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17 October 2009

beauty truth.

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Glimpse the Ghastly Innards of Japan's Folkloric Monsters [Monster Anatomy]

jim reid
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: james reid <jimuleda@msn.com>
Date: 2009/10/17
Subject: FW: Glimpse the Ghastly Innards of Japan's Folkloric Monsters [Monster Anatomy]
To: jim reid <jimuleda@gmail.com>


jreid
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Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 02:48:53 +0000
Subject: Glimpse the Ghastly Innards of Japan's Folkloric Monsters [Monster Anatomy]
From: jimuleda@gmail.com
To: jimuleda@msn.com

 
 

Sent to you by jimuleda via Google Reader:

 
 

via io9 by Lauren Davis on 10/14/09

We've gotten an anatomy lesson in the giant monsters of Japanese cinema, now we get to see what makes Japan's supernatural creatures tick. A series of illustrated cross-sections reveal the fearsome anatomical features of hair-eating, soul-stealing beasties.
These illustrations come from manga artist Shigeru Mizuki's book Yōkai Daizukai, which details the inner workings of 85 yōkai, the traditional demons and spirits from Japanese folklore. More illustrations are available at Pink Tentacle.

The Kuro-kamikiri ("black hair cutter") is a large, black-haired creature that sneaks up on women in the street at night and surreptitiously cuts off their hair. Anatomical features include a brain wired for stealth and trickery, razor-sharp claws, a long, coiling tongue covered in tiny hair-grabbing spines, and a sac for storing sleeping powder used to knock out victims. The digestive system includes an organ that produces a hair-dissolving fluid, as well as an organ with finger-like projections that thump the sides of the intestines to aid digestion.

The Makura-gaeshi ("pillow-mover") is a soul-stealing prankster known for moving pillows around while people sleep. The creature is invisible to adults and can only be seen by children. Anatomical features include an organ for storing souls stolen from children, another for converting the souls to energy and supplying it to the rest of the body, and a pouch containing magical sand that puts people to sleep when it gets in the eyes. In addition, the monster has two brains - one for devising pranks, and one for creating rainbow-colored light that it emits through its eyes.

Kasha, a messenger of hell, is a fiery monster known for causing typhoons at funerals. Anatomical features include powerful lungs for generating typhoon-force winds that can lift coffins and carry the deceased away, as well as a nose for sniffing out funerals, a tongue that can detect wind direction, and a pouch containing ice from hell. To create rain, the Kasha spits chunks of this ice through its curtain of perpetual fire.

The Bisha-ga-tsuku is a soul-stealing creature encountered on dark snowy nights in northern Japan. The monster - which maintains a body temperature of -150 degrees Celsius - is constantly hidden behind a fog of condensation, but its presence can be detected by the characteristic wet, slushy sound ("bisha-bisha") it makes. Anatomical features include feelers that inhale human souls and cold air, a sac for storing the sounds of beating human hearts, and a brain that emits a fear-inducing aura. The Bisha-ga-tsuku reproduces by combining the stolen human souls with the cold air it inhales.

The Mannen-dake ("10,000-year bamboo") is a bamboo-like monster that feeds on the souls of lost travelers camping in the woods. Anatomical features include a series of tubes that produce air that causes travelers to lose their way, syringe-like fingers the monster inserts into victims to suck out their souls, and a sac that holds the stolen souls.

The Kijimunaa is a playful forest sprite inhabiting the tops of Okinawan banyan trees. Anatomical features include eye sockets equipped with ball bearings that enable the eyeballs to spin freely, strong teeth for devouring crabs and ripping out the eyeballs of fish (a favorite snack), a coat of fur made from tree fibers, and a nervous system adapted for carrying out pranks. The Kijimunaa's brain contains vivid memories of being captured by an octopus - the only thing it fears and hates.


 
 

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

12 October 2009

No jobs in this economy...

Dear jailer: Please keep me behind bars

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

BRENTWOOD – Al Wright knew things were bad when he received letters from two inmates at the Rockingham County jail asking if they could stay in jail longer.

