The fact that Sharpton dealt in the underworld 30 years ago isn’t really news. The value of the Smoking Gun report is mainly historic—it offers a glimpse into Sharpton’s past life, before Obama and MSNBC, Upper West Side apartments, and private cigar clubs. It takes us back to a time when Al Sharpton wore tracksuits, weighed 300 pounds, and incited riots. Which gets at the real question: Why are we still talking about Al Sharpton?

The fact that Sharpton dealt in the underworld 30 years ago isn’t really news. The value of the Smoking Gun report is mainly historic—it offers a glimpse into Sharpton’s past life, before Obama and MSNBC, Upper West Side apartments, and private cigar clubs. It takes us back to a time when Al Sharpton wore tracksuits, weighed 300 pounds, and incited riots. Which gets at the real question: Why are we still talking about Al Sharpton?

Taking Photos of Jihadis in Battle Isn’t As Easy As It Used to Be

When Robert Nickelsberg began his career as a photojournalist, all it took to embed with the mujahideen was a phone call to their PR representative. We talked to him about what’s changed.

munchies:

Chèvre This Up Yours
Want to sound like a complete douchebag when you walk into a cheese shop? There is a certain something that can take place when being surrounded by decadence and social status symbols. It can make even the most humble gent or dame a downright tool.
Let me tell you about cheese speak. When you’re on that hot OkCupid first date and you think it’s super charming and pretty chill to just, “I don’t know, make dinner and get to know each other,” this is not the time to pretend to know shit about cheese if your end game involves thoughts of getting laid.
Continue

munchies:

Chèvre This Up Yours

Want to sound like a complete douchebag when you walk into a cheese shop? There is a certain something that can take place when being surrounded by decadence and social status symbols. It can make even the most humble gent or dame a downright tool.

Let me tell you about cheese speak. When you’re on that hot OkCupid first date and you think it’s super charming and pretty chill to just, “I don’t know, make dinner and get to know each other,” this is not the time to pretend to know shit about cheese if your end game involves thoughts of getting laid.

Continue

The Many Mysteries of Al Sharpton
It’s Wednesday morning, the first day of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention, and D’Juan Collins is telling me how the state took his son and won’t give him back. A slight man in a linen button-down and a Bluetooth earpiece, Collins is passing out flyers with a baby photo of his son Isaiah and a plug for his site, www.SaveIsaiah.com. Isaiah, now seven, was put into foster care in 2007, when Collins was sent to prison. When I ask what he was sent in for, he demurs. The conviction was overturned last year, he says, but Brooklyn Family Court and the foster care agency have declined to return custody of his son.
He has come here, to Sharpton’s annual civil rights confab, to get help. “I’m all about networking,” Collins explains, “because I can’t do this alone.”
If the Reverend Al Sharpton has a nexus of power, it is here, in the sweaty third-floor ballroom of the Sheraton Times Square, where more than 6,000 activists have assembled to talk shop at panels with titles like “American Holsters: How the Gun Won,” “The Role of Media in Crafting the Social Narrative,” and “Truth to Power Revival.” Outwardly, the annual civil rights hoedown is an essentially political event, a display of the influence Sharpton has aggressively cultivated over three decades in the national spotlight. But the convention is also a yearly pilgrimage for people, like Collins, who have been beaten by the system, screwed by insidious and structural racism that has stacked the deck against them. Because Al Sharpton, in addition to being a syndicated radio host, prime-time MSNBC talking head, and personal friend of the president, is still the guy you call when your kid gets shot.
Everyone I meet on Wednesday has a story. One woman at the conference tells me she’s here for the first time this year because her nephew was killed in Harlem last week, and she wants to “talk to the reverend about gun control.” Another spends the morning passing out yard signs that read: “My Civil Rights Were Violated.”
In some circles, Sharpton is considered ridiculous—a 90s race-riot relic turned smug cable-news hack. It’s easy to forget that he is probably the most powerful civil rights leader in the country, and a political kingmaker whose influence is evidenced by the parade of liberal pols who drop by his conference every year to pay their respects. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand Wednesday, as was Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. President Obama is headlining Friday.
Continue

The Many Mysteries of Al Sharpton

It’s Wednesday morning, the first day of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention, and D’Juan Collins is telling me how the state took his son and won’t give him back. A slight man in a linen button-down and a Bluetooth earpiece, Collins is passing out flyers with a baby photo of his son Isaiah and a plug for his site, www.SaveIsaiah.com. Isaiah, now seven, was put into foster care in 2007, when Collins was sent to prison. When I ask what he was sent in for, he demurs. The conviction was overturned last year, he says, but Brooklyn Family Court and the foster care agency have declined to return custody of his son.

