Archive for ‘Politics’

July 1, 2020

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo was the primary logo of the Ohio-based Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Cleveland Indians. As part of the larger Native American mascot controversy, it drew criticism from many people including Native Americans, social scientists, and religious and educational groups, but remains popular among many fans of the team. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Indians’ owner Paul Dolan announced that Chief Wahoo would no longer appear on uniforms or stadium signs following the end of the 2018 season. The team’s primary logo is now a block ‘C.’

The logo was last worn by the Indians in a loss to the Houston Astros on October 8 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo’s final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Columbus Day.

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June 29, 2020

Testilying

Brady Cop by Jaik Puppyteeth

Police perjury (or testilying in U.S. police slang) is the act of a police officer giving false testimony. It is typically used in a criminal trial to ‘make the case’ against a defendant believed by the police to be guilty when irregularities during the suspect’s arrest or search threaten to result in acquittal.

It also can be extended further to encompass substantive misstatements of fact for the purpose of convicting those whom the police believe to be guilty, procedural misstatements to ‘justify’ a search and seizure, or even to include statements to frame an innocent citizen.

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June 25, 2020

Boogaloo Bois

2020 boogaloo killings

The boogaloo movement, adherents to which are often referred to as ‘boogaloo boys’ or ‘boogaloo bois,’ is a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement. Participants generally identify as a libertarian citizen-militia and say they are preparing for, or seek to incite, the ‘boogaloo,’ a second American Civil War that will overthrow the United States government.

While use of the term has been found on the fringe imageboard website 4chan since 2012, it did not come to widespread attention until late 2019. Adherents use the term (including variations, so as to avoid social media crackdowns) to refer to violent uprisings against the federal government or left-wing political opponents, often anticipated to follow government confiscation of firearms.

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June 21, 2020

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

George Floyd

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), Free Capitol Hill, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, and the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), is an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone, originally covering six city blocks and a park, was established by George Floyd protesters on June 8, 2020 after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) vacated its East Precinct building.

Local governance in the zone is decentralized, with the goal of creating a neighborhood without police. Purported demands associated with the zone include rent control, the reversal of gentrification, the abolition or defunding of police, funding of community health, and releasing prisoners serving time for marijuana-related offenses or resisting arrest, with expungement of their records.

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June 11, 2020

Gypsy Cop

Tulia

In law enforcement in the United States, a gypsy cop is a police officer who frequently transfers between police departments, having a record of misconduct or unsuitable job performance. The term is slang, referencing the stereotypical nomadic lifestyle of the Romani people, pejoratively ‘Gypsies.’ Some dictionaries recommend against using the word gypsy as a modifier with negative connotations, because such use could be considered a slur against the Romani people.

In use since the 1980s, the phrase entered public parlance in the 2000s after the infamous Tulia drug stings, where itinerant lawman Tom Coleman allegedly set up innocent people, most of them black, as part of a long-term undercover operation.

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June 9, 2020

Guano

Guano Islands Act

Guano [gwah-noh] is the accumulated excrement of seabirds and bats. As a manure, guano is a highly effective fertilizer due to its exceptionally high content of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium: key nutrients essential for plant growth. Guano was also, to a lesser extent, sought for the production of gunpowder and other explosive materials.

The 19th-century guano trade played a pivotal role in the development of modern input-intensive farming, but its demand began to decline after the discovery of the Haber–Bosch process of nitrogen fixing led to the production of synthetic fertilizers. The demand for guano spurred the human colonization of remote bird islands in many parts of the world, resulting in some of the first examples of U.S. colonialism and the expansion of the British Empire.

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June 8, 2020

Dead Drop

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

dead drop or ‘dead letter box’ is a method of espionage tradecraft used to pass items or information between two individuals (e.g., a case officer and an agent, or two agents) using a secret location. By avoiding direct meetings, they could maintain operational security. The method stands in contrast to the ‘live drop,’ so-called because two persons meet to exchange items or information.

Spies (covert intelligence agents) and their handlers have been known to perform dead drops using various techniques to hide items (such as money, secrets or instructions), and to signal that the drop has been made. Although the signal and location by necessity must be agreed upon in advance, the signal may or may not be located close to the dead drop itself. The operatives may not necessarily know one another or ever meet.

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June 1, 2020

Gay Panic Defense

Murder of Scott Amedure

The gay panic defense is a legal strategy in which a defendant claims they acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances.

A defendant may allege to have found the same-sex sexual advances so offensive or frightening that they were provoked into reacting, were acting in self-defense, were of diminished capacity, or were temporarily insane, and that this circumstance is exculpatory or mitigating.

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May 17, 2020

Diving Horse

Steel Pier

diving horse is an attraction that was popular in the mid-1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 60 feet.

In Lake George, New York, the Magic Forest theme park hosts the only remaining diving horse feature in New York state. It has been in operation since 1977, originally featuring a horse named Rex, later replaced by a gelding named Lightning. The manager states, ‘There is no rider, no prods, no electrical jolts, and no trap doors.’ The horse jumps twice daily during a two-month season and has the rest of the year off.

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April 9, 2020

Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics

Lies, damned lies, and statistics‘ is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also used colloquially to doubt statistics cited to prove an opponent’s point.

The phrase derives from the full sentence, ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’ It was popularized by Mark Twain and others, who mistakenly attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. The true originator is uncertain, but it has, at times, been attributed to an anonymous writer in mid-1891 and later that year to English politician Sir Charles Dilke.

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March 30, 2020

Smurfette Principle

Smurfette

The Smurfette principle is the practice in media, such as film and television, to include only one woman in an otherwise entirely male ensemble. It establishes a male-dominated narrative, where the woman is the exception and exists only in reference to the men.

The term was coined by American poet and critic Katha Pollitt in 1991 in ‘The New York Times’: ‘Contemporary shows are either essentially all-male, like ‘Garfield,’ or are organized on what I call the ‘Smurfette principle’: a group of male buddies will be accented by a lone female, stereotypically defined… The message is clear. Boys are the norm, girls the variation; boys are central, girls peripheral; boys are individuals, girls types. Boys define the group, its story and its code of values. Girls exist only in relation to boys.’

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March 22, 2020

Umarell

Bologna

Umarell is a term in Bologna for men of retirement age who pass the time watching construction sites, especially roadworks – stereotypically with hands clasped behind their back and offering unwanted advice.

It’s literal meaning is ‘little man’ and it is often pluralized in spelling by adding a final s (out of English influence). The wife of an umarell is called a ‘zdaura.’

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