Xenomorph tiki mugs

Mondo Tees has announced a line of Aliens xenomorph tiki mugs, (“in space, no one can hear you drink”), available for pre-order now with ship dates this summer (some glazes only available at Alamo Drafthouses). (more…)

Mondo Tees has announced a line of Aliens xenomorph tiki mugs, (“in space, no one can hear you drink”), available for pre-order now with ship dates this summer (some glazes only available at Alamo Drafthouses). (more…)

Hacked texts from family of former Trump campaign manager surface on the dark web

Man typing on a laptop. As questions around the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia build, at least one former member of the president’s inner circle appears to have gotten the DNC treatment. Read More

Man typing on a laptop. As questions around the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia build, at least one former member of the president’s inner circle appears to have gotten the DNC treatment. Read More

What Jeff Sessions Could Learn From Kalief Browder

Arrested at 16 and unjustly jailed for three years, Browder took his life in 2015. A new six-part documentary series, executive produced by Jay Z, exposes the many ways the criminal justice system failed him.  

Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions created his Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, as the White House ordered him to do. “Yes, incarceration is painful for the families of inmates, and every conviction represents a failure on multiple levels of society,” said Sessions, addressing the National Association of Attorneys General today. “But the costs of rising crime are even more severe. Drug crimes and violent felonies change the lives of victims forever.”

One person whose life was changed forever by incarceration was Kalief Browder, who, in a fair world, would serve on Sessions’ public safety task force. Arrested in 2010 at age 16 and shipped to Rikers Island for a crime he didn’t commit, Broweder was mentally and physically abused by virtually every part of the criminal justice experiment. Who better to serve as Sessions’ advisor?

But Browder committed suicide in June 2015, overtaken by the demons he acquired while serving months in solitary confinement without a conviction or trial to justify his detainment. Anyone interested in criminal justice issues can learn a lot from his life through the new documentary series “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” which debuts March 1 on Spike TV.

The six-part series was executive-produced by Jay Z, who provides his own commentary throughout the series, and who met Browder after he was released from jail in 2013. (The photo of that meeting remains one of the few in public view where Browder can be found smiling.) Jay-Z calls Browder “a prophet” in the opening, but looking at the numbers behind his ordeal the more accurate term would be “martyr.” Browder was:

  • arrested and charged with grand larceny at 16 years old after being falsely fingered for robbing a man of his bookbag;
  • committed to Rikers Island when his family couldn’t immediately post his $3,000 bail;
  • denied bail later, due to a prior conviction for taking a joyride in a bakery truck, after his mother was able to secure the $900 bond with the help of a neighbor;
  • detained at Rikers for 1,117 days while awaiting trial, refusing to plea to any charges;
  • in solitary confinement for almost 800 of those days;
  • scheduled for 28 court dates, for which he actually appeared in court 15 times—only to be told each time that his trial would be delayed or continued due to prosecutors unable to produce a formal case against him;
  • hospitalized once and attempted suicide four times while in jail;
  • released on June 5, 2013, after three years of incarceration, when the New York City District Attorney finally gave up.

Thanks to Jennifer Gonnerman’s relentless reporting on the case for The New Yorker, we have some small idea of what Browder’s life at Rikers looked like. She was able to obtain videos of some of the brutal beatdowns he incurred, sometimes from inmates, often from the jail’s correctional officers. Gonnerman covered so much ground through her coverage of the Browder family that one would assume there was nothing left to uncover, especially after the untimely death of Browder’s mother Venida last October.

The documentary’s filmmakers were able to go a bit deeper into Browder’s story, though, namely by talking to people who were locked up with him and some of the security officers who were tasked with protecting him. Some of the most powerful scenes are those where the filmmakers confront Browder’s attackers in Rikers, showing them the footage of those attacks and making them explain.  

“Time” is far from just an account of what Browder’s life in jail was like, though. It’s also an indictment of the system that landed him there. Browder’s 2010 arrest is put in context with the discriminatory stop-and-frisk policing practices happening at the time, which a federal judge would later rule unconstitutional. The film also connects his imprisonment to the injustices of the cash bail system—which jails people not because they are guilty but because they can’t afford to post bond—and the torturous insanity of placing teenagers in solitary confinement (or locking them up with adults to begin with).

