Thursday, May 29, 2014

#TBT -- Classic Simpsons -- "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part 1)" (Season 6, Episode 25)

Episode 2F16
Original Airdate: May 21st, 1995
Writer(s): Josh Weinstein, Bill Oakley
Director: Jeffrey Lynch
Commentary by: David Mirkin, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Jeffrey Lynch


Mr. Burns becomes particularly sinister, stealing an oil reserve out from under Springfield Elementary, injuring Santa's Little Helper, and just generally wreaking havoc on the town more than usual. When Burns is shot after a town hall meeting, everyone has motive and everyone is a suspect.


We saw what Frozen looks like as a horror film. It's cool seeing Pixar movies turned into horror films. Here's what happens when Toy Story gets the treatment. 

#HEADLINES: Pentagon Using New Diagnosis to Drive Out Sex Assault Accusers?, CA Senate Dems Propose More Spending on Mentally Ill Criminals, Comcast Promised Poor Americans Cheap Internet But Didn't Deliver, US House approves Venezuela Sanctions, CA Weighs Gun Bill After Shootings, Brazil World Cup Prep In Chaos, Northern California Secession Movement Grows

Lawmaker claims Pentagon using new diagnosis to drive out sex assault accusers -- Fox News
"Lawmakers have expressed fears that the Defense Department is using a new disorder diagnosis to remove accusers in sexual assault cases from the military.

"Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., has accused the Pentagon of diagnosing troops who report that they were sexually assaulted with adjustment disorder and having them discharged. Speier told The Washington Times that the practice is a new tactic for the military, which previously diagnosed service members tied to sexual assault cases with personality disorder.

"'It’s like a "Whac-A-Mole,"' Speier told the paper. 'Every time we shut them down on something, they'll find a way around it.'"

Michael Nelson/EPA
Senate Democrats propose more spending on mentally ill criminals -- Los Angeles Times
"State Senate Democrats on Wednesday offered a $165-million package of proposals aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill people locked up in prisons and jails in California.

"The proposals, offered just days after a disturbed student killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., also would provide $12 million in additional funds to train law enforcement officers to recognize and handle people who may be a threat to themselves and others."

Comcast promised poor Americans cheap internet, but most of them didn't get it -- Quartz
"Comcast offered Internet Essentials shortly before its last big acquisition, when it bought NBC Universal in 2011. To ease federal approvals of the transaction, the company promised that it would offer low-priced Internet connections and computers to low-income families. But the Federal Communications Commission, which approved the merger, didn’t set any participation requirements, or metrics to define success.

"Now the cable and broadband giant, wants to buy Time Warner Cable, and again in an attempt to show regulators the deal is in the public interest, is offering to extend the program indefinitely and offer it to all Time Warner’s customers too. The deal, if approved, will give Comcast control of about 40 percent of U.S. Internet users.

"The program makes for good public relations, but its real impact on the persistent problem of low-broadband adoption rates among the poor is negligible and is a weak substitute for a national strategy, advocates say."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#HEADLINES: 9800 Troops to Remain in Afghanistan After 2014, Obama Delays DHS Deportation Review, US May Train Syrian Rebels, Michelle Obama Slams Critics of Healthy School Lunch Standards, Indigenous Brazilian Protesters Clash with Police Ahead of World Cup, Courts Challenge Native American Land Rights, Focus on UCSB Killer Criticized

Getty Images
President Obama reveals plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2016 -- The Independent
"In an attempt to turn the page on the occupation which started within a month of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Obama said 9,800 American troops of the 32,000-strong current force would be kept in Afghanistan after the US combat mission formally ends later this year.
"But the move is likely to garner criticism at home. Before the address, Tony Blinken, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said that the US had allocated about $20 billion (£11.8 billion) on the continued military presence. Asked if such a cost was worth it, Blinken replied: 'We want to complete the job that we started." At the same time, he said "we can't be in an endless war posture.'"

