar tropes of the genre to encompass themes of feminism, anarchism, and questions of race and sexuality. Music And Poetry Of The Kesh was originally released on cassette in 1985, and packaged with select editions of Always Coming Home. But, according to Barton, the music was far more than mere musical accompaniment. “It wasn’t just a case of, ‘This is music inspired by…,’” he explains. “The music was actually integral to what you were reading in the book. They were always meant to be together.”

Barton and Le Guin first crossed paths in the early ‘80s, while Barton was working as a composer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, a city near the California border. Le Guin, already an author of international repute, was on tour, reading from some upcoming works. “Afterwards, I went up to say, ‘Hi, I’m Todd, I’m a fanboy,” says Barton. He discovered that the university radio station was adapting some of Le Guin’s radio plays so he offered his services as a composer, and soon he and Le Guin struck up a friendship. She and her husband Charles invited him out to their family homestead in the Napa Valley. “We were out for a walk and she said, would you like to write music for my next book?” he remembers. “And I said yes…please!”

Le Guin had only just started writing Always Coming Home, and the pair’s written correspondence rapidly defined the parameters of the work. “Pretty quickly, it became clear that the book was going to be a collection of this ethnologist findings of this culture—be it dance, music, poetry, daily life, tools, rituals. The way she framed it was it was this imaginary archaeological dig into this culture. So I adopted the same mindset. I started doing imaginary musicological digs into the Kesh culture, and would bring back sounds, or instruments, or things I had found.” It was a means of working that spurred the pair on to granular levels of detail. “The first poetry she sent me to be set to music was called ‘The River Song,’” he recalls. “I said, ‘Ursula, it’s in English…do they speak English?’” Le Guin conceded that they did not. “So she took six months off to create a language so that she could then write the poetry in Kesh.”

Ursula Le Guin

For his part, Barton busied himself building instruments to Le Guin’s design, which included a seven-foot horn, the Houmbúta, and the Wéosai Medoud Teyahi bone flute. For the long singing pieces, he enlisted colleagues from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and he also travelled the Napa Valley in search of field recordings: “I would get up at four in the morning and sit in a meadow and record the sounds of the world waking up for two hours, freezing my butt off.” But technology also played a key role. It’s a surprise to hear that many of the sounds are recreated skillfully with a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer. Likewise, that all the poetry on the album is spoken by Le Guin herself, with Barton sonically manipulating the author’s voice “so she would sound like an old man, or a young girl,” he explains.

The pair’s dedication to detail paid off: Music And Poetry Of The Kesh takes its imagined subject matter and makes it feel vivid and real. After the music was wrapped, Barton filled in and sent off some forms to the Library Of Congress to claim copyright before the pair embarked on a short book tour. “And they wrote me back to say I’d filled out the forms wrong: ‘You can’t copyright indigenous music, but you can say you arranged it. And you can’t copyright the poetry, but you can copyright your translation.’ I had to call them up,” he laughs, “and I said, ‘Wow, OK, I think you missed the boat here. Ursula Le Guin created the language, and she and I are the only people on the planet who understand and can speak it.’” After Always Coming Home hit shelves, Le Guin’s descriptions of Kesh instruments caught the attention of her fans, who set out to build them for the first time. Barton sounds satisfied that the facsimile sounds he worked out on the Jupiter sounded just about right.

Barton and Le Guin remained firm friends after the recording of Music And Poetry Of The Kesh. They worked together on subsequent collaborative projects; Barton even named his daughter after her: “They would get together to chat—the younger Ursula mentored by the older Ursula.” Le Guin was fully involved with the reissue of Music And Poetry Of The Kesh, but sadly she will not see its release; the author passed away, aged 88, on January 22 of this year.

Barton, meanwhile, is preparing to play a few tracks from Music And Poetry Of The Kesh at a launch party in April. “It’s so different from what I’m doing now, which is very abstract electronic music,” he says. “But I’ve been trying to figure out how I can do a few tunes, and it’s taken me back to some of the eight track masters.” It’s been fun looking back, he says, and remembering how this strange, singular collection of music came together. “Ursula was happy with the recording, very happy—both at the time, and throughout her life. It was an important work for her.”

