Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pot Krugman Calls Kettle Black On Failed Predictions

Paul Krugman, the “very serious” NYT columnist who once predicted that the internet would become no more significant than the fax machine, used his most recent column to chastise others who refuse to admit their "failed predictions":

Tumblr SJW Offended By Healthy Post-Workout Snack

Seems like an innocent enough Tumblr post, doesn’t it? Seems like yet another typical food selfie on social media. But this post caused one anonymous Tumblr social justice warrior to become “triggered.”

When I first saw this photo set posted on TumblrInAction, I assumed it was a SJW complaining about how the food bowl, along with the mentioned yoga classes, was "cultural appropriation" on the part of the blogger Then I read the rest of it and realized that it was worse—much worse!

Before we proceed any further, I just want to give you fair warning that this is the stupidest thing you’ll probably read in a long time. It’s actually kind of amazing. If you’re wearing glasses, any kind of eyewear at all, be ready to drop them because this will result in an immediate facepalm:

Daily Stevie: Crystal Gems (And Tumblr SJW Drama!)

Crystal gems by Gashi-gashi

You’re probably curious as to why I’m highlighting this art piece for today’s post. Two reasons: one, it’s darn good. I mean, really darn good. Just look at it! The art style makes it look like the cover of a Japanese manga—which isn’t all that surprising, since the artist himself is Japanese.

Speaking of the artist, that brings me to my second reason. You see, the artist, Gashi-Gashi, has received a lot of flak over this deviation from Tumblr social justice warriors. (Tumblr SJWs upset over nothing? Color me surprised!) Why? Because they claimed it “white-washed” Garnet's race because she has a lighter skin color.

Where do I even begin?

First of all, the gems don’t have “race” because they’re not human. They’re extraterrestrial lifeforms whose skin color match the color of their gems. Garnet isn’t black or brown. She’s a dark red, because actual garnets are red—just like pearls are white and amethysts are purple.

Second, even if Garnet were brown and she were given a lighter skin tone for this art piece, so what? If Captain America can be black and Thor can be a woman, Garnet can be a lighter shade of red, which is what she is in this picture.

Third, and this is important, the artist has explained that her skin tone is only lighter in this picture because she and the other gems are glowing. As you can see in other pictures of Garnet here and here, she’s the usual dark shade of red (or brown, depending on your perspective).

But of course, trying to explain all of that to Tumblr SJWs is like trying to explain basic chemistry and human biology to anti-vaxxers: they’re immune to reasonable discourse.

Anyway, you should really check out Gashi-Gashi's gallery. He has some really awesome fan art from other franchises such as Adventure Time and My Little Pony. Though as a fair warning: most of his gallery can be considered slightly NSFW, since, as you can see from the picture above, he love to depict the female form and accentuate their “assets”, if you know what I mean. ;)

Throwback Thursday: Anyone Remember This Sound?

Who here remembers having to wait and listen to this sound before you could log onto the internet?

My folks and I first received internet connection back in 1997. Back then, I thought the internet was the coolest thing ever. Now, it’s as commonplace as telephone and television. And looking back way back when, those days truly were the “dark ages.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angry Momma Whoops Her Rioting Son's Ass!

If there’s any good news that came out of the Baltimore Riots, it’s the story of Toya Graham. When she saw her son joining in with the looting and rioting, she told herself, “Uh uh! Ain’t no son of mine be rioting out there! No sir!”, before going out into the streets to drag his sorry ass out by the ears and give him the good old-fashioned ass-whooping that he had coming to him.

Watch the “Mother of the Year” below as she knocks some sense into her son:

Daily Pony: NinjaShy

NinjaShy by TheRandomJoyrider on DeviantArt

LOL! Looks like Ninja Star has been training Fluttershy well. Perhaps the student will surpass the master?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baltimore Burns Over Dead Police Brutality Victim

Gee, did I choose a good month to go on hiatus. April must have been open season for police officers, considering all of the police brutality cases that have been keeping me busy. The month started with an unarmed man being shot eight times in the back while fleeing cops, and after several similar incidents of the fuzz shooting unarmed men dead, the month is now drawing to a close with an entire city up in flames over a man beaten to death by the popo.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you who Freddie Gray is, or what the hell’s going on in Baltimore. The news media has been covering the chaos 24/7. But for those who recently pulled their head out of the sand and have no idea what’s going on, allow me to provide the abridged version of events:

Daily Stevie: Pearl Origins

The episode "On the Run" showed that some gems were mass-produced by others, possibly to serve as a working class. With that in mind, along with Pearl's affections for Rose Quartz (as revealed in "Rose's Scabbard"), what if Pearl was one of those mass-produced homeworld gems who was assigned to Rose? This comic explores that exact possibility:

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blog Schedule

Starting May 1, I will be returning from my hiatus and resuming my regular blog posts. While my posts never really followed a strict schedule, I've decided to create a schedule as to make it easier for you all to know when to expect them. Bear in mind that this is a tenative schecule, and I don't expect to follow it strictly. But this is what you should come to expect from my blog:


Sunday Funnies
Need a good laugh? We all do. Enjoy your weekly compilation of political cartoons.


VGM Monday
A sample of my favorite video game music from my favorite video games.


Statist And Anarchist
My weekly webcomic (and unabashed ripoff of Cyanide and Happiness). Because statist talking points make for unintentional comedy gold.


Daily Bungle
Satirical articles about news so messed up, it almost seems real.

This Week In Review
Can you tell satire from real news? Test yourself and see which headlines are fake and which ones are the real deal.


Throwback Thursday
90s kids unite! A new blast from my past every week.


Fan Art Friday
A weekly compilation of fan art from all of my favorite shows, movies, and games.


Shameless Plug Saturday
Something different featured every week, be it a YouTube Channel, deviantART gallery, or website or blog.

Regular Features

Daily Pony
Something new featured daily from the My Little Pony fandom. (Plus, a recap of the newest episode every week.)

Daily Stevie
Something new featured daily from the Steven Universe fandom. (Plus, a recap of the newest episode every week.)


A five-minute clip of the upcoming Avengers movie? Marvel seems to be spoiling its fans! Click the link below for the exclusive footage below the break.

Pony Recap: Tanks For The Memories

When I first read the title, "Tanks for the Memories", I had assumed the worst for Dash's faithful pet. Would the creators actually be audacious enough to have an episode on the death of a pet? (Granted, judging by their work so far, I have enough faith that they could pull it off very well in a very mature yet kid-friendly manner.)