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Obama delays DHS deportation review -- Associated Press
"President Barack Obama has asked his Homeland Security chief to hold off on completing a review of U.S. deportation policies until the end of the summer, senior White House officials said Tuesday, in a move aimed at salvaging any hopes for Congress to act on immigration this year.

"Obama in March directed the government to examine whether deportation practices can be made more humane, seeking to pacify frustrated immigration advocates. But that step emboldened House Republicans to argue they can't trust Obama to enforce the law, and that bypassing lawmakers through executive action would deliver a death knell to the broader immigration overhaul that Obama and Democrats are seeking."

The Coordination Committee of
Khalidiya Neighborhood
in Homs/AP Photo
AP sources: US may decide to train Syrian rebels -- Associated Press
"The White House soon may sign off on a project to train and equip moderate Syrian rebel forces, according to Obama administration officials. The move would significantly boost U.S. support for rebels seeking military help to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"President Barack Obama is considering sending a limited number of American troops to Jordan to be part of a regional training mission that would instruct carefully screened members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism operations, the officials said.

"They said Obama has not given final approval and there still were internal discussion about the merits and potential risks."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

EAT MY SHORTS: Secondary Education

#HEADLINES: Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Located, New Safety Requirements for Keystone XL, Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor, Leaders of India and Pakistan Hold Rare Meeting, DHS May Reduce Deportations of Nonviolent Immigrants, Brown University Faces Federal Complaint for Allowing Rapist Back, Israel-Palestine: Europe Should Atone for Its Sins

'We know where missing girls are' says Nigeria's top military officer -- Telegraph
"'The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you,' Badeh was quoted as saying. 'But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.'

"Most officials think any raid to rescue them would be fraught with danger and probably not worth the risk that the girls would be killed by their captors - an Islamist group that has shown a degree of ruthlessness in killing civilians."

Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo
New safety requirements set for Keystone pipeline -- Associated Press
"Safety regulators have quietly placed two extra conditions on construction of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline after learning of potentially dangerous construction defects involving the southern leg of the Canada-to-Texas project.

"The defects — high rates of bad welds, dented pipe and damaged pipeline coating — have been fixed. But the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration wants to make sure similar problems don't occur during construction of the pipeline's controversial northern segment, which is on hold pending a decision by the Obama administration."

Ramin Rahimian/New York Times
Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor -- New York Times
"As the federal government cracks down on immigrants in the country illegally and forbids businesses to hire them, it is relying on tens of thousands of those immigrants each year to provide essential labor — usually for $1 a day or less — at the detention centers where they are held when caught by the authorities.

"This work program is facing increasing resistance from detainees and criticism from immigrant advocates. In April, a lawsuit accused immigration authorities in Tacoma, Wash., of putting detainees in solitary confinement after they staged a work stoppage and hunger strike. In Houston, guards pressed other immigrants to cover shifts left vacant by detainees who refused to work in the kitchen, according to immigrants interviewed here."

B&R: Spider-Man 3 How It Should Have Ended

B&R is about Batman. Why the HISHE on Spiderman 3? Because it features an early version of the HISHE Batman we've come to know and love. Also, to connect with this moth's Amazing Spiderman 2 that we reviewed on the Vundacast and Midnight MOVIE Matinee.

Friday, May 23, 2014

#HEADLINES: 80 US Troops Search for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls, NSA Regulatory Bill Falls Short, Massive Climage Change Demonstration in NYC, DoJ Reverses No-Recording Policy for Interrogations, Obama Vows NDAA Veto Over Gitmo, North Miami Fights to Keep Art Museum, Body Image

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Obama: 80 US Troops in Chad Seeking Abducted Girls -- Associated Press
"The United States has deployed 80 military personnel to Chad to help locate the nearly 300 girls kidnapped in Nigeria last month, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

"Obama, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and the Senate, notified lawmakers about the latest steps underway to assist in the return of the abducted girls.

"Obama said the service members will help with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the nearby region. He says the force will stay in Chad until its support is no longer necessary."