via Prison Talk by pmitch10 on 10/12/09

Dear jailer: Please keep me behind bars


By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

BRENTWOOD – Al Wright knew things were bad when he received letters from two inmates at the Rockingham County jail asking if they could stay in jail longer.
Jail officials have always known that some inmates intentionally get into trouble just before their scheduled release in hopes of extending their stay, but the letters were something Wright hadn't seen in his 28 years working in corrections.
Inmates know that the economy is still weak and the job prospects aren't good, officials say. With no job and nowhere to live, some inmates have decided they're better off in jail.
"Unfortunately, jail is much nicer than on the street, and with the economy being so bad, it's getting more difficult getting them into a shelter. It's cold living in a Dumpster or on the streets of Portsmouth or Derry, " said Wright, the superintendent of the jail that is nearing capacity, with an average of 350 inmates behind bars each day.
The jail can't legally keep inmates longer just because they want to stay, so Wright denied their requests.
With colder weather coming, Wright is worried he'll see more letters.
David Consentino, a lieutenant at the jail, is hearing similar stories.
"A lot of trade guys know they're not going to be able to get a job when they get out making what they were making when they came in," he said.
Consentino recalled an inmate on a work-release program over the summer who wanted to remain in jail because when he got out, he knew he had to find an apartment and pay restitution.
Those on work-release are paid an hourly wage by the employer, and some don't want to give that up. They know they might not find a job when they get out, officials said, and if they do, housing could be too expensive. The jail is a controlled environment that forces inmates on work-release to save their money since they can't spend much.
Consentino said the work-release inmate ended up filing a motion in court to extend his time. He was finishing a sentence and had a second criminal case pending, so he decided to plead guilty in the second case, which allowed him to remain behind bars as he served his second sentence.
"He had nothing to go to on the outside and he needed a place to live," Consentino said.
Jail officials insist they're doing all they can to help inmates prepare for the world once they're released.
Consentino oversees a pre-release program that assists inmates with finding a job, housing, clothing and other needs they may have once they're out.
The jail also has a mental health counselor on staff and over the last five years, has reached out more to mental health agencies and other medical providers.
Susan Turner, director of Rockingham County Community Resource Network, works closely with the jail to bring different agencies together.
"We bring around the table the agencies in the area who might have some dealings with these people when they come out," Turner said. "We try to figure out how to help them so they're not homeless and they do get their health care needs met."
The goal of pre-release planning, Consentino said, is to help the inmates maintain their freedom so they don't end up back behind bars.
"If they need a place to go, we try to find a relative, a friend, a shelter, wherever we can find a place they can go," Consentino said. "We try to place them someplace where it will be productive for them."
Finding relatives willing to take people in after their release isn't always easy because some are burned out after years of trying to help.
"Homelessness and helplessness is really what we're dealing with," Wright said.

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

The Dropout Budget

I'm reading about 'Study Finds High Rate of Imprisonment Among Dropouts' on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/20770651


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Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Be Aware!

I'm reading about 'Wanted: Mammologists' on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/20778816


Jim's iPod2You
412.567.1196-mobile

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Interesting Article on Fluent News

I'm reading about 'Talk Won't Stop A Predatory Gang' on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/20777804


Jim's iPod2You
412.567.1196-mobile

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Interesting Article on Fluent News

I'm reading about 'The High Cost of Empty Prisons' on Fluent News. Here is the link: http://fluentnews.com/s/20790323


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412.567.1196-mobile

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

11 October 2009

More on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Homeless Sex Offenders” Hysteria

via Crime Victims Media Report by Tina on 10/2/09

How easy is it to predict the many ways the media has substituted thinly-disguised advocacy and sheer make-believe for reporting on the alleged “homeless sex offender” crisis?  Painfully easy. 

Before I even read the latest installment of the homeless sex offender soap opera, the one that appeared in the AJC last week, I made up a list of rules for such stories:

Template for Homeless Sex Offender Stories

1.  Open story with bathetic description of the campsite.

2.  Assert that sex offender living restriction laws are the sole cause of homelessness, and that they are “forced” to be homeless.

3.  Do not mention the fact that there are hundreds (or thousands) of other registered sexual offenders living in the same area and abiding by living restriction rules who are not homeless.

4.  Do not question offenders about other behavior that led to their homelessness, such as getting evicted, not paying bills, refusing to work, drug/alcohol addiction, domestic violence, non-sexual criminal acts and criminal history.  Also do not ask if they were homeless before they were forced to register as sex offenders.

5.  Seek out the most seemingly-sympathetic offender to profile; studiously avoid the “hard cases.”

6.  Allow offenders to describe their own crimes: do not check the records for accuracy.  Actually, try to avoid mentioning their crimes at all.

7.  Quote activist groups opposing living restriction laws, but do not seek statements from people who support living restrictions for sex offenders.  Do not cite data on efficacy of post-conviction monitoring of sex offenders.  What, tell both sides of the story?  There aren’t two sides of this story, are there?