-Louis Pattison
14 Feb 21:59

'Charlie on the MTA' could be updated with new people to vote for to fight the fare increase: Members of the Boston City Council

by adamg
Matthew Connor

The T is legit getting worse, which shouldn't be possible but it is definitely noticeable on both my morning and evening commutes. (I don't even commute during rush hour in the morning, but the trains keep getting slower and more infrequent, often stopping for 10 minutes at a random stop for "schedule adjustment.") It's really a joke.

Boston City Councilors say the $85 million the city directly pays into the MBTA every year should at least buy them a meeting with T officials to press their case to do more than just maintain an increasingly unreliable system they say particularly penalizes residents who don't live near a subway stop.

"It's cheaper to go from Hyde Park to Providence than to go from Hyde Park to Ruggles on the commuter rail," Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) said, in filing a formal request for a hearing at which to try to get T officials to attend to explain everything from fares on commuter rail to why the T thinks it deserves a possible fare increase.

In her formal request for a hearing, she added:

At current MBTA service levels, certain buses and subway trains are so crowded during rush hour that many commuters must “go out to go in,” traveling first in the opposite direction from their destination to be able to access transit in the intended direction, yet the MBTA is considering fare increases for the next fiscal year, which would disproportionately burden Boston residents and especially lowincome and working class residents who most need access to affordable, reliable public transit.

"If the MBTA was a business, they'd be out of business," fumed Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), who has been complaining about commuter-rail fares in Hyde Park and Roslindale for years.

"It's absurd that residents of the city of Boston pay different fares to go into town," Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), said. "It's simply unjust," agreed Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large).

Unlike Mayor Walsh, who has been reluctant to raise the issue, councilors said the $85 million a year the city of Boston directly pays the T each year for the privilege of being in the T district should be a lever to get both more equitable fares and better service.

"That's real money," McCarthy said. "The MBTA does not service Boston residents well."

"The city of Boston pays a huge amount of money into the T and deserves to have a seat at the table," agreed Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, Fenway), who added state officials need to start thinking about real investments in the system, not just fare increases and cost cutting. He added, "we had a very different response when Gov. Patrick was there."

10 Feb 15:08

Good Move

by Erik Loomis
Matthew Connor

I think "Darker, Gayer, Different" is a great motto, personally.

This is how you act when oppressive assholes in power want to meet with you because you snapped back at them.

Vice President Pence is set to arrive here soon to lead the official U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremony, a delegation that is making a strong political statement against North Korea’s oppressive regime by including the father of Otto Warmbier, the student who died not long after being held in captivity in North Korea.

But on the afternoon on Jan. 17, Pence had another focus: He was so concerned about the criticism he received from U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon that his staff went to the extraordinary length of asking the U.S. Olympic Committee to set up a conversation between the two – an offer Rippon turned down.

The spat between the vice president and the figure skater began when I asked Rippon last month about Pence’s selection for the ceremonial role of leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon said.

I love it. Of course, the fact that there are gay figure skaters (I too was shocked to learn this in 2018), Asian-American skiers, and the like is making Fox executives very upset.

Fox News’ Olympics coverage has started, and it’s already a doozy.

John Moody, the network’s executive editor and executive vice president, published an op-ed Wednesday lamenting Team USA celebrating its diversity.

“Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger,‘” Moody wrote on hours before official competition would begin at the Winter Games. “It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”

In conclusion, Colin Kaepernick committed an unpardonable sin by bringing politics into sports.


02 Feb 23:46

The Dancing video: come for Kylie chucking an acoustic guitar across a room, stay for the dance with DEATH

by Popjustice
Matthew Connor

this video makes me so so happy y’all don’t even know

Nobody could really claim the guess-what-Kylie-went-to-Nashville-for-a-few-weeks-last-summer influence is subtle, but this Sophie Muller-‘helmed’ video for the new Kylie single is just what the doctor (in-house video commissioner) ordered.

  • Proper dance routine
  • Kylie tossing a guitar
  • Bit at the end where she dances with the Grim Reaper (?)

That’ll do nicely.

It’s reassuring, also, to see Sophie Muller reprising the ‘line dancing, ballroom dancing and sparkly shoes’ theme of one of her finest works. Do you think she’s had those shimmer curtains in storage since 2001?

The post The Dancing video: come for Kylie chucking an acoustic guitar across a room, stay for the dance with DEATH appeared first on Popjustice.

