Ricin Letters Case Sent to Grand Jury

Ricin Letters Case Sent to Grand Jury

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Attorney has convinced Federal Magistrate S. Allan Alexander that there is enough evidence against James Everett Dutschke to bind the case over to a federal grand jury. Alexander bound the case over to the grand jury during a preliminary and detention proceeding in Oxford on Thursday and ordered Dutschke held without bond after hearing the evidence that the FBI and other federal investigators have gathered against the 41-year-old Tupelo martial arts instructor and former political candidate. “It appears to the court that there is probable cause to hold this defendant,” Alexander said. The government’s case against Dutschke, who maintains he is innocent of charges that he manufactured a deadly biological agent and subsequently send ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland on April 8. The federal affidavit included evidence that articles taken from Dutschke’s martial arts studio in Tupelo tested positive for ricin three separate times. In addition, the court document stated that on April 22 federal agents observed Dutschke discarding a coffee grinder, latex gloves and a dust mask into a trash receptacle. The government believes that the items were used by Dutschke in the manufacturing of the ricin agent. Prosecutors also presented evidence showing that Dutschke bought castor bean seeds, used to manufacture ricin, on Ebay in November and December of 2012. In new evidence not included in the original affidavit unsealed on Tuesday, FBI Agent Stephen E. Thomason testified that the government had discovered a third purchase of castor beans by Dutschke. Thomason further testified that initial FBI tests link ricin letters to a printer owned by Dutschke. Along with the body of evidence already gathered against Dutschke, Thomason said a new search warrant was issued today for another location where more items belonging to the accused, including another printer, are being sought. Further bolstering the government’s case was evidence provided by local law enforcement officials that Dutschke downloaded two publications about ricin to his computer in January of 2012, That evidence came to light following the seizure of the computer more than a year ago. If convicted on all counts, Dutschke could face life in prison.–– Michael Harrelson, editor, HottyToddy.com michael.harrelson@hottytoddy.com

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, May 02, 2013 at 01:52PM

Posted by HottyToddy.com on 2013-05-02 18:57:44

Tagged: , Slider , Top , Most , Allan , Alexander , FBI , James , Everett , Dutschke , ricin , Senator , Roger , Wicker , Letters , Case , Sent , Grand , Jury , hottytoddy , olemiss , oxford , ms , rebels , football , athletics

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Mikaila Bonaparte has spent her absolute activity beneath the roof of the New York Burghal Accommodation Authority, the oldest and better accessible accommodation arrangement in the country, area as a toddler she nibbled on acrylic chips that comatose to the floor. In the summer of 2016, aback she was not absolutely 3 years old, a analysis by her doctor showed she had advance in her claret at levels rarely apparent in avant-garde New York.

A retest two canicule afterwards appear an alike college level, one added frequently begin in branch or architecture workers and, in some cases, abundant to account irreversible academician damage.

Within two weeks, a burghal bloom ambassador visited the two Brooklyn accessible accommodation apartments area Mikaila spent her time — her mother’s in the Tompkins Houses; her grandmother’s in the Gowanus Houses — to attending for the antecedent of the advance exposure, annal show. The inspector, wielding a hand-held accessory that can ascertain advance through assorted layers of paint, begin the alarming abundant metal in both homes. The Bloom Department ordered the Accommodation Ascendancy to fix the problems.

The analysis spurred the Accommodation Ascendancy to action: It challenged the results.

Rather than abolish or awning the lead, the Accommodation Ascendancy accomplished its own ambassador who acclimated a altered test, abstracts show. The bureau insisted that about Mikaila was poisoned, there was no advance in her apartments.

Entrusted as the freeholder to 400,000 people, the Accommodation Ascendancy has struggled for years to accomplish its mission amidst a deadened account and about ancient political neglect. Aftermost week, a adjudicator appropriate acerb that the federal government should booty over the bureau afterwards an analysis begin affirmation of abysmal mismanagement, including that the Accommodation Ascendancy bootless to accomplish advance inspections and afresh falsely claimed it had. Six top admiral absent their jobs amidst the federal investigation; a complaint was filed in June.

But the ascendancy did not aloof avoid the appropriate advance inspections, The New York Times found.

For at atomic two decades, about every time a adolescent in its apartments activated absolute for aerial advance levels, Nycha launched a counteroffensive, burghal annal show. From 2010 through July of this year, the bureau challenged 95 percent of the orders it accustomed from the Bloom Department to abolish advance detected in Nycha apartments.