Let’s see how I did with the AJC story:

1.  Open story with bathetic description of campsite:

A path leads from a nearby parking lot next to a sign that says: “State Property. No Trespassing. No Dumping.”  Up the hill, camping tents, some with tarps, dot the woods. There are bicycles, a gas barbecue grill and empty bottles. A solar water bag that heats water for a shower is pegged to a tree, and a little mirror is nailed below it.

“Little mirror nailed to tree.”  “No dumping” (except unwanted humans, get it?).  Bathos: check, check.  But nothing matches the way this story ends: with a little Chiuahua named Trista helping her owner Cindy phone for help for her homeless sex offender friend.  What tripe.  Note that the reporter does not bother to mention the victims, nor the offenders’ records or sentences.

But we get to meet Trista the perky Chiuahua.

not Trista

I don’t know whether to shudder or gag.  Who lets reporters get away with stuff like this?  Oh yeah, their editors.

2. Assert that sex offender living restriction laws are the sole cause of homelessness, and that they are “forced” to be homeless:

A group of homeless sex offenders is living in a camp in the woods behind an office park in Marietta — one place that does not violate the many living restrictions that Georgia’s tough sex offender law imposes. . . “This is ridiculous that we have to live like this,” said Marque Miechurski, 30, who has lived in a tent in the woods for about a month and a half.

The reporter insinuates that housing that does not violate the statute is extremely rare — “one place that does not violate” — which is simply untrue, and she lets Miechurski’s claim that he “has to” live there go unchallenged, but, in fairness, she doesn’t come out and say that they have no place else to go.

They’re just whining that they have no place else to go.

These offenders, a mere 12 in Cobb County, a mere 70 in a place as large as Miami, are people who have burned through every other resource — family, friends, employers.  Unsurprisingly, most of them are child molesters, which can put a chill on your relatives’ willingness to help.  Even so, their homelessness sounds transient, unless they are homeless for other reasons as well, such as substance abuse.

The reporter utterly fails to investigate other reasons for their homelessness.

3.  Do not mention the fact that there are hundreds (or thousands) of other registered sexual offenders living in the same area and abiding by living restriction rules who are not homeless:

“We have about 375 sex offenders in Cobb County,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Nancy Bodiford. “We check on most two to three times per year.” Of those, 13 are listed as homeless, Bodiford said.

This gets buried, but at least it’s in the article somewhere.  It also disproves the point of the exercise and the paper’s editorializing on the subject, since 97% of registered sex offenders in Cobb County are not actually homeless after all, but, whatever.  Maybe the AJC should read . . . itself.

Unfortunately, a sampling of the 300+ reprints of this story in national and international media suggests that this paragraph gets left out when the story is run overseas (yes, there is outraged international coverage of these 12 temporarily homeless men: Georgia is now an international baddie for being mean to these 12 sex offenders).

And so the echo-chamber of anti-Americanism nibbles on.

4.  Do not question offenders about other behavior that led to their homelessness, such as getting evicted, not paying bills, refusing to work, drug/alcohol addiction, domestic violence, non-sexual criminal acts and criminal history.  Also do not ask if they were homeless before they were forced to register as sex offenders:

The Southern Center for Human Rights represents Levertice Johnson, 52, who moved to the wooded camp after he couldn’t find a job and couldn’t afford the $60-a-week rent at a shelter in Fulton County. . .

So Levertice Johnson is not homeless because he is a sex offender.  Lervertice Johnson is homeless because he did not pay the paltry $60 a week that was asked of him at the last place he lived.  The reporter does note this, but it does not seem to leave any impression with her or her editors.  The story, after all, is not about Levertice Johnson not paying his rent.

For that matter, if the folks at the Southern Center for Human Rights are so concerned about finding Mr. Johnson a place to live, why don’t they take him home?

Maybe this is why: Levertice Johnson has a very nasty record, including two convictions for child molestation and two convictions for cruelty to children.

Maybe Levertice Johnson is homeless because nobody in his family wants to have anything to do with him, and he is too lazy to get a job.  He got convicted for cruelty to children, which is a hard thing to get busted for unless you’ve actually killed a child or sent them to a hospital.

Somehow, this is not stopping the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the AJC’s editorial staff, from painting him as a victim of the rest of us — of our what, unwillingness to pay his rent for him?  Unwillingness to support him as a man of leisure?  The unwillingness of employers to hire somebody who molests and beats children?  What about the human rights of the children themselves, or Mr. Johnson’s responsibi. . . Wait, look over there: it’s Trista!

not Trista

5.  Seek out the most seemingly-sympathetic offender to profile; studiously avoid the “hard cases.”

Now we get to brass tacks.  I mean, child molesters.  Out of the 12 offenders-living-in-the-woods, seven were convicted of child molestation, one with enticing a child for indecent purposes, one with sexual battery, one with aggravated assault with intent to rape, and one with the distressing crime of “rape and aggravated sodomy-reduced to aggravated assault.”

