Wednesday, April 29, 2009

escape from it all (new shirt design)

check out my latest shirt design for threadless:

Escape from it all - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

this is a reworking of my "escape" design, which was my highest-scoring submission to date. people seemed to like the concept, but i got some complaints that it was too small and square. i think this version is a major improvement in several areas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

friday cat bending


this week's cat bending demonstrates the photoshop 6 truncation glitch, discovered by daniel temkin. more lilybending here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

fighting for the right to mistreat animals

as cynical as i've become over the years, i'm still occasionally surprised by political developments. so while i'm not surprised at resistance to a proposed indiana bill restricting puppy mills, i am surprised at who it's coming from, and why:

Indiana Department of Agriculture officials have been working behind the scenes to defeat legislation that would crack down on abusive dog breeders by trying to discredit one of the bill's leading supporters.

Their target: the Humane Society of the United States.

Although the department has taken no official position on the legislation, it acknowledges it has highlighted the Humane Society's history of opposition to confined farming practices, common in Indiana, especially in huge hog operations where animals are raised in close quarters.

A document the agency distributed to lawmakers alleges the Humane Society's goal was the "abolition of all animal agriculture," a notion the group rejected Wednesday. Critics of the bill worry that it could lead to new restrictions on livestock.

so there's a bill to protect dogs from mistreatment, and these people are talking about livestock?

ignoring the question of whether these types of restrictions should be applied to livestock—some of them probably should, as operations such as CAFOs are bad both for the animals as well as for the environment—how does this make sense? dogs are raised as pets, not livestock, so how and why would laws pertaining to dogs be applied to cattle or hogs? the logic is strained.

but most disappointing is that a state government agency is secretly lobbying to defeat this bill. perhaps i shouldn't be surprised, considering that the man in charge is mitch daniels, who's always happy to sell out the environment in favor of business interests, but still i am. how appropriate, then, that the story comes out the day after earth day, fresh on the heels of yesterday's revelation that indiana fallss at the bottom of nearly every conceivable environmental ranking.

not only does mitch daniels not care about the environment; now we know he doesn't even care about protecting puppies from abuse.

update: becky skillman chimes in:

On Thursday, Lt. Gov Becky Skillman's office, which oversees the Department of Agriculture, said Gov. Mitch Daniels' administration backed the bill.

"We are definitely in favor of regulation and the ability to prosecute some of these bad actors and puppy mills that are out there," said Jay Kenworthy, Skillman's press secretary. "There's no effort to kill the bill. We just wanted to see a few changes."

here are some of the changes that have been made:

No limit to the number of dogs an owner can breed. No state inspections of commercial breeding facilities. No restrictions on how often a dog can be bred.

in other words, skillman was in favor of the bill, as long as most of its teeth were removed first.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

nice work if you can get it

when i was in high school, many years ago (my 15th reunion is coming up), like many aspiring writers i kept notebooks where i'd jot poems, short stories, song lyrics, and what have you.

most of these were naturally terrible, and i'd be ashamed to show them now. one such awful story involved a photo shoot being interrupted by right-wing censors. the "twist" if you can call it that was that the model in the shoot (naturally inspired by a fellow student i was crushing on at the time) was in fact modestly dressed, but still the photo shoot was censored because the model was so pretty that it was believed her smile alone would be overly titillating.

the story was stupid and corny; the twist not particularly clever. and it wasn't so much meant as a clever satire (which is wasn't), but more as an excuse to fantasize about a pretty classmate. so imagine my surprise at how things have changed since i was in school.

these days, a teenage girl in a swimsuit can get prosecuted for child pornography simply for posing for a photo if she's "posed provocatively"—which i take to mean if she's cute.

under the current (insane) interpretation of the law, "child pornography" is so impossibly illegal that teenagers can't even own mildly erotic photographs of themselves. a teenage girl who takes a photo of herself in a bra or bikini risks being placed on the sex offender registry for life.

but there is one loophole. apparently, the only people who are allowed to own "child pornography" are teachers and school administrators:

atrios quoted this passage on his blog, but i think he ended the quote one paragraph too soon:

Marissa and her parents joined a group of about 50 others at the courthouse. Before showing the photos, Mr. Skumanick explained his offer to the crowd, answering one father's question affirmatively, that -- yes -- a girl in a bathing suit could be subjected to criminal charges because she was posed "provocatively."

Mr. Skumanick told them he could have simply charged the kids. Instead, he gave them two weeks to decide: take the class or face charges.

He then told the parents and teens to line up if they wanted to view the photos, which were printed out onto index cards. As the 17-year-old who took semi-nude self-portraits waited in line, she realized that Mr. Skumanick and other investigators had viewed the pictures. When the adults began to crowd around Mr. Skumanick, the 17-year-old worried they could see her photo and recalls she said, "I think the worst punishment is knowing that all you old guys saw me naked. I just think you guys are all just perverts."

