my sick, taser loving nation

digby, guest blogging on salon a few days ago:

Tasers were sold to the public as a tool for law enforcement to be used in lieu of deadly force. Presumably, this means situations in which officers would have previously had to use their firearms... Nobody wants to see more death and if police have a weapon they can employ instead of a gun, in self defense or to stop someone from hurting others, I think we all can agree that's a good thing.

But that's not what's happening. Tasers are routinely used by police to torture innocent people who have not broken any law and whose only crime is being disrespectful toward their authority or failing to understand their "orders." There is ample evidence that police often take no more than 30 seconds to talk to citizens before employing the taser, they use them while people are already handcuffed and thus present no danger, and are used often against the mentally ill and handicapped. It is becoming a barbaric tool of authoritarian, social control.

It's also a subject of humor in popular culture, which helps keep the sleazy taser manufacturers in business. I think I was the only person that thought "don't taze me bro" wasn't funny at all. The media was all over that one--I saw a slickly produced TV ad (for an internet service provider? I can't remember) where the kid not wanting to be tasered was treated as an example of hilarious good fun.

Oh yeah, cops shocking people with cattle prods for disagreeing with them--that's just the country I want to live in.

Dick Foresaw Robot Abe

The "robot Abraham Lincoln" has become a durable web meme. Here is a site with 15 examples (I know of it because it included two images I found surfing around).

When did this start? I had always assumed that Philip K. Dick's novel We Can Build You (written about on this blog a couple of weeks ago) riffed on the famous Disney audio-animatronic Lincoln, a pneumatic device that first appeared at the New York World's Fair and was then reconstituted as a more permanent exhibit at the Anaheim Disneyland.

But according to Dick's posthumous literary chronology, We Can Build You, although published in 1972, was written ten years earlier, in 1962, between The Man in the High Castle and Martian Time-Slip. The New York world's fair wasn't until 1964. So it appears that once again Dick's fertile, twisted imagination hatched this fake, electromechanical president two years before Disney went public with his and eighteen years before the first one entered actual politics, with the election of Ronald Reagan.

"Traipsing Day"

"Traipsing Day" [4.2 MB mp3]

An analog synth and sampled analog percussion. I used some "midi grooves" to trigger most of the beats. While I was working on this Training Day was on cable. One of the worst movies ever made--everyone involved clearly thought they were "way out there" on the filmic edge.