My Tour of the Tents: a look inside Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City Jail

Last month, July 16 – 18, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Netroots Nation conference, which this year was held here in Phoenix. This is the final piece in a four-part recap of my #NN15 experience. The previous three pieces are available here:

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to my friend Hannah Simpson for sharing the photos from our Tent City tour with me to include in this post. Check out Hannah’s recent Op-ed from Advocate.com: Why This Trans Woman Doesn’t Want to Ban Drag, But Say ‘Thank You.’


Estrella Jail, Maricopa County, Arizona
Estrella Jail, Maricopa County, Arizona

Tent City sits directly behind another detention facility, the Estrella Jail. It’s not at all a long drive from downtown Phoenix, and Hannah and I arrive right on time. The building itself resembles an elementary school on the outside, but with the notable addition of razor wire adorning the top of the perimeter walls, serving as crown molding for a facility designed to keep people in at all cost.

Not knowing quite what to expect, we enter through the main doors of Estrella to check in as instructed in the confirmation email from a few days earlier. The place is deserted. We wait for a moment at the front desk, until an office attendant behind the glass notices we’re there. We’re told no one knew we were coming. We produce the email confirming our scheduled tour, take our seats in the waiting room, and wonder if we’ll be able to see the jail after all.
Estrella Jail Waiting Room
Estrella Jail Waiting Room

Nearly 45 minutes later, a guard appears to collect us and off we go. We follow him out the door and around the east side of Estrella, toward the entrance to Tent City. A second guard appears, ready to join us for the remainder of the tour.

Read More »

Applecare Redefined

The Apple Watch I like. I just hope I can afford it when pricing is announced next year.

I hope the modularity theory discussed on The Talk Show is the model Apple chooses to adopt for Apple Watch. If not for the Sport Edition, then at least for the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition.

I would love for Apple Watch to become a personal legacy device that we keep around because of sentiment, made possible by the option of internal upgrades year after year.

It could turn the idea of classist consumerism on its head. Already there’s a backlash against those who upgrade to a new smartphone every year, in spite of new features and functionality.

Depletion of rare resources required to make phones, environmental destruction caused by used batteries piling up in landfills, and questionable labor practices in developing nations are all reasons cited for consciously decreasing one’s demand for high tech products.

But if you were to spend a large chunk of change up front for a device you know you’ll come to love and that will actually retain (and perhaps increase) value over the years…now that’s thinking differently.

AppleCare redefined.

Top 5 Reasons Why Apple Should Announce Smart EarPods Tomorrow

Christmas Eve for Apple Fans

For the first time in a long time, tonight feels like Christmas Eve. For those of us who have closely followed Apple for any number of years, tomorrow’s keynote can’t come soon enough. Just like when we were kids, as Christmas morning inches closer and closer, time feels to pass more slowly than it did weeks ago, when only the most meaningless details of possible new products had leaked. Judging from sentiments expressed today on Twitter, these last few hours of anticipation appear to have been rather painful for even the most apathetic tech observers, with reports pointing to a particularly nasty strain of first-world anxiety spreading with virulent efficiency among message boards and comment threads.

What makes this keynote different from any of the last handful? Again, think back to being a kid. Some years you might have had a hunch as the days ticked by that Christmas would be good. Other years (most likely due to economic factors) you knew not to expect so much. Regardless of any hunches you may have had as a result of reading your parents’ tea leaves, a truly unexpected gift always made Christmas morning better.

4 years have passed since Apple blew our minds with something truly new. Tomorrow feels like another big one. http://t.co/NoKfmskNSV

— Xeni Jardin (@xeni)
September 9, 2014

The sense I have tonight is that when Tim Cook takes the stage tomorrow morning, we’ll be rewarded with both. Not only will Apple fans be vindicated in clinging to high expectations, but that “One more thing…” moment will inevitably arrive and we’ll finally know with complete certainty what new product category Apple will venture into.Read More »

John Oliver on Native Advertising

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Native Advertising

The line between editorial content and advertising in news media is blurrier and blurrier. That’s not bullshit. It’s repurposed bovine waste.

This is why Last Week Tonight can succeed in serving the public in ways The Daily Show has never been able to. Although the shows share a similar format, they utilize completely different business models. One model allows sponsored content to masquerade as news (particularly prevalent on “slow news days”), whereas the other model is primarily supported through users’ paid subscriptions which allows for reporting and editorial segments to maintain a higher degree of integrity.