He has come here, to Sharpton’s annual civil rights confab, to get help. “I’m all about networking,” Collins explains, “because I can’t do this alone.”

If the Reverend Al Sharpton has a nexus of power, it is here, in the sweaty third-floor ballroom of the Sheraton Times Square, where more than 6,000 activists have assembled to talk shop at panels with titles like “American Holsters: How the Gun Won,” “The Role of Media in Crafting the Social Narrative,” and “Truth to Power Revival.” Outwardly, the annual civil rights hoedown is an essentially political event, a display of the influence Sharpton has aggressively cultivated over three decades in the national spotlight. But the convention is also a yearly pilgrimage for people, like Collins, who have been beaten by the system, screwed by insidious and structural racism that has stacked the deck against them. Because Al Sharpton, in addition to being a syndicated radio host, prime-time MSNBC talking head, and personal friend of the president, is still the guy you call when your kid gets shot.

Everyone I meet on Wednesday has a story. One woman at the conference tells me she’s here for the first time this year because her nephew was killed in Harlem last week, and she wants to “talk to the reverend about gun control.” Another spends the morning passing out yard signs that read: “My Civil Rights Were Violated.”

In some circles, Sharpton is considered ridiculous—a 90s race-riot relic turned smug cable-news hack. It’s easy to forget that he is probably the most powerful civil rights leader in the country, and a political kingmaker whose influence is evidenced by the parade of liberal pols who drop by his conference every year to pay their respects. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was on hand Wednesday, as was Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. President Obama is headlining Friday.

Continue

Self-portrait as Boy George/Self-Portrait as Ralph Wiggum in Boy George Totally Looks Like Ralph Wiggum by eagles97 by Jaimie Warren 

If you’re in NYC, check out Jaimie’s new show. It opens tonight at The Hole (312 Bowery):

That’s What Friends Are For
April 10 - May 4, 2014
Opening Calebration and Special Performance: April 18th from 6-9PM

Self-portrait as Boy George/Self-Portrait as Ralph Wiggum in Boy George Totally Looks Like Ralph Wiggum by eagles97 by Jaimie Warren 
If you’re in NYC, check out Jaimie’s new show. It opens tonight at The Hole (312 Bowery):
That’s What Friends Are For
April 10 - May 4, 2014
Opening Calebration and Special Performance: April 18th from 6-9PM

Here’s an exclusive VICE preview of new work by one of VICE’s favorite photographers, Jaimie Warren. It’s from her second show at The Hole, which opens tonight.

Here’s an exclusive VICE preview of new work by one of VICE’s favorite photographers, Jaimie Warren. It’s from her second show at The Hole, which opens tonight.

motherboardtv:

Weev Is Free, Because You Can’t Prosecute a Hacker Just Anywhere
Weev, the hacker who spent a year in jail for a crime that didn’t exist, in a place that wasn’t there.
Read more

motherboardtv:

Weev Is Free, Because You Can’t Prosecute a Hacker Just Anywhere

Weev, the hacker who spent a year in jail for a crime that didn’t exist, in a place that wasn’t there.

Read more

munchies:

There’s Blood and Bladders in Your Wine
Like any respectable human being, drinking booze is my favorite pastime. When I consider the world of wine, there are a lot of terms that are used to talk about it; fish swim bladder is not one of them. But maybe it should be. Because, lo-and behold, the crystalline clarity of that glass of sauvignon blanc may have the swim bladder of a sturgeon, or any number of bizarre and unexpected fining agents to thank for its alcoholic perfection.
Continue

is whine vegan?

munchies:

There’s Blood and Bladders in Your Wine

Like any respectable human being, drinking booze is my favorite pastime. When I consider the world of wine, there are a lot of terms that are used to talk about it; fish swim bladder is not one of them. But maybe it should be. Because, lo-and behold, the crystalline clarity of that glass of sauvignon blanc may have the swim bladder of a sturgeon, or any number of bizarre and unexpected fining agents to thank for its alcoholic perfection.

