Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

coulrophobia [kool-ruh-FOH-bee-uh] noun – an abnormal fear of clowns.

Unless you’ve been off the internet for the past month, you can’t have missed that the perennial clown panic is much bigger this year.  I featured links to stories in Links #322, #323 and #324, and I could’ve put some in the next two editions had I not already been saving up for this column.  There have been so many, in fact, that I decided that they should have their own feature, and in the process of writing this I realized that this panic has much more in common with “sex trafficking” hysteria than the mere fact that they’re both phantasms whose only root in reality is that real people sometimes consciously imitate the unreal characters in the myth.

For the past three years, I’ve noticed news articles describing sightings of menacing phantom clowns every September and October.  In September of 2013 there was a panic which started in Northhampton, England and spread to  Haslingden in November; in October of 2014 the hysteria appeared in Bakersfield, California and spread to other nearby cities before leaping a third of the way around the world to northern France.  I say “phantom” because in each case, the reports could not be corroborated and the horrifying harlequins left no physical evidence which investigators could find.  Of course, teenage boys and young men imitated the original reports, but they were mere copycats and the panics have usually started far from the hoaxers’ haunts.  But while previous panics have usually been limited to a fairly small geographical area and have been relatively short-lived, this one started earlier than usual (late August), has already endured for over a month and has spread far beyond its origin in the Carolinas.  Reports from Georgia were deliberate hoaxes, as were reports from Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama (where cops blamed the threats on Juggalos); the latter were especially ridiculous because in our hair-trigger, afraid-of-one’s-own-shadow country they resulted in actual  “lockdowns” at high schools and warnings at Auburn University.  That last-linked article contains a number of links to articles about the hysteria in Alabama, where it seems to have reached epidemic proportions; this article contains still more (including self-important cops referring to dumb teenage pranks as “terrorism”).  In contrast, the panic in Maryland was fairly tame, and though Georgia was not even on the same order of magnitude as Alabama, it did inspire an 11-year-old girl to bring a knife to school to “protect herself and her family” from the fearsome funnymen (naturally, she was criminally charged with “possession of a weapon on school grounds”, because THE CHILDREN!TM).  Then last week, sightings (some of them apparently hoaxes) were reported in Virginia, Florida and Colorado; the district attorney of Weld County, Colorado, apparently unburdened with even the slightest capacity for self-examination, claimed that “Impersonating a clown for nefarious purposes…is a felony and could carry with it a jail sentence of up to 18 months.”

In preparing to write this article, I dug around a bit and discovered that there were a number of similar panics before the first one I recorded in 2013: this very thorough article mentions Chicago, October 2008; Madison, Wisconsin in June 2000; and several areas around the US in 1990 and 1991.  Wikipedia’s article “Evil Clowns” also mentions Phoenix, Arizona in 1985 and Honduras in 1995.  But apparently the first big clown panic began in Boston in May of 1981, then spread to other cities in Massachusetts, to other cities in New England and Pennsylvania by June and eventually as far as Kansas City, Nebraska and Colorado.  And though many have speculated that the modern “scary clown” motif owes its origin to Stephen King’s novel It, that hardly seems likely given that it was first published in 1986, five years after the New England clown panic (if anything, Maine resident King was probably inspired by the then-recent panic rather than vice-versa).  No, I think it much more likely that these phantom clowns are kin to grey aliens, Sasquatch, Nessie, witches, faeries, demons, nymphs, satyrs and all the other mysterious beings with which humans have reported encounters since primeval times, yet are never captured and vanish without a trace whenever a concerted effort is made to discover them.

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I spent my life playing in pee.  –  David Wartinger

I must admit to having a soft spot for trivia geekery such as that displayed in this week’s video, provided by Kevin Wilson.  The links above it were contributed by  Scott Greenfield (“faking”), Tim Cushing (“sorry” and “ever”), Nun Ya (“protect” and “love”), Tushy Galore (“instead”), and Jason Kuznicki (“stones”).