Some have called Last Week Tonight nothing more than a weak copy of The Daily Show dressed up in a British accent. Nope. Jon Stewart’s great and all, but just because he can make Taco Bell’s new menu items funny doesn’t mean his show hasn’t lost its soul.

Lying Psychologizers

FTA 10 Easy Ways to Recognize Liars:

People lie all the time, but depending on how skilled they are, it can be difficult to determine when someone is lying to you. Do you know how to recognize the signs that someone is lying to you? Some of the signs are obvious while others are more subliminal, but there are ways to catch someone…

This article is a great example of how shallow interpretations of individual behavior have been used to solidify Psychology as a legitimate science in order to debase the integrity of rationally minded beings. It in no way takes into account the very real ways people differentiate between true and false claims on a philosophical level within their minds. It attempts to privilege certain natural, involuntary biological responses to potentially high-pressure social situations over other more socially rewarded behaviors. The article endorses this method as a means by which to ascertain truth without examining the legitimacy of any actual claims. This methodology is akin to the practice of “auditing” seen in the church of Scientology.

A far better way of differentiating liars from truth tellers is to employ the Socratic method. That is, ask questions in an objective manner such that one can accurately conclude whether the claims made by a peer carry any logical weight.

It is appealing to believe one can divine the truth simply by following a Buzzfeed-worthy list of fallacious advice, but the truth is often much more complicated. But then again, I failed to use a contraction in the previous sentence, so I’m most likely lying and should not be trusted.

See also:

Armed with a smattering, not of knowledge, but of undigested slogans, they rush, unsolicited, to diagnose the problems of their friends and acquaintances. Pretentiousness and presumptuousness are the psychologizer’s invariable characteristics: he not merely invades the privacy of his victims’ minds, he claims to understand their minds better than they do, to know more than they do about their own motives. With reckless irresponsibility, which an old-fashioned mystic oracle would hesitate to match, he ascribes to his victims any motivation that suits his purpose, ignoring their denials. Since he is dealing with the great “unknowable”—which used to be life after death or extrasensory perception, but is now man’s subconscious—all rules of evidence, logic and proof are suspended, and anything goes (which is what attracts him to his racket).

Women Don’t Owe You Anything

Policy Mic – 37 Men Show Us What Real Men’s Activists Look Like

Ultimately, the #YesAllWomen rallying cry reached more than 1 million tweets in the days since the tragedy, outlasting even Kim Kardashian’s wedding on Sunday. But women are not the only ones frustrated by our society’s institutionalized misogyny. So many men, too, reported feeling disgusted by the attitudes of the shooter and his alleged peers, the “men’s rights activists” that not only influenced Rodger, but publicly predicted more violence if men aren’t given what they want.

Men deserve their own space to talk back to these “activists.” Here is just a small part of that response, but you can find more responses or post your own on the hashtag #AllMenCan, because all men can have respect for women without ever becoming less of a man.

I have mixed feelings about this evolution of the #YesAllWomen discourse that has sprung up in the wake of the recent events in Isle Vista, CA. This piece in particular makes some good points, like MRAs are full of bullshit, and that all men should take part in speaking out against violence toward women.

Last weekend someone told me that they grew up with the mantra, “It’s a man’s job to respect women, and it’s a woman’s job to give men something to respect.” I have a real problem with the idea that it’s a woman’s job to give men anythingRead More »

Hashtag Activism

via Urban Dictionary:

The kind of activism undertaken when you “do something” about a problem by tweeting or posting links to Facebook, without any intent of ever actually doing something. Nothing more than a nonsense feelgood gesture so that one can say they “did something about” whatever trendy cause they’re pretending to care about. Usually only lasts a week or two before the cause is completely forgotten (i.e. it stops being cool to forward/retweet on the subject).

I forwarded a video about some unspeakable atrocities in a country I didn’t know existed until I watched the video. My hashtag activism is going to accomplish something!

Hashtag activism may not be “the answer” to our problems, but it’s a pretty damn good way to follow and contribute to a dialogue that may very well result in the discovery of some worthwhile solutions.

We certainly need to go further than tweeting and writing Facebook posts simply to satisfy our egos, but that doesn’t mean you have to shit on the work that people are doing just because they include hashtags in their social media posts relating to a cause they legitimately care about.

I’ve written in greater detail about utilizing hashtags (and Twitter in general) as a tool for organizing here.