01 Feb 17:23

The director of Pulse leads an invasion of the body snatchers in the goofy-creepy Before We Vanish

by A.A. Dowd on The A.V. Club, shared by Laura Adamczyk to Film
Matthew Connor

YAY Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of my very favorite directors and this sounds like a lot of fun. I highlight recommend seeking out his last movie, Creepy, it's a good intro to what makes him so weird and magical (and it is unnerving as fuck). It's on Shudder and I think Amazon.

One of Japan’s premier gooseflesh provokers, Kiyoshi Kurosawa made an international name for himself in horror, specifically with 2001’s technophobic, ghost-in-the-machine creepfest Pulse. But he’s no genre monogamist; the director has applied his command of unnerving atmosphere—that ability to get skin crawling with…


01 Feb 05:39

The Hereditary trailer only hints at the horrors that await you

by A.A. Dowd on The A.V. Club, shared by Katie Rife to Film
Matthew Connor

Here’s that trailer, Christal! I’m not watching but in case anyone else wants to...

About the closest there came to a consensus opinion out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was that Hereditary, the latest horror movie scooped up by indie distributor A24, is really, really scary. Of course, just saying as much—as yours truly did after stumbling shell-shocked out one of the first screenings—risks…


24 Jan 16:45

Hereditary is the most traumatically terrifying horror movie in ages

by A.A. Dowd on The A.V. Club, shared by A.A. Dowd to Film
Matthew Connor

Whoa. Comparisons to The Bababook (which I thought was kinda lousy tbh) and the fact that it's A24 (which has been consistently disappointing lately in the art horror category) give me pause, but... Whoa.

I don’t scare easily. As much as I love horror movies, and have since I was young, they don’t usually shake me in any real, lasting way: “It’s only a movie” is always there for me like a security blanket, smothering any genuine panic. So it’s a special kind of awful, a rare treat of sorts, when something comes along…


23 Jan 15:48

Green Line low energy once more; commute yet again a chore

by adamg
Matthew Connor

I’ve been on the train for over an hour and I’m still three stops from work, send help

Yes, once again, the C and D lines are suffering those mysterious power problems that are slowing trolleys to a crawl.

18 Jan 13:48

Kylie launches comeback single Dancing — and it’s all about LIFE

by Popjustice
Matthew Connor

i need it nowwwwwwwww

Kylie’s new single Dancing premiered on Radio 2 this morning and it’s out tomorrow, but it leaked on Saturday and on the same day The Sun ran this headline.

Except, right, the song isn’t really about DEATH and dying, is it? It’s about life and living.

The line “when I go out I wanna go out dancing” (WHICH IS A VERY VERY GOOD POP LYRIC BECAUSE IT MEANS ONE THING BUT ALSO ANOTHER THING) does take into account the fact that one day all of us will make our way to the great bargain bin in the sky.

[This post was ready to go at 8am today based on the assumption that Kylie’s team would put the audio online following the radio premiere, which didn’t happen, but this is almost certainly where the embed would have gone]

But Dancing is (one would have imagined) unmistakably a song about what you do with your life between this point and that point. As the 0.57-litre-sized 1 ‘pop’ ‘princess’ notes in the song: “Everybody’s got a story, let it be a blaze of glory.”

There really aren’t enough heart emojis in the world for this sort of sentiment, are there?

  1. This epithet has been modified under EU metrification laws and will revert to its original state following Brexit, which is very much the ‘blue passports’ of the pop world

The post Kylie launches comeback single Dancing — and it’s all about LIFE appeared first on Popjustice.

11 Jan 20:23

Caffinated colons

by Shakezula
Matthew Connor

excuse me

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop — the company that takes money from wealthy women in return for dangerous things to stick in their orifices — is catching some well-deserved flack for hawking coffee enemas and a $135 kit to jet java up the far end of your digestive system.

Down the hatch, coffee can jump start a day. But, according to dubious advice from Gwyneth Paltrow’s posh lifestyle and e-commerce site, Goop, the popular brew can also kick off a whole year—when taken up the bum.

Yes, Goop suggests that a coffee enema is a “clutch” way to “supercharge” your “annual goop detox” and start the year in tip-top health. In its latest guide for “deep detoxification,” the Goop team recommends a device called an “Implant O’Rama” for squirting coffee up your keister at home. The product, sold by Implant O’Rama LLC for a bargain $135, is merely a glass bottle with silicone tubing attached.

