What Else Don’t You Want in Your Water

Flint, Michigan has had heavily contaminated water for over a year, with high levels of lead. What else don’t you want in your water supply?

• Flourine, WE HAVE TO STOP THE REDS FROM POISONING OUR CHILDREN’S MINDS

• Alligators

• Flint

• Dihydrogen monoxide

• White supremacy

• A stagnating middle class

• Bears

• Water Bears

• LSD

• LDS

• Old drugs you flushed down the toilet instead of disposing of responsibly

• Old pets you flushed down the toilet instead of disposing of responsibly

• Fish

• Phish

• H+ ions

• Memories

• Andrew Carnegie’s heart

• Semen

• Seamen

• Air

• Air Supply

• Wolverines

• Motor agate

• Brawndo

• The Spanish Inquisition

• Untreated raw sewage

• Olympic Athletes (e.g. in Rio)

• Small children

• A very effective sponge

• Cyanide

• readme

The Sad Thing Is, This Isn’t That Far Off.

Last week, financial reports for the second quarter of 2015  have been released to the general public. Prison pioneers, the Corrections Corporation of America  report that profits totaled $675 million, a whopping 30.5% increase from profits from the 2014 quarters. Financial strategists at the corporation attribute their growh to the increase in their black demographic over the past year.

“Back in 2013, we rolled out a new program called Racism,” said Corrections Corp. CEO, Ron Haverford. “It is actually a corporate mindset where individual branches race against each other to put innocent people in prison, hence the word, racism. It does not have anything to do with stereotyping or prejudice despite the fact that we incarcerate 75% more black inmates than white ones. That’s just a coincidence.”

Following the unspoken alliance with the police department in 2013, profits for the prison system has been steadily increasing. Select police force members across the nation have been ramping up their stoppages, seizures, and arrests of black citizens, culminating in the successful deal that many has come to know as Ferguson. The event has inspired many others to double their efforts in racism.

Local police chief Gary Swanson said, “The reason we are doing so well is because we finally shifted our focus to serve our black customers better. We go to great lengths to ensure their incarceration. We spend more of our efforts catching black customers than catching white customers who commit the same crimes. Sometimes, we make up crimes that they did not commit so that we can incarcerate them anyways.”

The initiative has been met with opposition. As one native said, “That’s actually illegal.”

The rise in arrests have ultimately been met with enthusiasm from the police force. Earlier last year, officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold, causing a fatal asthmatic reaction. Garner later died on scene. Pantaleo was later rewarded by having all his charges dropped.

The Corrections Corp. have been looking further into the future as well. As their 7-year plan release date approaches, a representative offered a few clues to their direction. He explained that the corporation is currently drafting up plans to expand across the country and solidify their position among the A-list of chain franchises.

“There’s an emphasis on the word chain,” said spokesman Tom Gergich. “It brings our great country together just like how it binds our prisoners’ wrists together.”

U.S. Race Relations Stuck in Time Loop

In an event totally unrelated to the shootings that kicked off the Ferguson protests, an 18-year-old named Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer on the eighth of October. In what will be a shock only to those who have either been living under a rock or who have only been recently resurrected to start the zombie apocalypse, Myers just happened to be black.

According to the officer’s report, he had been working a second job at a private security gig (still in his police uniform) when Myers caught sight of him and fled. When the officer gave chase, Myers hid in some bushes, pulled a gun out of his hoodie, and shot at the officer three times, at which point the officer retaliated with lethal force.

Subsequent investigations of the scene found no trace of either the hoodie Myers was supposedly wearing or the bushes he was said to have hid behind. But, hey, that doesn’t prove anything. Myers’s friends had plenty of time in the one day after the report came out to hide the hoodie and undertake a goddamn landscaping project to make it look like the cop was lying.

Then there’s the fact that the officer’s story literally changed the day people started pointed out the lack of bushes, and that this officer shot Myers a total of seventeen times, which even in a case of genuine self-defense seems somewhat excessive.