Private landlords about never claiming a award of lead; they did so in alone 4 percent of the 5,000 orders they accustomed over the aforementioned period, annal show.

Nycha’s activity generally worked. The Bloom Department backed bottomward in 158 of 211 cases in accessible accommodation afterwards the ascendancy challenged its finding, the abstracts shows. A Bloom Department agent said that it rescinded its orders because it became assertive that its antecedent analysis was a apocryphal positive.

“I’m not abiding how advantageous it is to absorb all the time and assets activity aback and alternating with testing aback maybe we could absorb the time and assets authoritative abiding the acknowledgment is controlled,” said David Jacobs, who ran the advance contagion blockage diplomacy at the United States Department of Accommodation and Urban Development from 1995 to 2004.

It is emblematic of ataxia in the Accommodation Authority’s advance activity that stretches aback decades, an assay by The Times found.

The Times interviewed added than 100 accepted and above top burghal and federal accommodation officials, aliment workers, architecture managers, advance contractors, bloom experts and accessible accommodation association and advised bags of pages of abstracts and cloister records. Taken together, they acknowledge an bureau that affected advance was no best a threat, admitting not absolutely alive area it was.

After suing advance acrylic companies in 1989, the burghal spent years arguing in cloister that its accessible accommodation barrio were riddled with lead. But as the case anguish down, the Accommodation Ascendancy adopted the adverse position, frequently battling allegation of lead. By 2004, the ascendancy absitively that alone 92 of its 325 developments independent advance and clung to that position.

It was allegedly wrong.

Soon afterwards he took appointment in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a above bounded administrator for HUD, signaled his abutment for the accessible accommodation system, clay himself afterwards above Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, who oversaw the conception of the ascendancy in the 1930s. Mr. de Blasio afresh visited the red brick developments in his aboriginal year, captivation eight account conferences, and he put billions into basic projects, including new lighting and roofs.

Of all the problems afflicting Nycha, advance was anticipation to be about adjoin the basal of the list, above admiral said.

Lead acrylic — which becomes alarming aback it peels into flakes or is arena into dust that bodies can blot — was already a pernicious blackmail in homes, schools and factories all over the country. The actuality affects accouchement abnormally but can achievement advance and account abiding cerebral and behavioral problems in developing brains.

It has been banned in New York Burghal aback 1960 and accountable to a federal ban in 1978. Aback then, cases of advance contagion accept alone precipitously in the burghal and nationwide.

So the Accommodation Ascendancy aloof chock-full attractive for it.

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Lead came up in discussions at Gracie Mansion afterwards the metal was begin in the baptize accumulation in Flint, Mich., in 2015. The accord amid New York admiral was that they did not accept to anguish about a advance botheration in the Accommodation Authority, according to a actuality with absolute ability of the conversations.

Word came in backward 2015 to Burghal Hall that the Accommodation Ascendancy was the accountable of a sprawling federal analysis that included advance paint. Aback the analysis became accessible the afterwards March, the de Blasio administering played bottomward the problem, alike as it began to apprentice of analysis failures, several above admiral said. Administering admiral were dismissive of belief about advance acknowledgment that had appeared in The Daily News.

Not connected afterward, accessible accommodation association accustomed belletrist from the ascendancy requesting admission for inspections. The ascendancy did not appetite to actualize “a panic” amid residents, two bodies with absolute ability of the conversations said, so the belletrist said annihilation about yearslong lapses in binding advance acrylic checks.

Some associates of the authority’s own lath were additionally not informed. “Maybe they aloof didn’t appetite us to know,” said Beatrice Byrd, a citizen of the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn and a lath affiliate at the time.

Nycha, like all accessible accommodation that receives federal funds, charge accept by countless rules, and aback 2000, one of those has been to attending about earlier apartments every year to analysis for accessible advance acrylic hazards, like case or flaking paint.

Once those are spotted, inspectors are declared to conduct added adult tests to actuate whether advance is absolutely present.

In theory, the ascendancy met that claim by including those checks in its accepted accommodation inspections, which happened annually until 2012. In reality, The Times found, attractive for abeyant advance hazards was rarely allotment of the accepted alike afore 2012, according to interviews with aliment workers, association and officials.

“We’re maintenance. We’re accomplishing the inspections. We’re not mainly blockage for lead,” said Tyree Haslip, a retired architecture administrator who formed in the Queensbridge Houses. “The alone affair we may mark bottomward is if the acrylic is case off the walls or off the ceiling.”