Mr. Skumanick dismisses the criticism, saying that no one could see photos of teens who weren't their own children.

no one, that is, except for skumanick himself, who no doubt has a copy of every racy photo his students have ever sexted to each other, and has surely seen them all multiple times.

now, i don't know if skumanick is the kind of guy who'd go home and touch himself while looking at all those photos of underage girls with their shirts off. i'd like to think that he's not. but i do know that if i were that type of guy, a job like skumanick's would be my dream job.

update: as john m points out in the comments, skumanick is actually the district attorney, so it appears that the best way to get your hands on lewd photos of underage girls is actually to work in the DA's office. though i'm sure school administrators do still get to see plenty of that stuff.

Friday, April 17, 2009

friday lolcat blogging

it was wrong but i fixed it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

lowered expectations

yesterday: "Organizers expect about 8,000 people to protest excessive government spending tomorrow at the Indiana Statehouse."

this morning: "Organizers say they expect several thousand people to attend this afternoon's event in Indianapolis."

this afternoon: "Police estimated about 2,500 people attended the rally, though organizers claimed their numbers were as large as 9,000."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the once and future flak

shorter every post ever by mike o'brien: hello! my name is mike and i'm a right-wing lobbyist and paid republican flak. on every issue, i agree 100% with governor daniels and disagree 100% with obama and the stupid democrats.

bonus shorter executive producer brady gibson: we want WRTV's capitol watchblog to be the first place on the web you visit for political news and debtate. that's why we now have three right-wing bloggers on our payroll compared to one left-winger.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

afraid to lead

mayor greg ballard's administration seems to have hit a low point today. not only did the indy star devote its entire behind closed doors column to his lack of leadership on the CIB bailout (printing a most unflattering photo alongside it), but the lead editorial was on the same topic.

but the unkindest cut of all must be that even ballard's top apologist, abdul hakim shabazz, is now criticizing him. this is quite likely the first time abdul has ever said so much as one word critical of the mayor, so this must be a watershed moment.

the question liberal blogs have been asking for months is now on everyone's lips: where the eff is mayor ballard? he loves to talk about leadership, but when is he actually going to show some?

the star editorial suggests one explanation:

Insiders in the Ballard administration say the mayor has been reluctant to push forward his own solutions out of concern that any assertiveness on his part might anger legislative leaders.

so the mayor is afraid to show some leadership because it might upset some legislators? is there a passage in ballard's book about this that i can quote ironically? because i can't be bothered to spend money on a copy of the thing.

glitch aesthetic goes mainstream?

this, my friends, is the latest kanye west video:

i don't know whether to be stoked that this shiz is on mtv now, or disappointed that the director is just another hollywood video director and not an underground glitch artist. (kanye should have hired this guy or this guy instead.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

the idea man

shorter mitch daniels: i don't like the senate's plan for spending indiana's share of the stimulus money. we should instead spend that money on [mumbles inaudibly].

furthermore, i think building a casino in downtown indy to fund the CIB is a terrible idea. there are much better options, such as [mumbles inaudibly].

friday cat bending

lily wordpad 1
lily wordpad 2
lily wordpad 3
lily wordpad 4
it's been a while since i did any cat bending, and now i have a new cat, so here's some fun with the wordpad effect.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

a voter by any other name

over in texas, they're debating a voter ID law. here in indiana, where we've had voter ID for a few years, we know that such laws are highly problematic. (the #1 problem, naturally, is that they're completely unnecessary, a solution in search of a problem.) yesterday, the texas house heard testimony about one problem that i haven't seen discussed elsewhere: not only do some people have names that may sound "weird" to american ears, but some names can't even be directly translated to the latin alphabet:

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver's license on school registrations.

so what do you do if you have a difficult-to-spell name? back in the old days, the folks at ellis island would've just changed your name to "joe smith" and that'd be that. apparently, texas rep betty brown would like to go back to those days:

"Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it's a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?" Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: "Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that's easier for Americans to deal with?"

pretty simple, really. if your name is in some crazy moon language and you want to vote here in america, just change your name to something american. steve is a good name. or frank, that's a good one. women can pick names like mary or lisa.

rep brown insists her suggestion wasn't racially motivated. she was only trying to address an identification problem. but let's face it: asians aren't the only people with weird names. so if we're going to make people change their names like we used to, we should do it across the board: eastern europeans, aboriginal descent, even blacks. i mean, what kind of a name is kanye west, for example? or, for that matter, barack obama?

just think of it: president steve obama! now that's a name change you can believe in!