Implant O’Rama, in addition to having a name that is almost as dumb as Goop, is one of those concerns that clearly knows the difference between what it claims to be selling

For its part, Implant O’Rama LLC claims on its website that coffee gulped from the glutes “can mean relief from depression, confusion, general nervous tension, many allergy related symptoms and, most importantly, relief from severe pain. Coffee enemas lower serum toxins.”

And what it is actually selling: An ass full of coffee. Just hand over the cash, and keep the lawyers out of it.

But the claims are quickly followed by a lengthy disclaimer that notes such claims are “not necessarily” based on scientific evidence and the company’s products are not intended to “treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.” The company ends by stating that by “using this site for any purpose whatsoever… you are agreeing to indemnify Implant O’Rama LLC… from any claims or responsibility for anything.”

I do wonder how a coffee enema can relieve confusion. Perhaps after scalding his cecum the patient realizes the difference between his mouth and his asshole and is cured!

The fact is, using coffee enemas — brewed with raw water, no doubt — to supercharge an anual detox is one of the newer and less screwed up reasons people encourage other people to do this to themselves, or let someone else do it to them.

For example, there’s the Gerson Institute. In addition to claiming that coffee enemas can treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and several other conditions that cannot be treated with any sort of enema, and MAYBE it’s OK for caner patients to have chemotherapy or radiation therapy in conjunction with putting dry roast up their rectums, Gerson also has the horrible ideas for home-made gifts.

If you’re a Gerson patient, chances are you’ve got tons of coffee grounds from all of those enemas. The most common approach to utilize spent grounds is to use them in the garden. This Holiday season, the gift of coffee is perfect to detox and treat your skin!

However, Gerson’s enema kit is far more reasonable; only $14.95 (no returns, please).

I think people who mislead people who are ill in order to support their stupid theory of health care — or simply for the money — should be treated with a ride on an old pine fence post. In part because the treatments themselves are dangerous, but also because they’re taking advantage of people who are scared shitless and not thinking rationally.

I could have posted an image of an online tutorial, but I was feeling merciful.



05 Jan 23:10


15 Dec 23:48

Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree: Vol I & II (A Vintage Holiday Mixtape)

by Satisfied '75
Matthew Connor

yay i always love these

Ah yes, go ahead and inhale the fecund ether of the season. Lit Up Like A Christmas celebrates the, er, other side of seasonal tidings — holiday esoterica from the far corners of vintage jazz, twang, fuzz, scuzz, r&b, blues, country, garage, lounge and beyond. And by beyond, I mean Sun Ra doing a Christmas […]
14 Dec 12:37

Heroes of the Resistance

by Erik Loomis

We should be happy from last night’s victory, but we also still face an administration and a Republican Party engaged in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing. And while it’s nice I guess that everyday Democrats have taken on the mantra of The Resistance, which at the very least isn’t more hyperbolic than the defining down of the term “revolution” by Bernie supporters, there are people engaging in actual resistance at tremendous personal sacrifice. These are the real heroes of the resistance. Most of them we will never hear of. Here is one man I want to make sure we do remember.

After more than seven months in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, a gay Venezuelan man who is HIV-positive, Jesus Rodriguez Mendoza, staged a seven-day hunger strike in protest of his inhumane treatment. He didn’t eat from Thursday, November 30, until late on Thursday, December 7, when, feeling desperately weak and finding blood in his stool, he decided to pause his strike. Medical staff also told him that they were going to start force-feeding him on the following day. Among his complaints to ICE, the agency that runs the El Paso Processing Center (EPPC) where Mendoza is housed, are discrimination based on sexual preference and medical condition, lack of access to necessary and life-saving medication, prolonged detention, and near-complete disregard from his deportation officer, who he saw for the first time only after he began his hunger strike. Besides the single short visit with his deportation officer, he has not been contacted by any ICE officials since he began his strike. If Mendoza doesn’t get notice on his parole petition by December 24, he vows to stop eating again.

On December 4, four days into his hunger strike, Mendoza wrote in a letter to his advocates: “In the first six months that I have been detained at the El Paso Processing Center, I have made twenty-five requests to meet with my deportation officer, Officer Valencia, and all have been denied or ignored. My two previous requests for parole have been denied and it is still not clear to me why.” His attorney, Linda Rivas, from the El Paso-based Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, helped him file his third petition for parole, which is currently under consideration.