The citizens of St. Louis seemed to agree. Protesters gathered in the neighborhood after the incident shouting “Hands up, don’t shoot”—but, of course, there are absolutely no similarities between this incident and Ferguson. Also entirely dissimilar is the way the police claimed the St. Louis protest had turned violent despite protesters denying any such thing, or the extremely militant behavior exhibited by the police when faced with this initially peaceful protest.

But it’s not like this is a sign of some systemic problem with the system or something. There’s just no way racially-motivated police brutality still exists in our post-race United States of America (we elected Obama, after all). There’s got to be some sort of scientific explanation or something. Thankfully, readme was able to speak with a math major, who told it that Myers’s shooting was a perfect example of what she called ‘The Rodney King Phenomenon.”

“As a cop approaches a civilian they think looks suspicious,” she explained, “the level of force that is considered ‘appropriate’ approaches infinity. As such, we get results where three alleged bullets is temporarily equal to seventeen, and no bullets is equal to six.” readme asked her what determined whether or not a civilian was considered ‘suspicious’, she replied, “Racism. Like, duh.”

Racist Dreams Crushed by NBA

Racism gets a bad rap in America today. It seems like you can’t educate people about “the negro” without the media breathing down your neck. But really, is there anything all that bad about not wanting your mistress associating with black people in public? Compared to, say, being a penny-pinching slumlord?

 

Even as little as this readme writer follows sports, it has been impossible to avoid the uproar over the alleged racism of Donald Sterling. It seems like the owner of the Clippers basketball team has been thoroughly trounced by the media and given a “large” fine by the NBA people-who-give-fines.

 

But why now, all of a sudden? Sterling was just telling his mistress (mixed-race, mind you, some of his best mistresses have been mixed-race) to stop posting so many damn instagrams with black people. Sure, that could perhaps be taken the wrong way, but it’s not really all that bad.

 

Not when one realizes that Sterling has been the defendant in multiple discrimination cases brought against him by the Department of Justice. The NBA people-who-give-fines apparently did not notice when the DOJ settled with Sterling over various allegations of housing discrimination, such as when he named one of his apartment complexes the “Korean World Towers,” hung a banner written entirely in Korean in the entryway, and hired armed Korean guards instead of doormen, all in an attempt to scare away the blacks and hispanics who were living there at the time.

 

“That doesn’t have anything to do with the NBA,” you might say. “There’s no way they could have gotten him in trouble for that.” You’re right, his conversations with his mistress is a much more acceptable area of Sterling’s life for the NBA to get involved. Racists only seem to be able to make the news when they have a leaked tape of the really juicy stuff. Maybe that’s why celebrities get so much air time.

 

Donald Sterling just wanted to be the white plantation owner of a black basketball team. He succeeded for several years, but now his dream has been crushed. The NBA is not only where young black men go to seek their fortunes, but where old white men’s dreams are crushed. Who’s the racist now?

Make our students take real (fake) history

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the un-American things that are destroying our country. There’s gay marriage, Obama, minimum wage, contraceptives, foreign cars, pretty much any form of social media more advanced than two tin cans and a piece of string, paper money, the existence of non-Christians, and Obama. But co-director of the Institute of Studies of Religion Rodney Stark has identified another harbinger of America’s destruction: the lack of emphasis on historical knowledge in our education system.

College students these days, Stark asserts, are graduating with little to no knowledge of world history. Worse than that, they’re graduating with no knowledge of American history. Instead, colleges and high schools are allowing students to fulfill American history requirements with thoroughly irrelevant courses like “History of Mexicans in the U.S”, “Mexican-American Women, 1910-present”, and “The United States and Africa”. Yeah, readme can’t see any way those classes could have anything to do with America or history at all.

More than that, though, these classes teach our children the “poisonous lies” that white people didn’t actually invent everything worth inventing, that foreign cultures were just as sophisticated as their European counterparts, and that America is maybe kind of not entirely perfect. For instance, Stark says, some such classes claim that the ancient Greeks stole much of their culture from black Egyptians, which he points out is impossible because apparently there weren’t any powerful black people in ancient Egypt. Um. Besides, he adds, Herodotus made it quite clear that the Egyptian culture was far inferior to that of the Greeks anyways, and it’s not like that that ancient Greek historian could possibly be biased toward ancient Greece or anything.