Continue

is whine vegan?

The Syrian War Keeps Getting Worse for the People of Aleppo
A year ago, almost to the day, I watched a graffiti artist named Khalifa paint a huge smiley face onto a wall. The wall was pretty much all that remained of the house it had been part of, and every other house on the street was in a similarly bad state. The day before, the street had been hit by a Scud missile: That was Aleppo, Syria, in 2013.
Khalifa had sprayed a slogan next to the smiley face. It read, in Arabic, “Tomorrow this will be beautiful.”
He was wrong.

The Syrian War Keeps Getting Worse for the People of Aleppo

A year ago, almost to the day, I watched a graffiti artist named Khalifa paint a huge smiley face onto a wall. The wall was pretty much all that remained of the house it had been part of, and every other house on the street was in a similarly bad state. The day before, the street had been hit by a Scud missile: That was Aleppo, Syria, in 2013.

Khalifa had sprayed a slogan next to the smiley face. It read, in Arabic, “Tomorrow this will be beautiful.”

He was wrong.

Cry-Baby of the Week
Cry-Baby #1: Lumberton Independent School District
The incident: Some parents complained that their children’s teacher was transgender.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: The teacher was suspended.
Laura Jane Klug is a transgender woman who was recently hired by the Lumberton ISD School District in Texas as a substitute teacher. She was filling in as a teacher for a 5th grade class last Thursday when she found out that there had been complaints from the parents of some of her students about her being transgender. 
The school responded to these complaints by suspending Laura, which was a legal for thing for them to do because Texas, a state located in a first world country, does not have laws to protect transgender people from workplace discrimination. 
Roger Beard, whose son was in Laura’s class, said he complained because he felt that 11-year-olds were too young to understand the (fairly uncomplicated) concept of a trans woman. “There are some things that we accept in society that children are not going to accept in the same way that we do,” he told local news station 12 News. Adding, “I just don’t want them teaching, especially not this age group.”
Thankfully, other parents defended Laura. “My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that. I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private lifestyle. I don’t worry about my son,” said Jammie Marcantel, whose son was in Laura’s class.
Speaking to 12 News, Laura said she had substituted before without incident and wasn’t sure why people were complaining now. “I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school,” she said. 
According to another local news station, Laura will find out later today if she gets to keep her job. 
See Cry-Baby #2 and Vote!

Cry-Baby of the Week

Cry-Baby #1: Lumberton Independent School District

The incident: Some parents complained that their children’s teacher was transgender.

The appropriate response: Nothing.

The actual response: The teacher was suspended.

Laura Jane Klug is a transgender woman who was recently hired by the Lumberton ISD School District in Texas as a substitute teacher. She was filling in as a teacher for a 5th grade class last Thursday when she found out that there had been complaints from the parents of some of her students about her being transgender. 

The school responded to these complaints by suspending Laura, which was a legal for thing for them to do because Texas, a state located in a first world country, does not have laws to protect transgender people from workplace discrimination. 

Roger Beard, whose son was in Laura’s class, said he complained because he felt that 11-year-olds were too young to understand the (fairly uncomplicated) concept of a trans woman. “There are some things that we accept in society that children are not going to accept in the same way that we do,” he told local news station 12 News. Adding, “I just don’t want them teaching, especially not this age group.”

Thankfully, other parents defended Laura. “My son knows who he is and I don’t think any outside influence is going to change that. I’m more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private lifestyle. I don’t worry about my son,” said Jammie Marcantel, whose son was in Laura’s class.

Speaking to 12 News, Laura said she had substituted before without incident and wasn’t sure why people were complaining now. “I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school,” she said. 

According to another local news station, Laura will find out later today if she gets to keep her job. 

See Cry-Baby #2 and Vote!

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