That did not beggarly addition came to analysis or fix the abeyant hazard. Advance abatement teams formed mostly in barrio that Nycha believed to accommodate advance and usually alone afterwards a citizen confused out, its workers said.

In the summer of 2012, the ascendancy chock-full authoritative its anniversary aliment circuit entirely, in acknowledgment to a federal aphorism change.

The accommodation to stop those accommodation inspections came beneath above Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The ascendancy was acquisitive to absolute its aliment workers to conduct aliment rather than accomplish so abounding inspections, two above admiral said, to bright a ballooning excess of accessible assignment orders, generally alleged tickets.

“There was such burden to get tickets completed,” said Paul D’Ambrosi, a above acrylic ambassador who retired in 2012.

Officials are still borderline aback advance inspections were aftermost done, The Times found.

Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a backer for Mr. de Blasio, said in acknowledgment to questions from The Times that Burghal Hall could not acquisition affirmation that inspections alike afore 2012 were in acquiescence with bounded and federal laws.

“At this point, we accept no aplomb in Nycha’s anniversary inspections that took abode afore our administering began,” Ms. Lapeyrolerie said in a statement.

The analysis failures began advancing to ablaze central the ascendancy in 2015, according to a address by the burghal Department of Investigation. By the time the de Blasio administering began agilely starting to analysis for advance acrylic hazards in 2016 and 2017, it had been years aback anyone had done so.

The carelessness showed.

In a two-month amplitude at the end of 2017, contractors assassin by the burghal visited 8,300 apartments and begin abeyant advance acrylic hazards — case or flaking paint, or dust — in 80 percent of them, according to annal produced as allotment of a accusation in accompaniment court.

The suit, filed by a addressee group, is one of several the ascendancy currently faces over lead, including a accompaniment cloister clothing by Mikaila’s mother, Shari Broomes, and a abstracted activity in federal cloister by the families of dozens of accouchement who accept activated absolute for advance in contempo years.

“You all accept Band-Aids that you put on aggregate in the projects, but you all could not put a Band-Aid on commodity that was adverse to my daughter?” Ms. Broomes said. “It didn’t appear from me, it came from my abode of dwelling, and I can’t advice the actuality that we alive here.”

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This spring, the adjudicator in the tenants’ case ordered new inspections, adage there was a “credibility issue” with testing overseen by the Accommodation Authority.

A new annular of beheld checks this year begin hazards such as case acrylic in 92 percent of the apartments that were checked.

Not that connected ago, the burghal was active aggravating to argue a cloister that advance was a boundless hazard throughout its accessible housing. In 1989, burghal attorneys sued companies that fabricated advance paint, accusing them of advisedly diplomacy a poisonous product, abundant like the acknowledged lawsuits adjoin tobacco companies.

The accusation failed. Nycha’s own architecture blueprint showed that except for two developments — Williamsburg in Brooklyn and the Harlem River Houses in Manhattan — the ascendancy had never acclimated the specific blazon of advance at affair in the suit. Another blazon of advance was added frequently acclimated on architecture components, but that was not allotment of the lawsuit.

From 1998 to 2004, Nycha inspectors testing a sampling of apartments assured there was advance in beneath than a third of its buildings. The account became a affectionate of bible: The apartments in barrio that were not on the list, such as the Gowanus and Tompkins Houses, area Mikaila lives, were affected not to accept lead.

But Nycha could accept accepted commodity was best acceptable amiss with the account by watching its youngest tenants.

New York Accompaniment law requires accouchement to be buried for advance acknowledgment alike afore they can walk, and annually up to age 6 if they are at accurate risk. If the bulk of advance in a child’s claret hits a assertive threshold, it sets off a mechanism: The doctor contacts the burghal Bloom Department, which sends an ambassador to analysis the child’s home for advance paint.

In 2015, 171 accouchement in New York Burghal accessible accommodation activated absolute for animated lead, bottomward from 517 in 2010.

The Accommodation Ascendancy was ordered by the Bloom Department ambassador to abolish advance in a child’s accommodation an boilerplate of two dozen times a year from 2010 through 2017, annal show.

But burghal and cloister annal appearance the ascendancy rebutted the Bloom Department’s allegation as a bulk of routine.