Next on his bizarre homage to Mythbusters, Stark tackled the “myth” that Europe became fabulously wealthy through uneven trade with its foreign colonies. While true on a ‘real’, ‘actual’ level, Stark points out that Europeans as a whole didn’t actually benefit from trade with colonies. After all, the average Brit had to pay taxes to cover the costs that made the hideous violation of native rights that was the colonial system possible, while only a few British folks actually profited in ludicrous droves. Well, now readme just feels silly; obviously, it doesn’t count as theft if only a few people profit from it!

Clearly, Stark concludes, our nation faces a crisis. If we as a country are ever to once again reach the great heights that, according to his conception of history, we never left, we will have to make sure our students learn “the basics of American and world history”—that is to say, the parts of American and world history that won’t shatter Stark’s precious worldview that no society has ever in any way been more advanced than America or its ideological predecessors and that only educated white men have ever done anything of historical note. You know. The basics.

readme will say this much for Stark: he’s certainly convinced us that some Americans have a stunning lack of knowledge of world history. We really ought to consider adding a mandatory course to our history curriculum so people like that will have the knowledge they need to function in our society. We could call it ‘The World Does Not Revolve Around You: A History’.

FLORIDA. STOP IT.

So you know that joke people tell each other, where somebody’s doing something vaguely annoying and you say that if you were to kill them for it ‘no jury would convict you’? Turns out, they won’t. Not if you’re in Florida and can claim self-defense, at least.
Florida resident Michael Dunn was at a gas station one night when he was started an argument with four teenagers over how loudly they were allowed to blast their car’s stereo. And, hey, we’ve all been there. Where significantly fewer of us have been is the part where Dunn fired upon the SUV ten times, killing one teen, Jordan Davis, and endangering the rest. Dunn later claimed self-defense, saying Davis had threatened him with a shotgun that his friends had disposed of before the police began their investigation. readme sure as hell couldn’t see any parallels between this and any other murder cases that happened in the last year or so, especially once it found out that Davis and all his friends were young black males who had been listening to rap music when the shooting occurred.
Perhaps because of these parallels which in no way exist between this shooting and that other one, the prosecution was skeptical of Dunn’s self-defense claim. The police turned up no evidence of this alleged shotgun, they said, and Dunn’s behavior after the shooting was suspiciously nonchalant given the circumstances. What’s more, Dunn’s own fiancée testified that he had never mentioned being threatened by Davis before shooting him. Because there’s absolutely no reason you’d want to inform your soon-to-be wife that the time you killed that one kid was actually self-defense and not murder. He was acting—to use the legal term—‘shifty as all hell’.
The good news is that while Dunn was not actually convicted of murder, he was convicted on three counts of attempted murder with a minimum sixty-year sentence, and the jury did not acquit him of the murder either, so it is possible a subsequent jury will convict him of that, as well. But while a story about a dude in Florida being punished for killing an unarmed teenager is far more preferable than a story about a dude in Florida getting off scot free for killing an unarmed teenager, readme can’t help but think things would be way better off if dudes in Florida just stopped killing unarmed teenagers. Sure, it means the Florida media will no longer have any interesting news to cover, but readme thinks a few week-long editorials about how to cope with the humidity is worth not having to live in a constant state of lawless anarchy, don’t you agree?

Rick Perry on Ted Cruz: Lay “the Wood” to Obama

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In what was uncomfortably close to a play on slavery tropes, beloved Rick Perry has recently praised Ted Cruz’s twenty-one hour filibuster, attempt to defund Obamacare and subsequent success in shutting down the government. Perry had his reservations, however. 

 

Perry told reporter Jeff Zeleny that, “It would have been wiser for us to have laid the wood to the president — so to speak — in the sense of being able to call him out on this, let it become an issue of, ‘Mr. President, you own this,’, laying on the racially coded implication that he’d like to beat the president.