Well, the answer was no, but if you think about it, as every other fan has figured out, hibernation does seem to serve as a metaphor for "death." It's the closest thing there is to death for the episode to convey a message about death without expressly addressing it.

The episode does a very good job covering the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And while we know for certain that Tank isn't going away forever, the overall message of the episode translates just as well for death as it does for hibernation. So kudos to the creative team for covering the topic of death without actually talking about it.

Anywho, here are my thoughts on this week's episode:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Daily Pony: Winter Is Coming

Winter Has Come by I-am-knot on DeviantArt

And if the last episode is an indicator, it's coming in a nuclear explosion caused by an act of eco-terrorism!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

SU Recap: Love Letters

Even in its simplicity, Steven Universe can be really deep for a kid's show. This episode proved just that by touching on the subject of unrequited love and love at first sight. Sure, other shows, even kids shows, have touched on this subject, but SU touches on it with as much maturity as it does with humor.

Yes, it's humorous to see Jamie being bluntly turned down by Garnet, but it's also comforting to hear her explain that he never really was in love with her to begin with. Tommy Oliver elucidated best in his review: "It's really easy to get caught up in that surge of emotion when you see someone that you find attractive...but that's not love. Like Garnet says in this episode, that takes time and it takes effort, and love at first sight has none of those qualities."

With that said, here are my thoughts on this episode:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stormfront or SJW?

Funny how omitting a few words from a Tumblr SJW rant makes it indistinguishable from that of a Stormfront skinhead, as Sagon of Akkad shows:

Pony Recap: Bloom And Gloom

And with this episode, the Luna dream trilogy has come full circle. First, she helped Scootaloo in "Sleepless in Ponyville." Then, she helped Sweetie Bell in "For Whom The Sweetie Belle Toils." Now, she has assisted the very last Cutie Mark Crusader, Apple Bloom, in this episode.

I find this episode very fitting for this season with its overall theme of Cutie Mark and special talents. I even thought that Apple Bloom's nightmares were the result of Starlight Glimmer, and to be honest, that would make sense.

However, for what it is as a stand alone episode, or at least an episode part of a three-episode story arc, it works. The message is especially relevant, as it teaches that we should all accept ourselves for who we are, even when others do not. A very relevant message in this day and age.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on this episode:

Daily Pony: Diaries

Diaries by TheeLinker on DeviantArt

Well, what else did you expect Apple Jack and Twilight to write about? Maud Pie's diary, though, is both unexpected and expected, if that even makes sense.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Animaniacs Typewriter Gag

The Nostalgia Critic recently listed his Top 11 Favorite Animaniacs Episodes. As it was also a favorite show of mine, I’d thought I'd I highlight a classic scene from it.

SU Recap: Shirt Club

This episode was a welcome change of pace. There were no evil gem monsters to fight. No intergalactic threats. No gems having to come to the rescue. Just a simple slice-of-life story where Steven resolves his own conflict himself.

This episode also had a very relevant moral about the unintended consequences of memes. Sure, making fun of other people's art, especially on-line where bad art blogs abound, seems funny, but to the original artist, it really isn't. That's a lesson anyone of any age should learn.

A very simple story for a very simple episode. Other than that, here are my thoughts on it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Earth Is Getting Greener And Cleaner

Earth Day 2013 by BlazeHart96

Happy Earth Day, every one! Today is often relegated as a day of mourning over how mankind has made the planet worse through our mere existence. This Earth Day, I propose that we take time to celebrate how we as a species have actually made the world better through our sovereign dominion over it.

For example, while tree-hugging envirowackos often bemoan how fossil fuels have made the air and water dirtier, the truth is that the planet has become cleaner because of their use:

Also, contrary to the doom-and-gloom environmentalist narrative, the world has actually becoming much cleaner and greener within recent year, as Rare reports:
Research published in Nature says the earth has gotten greener in the past two decades.

Scientists from Australia, Amsterdam and China studied vegetation over the past two decades and found that while tropical forests have declined, that loss was made up by increases in mixed forests and tropical savannahs and shrublands.

Since 2003, forests in Russia and China have expanded and tropical deforestation has declined, the report says, adding that the savannahs of northern Australia and southern Africa have also shown an increase in aboveground biomass carbon (basically, plant matter).

The loss of the rainforest is still something to be concerned about, the scientists said. But the increase in overall vegetation could help counteract climate change, since plants absorb the carbon dioxide that is released into the air via fossil fuels.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Daily Pony: Balloon Bridge Balloon Art

MLP Season 5 premier Balloon Bridge scene by NoOrdinaryBalloonMan on DeviantArt

Well, someone had to do it. Someone had to create balloon art of the balloon bridge scene with the balloon sculpture pony from the Season 5 Premiere.

Apparently, the person who created this is a real-life Party Favor himself. He has dozens of balloon sculptures from different franchises in his gallery. Check it out! It’s really neat.

Monday, April 20, 2015

W00T! Bogosity Podcast Shout-Out!

I was listening to the most recent Bogosity Podcast last night when I heard my name mentioned:

Apparently, a follower of mine was co-hosting last night and said he had been introduced to the podcast by yours truly. I, for one, am honored to know that I’m such an influence on others.

Also, the other hosts, Shane Killian and Travis Retriever, expressed their willingness to have me on the show to co-host one day. Again, I’m quite honored by their offer, though sadly, I fear I have to decline. Not that I wouldn't want to co-host, I would, but it's just a matter of personal reasons.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Daily Pony: It Never Ends. It Never Ends!

SU Recap: Story For Steven

Okay, guys, change of plans: instead of waiting to catch up with all of the past Steven Universe episodes, I will be posting recaps of new episodes instead. I may revisit some of the old episodes in the future, but for now, I think it’s safe to start discussing the new episodes now while I have the chance.

Besides, how can I not talk about this episode? It contains far too many feels. If you watched this episode without feeling the least bit sentimental, then you clearly do not have a human soul.

We’ve previously heard in passing  about how Greg met Rose Quartz, but this time we actually get to see how it plays out (though considering this is all told by Greg in flashback, we don’t know how accurate, and thus reliable, this it truly is). Not only do we learn about Greg’s past relationship with Rose and the sacrifices he made to be with her, we also get to learn a little bit more about Beach City and the Crystal Gems—though to be fair, there are probably more questions raised that answered.