AFP/Getty Images
Google, Facebook Warn NSA Bill Wouldn't Stop Mass Surveillance -- National Journal
"The Reform Government Surveillance coalition—whose members include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn, DropBox, and Yahoo—issued a statement Wednesday announcing it was pulling its support of the USA Freedom Act. The legislation would take the storage of phone records out of government hands and keep them with phone companies.

"But newly amended language in the bill has 'moved in the wrong direction' of true surveillance reforms, the tech companies said.

"'The latest draft opens up an unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of Internet users' data,' the coalition said. 'While it makes important progress, we cannot support this bill as currently drafted and urge Congress to close this loophole to ensure meaningful reform.'"

Henrik Egede Lassen/Alpha Film/
Arctic Monitoring and Assessment
A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change -- Rolling Stone
"This is an invitation, an invitation to come to New York City. An invitation to anyone who'd like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.

My guess is people will come by the tens of thousands, and it will be the largest demonstration yet of human resolve in the face of climate change. Sure, some of it will be exciting – who doesn't like the chance to march and sing and carry a clever sign through the canyons of Manhattan? But this is dead-serious business, a signal moment in the gathering fight of human beings to do something about global warming before it's too late to do anything but watch. You'll tell your grandchildren, assuming we win. So circle September 20th and 21st on your calendar, and then I'll explain."

To me my X-men and B&R: How X-Men: First Class Should Have Ended

X-men Days of Future Past comes out today and it is amazing but you know what it's missing Batman. HISHE knows how to fix that.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

#TBT -- Classic Simpsons: "Lemon of Troy" (Season 6, Episode 24)

Episode 2F22
Original Airdate: May 14th, 1995
Writer: Brent Forrester
Director: Jim Reardon
Commentary by: Matt Groening, David Mirkin, Greg Daniels, Jim Reardon, David Silverman, David S. Cohen


When Marge catches Bart "graffit-o-tagging" some wet cement, she bores him and the family with a lecture about town pride that actually somehow subliminally gets through to him. Then, when he finds out some kids from Shelbyville have stolen Springfield's precious lemon tree, he leads a "violence gang" (as Marge puts it) on a guerrilla infiltration mission into the bizarre--yet oddly familiar--world of Shelbyville to recover the stolen tree.


July 21st. The night after Battleground in Tampa. RAW.IS.VUNDABLOG

So excited for the possibilities here. Maybe Bo Dallas will give us cookies. Maybe Cesaro will be a main eventer by then. Maybe Sami Zayn will be on Raw by then. Who knows what the Shield and the Wyatts will be up to? Let alone Daniel Bryan. We certainly hope we get to see Paul Heyman cut a promo and drop in a "MY CLIENT BA-ROOOCK LESNARRRRR CONQUERED THE UNDERTAKER'S UNDEFEATED STREAK AT WRESTLEMANIA!"

Whatever happens, it will be a night to remember as VUNDABLOG INVADES MONDAY NIGHT RAW!


YOUTUBE GOLD: Amazing jam session - Three random guys sing together

This is one hell of a spontaneous creative collaboration.

TRAILER GOLD: Guardians of the Galaxy TRAILER 2 (2014) - Chris Pratt Marvel Movie HD

The latest Guardians of the Galaxy trailer looks perfect. The music choices in the marketing campaign are iconic, original, and cool. All in all the effects look great, although it's going to take me a while to get used to Zoe Saldana as green. Rocket Racoon seems pretty funny expecially with his adorable crotch grab.  The dialogue seems pretty fresh I wish this movie were coming out earlier in the summer but I will wait patiently.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#HEADLINES: U.S. to Disclose Legal Justification for Drone Strikes on Americans, First Lady Touts Arts Education, Climate Change in Miami, Third U.S. MERS Case, 1/3 of South Sudan Face Starvation, Climate Change Worsens Wildfires, Salaries of University Presidents Rise as Student Debt Spirals

photo via: Drone Wars UK
U.S. to disclose legal justification for drone strikes on Americans -- Chicago Tribune
"In a case pitting executive power against the public's right to know what its government does, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed a lower-court ruling preserving the secrecy of the legal rationale for the killings, such as the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

"Ruling for the New York Times in the case, a unanimous three-judge panel said the government waived its right to secrecy by making repeated public statements justifying targeted killings."