From the Archives

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I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again.  –  Ken Cronkhite

I probably should’ve posted this video last week, but I already had something there & it honestly didn’t occur to me to switch them.  Given the reaction to this sophomoric ad online, I would say it’s still too soon for this kind of humor.  The video was provided by Nun Ya, and the links above it by Mike Siegel (“fascism”),  Popehat (“reason” & “drunk”), Mistress Matisse (“queen”), Radley Balko (“hate”),  Lucy Steigerwald (“OD”), Emma Evans (“flirt”), Molly Crabapple (“doctor”), Jesse Walker (“clown”), and Scott Greenfield (“gypsy”).

From the Archives

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Almost none of [the “sex trafficking” narrative] is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it’s utterly misleading.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Just another example of “authorities” paying men to rape whores:

Police raided two flats used as brothels…in Nicosia [Cyprus], arresting a woman from China and detaining another female sex worker [pretended] to be a victim of human trafficking.  A civilian associate of the police visited the brothel and used marked bills to buy sexual services…After [raping the women] the man signalled the police by sending them an SMS message…Police located the two marked bills and [stole] 347 condoms, four of which had been used, along with four mobile phones, sex toys, a computer, and the amount of €345 in cash…

Something Rotten in Sweden

It’s good to see that even reporters who credulously parrot cop anti-whore propaganda now feel compelled to at least mention Amnesty’s findings:

…It can be difficult for police to build cases against traffickers when their primary witnesses — victims — are too afraid to talk [and] don’t trust police [who]…still conduct stings against sex workers…To create more trust among potential victims and curb the demand for commercial sex, sting operations should focus more on catching johns and pimps, [fetishist cop Mark Keller] said…He also suggested changing state law to the so-called Nordic model, which makes it legal for people to prostitute themselves but illegal to pimp, traffick or purchase sex…The model could help [cops] gain the trust of sex trafficking victims…Keller said.  However, it was recently scrutinized in a report by…Amnesty International…which found it subjected sex workers to increased police scrutiny, evictions and other penalties…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind this prosecution, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A mother and daughter are facing incest charges in…Oklahoma after authorities learned they were legally married earlier this year.  It is unclear what motivated Patricia Ann Spann, 43, and her daughter, Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 25, to wed…Investigators also found Patricia Spann married her son in 2008.  He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest”…Police discovered the marriages late last month during a child welfare check-up.  Patricia Spann told investigators she had lost custody of her biological children as a young mother and only came into contact with her daughter two years ago…the couple believed the union was legal, since she was not listed as the biological mother on her daughter’s birth certificate.  Each woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic weiners-weiner

Maybe if we keep repeating this enough, it will eventually sink into the thick public skull:

…Despite popular headlines and self-promoting TV doctors’ proclamations to the contrary, sex addiction isn’t real…There is no doubt that some people have trouble regulating their sexual thoughts, desires, and behaviors.  But addiction has a real meaning and a real clinical definition…When addicts…are shown pictures of their drug of choice there is a clear and uniform response in their P300 brain waves…However, when UCLA researchers studied the response to viewing sexually explicit images in people who self-defined as being unable to regulate their porn viewing, the results showed no similar response…In fact, they found the only thing correlated with brain wave activity was sexual desire such that the higher their self-reported sexual desire, the more brain wave activity they showed.  The authors concluded that there was no evidence to say that even problem sexual regulation fit the definition of addiction as defined by brain response and that these people simply had high sex drives…

Divided We Fall (#13)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

Indonesian police are taking aim at Grindr and other gay social networking apps following the arrest of three men accused of running a “gay prostitution ring” [advertising] underaged boys for sex.  The arrests come amid an unprecedented uproar about homosexuality in the country, where it has never been a major political issue before this year.  Members of the legislature announced…they would…ban “gay propaganda” online.  The country’s Constitutional Court is likewise currently in the middle of hearings on a petition to [criminalize]…all sex outside of marriage…Police have told local media they have identified 148 victims of the network, though only 27 of them are [supposedly younger than 18]…“More than a few gay communities have been growing and targeting kids as victims,” said Asruron Ni’am Sholeh, chair of the Child Protection Commission…

“Targeting kids”…hmm, where have we heard that accusation before?  But back when the moral retards were just warring on female sex workers, the big GLBT organizations couldn’t be bothered to notice.