Enough small talk. Let’s get comfortable and hear how Greg met Rose (now with Marty):

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Police Abuse Isn’t Just A Race Issue

An ex-Philly police officer has testified to stealing drug money and planting evidence. Many of his targets were selected by race and appearance. He and his fellow cops have been known to steal up to “$110,000 at a time during violent, no-warrant raids.”

This sounds like it should be national news, right next to the corruption surrounding the Ferguson Police Department. But it’s not. Why? Because the cop was black:
A disgraced ex-police officer testifying against his drug squad colleagues acknowledged Tuesday that he stole drug money, planted evidence and lied on police paperwork too many times to count.

Jeffrey Walker told jurors that the Philadelphia Police Department drug squad targeted white "college-boy ... khaki-pants types" who were "easy to intimidate."

That matches the description of some of the drug dealers who have testified at the six-week police corruption trial that the squad stole as much as $110,000 at a time during violent, no-warrant raids.

Lead defendant Thomas Liciardello always got a cut of the stolen money, while the others split "jobs" that they worked, Walker said. The city's police brass often celebrated the squad's work with splashy news conferences to announce large seizures.

"They liked that, as far as the bosses and supervisors were concerned. It made them look good. It was nothing but a dog and pony show," Walker testified.

More than 160 drug convictions have been overturned since Walker pleaded guilty and the others were named in a 26-count indictment. Scores of civil-rights lawsuits are pending over the arrests. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has voiced his disgust with the squad's alleged crimes while continuing his effort to clean out and reform the 7,000-member department.
Too often, discussion about police corruption and abuse are framed around "white cops versus black men." This really shouldn’t be so. There’s no doubt that racial discrimination serves as a major aspect of systematic corruption, but it isn’t the only aspect, nor should it be the sole focus.

Christopher Cantwell said as much in his blog post last week:
Seems like a great time to talk about the violence inherent in the State apparatus. Seems like we should be discussing the fact that the penalty for disobeying the edicts of politicians is always death. Maybe we should look at the economic consequences of services being imposed upon unwilling customers by governments. Perhaps we should be warning white people who think this is a black problem, if there are any, that they aren’t safe from the menace that police present to a society. I think it’s long overdue that we stop turning police into heavily armed babysitters with the war on drugs.

Perhaps we should address that police are paid through taxation, and since taxation is theft, there is no such thing as a good cop. I’d certainly appreciate if society would consider that people who lash out violently against law enforcement, are acting in a perfectly rational manner. I think it would be really productive to begin discussing what the penalty should be for a police officer’s dedication to a career in oppressing others. Maybe we could talk about how well communities do when police stop “doing their jobs”.

It’s been reported that Walter Scott wasn’t the most upstanding of characters. He’s been arrested about ten times. He was behind on his child support, and it is suspected that he might have run from Slager because he feared being jailed once again for failure to pay. Seems like a great time to address the obvious fact that suspended drivers licenses and prison sentences are terribly ineffective methods of collecting debts. Maybe we should address the power disparity that exists between men and women on subjects of abortion and child support.

Imagine how much better off we would be as a society, as a species even, if these were the topics that came up when the most powerful government in the history of mankind, constitutionally designed to be the smallest and most limited, shot a man in the back on video after pulling him over for a broken tail light.

If you wanted to sabotage that progress from taking place, how would you go about doing that? I would probably make the discussion about race. That always seems to prevent anything productive from happening. If we make this a white vs. black issue, then we can totally avoid discussing any of those topics, and while we’re at it, we can set race relations back to the civil war.
Indeed. We should be focusing on the obscene amount of leniency the states grant police officers to “do their jobs”, especially when it comes to using lethal force against citizens—armed or unarmed. Instead, the conversation is always divided by black and white, and the only people who benefit from that conversation are the race baiters who instigate it.

Though if it’s of any consolation, as far as the Walter Scott case goes, his family forbade known race hustler Al Sharpton from attending his funeral—which he would have mostly likely have hijacked for political points. Good on them.

Pony Recaps: Castle Sweet Castle

What is it about third episodes that makes them feel so lackluster? That’s obviously not the case for “Lesson Zero” or “Too Many Pinkie Pies”, but those episodes are the exception rather than the rule, which mostly consists of “The Ticket Master”, “Castle-Mania”, and this episode, “Castle Sweet Castle.”

I really don’t feel like writing a recap for this episode. Everything about it is just “meh.” The story is “meh.” The song is “meh.” The humor, while having one or two hits, is mostly miss, and thus “meh.”

The storyline is cliché as it gets. Twilight doesn’t like her new crystal palace. She claims it doesn’t feel like home. Her friends agree to decorate it for her, but they decorate it according to what they like rather than what Twilight wants. They then end up decorating it the way Twilight would like it.

Okay, so it’s not exactly that cliché. I can at least say that the resolution is somewhat original. If it were a cliché ending, the ponies would have decorated her house with nothing but books to match her old house. Instead, they create a chandelier from the roots of her old library. That’s somewhat a unique conclusion. I also like how the crystals dangling from it all contain a special memory, which I’m pretty sure is going to replace the princess letters and journal entries for this season.

Spike conflicts seemed rather forced and contrived. It could have easily been resolved had he been upfront with Twilght: “Hey Twi, the others are taking longer than expected to decorate your house, and they want to keep it a surprise, so we should probably wait until they’re finished to go back.” That was all he had to say. He didn’t have to come up with lame excuses like mattress shopping to keep Twilight distracted.

If there’s one other thing about this episode that was redeemable, it was Bulk Biceps. His inclusion into this episode was rather hilarious as always, and it’s nice to know what his regular occupation is, though I wouldn’t have guessed it was at the spa.

Otherwise, this episode wasn’t all that great, and it’s not really worth my time going over it. Sorry if that disappoints any pony.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Stupid Things About Taxes

Hey, it’s April 15th! Have you paid your taxes yet? Either way, here are five stupid things about taxes (as inspired by Steve Shives):

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mentally-Ill Inmate Shackled, Tased To Death

I’ll be honest: all of these police brutality posts are beginning to take their toll on me, both emotionally and mentally. I’d love nothing more than to stop blogging about them. For one, they happen so often that, if I were to cover every single one, my blog would be nothing but posts about police brutality, and there’s only so much you can say on the subject other than, “isn’t this f***ed up beyond belief?”