First lady: Arts education good for good schools -- Associated Press
"The talent show was a vehicle to showcase the 'Turnaround Arts' program. It was created as an experiment in 2012 by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in collaboration with the White House and the Education Department to test whether arts education can help improve student outcomes and create more positive learning environments. Major artists adopted each school.

"Encouraged by the results so far, including higher reading and math scores and fewer disciplinary problems, Mrs. Obama announced that the program is being expanded this year from the original eight schools to 35 schools in 10 states — Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, California, Illinois, Minnesota — and the District of Columbia."

The people of Miami know about climate change. We're living it. -- The Guardian
"Sea level rise threatens our drinking water supplies, farm fields and the main driver of tourism: beaches. But in the absence of a disaster, it's easy for many of us to forget about the long-term risks until a report such as the National Climate Assessment details them. But while local officials are talking about solutions and planning, politicians farther away from south Florida aren't. The issue has become an ideological fault line on the state and national levels. In the state capital in Tallahassee, Republican governor Rick Scott stalled efforts to grapple with the issue."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

COMICBOOK REVIEW: Garfield's Pet Force 2014 Special

Time for a comicbook review of an unusual comic for me. Every once in a while at the comic shop, I may feel particularly random. Something odd may call to me from the shelves. This comic is one such oddity. Garfield's Pet Force 2014 Special jam-packed with two epic Garfield's Pet Force stories.

What is Garfield's Pet Force? I had no idea. I'm familiar with the concept of Oddie and Garfield and watched the cartoon a few times as a kid. I wouldn't consider myself a Garfield fan in the slightest. This comic may have changed my mind on the lasagna loving cat, though. Garfield's Petforce is Garfield as a superhero named Garzooka. Garzooka leads the Pet Force which is made up of his cartoon friends who have their own superpowers and dorky names. The stories are written by Scott Nickel. The first one is called "Cat-astrophe in the Cosmos" with pencils by Gary Barker and George Lane the third, inks were done by Mark and Stephanie Heike.

The story starts with Garzooka working out his massive biceps when the Onlooker appears. The Onlooker is a delicious spoof of Marvel comics the Watcher. His design is also reminiscent of Jack Kirby designs like Galactus. The Onlooker explains to Garzooka tat he's about to be flung into a Crisis on Infinite Earths style event.

Garzooka learns of his doppelgangers on other worlds, spoofing universes like the Watchmen, the Dark Knight Returns, the Walking Dead and more. The Onlooker info dumps on Garzooka for two glorious pages and then we are taken to our b-plot. Our b-plot involves Vetvix, an evil Veterinarian, who is out to destroy the Pet Force. Vetvix uses a telepathic headband to break into a maximum security prison. She breaks out the evil Space Pie-Rat and sneaks off with six other mystery prisoners concealed psychically as a girl scout troop. 

As soon as the girl scout troop is safely away from the prison they take their true forms and sound off in a villainous roll-call. There is Vetvix and Space Pie-Rat which I already mentioned. There is also K-Niner Dog of Doom who looks like a vicious attack dog. Lethal Lizard Dragon who fills the reptile quota. Bullhorn a loud goofy, overzelous bulldog with a big mouth. Dark Poodle to have a female pet member of the squad. The Mighty Thunderdog who appears to be a dog version of Thor, and last but not least Spayed. Spayed is as close as the Garfield universe can get to Spawn. These eight dastardly fiends team up to become the Evil Eight. 