Originally from Venezuela, Mendoza spent 10 years living in the United States, in the Miami and New York City areas, working in online advertising on multiple visas. He has also lived in the UK, has no deportations from the US, did not overstay any of his visas, and has never committed an immigration violation. In 2006, he returned to Venezuela, where he worked in IT for the opposition party’s presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, who in 2012 ran against and lost to the late Hugo Chávez. Because of strong anti-homosexual sentiment in Venezuela, he mostly hid his sexuality, and struggled to treat his HIV. “I never got any medicine from the government,” he told me in a phone call. Originally diagnosed in 2002, while in Venezuela he received his medication from friends abroad. After a while, no longer able to sustainably self-import his medication, he registered to receive treatment in Venezuela, but was told he was not a priority; his health began to deteriorate. At the same time, he began receiving threatening letters, referencing the fact that he was HIV positive—he suspected them to be from government supporters—and was followed on multiple occasions.

Feliciano Reyna, the founder of Acción Solidaria, a Venezuelan nonprofit that helps HIV-infected people access treatment, explained to me that it was exactly in these years, 2012 to 2013, when the health crisis for Venezuelans with HIV and AIDS began, with severe shortages of anti-retroviral drugs, condoms, and HIV-testing agents. Reyna also described pervasive discrimination against those with HIV in the Venezuelan health system.

Fearing for his safety and his health, Mendoza fled the country, first to Mexico, where he worked on a visa, and finally to the United States. He presented himself at the Ysleta, Texas border crossing on April 28, 2017, and requested asylum. His attorney explained that he has a dual asylum claim—both political and based on his discrimination because of his sexual orientation—calling it a “viable claim.”

Mendoza described the bitter welcome he received when he first showed up at the US border. After requesting asylum and volunteering to the CBP officials that he was gay and HIV-positive, an officer locked him in a room and told a woman who was cleaning to “get out, because he’s sick.” He was closed into a freezing cold holding center for a day and a half—one of the notorious hieleras. As he was being transferred to the EPPC, they put a mask over his face, and when a guard asked why he had a mask on, the agent said, “He has HIV.” He has remained locked up inside the EPPC, with approximately 800 other inmates, with some periods in solitary confinement, for the past seven months.

There’s a time when the left would have not felt bad for Mendoza because he opposed Hugo Chavez, but I hope we are past that now. Here is a man trying to make a better life for himself and trying to do so in the United States, where he can live as a gay man without daily oppression and where he can get the treatment for his disease that he needs. For our fascist agencies such as ICE and CBP, this is unacceptable. For them, people such as Mendoza need to be ethnically cleansed from our nation. His resistance in the face of such oppression deserves our attention and outrage.

Of course, it’s hardly just a few people such as Mendoza experiencing oppression from these fascist agencies. It should hardly surprise us that victims of ICE also become victims of sexual assault. And let’s be clear, ICE agents are really, really, really pumped about their ethnic cleansing campaign. They love Donald Trump for letting them loose. It is for this that they are among the greatest threats we face in this nation.


13 Dec 15:28

C Line not so fleet; dead train at Washington Street

by adamg
Matthew Connor

Yeahhh I just had to wait outside 25 minutes for a train to show up and now I’m sitting on a train that has no heat and isn’t moving. Hope I still have all my digits when I get to work.

"Moderate" delays due to the froze-up trolley at Washington Street, the MBTA says.

08 Dec 21:50

THE TERROR Trailer: Ridley Scott's Historical Horror Series is SO my Jam

Matthew Connor

oooh i liked this book i hope this is good

AMC's new series The Terror, based on Dan Simmons' historical horror novel of the same name, will have a two-hour series premiere on Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m.

The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice.

But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the Terror on the ice stalks them [Continued ...]
05 Dec 17:04

‘A nice early Christmas present’

by humanizingthevacuum

Two weeks ago, I cautioned, myself more than anyone, my readers not to get complacent. Donald Trump’s candidacy included a couple of ornamental gestures toward bringing in gay and lesbian voters to the GOP as if their base would allow it (look at Roy Moore in Alabama). Less than two years after a majority found in the Obergefell v. Hodges case a constitutional right to gay marriage, the Roberts Court did the following:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that gay spouses may not be entitled to government-subsidized workplace benefits — a potential victory for social conservatives hoping to chip away at 2015’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

In June, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision favoring spousal benefits for gay city employees in Houston, ordering the issue back to trial. That was a major reversal for the all-Republican state high court, which previously refused to even consider the benefits case after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that the Constitution grants gay couples who want to marry “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

The Texas court changed its mind and heard the case amid intense pressure from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, as well as dozens of other conservative elected officials, church leaders and grassroots activists.