But then I began to ponder the implication of that line of thinking. If I were to claim that there was no sense in writing about police brutality anymore, then I would be admitting that reports of police brutality have become as commonplace as reports on the weather forecast.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to live in a society where something like that is the norm, where turning on the news to see yet another police story elicits nothing less than a shrug. I don’t want to feel complacent about police abuse. I don’t want to feel like that sort of thing is normal, because it’s not, or at least it shouldn't be.

So pardon me for sharing yet another story about police abusing their power, because we don’t very well solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist—and as much as I would prefer to pretend that this next account of police electrocuting a mentally-ill woman to death isn’t real, the sad reality is that it is:
A mentally ill woman who died after a stun gun was used on her at the Fairfax County jail in February was restrained with handcuffs behind her back, leg shackles and a mask when a sheriff’s deputy shocked her four times, incident reports obtained by The Washington Post show.

Natasha McKenna initially cooperated with deputies, placed her hands through her cell door food slot and agreed to be handcuffed, the reports show. But McKenna, whose deteriorating mental state had caused Fairfax to seek help for her, then began trying to fight her way out of the cuffs, repeatedly screaming, “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me!” the reports show.

Then, six members of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, dressed in white full-body biohazard suits and gas masks, arrived and placed a wildly struggling 130-pound McKenna into full restraints, their reports state. But when McKenna wouldn’t bend her knees so she could be placed into a wheeled restraint chair, a lieutenant delivered four 50,000-volt shocks from the Taser, enabling the other deputies to strap her into the chair, the reports show.
That would all be bad enough in and of itself, but what’s especially disgusting is the flimsy excuse the police department made to hand-wave it away:
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid declined to comment on the case but defended the use of a stun gun on a restrained prisoner, saying it was “a means that is often useful to ensure the safety of a person” rather than using physical force to gain compliance. She said stun guns were used “occasionally” on prisoners who are already restrained.
I’m sorry. I just can’t handle this. I can’t express how sickening this makes me feel. I don’t feel well. All of these police brutality stories this past month have been depressing me.

I need something to cheer me up. I know you all need some cheering up, too. So to help, here’s a picture of my fluffy little dog:

How Authoritarian Are Americans Toward Cops?

The past week alone has caught on film one cop shooting a fleeing unarmed man eight times in the back, another cop shooting a mentally-ill unarmed man, and yet another cop accidentally shooting an unarmed man and telling him to “f*** your breath.”

So in light of all this video evidence of cops shooting and killing unarmed civilians, what do the respected politicians of the ever progressive and enlightened state of Texas decide to do in all their infinite wisdom? Propose legislation requiring cops to wear body cameras? Or perhaps legislation regulating how and when police officer may use lethal force?

Nope. Instead, they propose a bill that would prohibit the filming of cops—because, you see, the real problem isn’t officers shooting unarmed civilians, it’s other people filming them shooting unarmed civilians.

The good news was that this bill was dropped. The bad news, of course, was that it was proposed in the first place.

Of course, those are only elected politicians. You can’t possibly expect them to pass legislation that would undermine the power and authority of the state, and thus, the justification for their own power and authority.

I mean, it’s not like it was ordinary citizens requesting this piece of legislation. That would be stupid. Our population may not be the brightest, but they're not that stupid. They don't oppose their own self-interests that much.

I mean, it’s not our unwashed population has such a cult of authority worship towards the police that they would—oh, I don’t know—start a fundraiser for the offending S.C. officer who shot the unarmed man eight times, right? Right?

In case you’re wondering, yes, that is real. Sadly, it is real. The good news, however, was that the fundraiser page was taken down. The bad news, of course, was that it was set up in the first place.

I mean, seriously, America, what in the name of Celestia’s royal holy delectable flank is wrong with you? This is an officer who shot an unarmed man. Eight times. In the back. While he was fleeing. And then had evidence planted on him. All because of a broken taillight. All caught on tape. Removing any shadow of a doubt that the officer is guilty. And yet, you decided to side with the gun-happy cop over the dead victim. Whom the other officers didn’t even bother to resuscitate.

And people wonder why I hate cops and have a less than favorable view of my country?

You know, I’m just going to echo what Radio Dead Air’s Nash tweeted: “If you watch a video of a cop shooting a black man 8 times for running away and still support the cop, *there is something wrong with you..*”

Pony Recap: The Cutie Map (Part 2)

This is Part Two in a two-part episode recap. Fot the first part, click here. Otherwise, continue after the break for the recap.

Daily Stevie: Touching Steven And Garnet Comic


Click here to see the rest of the comic. It contains so much feels!

I really enjoy seeing Garnet act like a mother for Steven (in stuff like this, and episodes like “Garnet’s Universe"), but only because it goes against my expectations of her as a tough, silent protagonist. It’s much more expected of the other gems to act like a mother figure. Pearl is the authoritative-but-nurturing mother figure. Amethyst is the fun-loving mother figure (though she acts more like an older sister). And then there’s Garnet. You'd expect her to act like the cold-authoritarian mother figure, but instead, she’s the comforting mother figure.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Dark Stallion Chapter This Saturday (+Preview)

Many of you have asked me when I’m going to release the next chapter to my Dark Stallion fanfic—all five of you who read it! Currently, I'm working on it. Considering how long it’s been since I’ve released the last one, and considering how long it’s taking me to write this one, I’ve decided to split my next chapter into two separate chapters. Hopefully, I should have the first one released by this weekend. Until then, to sate your appetite, here’s a sneak peek of things to come:

Daily Pony: Fiery Joker Cutie Map Review

Another MLP season premiere? That means it’s time for another review by The Fiery Joker:

According to his analysis, the episode is “a cautionary tale of what happens when you take a quality mathematically and try to apply it to social life and showing how easy people can be duped by buzzwords and pictures.” In other words, the anti-thesis of Tumblr.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rand Don’t Impress Me Much

Some of you have asked me about my thoughts on Rand’s announcement of his presidential run. Quite frankly, I’m not impressed. You want a reason why? Here’s one:

In the past, Rand has made many anti-libertarian comments concerning foreign policy in Iran and Iraq. When he was confronted by a reporter to explain these comments, he replied that they didn’t matter because he wasn’t running for president then!

“What I would say is, there has always been a threat of Iran gaining nuclear weapons and I think that’s greater now than it was many years ago. I think we should do everything we can to stop them,” Paul said to host Savannah Guthrie. But in 2007, Paul, then a surrogate for his father’s presidential campaign, told radio host Alex Jones that “Even our own intelligence community consensus opinion now is that they’re not a threat.” “You know, it’s ridiculous to think they’re a threat to our national security,” he added.

