"President Hurricane, Tear Down This Wall!"


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At last, the Party Bus lobby weighs in

"It's just Not Right!"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Party bus owners are not happy about the city's order forcing them to close. Parris McKinney owns Extreme Party Bus Nashville. He feels like businesses on Broadway are being targeted.

"It hurts," McKinney said. He started his business right before the pandemic hit. "It's just not right."

Party buses that allow consumption of alcohol are not allowed to operate until August 1.

McKinney said that if the order extends longer than August 1, he's heard from other transpotainment business owners that there will be push-back.

As the owner of a nightclub, I can assure you -- wholeheartedly and unreservedly -- that every person who steps out of a party bus is an entitled asshole whom you don't want as a customer.

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Virus is God's Will; Invisible Sky Fairy unavailable for comment.

They defied health rules for a storybook San Francisco wedding. The virus didn't spare them.

Guests of the illegal 100-person wedding were instructed to enter the North Beach church through a hidden door from and underground parking garage. [...]

San Francisco's city attorney had warned Catholic leaders to stop holding illegal indoor events only days earlier. Yet the leadership of SS Peter and Paul's helped organize the wedding ceremony, the city said. The celebration included a rehearsal dinner and reception with invitations extended to large groups from multiple households, at a time when such gatherings remain heavily restricted in much of the Bay Area.

In the days following, the newlywed couple and at least eight attendees tested positive for the coronavirus, two guests told The Chronicle. [...]

The potentially exposed guests flew back to Nashville, Arizona and San Diego, hot spots of the pandemic, potentially spreading the virus and providing a textbook example of health officials' biggest fears about such large gatherings. The event showed the challenges authorities face in enforcing health orders. [...]

"This is the perfect example of why public health officials have been trying to convince people of the problems with getting together in crowds," he said. "And I would be shocked if we didn't see this consequence. This should be the poster child in why people should take responsibility."


San Francisco won’t cite Catholic archdiocese after church wedding:

The wedding appeared to violate the health order and Herrera’s cease-and-desist letter, which threatened a temporary restraining order if the Catholic churches continued to hold large, indoor gatherings, but city officials appear reticent about bringing punitive actions against the church.

"Indoor gatherings are not allowed, for good reason," Herrera said. "The reported COVID-19 outbreak that resulted from the archdiocese’s failures has hopefully shocked its leadership into taking responsibility for the life and death consequences of what is happening in its churches."

Suuuuurrrrrrre they will...

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ProPublica releases NY police disciplinary records

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the city from releasing disciplinary records. ProPublica has not been a party to the case and is not subject to the order.

Until last month, New York state prohibited the release of police officers' disciplinary records. Civilians' complaints of abuse by officers were a secret. So were investigators' conclusions. The public couldn't even know if an officer was punished.

The New York City police officer whose use of a prohibited chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner in 2014 had a record of misconduct. [...] The city investigator who revealed the existence of the officer's record was forced to resign in 2017; the officer himself wasn't fired until 2019. [...]

The CCRB receives thousands of complaints every year, but it is only able to substantiate a tiny fraction of them. In 2018, the agency examined about 3,000 allegations of misuse of force. It substantiated 73.

Investigators are often not able to reach conclusions on cases, in significant part because they must rely on the NYPD to hand over evidence, such as footage from body-worn cameras. Often, the department doesn't do so, despite a legal duty to cooperate with CCRB investigations.

In other cases included in our database, investigators concluded that what a civilian alleged did happen, but the conduct was allowed by the NYPD's rules. The Police Department's guidelines often give officers substantial discretion, particularly around use of force. In the curious jargon of police oversight, those cases are classified as "exonerated."

"I exonerated tons of cases that involved awful conduct that fell within the guidelines," said former CCRB investigator Dan Bodah, who now researches police oversight at the Vera Institute of Justice. "It's kind of haunting. The law and policy gives cops a lot of discretion."

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George Carlin

Dumb-Ass Motherfuckers.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein the "Save Our Stages Act" gets some traction

Rolling Stone says:

The "Save Our Stages" act would ensure that relief funds only go to small, independent venue operators, promoters and talent reps. The grant amounts would be the lesser of either 45% of a business' operation costs from 2019 or $12 million. Those that receive grants would be able to use the money to cover costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pay for rent, utilities, mortgages, personal protective equipment, maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, and expenses that would allow venues to meet local and federal social distancing guidelines. [...]