Lovely bunch.  The reporter chooses one Marque Miechurski to profile, apparently on the grounds that he is willing to publicly wallow in self-pity even after being convicted of molesting a child.  And this is the best she can do.

6.  Allow offenders to describe their own crimes: do not check the records for accuracy.  Actually, try to avoid mentioning their crimes at all.

And here is Mr. Miechurski’s version:

Miechurski says his troubles all started when he “had an itch” and scratched it when he was out smoking in front of his apartment on Franklin Road in Marietta last year. He says a child said that his pants were down, but he denies that.  “I get hit with the worst charge a person could ever be hit with,” said Miechurski.

Even though Marque Miechurski claims to have been merely scratching an itch, and not exposing himself, and not molesting a child, he was convicted of child molestation and indecent exposure.  That’s not an opinion: it is a fact.  That’s not an allegation: it is a conviction.  Two convictions.

Shouldn’t the Atlanta Journal Constitution stick to reporting facts?

Miechurski was found guilty.  He can sit in the woods in a tent and whimper about scratching his crotch all day long, and his creepy pal can sit around whining about the injustice of it all to some daft reporter who doesn’t even bother to go to the courthouse and check the actual criminal conviction but sits around playing with a dog named Trista instead, but none of this changes the fact that Marque Miechurski was not convicted of scratching himself.

He was convicted of exposing himself and molesting a child.  So the reporter should have offered a corrective to this claim, instead of just publishing it.

That’s what reporters are supposed to do.  Not “tell one side,” as if the conviction doesn’t exist.  She  should have gone down to the courthouse and checked the criminal case records and reported what the courts found.  If she was going to give Miechurski and his friend and their dog all those column inches to claim that the child wasn’t really attacked, then why didn’t she interview the prosecutor and the victim’s parents?

not guilty

Why didn’t the reporter do these things?  Because this type of story isn’t about facts: it is about reporters feeling morally superior to the public.

7.  Quote activist groups opposing living restriction laws, but do not seek statements from people who support living restrictions for sex offenders.  Do not cite data on efficacy of post-conviction monitoring of sex offenders.  What, tell both sides of the story?  There aren’t two sides of this story, are there?

Yes Virginia, there are two sides of this story, though you won’t find them in a trumped-up fairy tale about woods-dwelling sex offenders.  In this bias the AJC does not disappoint: they quote the Southern Center for Human Rights and nobody else.  They also quote them without acknowledging that the entire “homeless sex offender” controversy has been manufactured by activist groups like the S.C.H.R., so it’s a little like reading off cue cards.

It is clearly a bygone conclusion to the editors at the AJC that there is only one side to this issue, the side they are on, which is that living restrictions and sex offender registration serve no good purpose at all.

This is called advocacy, not reporting.

Admittedly, it is hard to find data analyzing living restriction and sex offender registration outcomes: how do you measure sex offenses that have been prevented, particularly when such a small percentage of sex offenses and even smaller percentage of child molestations are brought to the attention of authorities?  Sex offender statistics are notoriously inaccurate, not only because of lack of reporting, but also because of the way the justice system telescopes multiple offenses into one charge, or allows offenders to plead to non-sexual crimes, or captures known sex offenders on something like burglary or possession because they’re easier to prove.

But none of this justifies ignoring the arguments of advocates for these laws, particularly when the “reporting” here consists of little more than selectively edited anecdotes in the first place.

Look at those 12 men and their records.  Not so many years ago, they would be able to act with impunity: now they know they are being watched, and because they are child molesters, this is especially crucial.

Look at their records.  And ask yourself this: what is it about mainstream journalism that sends journalists flying to the sides of men like this, irrationally, even hatefully?  There is nothing reasoned about this reporting: it is romanticized, and it is very, very angry.  Not at sex offenders, but at the rest of us for daring to hold sex offenders accountable for their own behavior, for anything.  It is the journalistic equivalent of a finger in the eye, with no recourse to facts.