Asked to clarify the contradiction, Paul first bickered with the question, challenged Guthrie’s interview skills, and then reluctantly explained that he made his comments before he ran for office. “2007 was a long time ago and events do change over long periods of time,” Paul said. “We’re talking about a time when I wasn’t running for office, when I was helping someone else run for office.”
Sorry, Rand, but if that’s how you try to cover your ass over your visibly leaking BS, there’s no reason for me to vote for you (even with my nose held while pulling the lever) over the Libertarian candidate. Besides, he’s probably going to be overshadowed by an establishment Republican like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.

Daily Pony: Raining Then Dancing

Raining then dancing by Madacon on DeviantArt

Seems like Pinkie Pie is doing her best impression of Gene Kelly, though it seems like she loves dancing and singing in the rain.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Stevie: His Only True Fan

Rose Quartz by CookingPeach on DeviantArt

At the moment that I hit the stage,
I hear the universe calling my name,
And I know deep down in my heart
I have nothing to fear.

And as the solar wind blows through my hair,
knowing I have so much more left to share,
A wandering spirit who's tearing its way
through the cold atmosphere.

I'll fly like a comet.
Soar like a comet.
Crash like a comet.
I'm just a comet.

Also, Rose Quartz is rather cute for a girl who wears XXL!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sometimes Video Evidence Isn't Enough

First, video evidence has led to a South Carolina police officer being charged and fired for shooting an unarmed man eight times and planting evidence near him; now, it’s leading to California deputies being investigated for brutally beating a man to a bloody pulp after shocking him with an electric taser.

Hopefully, with enough people videotaping the cops, more bad “apples” will be brought to justice, and law enforcement will consider implementing serious reform, including body cameras on their officers.

On the other hand, even when bad cops are caught on camera, many are still let off the hook far too often, as The Amazing Atheist elaborates:

Even more disturbing is that, even with video evidence, we still don't know how many Americans are killed by police, considering that law enforcement agencies aren't required to compile data on police shootings.

Think about that: around this time of year, the government requires us to share every minute detail of our personal, private lives through our income tax, and yet the government doesn't require its own agents to file a report when they kill a civilian. That ain't right!

New Mexico Abolishes Civil Forfeiture

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez recently signed a bill abolishing civil asset forfeiture, a controversial legal process by which law enforcement may seize property from people suspected of criminal or illegal activity, even without necessarily charging them with any wrongdoing. The bill itself received universal bipartisan approval from both the state House and Senate, without a single person voting against it.

To understand why this bill is such a big deal for personal liberty, here’s John Oliver explaining civil forfeiture and the many ways law enforcement has abused the process for their own personal gain. (Hint: some police departments have used seized monies to buy stuff like frozen margarita machines!)

Daily Stevie: Hi, I'm Daisy!

Hi I'm Daisy by DocWario on DeviantArt

The artist who drew the MLP comic that I shared yesterday also drew this nifty picture of Steven and the Crystal Gems cosplaying as Mario and the Princesses. From the looks of his bedroom (with his N64 and Gamecube), Steven does seem to be a real Nintendo fanboy! ;)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday: The Buddy Bears

Last week saw the introduction of Starlight Glimmer, a cartoon character who epitomizes the dogmatic belief that “equality” and unity can only come about through blind conformity. She, however, was not the first cartoon character to lampoon this cartoonish notion.

Back in the 1980s, there was a huge push by television networks for children’s programming to emphasize the message that we all need to “follow the group” in order to “get along”—that everyone should agree with one another, and that anyone who disagrees was merely a “whiner."

This conformist, collectivist mindset was most apparent in such shows as Dungeons and Dragons and the infamously-but-aptly-named Get Along Gang, and it was the propagation of this mindset, coupled with the “feel good” self-esteem movement, that would breed an entire generation of thin-skinned narcissists who insisted that everyone agree with their opinions (i.e.: Tumblr Social Justice Warriors).

Mark Evanier, a writer for children’s shows during that time, was disgusted by this trope and how writers like him were forced to implement it into their shows through executive mandate—so much so that when he began writing on Garfield and Friends, he decided to satirize the cartoonish mindset with the satirical cartoon characters, The Buddy Bears.

Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!
Each day we do a little dance and sing a little song.
If you ever disagree, then it means that you are wrong.
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!
Their song pretty much summed up their character. They were a television troupe that, like many cartoons at that time, emphasized going along with the group to get along. Their overtly-saccharin personalities often served as a foil for the more pessimistic titular character Garfield, who often found himself butting heads with them whenever they appeared.

In one episode, "Big Bad Buddy Bird", the bears are joined by Roy Rooster, who quit his job at U.S. Acres and was cast as the character “Big Bad Buddy Bird.” As his stage name suggested, his role was to disagree with the groupthink opinions of the other Buddy Bears, and because this obviously made him “bad”, he would be promptly punished by having a safe dropped on his head. The sheer trauma forced onto him caused him to snap and try to tell the children at home to have their own opinions, think for themselves, and not go along with what everyone else thinks—which inevitably got him fired!

Of course, we can all take solace in knowing that life truly isn’t that harsh for people who differing opinions. If you express a dissenting opinion, especially on the internet, you don’t have to worry about having a safe dropped on your head. You just have to worry about anonymous haters sending you death and rape threats, hacking your account, doxing your personal information, or even sending a SWAT team to your house through a false alarm.

Sweet Celestia, did cartoon propaganda severely foul up my generation!

Surviving An Attack By A Bear…Er, Cop!

So you find yourself confronted by a wild and aggressive bear…er, I mean police officer. Here’s how you survive the encounter:

Of course, the only issue with this comic is isolating the victim as an “African-American.” Let’s not erase white victims of police brutality like Kelly Thomas and James Boyd.

Daily Pony: Revenge of the Nerd

Revenge of the Nerd by DocWario on DeviantArt

Of course all tyrannical dictators started out as wimps with extremely low-self-esteem. That’s exactly how Hitler started out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Daily Stevie: The Temple Comes To Life

WIP - Temple Fusion by artofcarmen

Have you ever wondered whom the temple is modeled after? Artofcarmen has. In her opinion, it’s probably a fusion of Rose, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. If that’s the case, then it’s such a pity that we’ll never get to see that in the show—unless it’s through a flashback. (Or perhaps if it’s through the assistance of Steven’s Gem!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

S.C. Officer Charged After Fatally-Shooting Man

A South Carolina police officer fatally shot an unarmed man eight times in the back. The officer claimed the man had violently accosted him and struggled to seize his electric taser; however, leaked video evidence reveals a much different story:

The shooting unfolded after Officer Slager stopped the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. Mr. Scott ran away, and Officer Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Mr. Scott, according to police reports.

Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio, “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.

But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.

Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.

The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.
The good news is that this lying, violent thug of a cop was charged with murder rather than given the usual slap on the wrist of “administrative leave”, as is far too often the case with incidents such as these. The bad news, of course, is that this crap happened in the first place.

Seriously, was there no other way to apprehend a fleeing unarmed suspect other than shooting him eight times in the back? Eight frigging times? Was chasing after him and tackling him to the ground out of the question?

And then the pig had the impudence, the audacity, the unmitigated gall to plant evidence on the guy in order to weasel his way out of this situation and cover his ass.

And to think all of this happened over a broken taillight. A freaking taillight! A man was shot dead over a frigging taillight.

Seriously, just fuck the police. Fuck them in the neck. You can’t claim that these people are a few bad apples when it seems like every single freaking apple in the bunch is rotten to the core. Seriously, just freak them.

Pony Recap: The Cutie Map (Part 1)

Finally! Nearly one year after season four ended, a new season is finally upon us! As for the season five two-part premiere, it was—okay. It wasn’t the worst. It wasn’t the best. It simply was—okay.

I guess what makes this episode so ho-hum for me is how predictable the entire story was. Oh, we have the ponies going to a village controlled by a control-hungry tyrant? Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen? Are they going to get captured and forced to join, only to reveal the crazy leader for the hypocrite that she is and free the town’s people from her oppression? Admit it, the moment you learned the premise of this episode, you knew exactly how it was going to play out.

As for the subject matter, I really find it interesting that the show would tackle it. A town full of people who are obsessed with equality and think that the only way for people to get along is through conformity and the erasure of individuality and free-thought? You either thought that they were communists or social justice warriors. That makes it all the more awesome!

Overall, while the episode wasn’t the best, it did a good job of showcasing the premise for the season, with the Friendship Rainbow Kingdom castle map and the aforementioned nine (or eight) magical items being the obvious focus of this season (magical maguffin quest it is, then!), and it does seem like starlight Glimmer may be a recurring villain, what with us probably seeing her by at least the finale).

As always, I’m interested in what this season has in store, and I hardly can wait. Until then, here are my thoughts on this two-part opener (with my thoughts on the second part coming soon):

Daily Pony: Cutie Markless Crusaders

Considering the subject of the fifth season premiere, a gag such as this was only inevitable:

Comic: Cutie Markless Crusaders by drawponies on DeviantArt

The Monster Is Blue And Full Of Errors

Winter is coming on Sesame Street. Spring is the perfect time for a Game of Chairs:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Daily Stevie: Hoppy Easter

Most of you are only going to get this reference if you've watched "Garnet's Universe", but either way, have a "Hoppy" Easter! :D

SU Recap: Say Uncle

Welcome to my very first ever Steven Universe episode recap. I know I said I wasn’t going to review recent episodes until I’ve finished going over previous episodes, but since this episode is technically non-canonical, I felt it was safe to address it. Besides, it’s a really good episode and I want to talk about it.

While praise for Steven Universe has almost been, well, for lack of a better term, universal, the same cannot be said for another Cartoon Network show, Uncle Grandpa, over which most people have been split. Some people like it. Others hate it. And other people don’t know what to think of it. Personally, I like it. Sure, it’s weird as hell, and most of its humor is hit-or-miss, but I really do enjoy the surreal and absurdist visuals and comedy. It’s the closest thing Cartoon Network will come to Dadaism.

Because of the split feeling over the show, most SU fans have had split feelings over this episode when it was first announced—and honestly, I know how they felt. Personally, I would have preferred SU to crossover with a more similar show like Adventure Time or Regular Show. But for what we got, this was a rather humorous episode to watch, what with the many in-and-out-of-series references, fourth wall jokes, and Pearl’s many LOL!-worthy expressions. Overall, it was a fun concept with fun gags to be had.

Check out my thoughts after the break:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Libertarian Policy Around The World

Salon’s Michael Lind once asked where all the libertarian countries were. Statist have assumed at best that no libertarian countries exist, or at worst, that countries like Somalia and Honduras are “libertarian paradises.”

While there are no pure libertarian countries, there are countries that have successfully implemented libertarian policies with positive results. Here are several such countries with libertarian policies concerning the economy, taxes, corporations, national defense, minimum wage, pensions, healthcare, education, guns, drugs, and prostitution.

The next time a statist claims there are no libertarian countries, or that Somalia is a libertarian paradise, shut them down with these examples.

Daily Pony: The Way To Happiness (S5 SPOILERS)

Starlight Glimmer's Propaganda by mysticalpha

Difference is frustration.

In sameness, there's peace.

Exceptionalism is a lie.

To excel is to fail.

Be your best by never being your best.

Conformity will set you free.

Just finished watching the fifth season premiere. Overall, it was okay, but if there’s one thing that really made it great was how the villain was a nearly accurate caricature of a Tumblr SJW. LOL! Starlight Glimmer is what would happen if Tumblrinas achieved any true political power! Funny, if not equally frightening.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Libertarian National Defense: Costa Rica

On Dec. 1, 1948 — 65 years ago this month — Jose Figueres, then president of Costa Rica, made a fiery and eloquent speech, after which he took a sledgehammer and bashed a hole in a huge stone wall at the nation's military headquarters, Cuartel Bellavista. Its imposing towers and massive gates had loomed over the capital city of San Jose since 1917, the country's premier symbol of military power and the home of the "Tico" military establishment.

Figueres was not just being a showman; he was announcing something truly extraordinary: Henceforth, Costa Rica would take the almost unheard-of step of renouncing its military. At the conclusion of the ceremony, he publicly handed the keys to the minister of education, announcing that Bellavista would be transformed into a national art museum and the nation's military budget would be redirected toward healthcare, education and environmental protection.

The political calculations that led to this dramatic event were doubtless complex, and they've been disputed ever since. It seems likely, for example, that Figueres was painfully aware that Costa Rica's military, like that of other Central American states, had been used to suppress domestic uprisings and undertake coups, especially against governments perceived to be left-leaning like his.

But at the same time he was clearly aware of the "opportunity costs" associated with military spending, the simple fact that resources expended on the military could not be used to support domestic needs. Then as now, his decision to demilitarize created opportunities for Costa Rica to invest in butter instead of guns.