In a statement, the National Independent Venue Association hailed the "Save Our Stages" act. "While existing government assistance programs have helped other industries, they weren't tailored to meet the needs of small businesses like ours that have zero revenue, enormous overhead and no visibility into when we can fully re-open," said Adam Hartke, the co-chair of the organization's advocacy committee. "The Save Our Stages Act will provide the assistance we need to get through the shutdown until we can reopen safely and once again become the economic generators for our communities that we've always been."

That sounds pretty good. Let's hope this goes through, and it doesn't end up getting gamed like the Payroll Protection Program was, where a fund intended for small businesses got gobbled up by national and multinational chains instead.

There's only one way for there to still be a bar and nightclub industry once the pandemic is over, and that's press pause on the whole industry until it's safe for us to re-open. But it's not "pressing pause" if we have no income but still have expenses.

The Kleptocracy keeps trying and failing to figure out how to reopen businesses that can't be open during a plague. The only way to end this is to pay those businesses, and everyone else, to not work until the plague is over. There is no other solution.

Just think: if nine out of ten people had worn masks in April, we might be on our way out of this by now, instead of sinking deeper and deeper in.

[In the meantime, please enjoy our webcasts: coming up tonight we've got Star Crash with exclusive live performances; tomorrow we have Turbo Drive DJs live from our main stage; and next Wednesday, Apothecary Raree, featuring live burlesque and performances from Above DNA!

These shows are made possible solely by your generous donations.

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Tired of being a bird?

Pablo Rochat:

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Puzzle Folders


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Performative Authoritarianism

Although the administration's behavior makes no sense as law enforcement, it makes perfect sense as a new kind of campaign tactic.

Welcome to the world of performative authoritarianism, a form of politics that reached new heights of sophistication in Russia over the past decade and has now arrived in the United States. Unlike 20th-century authoritarianism, this 21st-century, postmodern influence campaign does not require the creation of a total police state. Nor does it require complete control of information, or mass arrests. It can be carried out, instead, with a few media outlets and a few carefully targeted arrests. [...]

But even if the courts eventually force the troops in jungle camouflage off the streets, the president who sent them there -- and who is now threatening to send similar troops to other cities -- might not care. That's because the purpose of these troops is not to bring peace to Portland. The purpose is to transmit a message. Americans should find this tactic familiar, because we've seen it before. When the Trump administration cruelly separated children from their families at the southern border, that was, among other things, a performance designed to show the public just how much the president dislikes immigrants from Mexico and Honduras. The attack on demonstrators in Portland is like that: a performance designed to show just how much Trump dislikes "liberal" Americans, "urban" Americans, "Democrat" Americans. To put it differently (and to echo my colleague Adam Serwer): The chaos in Portland is not an accident. The chaos is the point.

The chaos is also a tactic, and now it will be put to use. Now that it has been deliberately escalated, the violence will provide pictures, footage, video clips, and other material for Trump's media supporters, and eventually for his campaign advertisements. On Fox News, Sean Hannity has already denounced Portland as a "war zone." Tucker Carlson has spoken of protesters as "mobs" who keep liberal Democrats in power. The next stage will implicate Joe Biden in this same story: The president's aides have told journalists that Biden, if he wins, will "allow left-wing fascists to destroy America." Protesters, mobs, chaos, fascists, the left, the "Dems", Biden -- they're all one narrative. The Trump administration will show people pictures of its uniformed troops pushing back against them, restoring order with a strong hand. And it will use the kind of language that appeals to that part of the population that prizes safety over all else.

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Webshit Weekly

On the twitter hack:

Twitter soft-launches its new application programming interface, and in the process demonstrates conclusively that advertising on the platform absolutely does not work. The "Hacker" "News" hall monitors point out that the resulting discussion is so large that the forum software used by "Hacker" "News," written by celebrated programming genius Paul Graham, cannot display more than a couple hundred plaintext comments at once. Hackernews thinks that any attack on Twitter must be part of a grand multinational conspiracy designed to subvert the course of human history, instead of the natural outcome of an absentee CEO hiring a few thousand webshits and disappearing back into a yacht club.

Honorable mention: "OpenAI's GPT-3 may be the biggest thing since Bitcoin"

Only halfway through the year, we are treated to the Hackernewsest headline of 2020. An absolute asshole uses an overgrown Eliza implementation to write a barely-coherent puff piece about itself. This, decides Hackernews, is the beginning of a new era, in which nothing really has changed over previous AI text generators aside from a moderate improvement in the use of punctuation. The only question, debates Hackernews, is whether this new era is destined to have absolutely no effect in any measurable way, or the slightest inching toward a possible future in which OpenAI produces something of use to people who do not run affiliate spamblogs for a living. What a time to be alive!

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