Meanwhille Garzooka is doing the reading the Onlooker asked him to when heroes from other universes start spilling into ours. Garzooka finds the differences strange as in some universe's Oddie can actually speak. The coming together of heroes is cut short as the Evil Eight shows up standing on Garzooka's front door. As can be expected the two groups face off and violence ensues.  

The comic continues with the fight between Pet Force and the Evil Eight. The universe gets righted in the process duplicates are erased, world's combine, and the Evil Eight are sent to a world of circus clowns. Some of the heroes end up with new powers and the Pet Force gets a new member in the Compooky a teddy bear computer that flies. The second story is just as well done and has another villain team for Pet Force to face in the Fearsome Four. I greatly enjoyed Garfield's Pet Force 2014 special. I was not expecting so much creativity to come from a Garfield comic. Jim Davis has put his creation in good hands. The art is superb and always looks on model. The stories are strong, engaging, and easy to read. I'd highly recommend this to any one whose going to come at this with low expectations and is ready to be pleasantly surprised.

#HEADLINES: County Jails Profit From Immigrant Detainees, California Drought, Brazil World Cup Protests, Cuban Embargo, Miami's Metrorail at 30, Emergency Measures in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone, Democrats Have a Millenials Problem

Dialing with Dollars: How County Jails Profit From Immigrant Detainees -- The Nation
"Arali and Milton are just two of thousands of undocumented immigrants across the United States who are charged exorbitant rates for calls from county jails that contract with ICE to hold immigrant detainees. About 50 percent of all immigrant detainees are held in county jails, according to ICE, and many of these cash-strapped jails, like Plymouth County Detention Center, have sought to raise revenue through contracts with phone companies that charge excessive rates and kick back part of the profits. Immigrant detainees end up paying the same inflated telephone rates charged to their citizen inmate counterparts, but unlike jail inmates charged with a crime, immigration detainees don’t have access to court-appointed attorneys. This means they are responsible for finding an attorney or representing themselves, both tasks that require affordable phone access."

***learn more about how your organization can set up a hotline for detainees in your area to call toll free at Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)

The California Drought Is Far From Over, And The Entire State Is Suffering -- Huffington Post
"On Thursday, for the first time this century, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that all of California is in a 'severe' drought, with many areas of the state in an even worse condition, from 'extreme" to 'exceptional,' the poorest possible rating.

"'This is a once-in-a-generation conversation,' Mark Svoboda, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, told The Huffington Post. He added that the last time California experienced comparable conditions was in the mid-1970s.

"'The state has doubled its population between then and now,' Svoboda said. 'You’ve got a lot more people using a relatively finite amount of water.'"

'There Will Be No World Cup': Brazil on the Brink -- The Nation
"For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers’ rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or 'There will be no Cup.'

"Protests, strikes and direct actions have been flaring up across the country as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches. Most notably, as many as 10,000 people in São Paolo under the banner of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, has occupied a major lot next to Arena Corinthians, site of the World Cup’s opening match. They call their occupation 'The People’s Cup' and point out that the nearly half a billion dollars that went into building the 'FIFA quality stadium' next door could have been used to combat poverty or improve healthcare. The slogan 'we want FIFA quality hospitals and schools' still rings out as it did a year ago, when during the Confederation’s Cup, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation. Now there is an even sharper desperation as the cup approaches. Maria das Dores Cirqueira, 44, a coordinator for the MTST, told the Los Angeles Times, 'When the government told us we would host the World Cup, we hoped there would be improvements for us. But they aren’t putting on a Cup for the people, they’re putting on a Cup for the gringos.'"


This is an amazing trailer for Frozen that plays it like a horror movie. Do you want to build a snowman?

Monday, May 19, 2014

#HEADLINES: NSA Spying Affects Immigrants Most, School Segregation Has Grown Since Brown v. Board, AT&T/DirecTV Merger, Kids Working Tobacco Farms, New Virus in Florida, Native Americans Frustrated with Settlement Delay, Why Americans Agree with Democrats but Elect Republicans

NSA Spying Has a Disproportionate Effect on Immigrants -- The Atlantic
"... the government contends that Americans who make phone calls or send emails to people abroad have a diminished expectation of privacy because the people with whom they are communicating—non-Americans abroad, that is—are not protected by the Constitution. The government also argues that Americans' privacy rights are further diminished in this context because the NSA has a "paramount" interest in examining information that crosses international borders.

