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March 15, 2012

Burundanga and Mind Control Crime

Burundanga Republic | The Global Mail
It all starts with the brugmansia plant. You'd no doubt recognise the beautiful, pendulous flowers to which it owes its English name, Angel's Trumpet. Its Spanish name, however, is arguably more instructive - El Borrachero (The Drunkard). The plant contains a chemical called scopolamine - commonly known as burundanga - that produces psychoactive effects in humans. It is used medicinally to prevent post-operative nausea, in science to simulate amnesia, and it is used by criminals for, umm, mind control. The theory, backed by victims, police and health officials, is that under the influence of scopolamine, people are rendered virtual "human puppets", completely susceptible to the suggestions of criminals. According to Colonel Mariano Botero Coy of the Bogota Metropolitan Police, the modus operandi of these criminals - and he says they are generally gangs rather than individuals - is true to the stereotype. "In many cases it is a man alone in a nightspot and a woman manages to put the substance in his drink," he says. "The victim then loses their free will; they are conscious of what is happening but they lose their free will." There's even a verb for this type of crime - burundangear. And actor Mateas Maldonado, has twice been a victim.

March 08, 2012

New Georgia bill makes picketing and protesting illegal

New Georgia Bill Includes $10,000 Fine, Felony for "Conspiracy" for Picketing, Protest | AlterNet
In a move that could impact non-labor groups engaged in direct action, picketing, or protest, Georgia's Senate Bill 469 includes felony penalties for "criminal trespass" and, unbelievably, "conspiracy to commit criminal trespass"--the punishment being a $10,000 fine or a year in jail, or possibly both. That this is specifically included in a bill that cracks down on organizations' right to picket outside a workplace or company seems to indicate that a union or other group engaged in picketing could be charged with a crime for the activity of one member who crosses the line. And in the bill, the line is pretty nebulous. The bill has this to say about what would constitute "unlawful" picketing: It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in mass picketing at or near any place, including private residences, where a labor dispute exists in such number or manner as to obstruct or interfere with or constitute a threat to obstruct or interfere with the entrance to or egress from any place of employment or the free and uninterrupted use of public roads, streets, highways, railroads, airports, or other ways of travel, transportation, or conveyance. What's that mean? "Constitute a threat to obstruct or interfere with" could be interpreted pretty broadly, and leaves a lot of discretion up to police on the scene--or to business owners, who could have picketers removed by claiming they presented a "threat."

February 28, 2012

Texas Board of Education bans Thomas Jefferson from American history

Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks. | ThinkProgress
– To avoid exposing students to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.” – The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.” – The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.” – The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.” As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas has enormous leverage over publishers, who often “craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers.” Indeed, as The Washington Monthly has reported, “when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas.”

February 27, 2012

Paypal bans publishers who publish erotic ebooks with BDSM content

As Violet Blue says, "PayPal would ban works by Anaïs Nin, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Marquis de Sade and books like Caligula, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (True Blood), The Story of O, Venus in Furs, Lolita…" PayPal Strong-Arms Indie Ebook Publishers Over Erotic Content | ZDNet
On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses’ accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes - namely, specific sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of. PayPal told indie e-book publishers and retailers - such as AllRomance, Smashwords, Excessica and Bookstrand - that if they didn’t remove the offending literature from their catalogs within a few days of notification, PayPal would close their accounts. . . . PayPal would ban works by Anaïs Nin, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Marquis de Sade and books like Caligula, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (True Blood), The Story of O, Venus in Furs, Lolita… So, what kind of fantasy sex in books is PayPal telling indie publishers is not okay? They include a number of subjects that many would consider offensive or disturbing in real life - but they included one area of sexual fantasy that is fairly popular in real life between consenting adults. PayPal told the booksellers they may not sell works of fiction that include sexual fantasies containing themes and implied scenarios of: pseudo-incest (including “daddy” fantasies, step-family), incest, fantasies about non-consensual sex or rape, bestiality (widened to include non-human fantasy creatures), and BDSM. . . .