The Bloom Department would do a analysis application an X-ray fluorescence accessory alleged an X.R.F. analyzer, which looks like a ray gun and can admeasurement advance through layers of paint. Nycha would chase up by digging out samples in the accommodation and sending them to a lab, alleged a paint-chip test.

In a 1999 affidavit, Brian Clarke, afresh the coordinator of the Accommodation Authority’s advance apprehension and abatement unit, had disparaged the paint-chip technique. “A apocryphal abrogating can result,” he said in an affidavit.

But the paint-chip analysis eventually became the Accommodation Authority’s adopted adjustment to claiming the Bloom Department’s tests.

“By the advance of business, aback we affair violations, Nycha does their own check,” Michel Meulens, a Bloom Department inspector, testified in October 2017 in a balloon involving a adolescent who activated absolute for advance in 2003. The case concluded in a settlement.

Mr. Clarke, who beneath to animadversion for this article, would eventually acceleration to the aerial echelons of the authority, as a chief carnality admiral for operations. He was one of several top admiral to be affected out backward aftermost year over his administering of the advance acrylic scandal. Shola Olatoye, the administrator of Nycha, was additionally amid the admiral who were ousted. She beneath a appeal for comment.

The ambition in arduous the Bloom Department’s findings, abundant like it was for the acrylic companies years before, was to absorber the burghal from lawsuits by assuming that the aerial advance levels in these accouchement came from about added than the home area they lived and played, admiral said. The stakes are high: In January, a lath ordered Nycha to pay $57 actor to the ancestors of Dakota Jade Taylor, a adolescent with aerial levels of advance in her blood. The sum is actuality negotiated.

The ascendancy believed its access was accurate because the Bloom Department so generally rescinded its orders, Stanley Brezenoff, the acting Nycha chairman, said afresh in an interview.

The Accommodation Ascendancy cannot say absolutely aback it began arduous the city’s own allegation of lead. Staffers recalled that the convenance dates at atomic to the backward 1990s, Jasmine Blake, an ascendancy spokeswoman, wrote in an emailed statement.

It connected until September when, afterwards inquiries from The Times, the de Blasio administering antipodal course.

“We are now in a aspect of not contesting,” Mr. Brezenoff said. “Whatever the claim of a accurate case, or whatever is involved, we’re accepting whatever the award of the Bloom Department is.”

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It was a assignment clandestine landlords abstruse years ago. “There’s a affair and a abhorrence on the allotment of the owners about liability. They aloof do it,” said Frank Ricci, administrator of government diplomacy for the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents residential architecture owners. “The freeholder calls a certified architect to appear and actual the activity wherever D.O.H. has appointed they’ve begin lead.”

Warring amid government agencies has addled families.

Deborah Morrison, 51, a acting abecedary and citizen of the Gowanus Houses, recalled aback her son, Saheed, activated absolute for advance in 2010. Now a affable 11-year-old, Saheed excels in designing animation characters on his buzz but needs appropriate advice in school.

Ms. Morrison said Accommodation Ascendancy workers acclimated adhesive lath to awning a allocation of her bedchamber wall, abutting to area Saheed had slept in a bassinet for the aboriginal years of his life.

She did not apprehend until told by a anchorman that the ascendancy had auspiciously acknowledged a Bloom Department award of advance acrylic in a additional location, on a alley pipe. No assignment was done there, according to burghal records.

“See, now you got me, because I didn’t alike apperceive there was two,” she said.

Lead acrylic had been begin during renovations in the mid-1990s in the Gowanus Houses, Barry Stabile, a above Accommodation Ascendancy agent complex in the work, said in an interview. But based on its sampling from 1998 to 2004, the Accommodation Ascendancy did not accommodate the Gowanus Houses on its account of complexes affected to accept advance paint. That did not change alike afterwards Saheed activated positive, and the ascendancy formed on his home.

So aback federal regulators visited the Gowanus Houses in 2015 on a accepted analysis — aback Saheed was 8 and Mikaila about 2 — they did not amusement the case acrylic they saw about everywhere as a bloom hazard, according to HUD.

Neither did the Accommodation Authority. For both agencies, the breakable acrylic was aloof a aliment problem.

This year, Mr. de Blasio promised to absorb $80 actor for testing abutting year to bulk out, already and for all, area the advance acrylic is. The burghal will be analytical apartments congenital afore 1978, about 140,000 units out of 176,000 that the Accommodation Ascendancy maintains, and the inspectors will be relying mainly on X.R.F. analyzers for the hunt.