Finding What Isn’t There

Note how dysphemisms and weasel-words are used to conjure a story out of nothing but rumors, exaggerations and hysteria:

More than 1,000 women and girls have been apparent victims of sex trafficking in illicit cantinas in the United States that largely operate beyond the reach of law enforcement, the anti-[sex work] group Polaris [fantasized]…Half of the…cases…arose in Houston, Texas, a city near the Mexican border with a large Latino population…Cantinas…may disguise the cost of commercial sex in very high drink prices, and women are forced to flirt and drink with patrons…hotlines run by Polaris got reports of 201 cases of sex and labor trafficking, involving 1,300 potential victims at cantinas and bars in 20 U.S. states from 2007 to 2016.  More than half the victims were underage…At one illicit cantina in Houston, some victims were forced to have sex as often as 50 times a day, it said.  The cantina owner, convicted of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other charges, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year…Cases can be hard to investigate and prosecute because traffickers and owners may hide their ownership of cantinas or liquor licenses, and because victims are too scared to testify in court, afraid that traffickers will retaliate by hurting their families…

“Apparent” victims, meaning reports from busybodies that added up to nothing.  Reports of “force” that don’t hold up because there isn’t any, which Polaris then insists are real except that the “victims” won’t admit it.  Impossibly-high claims of clients per day such as we haven’t seen in a couple of years now, using a high-profile racism-based railroading case as “evidence”, and moving the entire city of Houston hundreds of miles south to bolster their fantasy.  This is absurd even by Polaris’ standards.

Too Close To Home

Serious question: How do we nominate Liz Brown for a Pulitzer?

…On January 7, Washington officials [claimed]…women [had been] lured from South Korea under false pretenses and “held against their will” at local brothels.  [They crowed about seizing] a website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women…King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg [said]…”The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week…This is what human trafficking looks like.”  But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg’s narrative starts to break down.  The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is…a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make…

The piece is long, thorough and damning. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, even if you need to do so in three sittings (it’s broken into three parts).  The “sex trafficking” narrative has been slowly crumbling, and in this important article Liz has handily taken a sledgehammer to a very prominent outcropping of it.

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

Another victory against a political witch hunt:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how Backpage.com screens for possible sex trafficking in classifieds advertising.  The order…came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers…the…stay means that Backpage need not comply…until further action from the Supreme Court…The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to make Backpage produce certain documents as part of its [persecution of sex work advertisements] over the internet.  After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-james-robinson

Go on, keep giving male cops power over women; what could possibly go wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Riverdale [cop] James Robinson Jr…[for] raping a woman he was transporting to jail…Robinson stopped the car next to an empty building near a Custom tire shop…as soon as the woman was released from jail she…asked the shop for footage from its security cameras…

One Born Every Minute (#644)

Interesting that this article doesn’t mention the anti-Backpage mob:

In a 2014 opinion in a case involving a woman who was drugged, raped, and filmed by men she met through the website ModelMayhem.com…the Ninth Circuit wrote that the CDA was not “an all purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet.”  The court found that Model Mayhem…could be sued for failure to warn as the site was aware of the model’s rapists because they were the subject of a criminal investigation for doing the same thing to other Model Mayhem users…the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site…a…Match.com case is very similar.  [Wade] Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using Match.com and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of some claims, but it found that the logic supporting the court’s Model Mayhem ruling applied here, too…

Of Course It Is

A step in the right direction, at least:

…Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley [announced] criminal charges against seven [cops]…O’Malley [also] said she found evidence of [rapist cops]…in Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties, all outside her jurisdiction.  She said she has  contacted her counterparts there to pursue criminal action…The most serious Alameda County charges — felony oral copulation with a minor — will be filed against Oakland [cop] Giovanni LoVerde and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez…Oakland [cop] Brian Bunton also faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution.  Three other Oakland [cops] will be charged with crimes…Terryl Smith…LeRoy Johnson…and…Warit Uttapa…Dan C. Black of the Livermore Police Department…faces [four] misdemeanor charges…O’Malley said it’s likely that formal charges against the officers will not be filed until Guap, the case’s primary witness, returns to California…“If the [City of Richmond] does not pay for her to come back, we will pay for her airfare,” O’Malley said…

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He clearly made a decision to run me over, you know, and kill me.  –  “Officer” James Burns

What the fuck, 2016?  First David Bowie, then Prince, and now Gene Wilder?  How many beautiful weirdos are you going to take from us?  No, wait, don’t answer that; just…stop.  The obvious choice for a Gene Wilder tribute video would be “Pure Imagination”, but since I already featured that one several years ago, here’s another wonderful one.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker  (“clown”), Mike Riggs (“tried”), Tim Cushing (“drive” and “crime”), and Mike Crawford (“basketball”).