"... the government even argues that Americans can't reasonably expect that their international communications will be private from the NSA when the intelligence services of so many other countries ... might be monitoring those communications, too. The government's argument is not simply that the NSA has broad authority to monitor Americans' international communications. The US government is arguing that the NSA's authority is unlimited in this respect. If the government is right, nothing in the Constitution bars the NSA from monitoring a phone call between a journalist in New York City and his source in London. For that matter, nothing bars the NSA from monitoring every call and email between Americans in the United States and their non-American friends, relatives, and colleagues overseas."

School Segregation Across The Country Proves Students Are Still Separate -- Huffington Post
"Published just days before the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, the report, titled 'Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future,' takes a look at schools’ demographics since the days when the National Guard had to be brought in to ensure that black and white students could learn together safely. While the report says that Brown – and subsequent court decisions on desegregation – were initially successful, especially in the South, schools have become increasingly re-segregated since the 1990s.

"The report examines the current state of school diversity by geographic region. In the Northeast, schools are more intensely segregated for black students – meaning that in some cases they comprise 90 to 100 percent of a school’s population – than they were before 1968. In the South, West, Midwest and Border states, however, schools are significantly less segregated than they were in the 1960s, but more segregated than they were in the late '80s and early '90s."

source: Digital Trends
AT&T and DirecTV strike $49 billion deal -- CNN
"AT&T said Sunday that it had agreed to acquire America's biggest satellite television provider, DirecTV, in a deal worth almost $50 billion.

"If approved by regulators, the acquisition will give AT&T a stronger hand in shaping the future of television distribution and consumption.

"AT&T-DirecTV would be the country's No. 2 provider of television subscribers behind a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable. Add it all up, and Comcast and AT&T would control more than half of the market for pay television."

YOUTUBE GOLD: Godzilla vs. Heisenberg (Breaking Bad / Godzilla Mashup)

Nic Cage Monday: Iron Man 3

Friday, May 16, 2014

#HEADLINES: What Does U.S. Look Like w/ 10 Ft Sea Level Rise?, Wars Displaced 33.3 Million Ppl in 2013, Marital Rape Legal in India, LA Pipeline Rupture, US Prepares More Russia Sanctions, Brazil World Cup Protests, Honeybee Deaths Decline

What Does U.S. Look Like With 10 Feet of Sea Level Rise? -- Climate Central
"More than half of the area of 40 large cities (population over 50,000) is less than 10 feet above the high tide line, from Virginia Beach and Miami (the largest affected), down to Hoboken, N.J. (smallest). Twenty-seven of the cities are in Florida, where one-third of all current housing sits below the critical line — including 85 percent in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each of these counties is more threatened than any whole state outside of Florida – and each sits on bedrock filled with holes, rendering defense by seawalls or levees almost impossible.

"By the metric of most people living on land less than 10 ft above the high tide line, New York City is most threatened in the long run, with a low-lying population count of more than 700,000. Sixteen other cities, including New Orleans, La.; Norfolk, Va.; Stockton, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Jacksonville, Fla.; are on the list of places with more than 100,000 people below the line. (Much of New Orleans is already below sea level, but is protected at today’s level by levees.)"

Wars Internally Displaced 33.3 Million People In 2013, Reports U.N. -- Huffington Post
"A record 33.3 million people worldwide were displaced by conflict and violence inside their own nations in 2013, U.N. and Norwegian officials said Wednesday.

"The increase of 4.5 million above the 2012 total was driven largely by Syria's civil war, now in its fourth year, which activists estimate has killed 150,000 people.