 

“This” being the fact that some Americans will be unable to keep their original health care plan now that Obamacare is taking full effect in our country. Because, you know, their healthcare plans were more expensive and less effective. 

 

“He needs to stand up in front of the American people and say, ‘You know what? I perpetrated a fraud on you.” Continued Perry, who, during his failed run for candidacy in the 2012 election, spoke about ideas such as  “legitimate rape” (i.e.rape that doesn’t cause pregnancy because it’s actually rape.), initiated an international incident after calling Turks terrorists, confused Libya and Lebanon and compared the oppression of gay school children to Christian school children . The list goes on. 

 

Really, it might be for the best if Ted Cruz took a page out of Rick Perry’s book (oh, but he probably doesn’t own books) and gave a speech to the entire country which convinced us he was drunk. He probably didn’t do enough by quoting Disney during his filibuster, comparing congress to the WWF, citing the Little Engine that Can’t in his speeches or asserting that “The moon might be as intimidating as Obamacare”. 

Lose Your Faith in Humanity in One Short Article

We all know that if there’s any problem with second-quarter CMU students, it’s that they’re just too darn optimistic. If you’re a student looking for a way to crush that pesky faith in humanity before finals, look no further than this very article, which chronicles the adventures of actual Americans (seriously, though, we didn’t make any of this shit up) who decided that dressing up as a sexy Native American for Halloween this year just wasn’t offensive enough. No, this year we get assholes going as:

 

• Hitler, because of course people dressed up as Hitler.

• KKK members.

• Suicide bombers.

• Osama bin Laden.

• George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, complete with bloody hoodie and blackface.

• A political cartoonist’s idea of what President Obama looks like.

• The Boston marathon bomber.

• The Boston marathon victims.

• The homeless.

• The Twin Towers, mid-explosion.

• Bloody flight attendants from the Asiana Airlines crash.

 

• This last one’s not a costume, but one dude hung up an effigy designed to look like a lynched black man on his lawn as a ‘Halloween decoration’. 

 

If this year’s crop of costumes teaches us anything, it is that we’ve clearly lost our connection with this sacred holiday. We have to remember, next year, the true meaning of Halloween: finding increasingly skimpy outfits for women to wear.

Walking to the Cry

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Photo Credit: Lydia Mankins

This past weekend the Carnegie Mellon community was struck with a calamity the likes of which it has not encountered since the tragic mutilation of the fence in 2012.  The little boy at the foot of what many students have called “an eyesore” or “a giant metal dick” has lost his hand.

Those not familiar with the sculpture should know that it is comprised of an steeply inclined chrome rod a few feet around in circumference which is climbed by several skyward bound ladies and gentlemen. The artist,  Jonathan Borofsky, once described the sculpture as “a celebration of the human potential for discovering who we are and where we need to go.”

This description struck readme as particular awkward given the placement of the various characters in the design. While several men and even, notably, women, climb the rod which The Tartan once described as “a huge phallus”,  the only black people in the piece stand ever looking wistfully up at their more socially privileged counterparts as they ascend.

To add insult to injury, these two statues, a little boy holding the hand of–presumably– his father, or maybe his creepy uncle, are accompanied only by one dudebro in a douchey baseball cap. The three grounded loners are also subjected to the greasy hands of passersby and to tacky posed photographs of freshmen and prospective students each day.

The child and father/creepyuncle cling to each other to console each other against the harsh truths of our society, staring up at the ass of a sky-walking white-woman.

Now, however, they can no longer brace themselves against their everlasting torment, as the child’s hand has been roughly dismembered from his arm. Laughing students further added to his pain, terror and humiliation by placing the hand jovially upon his petrified head in a continuation of their sick game of putting silly things on the statue.

We must ask ourselves, Carnegie Mellon, is this truly what we expect from our community? Do we not expect more from ourselves and our peers? Will you simply stand by as your classmates barbarically and gruesomely torture those around them based on race, privilege and the quality of animatancy?