To this day, Costa Rica has no army, navy or air force, no heavy weapons of any kind. There are local police forces but no national defense force. When visiting dignitaries arrive in San Jose, they are never met by bands in military-style uniforms or uniformed national officials of any kind, because by law there are none; rather, foreign VIPs are met by schoolchildren wearing the visitor's national colors.

If you walk along a beach in Costa Rica and see lines of pelicans flying in perfect formation, consider it the Tico air force, out on maneuvers.

Most Americans — even among the many who travel to Costa Rica for an eco-vacation — have no idea that this country is demilitarized, even as they enthusiastically partake of the many benefits this decision has helped generate: democratic institutions, the remarkably healthy and happy population, and, not least, the fact that Costa Rica has been able to invest not only in its people but also in preserving about 25% of its land area in either national parks or biological reserves.

It has become fashionable of late to evaluate and rank the overall "happiness" of various countries. It's easy to be skeptical of such surveys. The results vary with the questions asked, not to mention divergent national styles when it comes to self-assessment. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that Costa Rica ranks No. 1 in the Happy Planet Index, No. 1 in the World Database of Happiness. It's consistently right up there with its wealthier counterparts despite a per capita gross domestic product of $7,390, 68th in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund in 2010.

It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to conclude with certainty that when it comes to various "happiness" measures, Costa Rica punches so far above its weight because it's been soldierless for 65 years, but the possibility is at least reasonable. In 1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias made the happiness connection, obliquely, when he spoke before the U.S. Congress.

"I belong to a small country," he said, "that was not afraid to abolish its army in order to increase its strength. In my homeland you will not find a single tank, a single artillery piece, a single warship or a single military helicopter.... Today we threaten no one, neither our own people nor our neighbors. Such threats are absent not because we lack tanks but because there are few of us who are hungry, illiterate or unemployed."

Arias was addressing Congress because of his role in negotiating peace in the Contra war in neighboring Nicaragua. The United States had employed strenuous economic and diplomatic arm-twisting in hopes of getting Costa Rica to rearm and join it in fighting the Contras. When that effort failed, the Reagan administration was greatly annoyed. But two months after Arias' Washington speech, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

There is no doubt that his success as a negotiator was achieved in part because he was able to deploy his country's neutrality as well as the moral authority generated by its commitment to demilitarization.

Costa Rica is not alone in having abandoned militarism, although its demilitarized compatriots are either firmly in protective relationships with larger states (Costa Rica is presumably sheltered by the U.S., but only under the loose ties of the Organization of American States), or they are barely countries at all (being closer to city-states or tiny, isolated islands), or they have only recently proceeded down the path of demilitarization. (Some nations are sometimes thought to be demilitarized but are not. For example, Sweden and Switzerland are neutral but armed.)

By my reckoning, these are the world's demilitarized political entities: Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa. In Central America and the Caribbean: Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In Europe: Andorra, Iceland (a NATO member), Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. And, in the Pacific Ocean: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

It may be significant that with the exception of the Vatican, all these entities are democratic. In addition, few have been subjected to foreign attack or coercive military threats. In 1989, Panama, which then had an army, was invaded by the United States, and in Haiti, a military strongman was deposed in 1994 by the threat of U.S. military force. The demilitarization of Panama and Haiti is probably too recent to be considered fully successful, although both countries warrant more attention in this regard than they have received.

Unfortunately, in no cases (including that of Costa Rica) are data available comparing civilian populations' happiness or subjective well-being before and after being demilitarized.

It is unrealistic to expect that the United States will ever abolish its armed forces. Indeed, war can become a national habit and militarism a way of life. But so can peace and demilitarization, as the case of Costa Rica shows, and as Dr. Seuss has affirmed: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

The Ticos have chosen, and for them at least, it works.

- "Costa Rica's peace dividend: How abolishing the military paid off", David P. Barash (L.A. Times).

Daily Stevie: Why You Should Watch SU

I recently came across this image set on Tumblr, and it offers some really good reasons (one which I excluded because it’s spoiler-y) why the series has become so popular—and why, if you haven’t started watching it yet, you really should start.

Seriously, I mean that. It really is that good. You should start watching this series—like right now! The show regularly airs on Cartoon Network, with new episodes premiering on Thursday. It’s not currently on streaming services, but if you want to watch episodes on-line, you can find them on YouTube or Dailymotion (or, for a more illicit source, Watch Cartoons Online).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

30 Something Nerdy Critics—Geeky Power!

The Nostalgia Critic teaming up with the AVGN to take down the biggest crap on my favorite franchise since The Last Airbender? Is it any wonder that I watched this review at least five time over?!

Of course, it took me that many viewings to really notice the genius behind this review. Initially, I'd thought that the side sketch was merely a humorous homage to the turtle franchise, but then I realized that it was really a commentary on it.

Think about the various gags: the animation errors in the original series, the virtual un-playability of the original video game, the glaring plot holes in the original live-action movies, the so-bad-it’s-good live-action concert: it was all to show that, despite the many flaws in the 2014 movie, the previous incarnations were not without their own flaws, despite us believing, through our nostalgia-colored glasses, that the franchise was flawless until Bay came along to ruin it.

Of course, considering that this message was literally spelt out with the message at the end, I’m not sure how it evaded me.

Libertarian Prostitution Policy: New Zealand

It has been ten years since New Zealand parliamentarians, after considerable debate and encouragement from sex workers, mainstream women’s organizations, and public health advocates, voted for changes to the laws governing prostitution.

The Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) heralded a significant turnaround in approach, repealing laws that had been used to criminalize sex workers and created circumstances that contributed to their vulnerability. Rather, the aim of the PRA is to decriminalize prostitution and safeguard the human rights of sex workers, while protecting them from exploitation. The law also states the importance of promoting sex workers’ welfare and occupational safety and health, and that the law be conducive to public health. In addition, it prohibits the “use in prostitution” of people who are under 18.

Today, as it was before the change in law, sex work is widespread, and mostly occurs in a low-key way in minor towns and in every major city throughout New Zealand. Yet the industry has not grown in the last ten years. It's not obvious that the sex trade has been decriminalized: brothels are not on every corner, nor are “sex for sale” signs flashing at the unsuspecting.