"The heads of the U.N. refugee agency and Norwegian Refugee Council reported that 8.2 million fled their homes in the last year, including about 3.5 million in Syria alone. The other two-thirds of the 33.3 million displaced by war worldwide had fled in previous years.

"Every 60 seconds another family within Syria flees the civil war, according to the figures."

Marital rape is officially legal in India -- Salon
"A judge in India has officially confirmed that rape laws do not apply to married couples — once you’re legally wed, forced sex is no longer a crime.

"What’s especially chilling is that the judge, Virender Bhat, was hearing a case in which a woman alleged she had been drugged, then forced to marry, and then raped — in other words, she hadn’t consented to the marriage or the sex. Bhat said there was no evidence that the accuser had been drugged, but he also said that if the woman’s husband (identified only as Vikash) had forced himself on her, that wouldn’t qualify as rape under Indian law."


This is on a loop in my mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

#HEADLINES: US Drones Searching for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls, Biggest Fast Food Strike in World History, Venezuela Details Dozens of Anti-Government Protesters, Liberals and Religion, Qatar Promises Labor Reforms, Veterans' Info Tossed in Trash, African Poachers Slaughter Dozens of Elephants in Key African Park

US Drones Deployed in Search for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls -- TIME
"White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said 'unmanned, unarmed' aircraft had joined reconnaissance flights over a swath of Nigeria where Boko Haram is believed to be holding the girls hostage. Carney cautioned during a news conference that the area of greatest suspicion still covering an expanse of land 'along the size of West Virginia.'

The announcement comes as some U.S. lawmakers are urging the use of force to rescue the Nigerian girls. Senators in both parties recently floated the idea of using special forces to aid in the search, and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain went further on Tuesday. 'I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them,' McCain told to the Daily Beast.

Carney, however, said U.S. counterterrorism experts dispatched to Nigeria would limit their activity to an 'advisory capacity,' focused on finding the girls."

source: Overpass Light Brigade
It's On: The Biggest Fast Food Strike in World History Has Started -- VICE
"Fast food workers in more than 150 US cities are walking off their jobs today, while coordinated protests against low wages and poor working conditions in the industry are taking place in more than 30 countries — the largest global fast food protest ever.

Workers organized by local labor groups like Fast Food Forward, and international ones like the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association — which represents about 12 million workers in 126 countries — responded to a global call for greater dignity in the industry and expressed their solidarity with the US workers' campaign for a $15 hourly wage."

Venezuela detains dozens of anti-government protesters -- BBC
"Police in Venezuela have detained at least 80 demonstrators who were demanding the release of those arrested in recent anti-government protests.

Hundreds of people, mostly students, had marched peacefully through the streets of the capital Caracas.

But security forces later clashed with a group of demonstrators who threw stones and home-made explosives, and tried to erect barricades.

More than 40 people have been killed during three months of unrest."

The Flash First Look: Don't Blink and Extended Trailer


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Derrick's All Time Top 50 Albums: Introduction and Honorable Mentions

I used to blog about music a lot more than I do now. I'm not sure what happened in the last couple years but I guess somewhere along the way I got too caught up in wrestling and football and politics. Well that ends now. It's long past time I introduce the Vundaverse© to the very foundation of my deeply religious love of music: my TOP 50 ALBUMS OF ALL TIME.

This is, of course, a very fluid list--always changing and evolving. So, just think of this as a time capsule and know that while the pieces may shift around a bit and a few new ones may appear from time to time, for the most part, this list represents the music I love more than anything in the whole world and probably always will.

I'll start at the bottom, of course, because otherwise where's the suspense?! This week I have 13 honorable mentions to...mention...and then I'll do the list in increments of ten--50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11--until I get to the top ten. The top ten will be given the royal treatment with each album getting its own blog entry as we count down to my absolute tip top most favoritest of favorite albums.

AREN'T YOU EXCITED? I am, so let's get right to it!