The documentary is both bleak and enlightening, but Browder’s death inspired a number of criminal justice reforms in his wake: In October 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a law that established a bill of rights for jail inmates and began a system of collecting data on the city’s jails, including the average bail amount imposed on defendants. In December that year, courts allowed for a huge settlement that would free hundreds of people from solitary confinement. In May 2016, the city took further steps to ease bail burdens by placing ATM machines in courthouses and allowing credit card payments for posting bonds.

And yet the task force assembled by the Attorney General could end up pushing to undo these kinds of reforms, setting the stage for more Browder travesties to happen in the future. Before that happens, the members of his panel should watch every second of this documentary.

YouTube unveils YouTube TV, its live TV streaming service

youtube-unplugged After a year of rumors, YouTube is finally drawing back the curtain on its latest play for entertainment industry domination — a live TV service.
At the company’s Playa Vista offices, a crowd of roughly 100 journalists settled into tables and chairs arrayed in the company’s hangar-like foyer to the strains of “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Coffee and… Read More

youtube-unplugged After a year of rumors, YouTube is finally drawing back the curtain on its latest play for entertainment industry domination — a live TV service.
At the company’s Playa Vista offices, a crowd of roughly 100 journalists settled into tables and chairs arrayed in the company’s hangar-like foyer to the strains of “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Coffee and… Read More

Best boxer briefs: Calvin Klein

My wife started giving me Calvin Klein boxer briefs for gifts a while ago, and now they are my favorite. No weird tags or seams to irritate my tender skin, and the elastic doesn’t wear out and create the droopy drawers effect. Amazon has a sale on a 2-pack for $17.

My wife started giving me Calvin Klein boxer briefs for gifts a while ago, and now they are my favorite. No weird tags or seams to irritate my tender skin, and the elastic doesn’t wear out and create the droopy drawers effect. Amazon has a sale on a 2-pack for $17.

New secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross has ties to illicit Russian finance

Billionaire Wilbur Ross, 79, was sworn in today as secretary of commerce. According to DC Report, Ross’ “role as Vice Chair and a leading investor in the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, one of the key offshore havens for illicit Russian finance,” makes him a poor choice for this position. But the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm him anyway.

Ross’ involvement in the Bank of Cyprus raises many questions about his judgment, but also about the Trump Administration’s seemingly endless direct and indirect connections with friends and associates of Vladimir Putin, who all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies say conspired to interfere in the November 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump.

Whether or not these connections involve any criminality, these are the kind of relationships that most American business people would not tolerate for 30 seconds.

After all, as discussed below, since the 1990s Cyprus has served as one the top three offshore destinations for Russian and former Soviet Union flight capital, most of it motivated by tax dodging, kleptocracy, and money laundering. As of 2013, just before the banking crisis, Russian deposits accounted for at least a third of all bank deposits in Cyprus. As one leading newspaper put it, “Russian money is in fact at the heart of the island’s economy.”

The Bank of Cyprus caters to the island nation’s large Russian population.
Nor is Ross’ Bank of Cyprus in particular – now probably at least half owned by Russians, as we‘ll see — any stranger to money laundering, tax dodging, or odious finance. With a market share of 30 percent, Bank of Cyprus has long been the market leader in Cypriot financial chicanery.

Billionaire Wilbur Ross, 79, was sworn in today as secretary of commerce. According to DC Report, Ross’ “role as Vice Chair and a leading investor in the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, one of the key offshore havens for illicit Russian finance,” makes him a poor choice for this position. But the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm him anyway.

Ross’ involvement in the Bank of Cyprus raises many questions about his judgment, but also about the Trump Administration’s seemingly endless direct and indirect connections with friends and associates of Vladimir Putin, who all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies say conspired to interfere in the November 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump.

Whether or not these connections involve any criminality, these are the kind of relationships that most American business people would not tolerate for 30 seconds.

After all, as discussed below, since the 1990s Cyprus has served as one the top three offshore destinations for Russian and former Soviet Union flight capital, most of it motivated by tax dodging, kleptocracy, and money laundering. As of 2013, just before the banking crisis, Russian deposits accounted for at least a third of all bank deposits in Cyprus. As one leading newspaper put it, “Russian money is in fact at the heart of the island’s economy.”

The Bank of Cyprus caters to the island nation’s large Russian population.
Nor is Ross’ Bank of Cyprus in particular – now probably at least half owned by Russians, as we‘ll see — any stranger to money laundering, tax dodging, or odious finance. With a market share of 30 percent, Bank of Cyprus has long been the market leader in Cypriot financial chicanery.

