Month: November 2011

ALL Laws Should Be Upheld

I was reading the local news this morning, and a piece on the Alabama immigration law caught my eye, as House Speaker Mike Hubbard did an interview talking about changes they would seek to the law in February when the House speakers convened again. Are they admitting they are wrong, and trying to undo the damage done to Alabama’s image world-wide since this bill was passed? No. They are just looking for ways to make it less inconvenient for residents who are complaining of long lines and fees to get ‘proper’ documentation, since apparently an Alabama drivers licence is no longer good enough since this law was implemented.

Politics aside, a quote from Hubbard caught my eye, and gave me a good laugh, as it reminds me of the insanity of the hate-filled conservatives words, which 3 months into this law has been repeated ad nauseaum, ‘What part of illegal don’t you understand??’.

Hubbard said it was “absolutely not right … to select which laws you enforce and which ones you don’t.”

I actually agree with this, probably more than Hubbard himself does. Why? Take a look at some of the crazy laws reportedly still on the books in Alabama.

It is considered an offense to open an umbrella on a street, for fear of spooking horses.

It is illegal to sell peanuts in Lee County after sundown on Wednesday.

Putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death.

Boogers may not be flicked into the wind.

Women are able to retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce. However, this provision does not apply to men.

Men who deflower virgins, regardless of age or marital status, may face up to five years in jail.

As far as I’m concerned, these laws need to be focused on and made a priority, IMMEDIATELY. Especially the one about de-flowering virgins, as that would surely have an impact on the pregnancy rate of unwed mothers in the state, and a knock-on effect for the economy.

If they are there, why aren’t they being enforced? Come on Alabama, what part of illegal don’t you understand?

Dear Internet…Stop Freaking Out, Pedobear is Nothing But a Meme

This is a letter I just had to send my local radio station, WABB , after they ran with the Pedobear story that is starting to take foot again. Parents, this is nothing but an urban legend, and NOT something new to be terrified about. (Yes, I trust YOU to be able to use Google correctly, but the people the radio station had do it obviously could not).

Hi Guys,

My name is Sara and I am the co-founder of ScrwMedia, a small startup in Mobile that does humor websites on different topics. I was driving to work this morning, and I heard the piece you did on Pedobear, and honestly I’m a little hot under the collar about it. The story that you ran as being completely real and giving parents something new to be terrified over, is nothing but an urban legend, more specifically, an internet meme. Meme’s are jokes that take hold and spread, usually based around a particular picture or phrase, and that’s exactly what happened with the Pedobear image. This is something that has been around for several years, and until an idiot at that news station in New Mexico grabbed it and tried to make a headline out of it, was well known by those in the online world that it’s nothing but an off-taste joke. (Funny enough, we ran their report on Urlybits this morning as a post itself before you did your report on it. )

While I understand that the way news often works is one outlet reporting what another outlet said, with little or no fact-checking done in between, I honestly expected a little better from WABB. The fact that you claimed Heather Bright had researched this and found it to be real speaks volumes about her intelligence. The very first hit on any Google search on this topic is the Wikipedia article which explains very clearly in the very first paragraph that it’s nothing but a meme.

“Pedobear is an Internet meme that became popular through the imageboard 4chan.[1] As the name suggests (“pedo” being short for “pedophile”), it is portrayed as a pedophilic bear,[2] and is used to mock pedophiles. Recently, particularly in America, it has been mistaken by some as a bait used by pedophiles to lure children.”

The ‘concerns’ over this started in California a few years ago, and since that report was issued, there has not been ONE single case where it was actually found that a pedophile of any sort has been using the Pedobear symbol to get to or using it as a mascot for molesting children. As quoted in a Gawker piece last year –

“Gawker confirmed with the police that they are aware that it is an Internet joke, but that they have still considered it a mascot for molestation.”

Clearly I am against pedophilia, so why do I care that this story has taken hold again? Because this is the sort of baseless, idiotic reporting that gets people hurt. You mentioned on your show today that there is a company that makes Pedobear stickers, and how people should watch out for them. What happens the first time someone takes this story seriously, and decides to slash someone’s tires, or worse, shoot someone because they have a Pedobear sticker on their car? A sticker that to most of the internet, just references a series of funny pictures and an off-color joke? You want to be responsible for that happening here?

Please do, gosh I don’t know, 5 seconds of real reading before you decide to push what you yourselves said sounded like screwy news as real reporting, every link on the 1st page of a Google search explains this is NOT real. And for the love of f*ck please don’t rely on Heather Bright to use Google, she clearly isn’t capable.

Harsh? Maybe, but Google is NOT that hard to use, and a few seconds of reading on their part could have made for a very different story which didn’t needlessly scare parents and put people at risk.