#HEADLINES: Group Says Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Wreck of Columbus's Santa Maria Found?, NSA Tampering with US-made Internet Routers, MERS Outbreak, DATA Act, South Sudan Food Crisis, Food Stamps Double Value at LA Farmers Markets

Group says Syria used chemical weapons in April -- Associated Press
"An international human rights group said Tuesday it has strong evidence that Syrian army helicopters dropped bombs carrying chlorine gas on three rebel-held towns last month.

The report by the New-York based Human Rights Watch adds to concerns that chemical weapons are still being used in Syria, eight months after a chemical attack killed hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

The Syrian government did not immediately comment on the HRW claims. It has accused rebels of using chlorine gas in the past."

Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria -- The Independent
"More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.

'All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,' said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford."

Glenn Greenwald: how the NSA tampers with US-made internet routers -- The Guardian
"A June 2010 report from the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development department is shockingly explicit. The NSA routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers.

The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. The NSA thus gains access to entire networks and all their users."

SCARY PARTS: Infliction - Official Trailer

I'm into found footage horror movies it's still a fresh aesthetic to me. The concept of two killers recording each other is very plausible and intriguing, I'm looking forward to catching this indy gem as soon as it's available to me. Follow it on twitter, and facebook to see when it hits your town.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


On Free ComicBook Day I picked up Bongo Comics Free For All aka the Simpsons comic. So I thought even though it's not Thursday yet we'll talk some Simpsons. First of all the cover is full of all sorts of awesome. It depicts Bart and his school chums running to a leprechaun's pot of gold full of comics. The comics have awesome names like Biclops, Superior Squad, Space Mutant Chronicles, Weasel Woman, Captain Squid, Radioactive Ape, House of Plasmo, Lil Kneesocks, True Larva, Leopard Lady, Quest Time, and more. There are leprechauns guarding the comics pot and one of them bears a striking resemblance to Comicbook guy.

The first story in this free Simpsons anthology follows Bart and Milhouse as they attempt to get super powers. Milhouse is experimented on by Bart as they explore the accidental ways super heroes get their powers ala Spider-man and the Fantastic Four. Milhouse takes a beating in this short but it's okay because he's just Milhouse.

Then the comic gives you a two page Itchy and Scratchy short that doesn't need a single word to tell it's story. It parodies mad magazine's Spy vs. Spy. Then we're onto an awesome six page Mr. Burns story. Burns is looking for Smithers who has disappeared.

The writer Nathan Kane does an excellent job using the Montgomery Burns vernacular using words like "botheration","scullion","castigation", "lackwit", "kerfluffle", etc. Burns remembers he sent Smithers on a mission to get a left handed bacon-stretcher. Burns follows in Smithers's footsteps through his basement to find the left handed bacon-stretcher and Smithers. Their are lots of good pop culture references in this story and I dug it the most out of all the ones in this little collection.

There's another two page story where Bart and Milhouse imagine their Krusty Burger fast food being made by monkeys. The two pager was stylish and simple, but didn't really connect with me. Last but certainly not least is a nine page story featuring everyone's favorite mad scientist Professor Frink. The story is called Synchronicity For Two and is written by Nathan Kane, penciled by John Delaney, inks by Andrew Pepoy, colors by Nathan Hamill, and letters by Karen Bates. The anthology finishes strong with this story about Professor Frink who's teaching Bart's class about quantum mechanics i.e. parallel universes. Martin points out that his comicbook hero Plasmo the Mystic hops between realities using magic. Frink scoffs and laughs at the possibility of magic. Until Bart touches the machine Frink brought and transports them to a magical universe.

Where it turns out Plasmo the Mystic resides.Their's a nice twist at the end with Plasmo's secret identity and the story is a lot of fun. On the last page is an awesome Where's Waldo-esque picture asking the reader to find the Ralph Wiggum in the middle of a prison riot(I found Ralph fairly easily). This Simpsons comic experience has been quite enjoyable and has inspired me to pick up a Simpsons comic or two sometime this year when I'm feeling peckish.