They can marry, the Texas Supreme Court said, but they can’t share benefits, which is why most people get married in the first place, not too mention why citizens, gay and straight, work for municipal, state, or the federal government. This looks on its face like an endorsement of an equal protection violation. SCOTUS’ refusal to grant cert may not mean much in the long term if the Court is looking for the right sort of related case to accept, but I can’t imagine the wave of litigation coming.

05 Dec 00:19

Your Republican Party

by Erik Loomis
Matthew Connor

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley told the Register in a story posted yesterday.

Straight up moustache-twirling villain bullshit right here.

Orrin Hatch with that iron-clad Republican logic:

The lead author of the Senate Republican tax plan, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, said that the federal government no longer has the money to fund the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

“The reason CHIP is having trouble [passing] is because we don’t have money anymore,” Hatch said. “We just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.”

CHIP is an $8 billion program. The Senate bill passed in the early hours of Saturday morning includes $6 trillion in tax cuts, financed by $4.5 trillion in tax hikes elsewhere. Hatch, though, promised CHIP would still pass. “We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. It has to be done the right way,” he said.

But it’s not as if Hatch cares about these poor kids. After all, their parents are leeches on the plutocrats who deserve all the money. Their spawn probably will be too so screw them, might as well let them die early.

“I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves, but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said, in comments that were shared by Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough over the weekend.

Hatch is talking about the poor parents, but really, what difference does it make? This is an attitude of robbing the poor to give to the rich and then blaming the poor for their own poverty. What could be more New Gilded Age?

…Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley, ladies and gentlemen:

After pretending for a brief moment in 2016 that the Republican Party stood for working people, the Republican-controlled Congress reverted back to trickle-down form on Friday when they passed a tax reform bill that overwhelmingly favored the rich. Not to be outdone, though, Senator Chuck Grassley made clear his disdain for those not benefiting under the new tax law.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley told the Register in a story posted yesterday.

This is full-fledged late 19th century elite Robber Baron governance.


01 Dec 23:15

Control the Supply Chains

by Erik Loomis

When I read stories about the exploitation of children in global agribusiness, I get furious because they never get to root causes. This story about the widespread use of child labor on Indonesian palm oil plantations owned by a Singapore-based conglomerate is a good example. Amnesty International discovered the kids working, the Singapore company is now making claims it will stop that, but of course there is nothing really forcing it to. Nowhere in any of this is who is demanding such low-cost palm oil that children are employed to produce it. And that’s the industrial consumers of Indonesian palm oil. Some of those are in China and India, others in the US and Europe. What the global network of capitalists have done though is outsource so much and create such complex and opaque supply chains that they can claim no responsibility for anything that happens. Yet if the cost went up or supplies fell short, you can bet they would be deeply involved in the production process to increase supply or find new supplies entirely. They get away with see, hearing, and speaking no evil about their supply chains because we let them. If we don’t want kids laboring on palm oil plantations, we have to create legal consequences for the American companies buying that oil. That will go very far to solve the problem, once their bottom line and assets are threatened.

And I certainly realize that of all the horrors now facing us as a nation, not to mention the planet, the experiences of Indonesian child laborers are not very high on your list, nor do you think that there is anything we can do. In the immediate term, that’s of course correct. But if we don’t articulate our policy preferences with serious proposals, we will never solve the problem once we do escape this period.


14 Nov 14:43

Even the Worst Parts of America Have Lots of Great People

by Erik Loomis
Matthew Connor

Worth noting.

That Politico piece from last week about the horrible racism of Trump voters in Johnstown, Pennsylvania got a lot of attention, for good reason. But as we process that people today could say such terrible things, let’s also remember that there are lots of great progressives in Johnstown who are fighting with us against what we despise. And by ignoring them and calling a place like Johnstown “Trump Country,” we are marginalizing our allies.

Indivisible Johnstown, a progressive group that has held candidate forums for 2018 Democratic congressional candidates, responded on Facebook: “We are OUTRAGED that this POLITICO reporter and EVERY reporter who comes to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is only looking to tell a story of American Carnage. … Many, many citizens here are not misogynistic, racists like the Neanderthals in this article. They are working hard to make a difference.”