Tesla responds to harassment lawsuit filed by female engineer in 2016

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Tesla vehicles sit parked outside of a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 5, 2016 in New York City. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under increasing scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service. Joshua Brown crashed and died in Florida on May 7 in a Tesla car that was operating on autopilot, which means that Brown's hands were not on the steering wheel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) The Guardian published a new interview with Tesla engineer and current employee AJ Vandermeyden on Tuesday, wherein Vandermeyden lays out what she sees as a history of discriminatory treatment in a male-dominated work environment. Vandermeyden’s new statements were made in the context of a suit she filed last year against Tesla, and follow major revelations at Uber of systemic… Read More

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Tesla vehicles sit parked outside of a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 5, 2016 in New York City. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under increasing scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service. Joshua Brown crashed and died in Florida on May 7 in a Tesla car that was operating on autopilot, which means that Brown's hands were not on the steering wheel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) The Guardian published a new interview with Tesla engineer and current employee AJ Vandermeyden on Tuesday, wherein Vandermeyden lays out what she sees as a history of discriminatory treatment in a male-dominated work environment. Vandermeyden’s new statements were made in the context of a suit she filed last year against Tesla, and follow major revelations at Uber of systemic… Read More

Google quietly launches Meet, an enterprise-friendly version of Hangouts

meet-google-hangouts-ios Google has quietly launched a new video conferencing application called Meet by Google Hangouts, which is designed for HD video meetings. The web and mobile application appears to be the latest addition to Google’s lineup of business products known as G Suite, though the product page on the G Suite website listed in the app’s description page on the App Store is not yet live.… Read More

meet-google-hangouts-ios Google has quietly launched a new video conferencing application called Meet by Google Hangouts, which is designed for HD video meetings. The web and mobile application appears to be the latest addition to Google’s lineup of business products known as G Suite, though the product page on the G Suite website listed in the app’s description page on the App Store is not yet live.… Read More

Inside the Cup Noodles museum

In Yokohama, Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Cup Noodles (カップヌードル), the iconic brand of instant ramen created in 1971 by Momofuku Ando. Just looking at photos of the place jacked up my sodium levels. From Sam Graham’s trip report in Juxtapoz:


In Japan, there is a museum for everything: parasites, toto toilets and… ramen. We chose the latter and visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to explore the art and history behind this cheap and convenient meal. This included a life-sized silver sculpture of Nissin founder Momofuku Ando, numerous artistic interpretations on the Cup Noodles theme, and of course the historic wall of ramen through the years.







In Yokohama, Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Cup Noodles (カップヌードル), the iconic brand of instant ramen created in 1971 by Momofuku Ando. Just looking at photos of the place jacked up my sodium levels. From Sam Graham’s trip report in Juxtapoz:


In Japan, there is a museum for everything: parasites, toto toilets and… ramen. We chose the latter and visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to explore the art and history behind this cheap and convenient meal. This included a life-sized silver sculpture of Nissin founder Momofuku Ando, numerous artistic interpretations on the Cup Noodles theme, and of course the historic wall of ramen through the years.







Update: The Future of HOME

Here’s a brief audio update on the immediate future of HOME: Stories From L.A. The TL;DR version is, I’m slowing down the production schedule to make the project more sustainable over the long term. Give a listen for a little more background on the hows and whys of it all. The show returns this spring for Season 5, and in the meantime, the archive is a great way to load up your podcatcher. (Oh, also: I’m looking for a social media/publicity ninja; if that’s you, drop me a line.)

HOME is a proud member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

If you’re already a subscriber, many thanks. And if you have a minute to leave the show a short review at the iTunes Store it’d be much appreciated. 

Here’s a brief audio update on the immediate future of HOME: Stories From L.A. The TL;DR version is, I’m slowing down the production schedule to make the project more sustainable over the long term. Give a listen for a little more background on the hows and whys of it all. The show returns this spring for Season 5, and in the meantime, the archive is a great way to load up your podcatcher. (Oh, also: I’m looking for a social media/publicity ninja; if that’s you, drop me a line.)

HOME is a proud member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

If you’re already a subscriber, many thanks. And if you have a minute to leave the show a short review at the iTunes Store it’d be much appreciated.