From the Archives

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Pedophiles are not…using the internet like it was an L.L.Bean catalogue to find unknown children.  –  David Finkelhor

The Swedish Pimpocracy

Sweden, the feminist paradise:

A police investigator has dropped a case against an ice hockey player accused of molesting a woman at a night club in northern Sweden – because she had “gigantic breasts”…investigator Mikael Lundberg said…“[the two women] were standing at a bar table and then he comes along drunk and drapes his arms around both of them from behind, and then he happens to touch one of their breasts.  And it should be noted that they had gigantic breasts.  It wasn’t hard to brush up against them”…

Hello, Dolly! Dolly Parton on Tonight Show 8-23-16

Most whores love Dolly as much as she loves us:

…Dolly Parton confirmed that she will play a prostitute in her second made-for-TV biopic, Christmas of Many Colors:  Circle of Love…a sequel to Parton’s 2015 film, Coat of Many Colors.  “When I was little, I patterned my look after the town trollop…I thought she was the most beautiful thing, because she had all this makeup, hair, tight clothes and everything I wanted”…

Harm Magnification

The Philippines’ new president is carrying the “War on Drugs” to its logical conclusion:

Rodrigo Duterte, the new President of the Philippines…promised to cleanse the country of drug users and dealers by extrajudicial means.  Since his inauguration, on June 30th, he has been following through with a vengeance.  In that time, more than eighteen hundred people have been killed—drug dealers, drug users, and in several cases people who happened to be nearby.  The youngest was five years old…Duterte has warned drug peddlers to surrender themselves or face summary execution.  “My order is shoot to kill you,” he said on August 6th.  “I don’t care about human rights, you’d better believe me”…seven hundred and twelve people allegedly involved with drugs have been killed by police, and another thousand and sixty-seven by presumed vigilantes.  Some six hundred thousand…[have] turned themselves in…drug users [are] being dragged out of their homes and shot at close range.  The two-year-old daughter of one suspected user was stripped and subjected to an anal exam to see if she was being used to conceal drugs…

The Enlightenment Police

The latest battle in France’s ongoing war on Muslim women’s personal autonomy:

The French burkini scandal exploded into further controversy…when a young Muslim mother was ordered off the beach at Cannes and fined for simply wearing a headscarf.  Three armed [cops] pointed a pepper spray canister in the 34-year-old’s face and told her she was in breach of a new rule outlawing swimming costumes that cover the entire body…is a former air-hostess from Toulouse whose family members have been French citizens for at least three generations.  “I wasn’t even planning to swim, just to dip my feet”, said Siam, who was wearing leggings, a top, and a headscarf…

And though this isn’t the major issue here, can we please stop referring to any hijab as a “burka”?

The Crumbling Dam

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle may open America’s first safe heroin injection site…the city’s Heroin Task Force, formed by Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine, endorsed the plan to open a homeless shelter that would offer a safe place to inject heroin.  The proposal comes at a time when Seattle is dealing with a record-breaking overdose rate—in 2014, it was the highest in 20 years—and a 19% increase in homelessness since 2015…Seattle has already adopted a safe-consumption site for alcohol with great success…

Gullible’s Travels

Holy idosing, Batman!

…Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids.  We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices.  Worse, we see children that become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.  But it’s even worse than we think.  We now know that those iPads, smart phones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug.  Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex—which controls executive functioning, including impulse control—in exactly the same way that cocaine does.  Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels—the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic—as much as sex…Dr. Peter Whybrow…at UCLA calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin”…

The End of the Beginning Grand Rapids registry exclusion zones

“Punitive and stupid” is a good description of all “sex offender” registration laws:

…a federal appeals court ruled that retroactive application of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws.  In doing so, the court offered a scathing assessment that suggests such laws make little sense even when they’re constitutional…the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concludes that the…provisions, although framed as civil regulations, are mainly punitive in their effects.  That distinction between regulation and punishment is crucial because the Supreme Court has long read the Ex Post Facto Clause as applying only to the latter…