If anything became clear this week, with the Polanski case, it is that a certain segment of Americans automatically take the side of child molesters over their victims.  Even the anal rape of a drugged child is not too terrible for them.

~~~

And then, something even more troubling surfaces, when you actually look at the criminal histories of these 12 men.  Probation for molesting a child; six months for molesting a child; one year in jail for rape and aggravated sodomy “reduced to aggravated assault.”  Five years for two counts of child molestation and two counts of cruelty to children?  One year for rape?  Six months for molesting a child?

No, these men should not be living in the woods: they should still be in prison.  What is happening in the courts?  And why is the AJC so blandly, utterly incurious about that?

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Perception of Crime or Expectation of Normalcy?

via Crime Victims Media Report by Tina on 10/5/09

There goes the AJC again, in its death-spiral of mis-perceiving its readers, running yet another story about fixing “perceptions” of crime in the city.  This time they fire across the bow, smugly reminding readers that all this crime talk is bad for property values.

Make that the perception of property values.

It really is beyond me how a major newspaper could get itself into this shape.  When you read newspapers in other cities that are facing the sorts of problems Atlanta is facing — that is, loosely-organized gangs of armed young men who do not hesitate to use guns against each other and innocent bystanders, plus a more-or-less constant presence of unpunished property criminals — well, newspapers in those cities report it when the Chief of Police gets in front of the cameras and blathers on about “mere perceptions of crime,” but they don’t then set out to become the Chief’s own TASS-style fourth estate by publishing article after article promoting the Chief’s political assertions as fact.

They also don’t set out to police their reader’s responses when innocent people get shot and residential burglaries skyrocket.  They don’t scold the public for caring and argue endlessly about mindsets: they report the news.

In other cities, the public gets reporting on crime.  In Atlanta, when you open up the morning paper, what you get is a morality tale larded with threats that your property values will drop if you keep daring to demand a normal level of security and accountability when you call 911 or appear in a courtroom to see if the guy who stole your lawnmower is going to get a jail sentence or a birthday party thrown for him by the judge.

Why is it so hard to just tell the truth?

Here is the truth about Atlanta. Atlanta had an astonishing violent crime rate in the late 1960’s and the 70’s, 80’s, and early 1990’s because huge portions of the city were a wild west of dysfunction, drugs, dependency, and despair.  Dysfunction depopulated the city.  Businesses pulled out.  Abandoned buildings and homes stayed empty.  All of the recent growth — all the condos, the renovations, the infill housing and new-builds — took hold only after the city made a real commitment to dismantle the housing projects.  Before then, nobody sane who had any other choice would move to the area around Techwood Homes, for example, or Vine Street, or Grady Homes, or Thomasville Heights.

Here is how abnormal it was: I made the mistake of driving a co-worker home one day — during daylight — to somewhere off Simpson Street.  He was feeling sick, and nobody else was around.  He told me to get in and out quickly and to keep driving if somebody tried to block my car.  As I let him out, a group of young men swarmed the car, and he shouted them away.

That is not normal.

That is not normal, but people accepted it as normal, for nefarious or soft-headed reasons, all of which led to the same dead end: children raised in war zones that would put regular war zones to shame. And people were happy to ignore this huge violent mess by dumping every last bit of responsibility for it onto the police, then accusing the police of doing nothing about it or blaming the police when they tried to do anything about it.

It was a huge abdication of moral and social responsibility by everybody except the police, who have every right to feel like the deeply abused spouses they are in the social contract we have written for them.

Now, Atlanta is beginning to grow up. The violent crime rate is down from the highs of the 1990’s, but it is still outrageous: it insults sensibilities, which is good because that means people aren’t accepting the old status quo anymore.  The daily newspaper may be hell-bent on policing people’s responses to crime because they are used to that old status quo — they are invested in it, for nefarious and soft-headed reasons — but the rest of the city has moved on.

The new normal means the expectation that you won’t get pulled from your car if you make a wrong turn.  The new normal means you don’t need to start each day by looking at your house and car and loved ones and thinking: what can I do to keep them from harm?  The new normal means the expectation that not only can you mow your lawn without getting shot, but that everyone should be able to mow their lawns without getting shot.

The new normal will lift all ships, if, that is, it gets proper support from new leaders who don’t use the same old excuses to pit people against each other, dump the problem on the police again, and look away.

The city isn’t there yet, but the expectation is.

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

The Noisettes Cover The Killers

have a nice evening!

via Electro^Plankton by Long Tran on 10/11/09

You know how you kinda ignore a music act because something about them just doesn't spark your plug, but then you see them cover a group you actually like and suddenly you're all over them like white on rice, butter on bread, waffles and chicken? Yea that's how I feel about The Noisettes' cover of When You Were Young by The Killers.

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