However, inside, brothels now display safer-sex information prominently. Sex workers are allowed to work in managed brothels with no size restrictions, or to collectivize and work as equals with colleagues, or to work alone. Home occupation and standard business zoning laws generally apply — although there have been some city councils who have been successfully challenged in court for the development of unreasonable bylaws restricting the location of brothels. Street-based sex work is allowed and there is no regime of licensing or mandatory testing of individual sex workers.

Sex worker registers are a thing of the past, in recognition that it is not sex workers who need monitoring as criminals. However, operators of brothels, and anyone involved in directing sex workers for profit, are required to have an operator’s certificate. These certificates are issued by the District Court and withheld from people with specific convictions, including those for violence.

The PRA enables sex workers to reach out for help and access justice if necessary. While the police were previously the enforcers of anti-prostitution laws, they are now widely regarded by sex workers as their allies in the prevention of violence. The police, too, report the effectiveness of decriminalization in building non-coercive relationships with sex workers as a violence prevention strategy.

While decriminalization has not stopped all violence — as no law alone could achieve this in any context — there is overwhelming evidence that decriminalization has enabled sex workers to decline contact with people they perceive to be potentially dangerous clients.

The law also explicitly reinforces the right of sex workers to refuse to continue providing services to any client, to prevent the confusion that sex workers give away this right as contractors to brothel operators. The government has published guidelines with input from sex workers that expands on this, and which address issues of security and safety in the context of sex work.

Decriminalization of sex work creates many opportunities to head off exploitation, and is significant as an anti-trafficking tool – Immigration New Zealand continues to report that they have found no instances of sex trafficking in New Zealand, despite their determined forays into the migrant sector of the sex industry.

Reports that large numbers of youth are now trafficked by gangs into prostitution are not backed up by police evidence. Government and community-based agencies, including peer-based sex worker groups, collaborate to assist youth who are involved in sex work. This collaboration would not have occurred prior to decriminalization due to mistrust of the police.

Decriminalization has also created higher standards and expectations in relation to occupational safety and health. Sex workers, and even their clients, will blow the whistle if they suspect something in the work place that doesn’t look quite right.

There have been mundane complaints about withheld money by clients or brothel operators, which have been resolved in an easy to access Disputes Tribunal setting in the local district court (though there is an arbitrator rather than a judge, and no lawyers are present), to more serious reports of underage sex workers being illegally hired, resulting in jail time for brothel operators. Sex workers have utilized their right to combat workplace sexual harassment from their bosses using human rights legislation; a right unimaginable prior to decriminalization and probably unobtainable while brothel-keeping was illegal.

There is also a freeing up of communication. Prior to the law change, the sex industry was hidden under a range of misleading identities, such as escort agencies and massage parlors, which had to pretend that commercial sex was not their main purpose. This distancing inhibited the health promotion strategies that sex workers and brothel operators now use to build a strong culture of safer sex.

Today, people who are considering sex work are unlikely to arrive at a business with the promise of “Earn $$$ Now” and “onsite training available” and be unaware that its real purpose is to provide commercial sex services. Instead, they are legally able to seek practical and realistic information to inform their decision to become a sex worker.

Of course, negotiations between sex workers and their clients can be more focused on the things that matter. Sex workers can negotiate more carefully without the pressure of wondering if their next client is an undercover cop who is about to arrest them and count their condoms, or someone who may cause them other kinds of harm.

Corruption has also been nipped in the bud, with the police recently prosecuting one of their own for unlawfully trying to extort sexual favors from a sex worker with traffic offences. 

The Department of Labour has produced guidelines after consulting with sex workers and brothel operators, which expand on issues of security and describe safe ways in which to provide services such as “outcalls” to the homes of clients. They also address sexual and reproductive health themes and promote the importance of regular, but non-mandatory, testing, in recognition that it is condom use and other safer sex practices, and not testing, that most effectively prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The law forbids brothel operators promoting or implying that their staff are free from STIs, but requires them to explicitly promote safer sex.

The prevalence of sexually transmissible infections for the country’s estimated 5,000 sex workers is in line with other general populations, with HIV remaining negligible. Medical Officers of Health, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, have the power to inspect brothels and check compliance with health and safety requirements. The police only routinely visit to inspect liquor licenses.

The approach to allow sex work to occur, supported by labor and other mainstream laws, is now accepted by most people in New Zealand. There are local controversies, such as the lack of zoning for street-based sex workers, which ignite debate, with a bill before the parliament to give councils the power to do so. Interestingly, the police have backed the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective in opposing this bill, recognizing that informal agreements are more effective than imposed legal regimes.

Decriminalization of prostitution is being called for by sex workers in many countries, including India, Fiji, Scotland and, of course, the United States. For sex workers, it goes much deeper than repealing key parts of legislation that criminalize their work. Like others, they want the rights and responsibilities to participate in society without discrimination. The New Zealand model of law reform is a step to creating conditions that allow this to happen.

- "Legalizing Prostitution: New Zealand’s Example", Catherine Healy (Fair Observer).

Throwback Thursday: Mighty Mouse And The Power of Cheese

Seems like everyone’s favorite superhero rodent is more than willing to let the city burn over a platter of cheese:

This is why, in dire situations such as this, you turn to a superhero who isn’t easily distracted by cheddar—a superhero like the lactose-intolerant SuperDude!

Sadly enough, this commercial was released in 2001, and had promptly ceased broadcast on television after—well, I think you can guess what date and for what obvious reasons. (And this wasn't the first time that Mighty Mouse was banned over controversy!)

Daily Pony: Is Your Flank Ready?

Is your flank ready by Jowybean on DeviantArt

We're nearly a day away from the Season 5 premiere. Are you hyped yet?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daily Stevie: Steven Universe Review

With the start of a new month comes the start of a new blog feature: “Daily Stevie.” In similar vein to my “Daily Pony” posts, these posts will regularly feature fan-related content of Steven Universe. Of course, to balance this out with my "Daily Pony" posts, I'll be alternating between the two every other day. One day, it'll be a MLP post; the other, a SU post.

And what would be a more apropos way to kick off this new feature than with a fan review of the series? It only seems fitting (if not a major coincidence) that the Cartoon Hero recently released a review of it. I’d highly suggest that those of you who have never watched the series before watch this review (which is completely spoiler-free, by the way!), as Eli Stone perfectly explains and surmises what makes the show so magical, and how it's quickly become one of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows. (Also, if you’re not watching the Cartoon Hero, I’d suggest following his reviews as well. He’s an excellent reviewer!)

The Cartoon Hero Presents: Steven Universe by theherooftomorrow