Though most of the items appearing under this heading describe violence against transwomen, transmen are also the subject of violence and discrimination:

On October 28, 2011, the life that Ky Peterson knew came to an end…[when] he…was [raped] by a man who [had previously] made sexual advances toward him…Ky fought back in self-defense, which ultimately led to his attacker’s death…police arrested [Ky and his brothers], charging them with armed robbery and first-degree murder, and threatened to charge the teens as adults.  When it became apparent that Ky was injured, the police took him to a local medical center where he was tested with a rape kit.  The nurse who performed the examination confirmed that Ky had been brutally raped; yet she felt the need to point out [the obvious fact] that Ky “didn’t act like a woman who had been raped”…[he was eventually forced into] a plea “bargain” of 20 years — a sentence 10 years longer than Georgia law mandates…

Please consider signing the petition against this travesty.

See No Evil (#421)

Because obviously, these “pedophiles” can shoot dangerous “male gaze” radiation through the internet to harm the child:

K. is a cherubic 18-month-old with wispy blonde hair, very pinch-able cheeks, a toothy smile, and delightfully pudgy legs…her Instagram has well over 300,000 followers.  The account, which bears her name and is run by her 24-year-old mom, T., features more than 4,000 photos of the toddler dressed up in fashionable outfits, many of which are provided by sponsors…These images…receive hundreds, even thousands, of comments from people all over the world.  Largely, they consist of strings of emojis…In a number, the toddler is referred to as “sexy”.  This has sparked outrage among many…it reached a fever pitch…after T. posted a series of photos, all of which were [later] removed…showing K. without clothes on the beach…“You are a disgrace…How dare you serve up your child to what is obviously a fanbase of pedophiles?  I seriously hope you get a visit from CPS [Child Protective Services] at any moment and they separate you from that innocent child,” wrote one woman, who suggested that K. was being followed by an “international pedo ring.”  Wrote another, “She’s a child pornography peddler.  She’s not a mother”…

Schadenfreude (#606) 

Just another reminder of what “rescue” actually means:

…Prey Speu [is] the notorious detention centre on the outskirts of Phnom Penh designated for “re-educating” the homeless, the mentally ill and those who sell sex…prisoners [are locked]…in a room with 50 people…[and denied baths]…police often solicit money from sex workers [to not arrest them]…the asking price [varies] from $20 to $200 [Cambodian street workers charge $5 a trick]…“If there’s no money to give to the police, they will send us to the centre,” says…a 36-year-old sex worker…

Rooted in Racism (#635)

Remember, this is pretended to be about sex work:

Sixteen people have been detained in Romania, following a joint agency operation [with UK police]…Thirteen men…and three woman…were detained [and cops stole] cars; more than £9,000 sterling; more than 5500 Euros…The Zephyr operation began in the UK, when investigations were launched into a serious crime group suspected to be involved in…“pop-up” brothels across the south west…DI Tony Hubbard…said: “We hope to dissuade…Romanian [whores from coming to England]…will then seek to [steal] their [assets] through the Proceeds of Crime Act.  We [will also go after] landlords…[if] their accommodation is…being used as a brothel”…

Whatever They Need To Say (#648)

Houston, TX judge orders hotel to pay off cops & discriminate vs sex workers:

Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan…ordered the owners of…the Plainfield Inn…to install surveillance cameras and a security gate, prohibit cash payments without proper identification, eliminate hourly rates for rooms, restrict access only to registered guests and visitors with valid identification and [hire a pig] to provide security…

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She could…have paid for the panties before she put them on.  –  Halmstad District Court

I discovered this darkly funny Indian insurance company commercial while reading an item featured in yesterday’s news column; don’t worry, you’ll be able to understand the plot even if you can’t understand the language.  The links above it were provided by Mike Chase (“Orwell” & “marry”), Police Misconduct (“protect”),  Jesse Walker (“headline”), Mike Siegel (“archaeology”), Scott Greenfield  (“wrong”), Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Elizabeth N. Brown (“laws”), and Radley Balko (“volunteer”).

From the Archives

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