Mary Lou Davis, of Indivisible Johnstown, says stories like these are stereotyping Johnstown negatively. “There is such a media slant, and I am getting tired that Johnstown is getting portrayed that way,” says Davis. She says Johnstown isn’t only filled with racists and cynical residents. Davis notes that the night before the Politico article was published, Johnstown elected two African-American council members, both of whom are Democrats.

Davis says while Johnstown does have many problems typical of declining Rust Belt towns, it also has a lot to offer, like the well-established tourism and history organization, Johnstown Area Heritage Association. JAHA runs the popular Johnstown Flood Museum, a children’s museum and an outdoor music venue.

“We have a symphony, we have an art community, we host a national triple-A baseball tournament every year,” says Davis. “They painted with such a broad brush. The Politico piece just made us very very angry.”

This is fair. Forget Johnstown for a minute. In Alabama, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, there are also large parts of every community who believe in the same values the liberal and left hold. It’s not all racists. This is why it drives me nuts when people say, “We should have let the South secede!” Talk about Black Lives Don’t Matter!!! But even saying that blithely forgets that there are lots of awesome people in these places. We are a country together, Texas and Massachusetts, Idaho and California. That doesn’t mean we need to “find understanding with our opponents” or whatnot. But it does mean we need to include our allies struggling in the hard country while we are comfortable in Seattle or Providence instead of marginalizing them.


10 Nov 21:36

everythingfox: Watch for your own good


Watch for your own good

02 Nov 22:54

Cleveland Circle hotel to open in April

by adamg
Matthew Connor

There's about to be a hotel a block from our apartment y'all :O

The AC Hotel at the Circle, where the Cleveland Circle Cinema and the Applebee's used to be, should open in April, just in time for BC graduation season, its manager, Ronald Rockelein, said today.

Rockelein appeared before the Boston Licensing Board to seek its approval for the chain's plan to buy the liquor license now held by Chau Chow City on Essex Street in Chinatown.

The 162-room hotel is part of a project that also includes a senior-citizen apartment building.

20 Oct 14:53

The Snowman's main character is named "Harry Hole," and it only gets worse from there

by Katie Rife on The A.V. Club, shared by Caitlin PenzeyMoog to Film

If you were compiling a collection of the worst movie advertising campaigns of all time, The Snowman would have to be on the list. Any menace that might be gleaned from this dark, R-rated thriller instantly evaporates upon viewing the poster, which features a crude stick figure of a snowman who looks like he’s…


19 Oct 22:06

Our own haunted condo building?

by adamg
Matthew Connor

oooooh. i went to a party here with the drummer from Rasputina my freshman year of college but i did not see any ghosts i'm sad to report

Aline Kaplan introduces us to the architecture and possibly haunted history of the Charlesgate, a hotel turned dorm turned rooming house turned dorm again turned condos at Beacon Street and Charlesgate on the edge of the Back Bay.

The glowing spirits of horses that died in a flood have been seen on the ground floor where a stable was supposedly located. The building’s original plans show no stable on the premises, although you can have night-mares without real horses.

09 Oct 22:20

gameraboy1: Elsa Lanchester applying her makeup during the...


Elsa Lanchester applying her makeup during the production of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

08 Oct 18:48

BPL hires outreach worker for homeless people flocking to Copley Square library

by adamg
Matthew Connor

Good! I'm somehow surprised every single time I go to the library by just how many homeless people are there.

The mayor's office today announced it's hired away an outreach worker from the Pine Street Inn to help the homeless people who have found the remodeled Copley Square main library as attractive as other users.

BPL is also hiring a full-time reference librarian specializing in health and human-services issues to help homeless people in the library, Mayor Walsh's office said.

Although new outreach worker Mike Bunch started work this week in Copley Square, the city says he "will assist patrons at library locations throughout the City in most demand." Until this week, the most visible library outreach to homeless people in Copley Square consisted of security guards roaming the library and waking up anybody they found asleep at a desk or table.

In a statement, BPL President David Leonard said:

The BPL is committed to providing all patrons, regardless of status, with the critical assistance they need, and the hire of the outreach manager is a significant "first" for the BPL and will connect library users with the right resources to help them move forward.