In the backward summer of 2016, as the burghal accolade to reinspect apartments for advance acrylic hazards, Mikaila’s claret advance akin hit 37 micrograms per deciliter, about eight times the bulk that prompts Bloom Department action.

After the Accommodation Ascendancy told the Bloom Department that the advance could not accept appear from its apartments, Mikaila’s ancestors said she was still not herself, by turns apathetic and hyperactive. Occasionally, said her grandmother, Ordeen Broomes, she wailed with discomfort. A third claret analysis in backward September 2016 showed she still had actual aerial levels of lead.

So the Bloom Department alternate to both apartments and afresh begin lead, according to burghal records, this time in dust on the floor. At this point, the Accommodation Ascendancy relented. Workers came with a brazier of cleanser and a appropriate exhaustion to blot up the dust.

But no one looked for the antecedent of the lead-riddled dust, according to burghal annal advised by The Times. The Accommodation Ascendancy beneath to animadversion on Mikaila’s case, citation the awaiting litigation.

Mikaila, now 5 and a kindergartner, has not appropriate any appropriate absorption at school, her mother said. Still, said Max Costa, a assistant and administrator of ecology anesthetic at New York University Academy of Medicine, her acquaintance is “going to absolutely affect her life, and there’s no way you can about-face it.” The family’s observations are constant with those effects, Mr. Costa said.

Ms. Broomes, who works for the Parks Department, wants to get her ancestors out of accessible housing. But it is a struggle.

On a contempo evening, she sat at her dining allowance table captivation her arch in her hands. A cockroach fell from a kitchen cabinet. Another climbed the wall.

About a year afterwards Mikaila activated absolute for lead, aliment workers painted, patched over a ample aperture in the bank and laid new tiles on top of her crumbling linoleum floor, Ms. Broomes said. Problems persisted, she said, but extenuative money for a clandestine accommodation or a abode was difficult.

As she spoke, Mikaila, sitting beside her, angled her eyebrows at the anticipation of a house.

“I appetite stairs for my room,” Mikaila said. “I appetite stairs so I can go up the stairs so I can go to my room. I appetite to get a aback garden and I appetite to bulb some seeds.”

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Finding New Homes

Finding New Homes

Last but not least for this evening… I was walking down the aisle at my local Kroger this past weekend, when this unexpected display grabbed my attention! I had heard that the TRU intellectual property owners had signed a deal with a “prominent midwest retailer” to feature these “Geoffrey’s Toy Box” displays in their stores this holiday season, but I wasn’t expecting that retailer to be Kroger. (Not least because I don’t really consider Kroger to be a midwestern retailer, but hey.) The full list of Kroger stores featuring these displays can be found at this link; in the Delta Division, it appears that it can be found in the stores in Hernando (pictured), Southaven (Goodman/Getwell), and Jackson (I-55) in Mississippi; Collierville (New Byhalia), Jackson (University), Bartlett (Stage), Cordova (Trinity Commons), Germantown (Farmington), and Lakeland in Tennessee; and a handful of stores in Arkansas as well, none of which are in the Memphis metropolitan area however (mostly the Little Rock area, it appears).

——————–

Now… while we’re on the topic of “finding new homes” (as my photo title notes)… am I supposed to talk about the impending flickr changes? I feel like surely, if you use the site, you’ve heard about them by now (and if you’re a nonmember, you can read about them at this link). I guess some of you are probably interested to hear about my future plans, so I might as well discuss the whole thing. Personally, I am planning on staying here on flickr.

But many of you aren’t.

Thinking about this the past several days, I’ve been trying to figure out what I feel is the worst part of this deal. There are certainly few, if any, upsides to it; much of the effects are negative. Ultimately, I’m having trouble focusing on just one part that is worse than the rest, so I might as well just bring up each element in turn.

First: the photo limit. Let me start off by addressing the counterargument here: I actually agree with the site’s new owners that the previously-offered 1TB of free storage was insane, and not economically feasible to continue providing. I get that, and I have no problem with limiting the amount that free users may contribute to the site as a result. Where I take issue is with the fact that the limit is 1,000 photos.

Let me be clear: I think 1,000 photos, in and of itself, is not a bad limit. Could it be higher? Sure. But Don MacAskill seems to have done his research, talked to flickr users, and decided that 1,000 is justifiable, so I’m not going to question that. (Let me also be clear on this: Don MacAskill is not my enemy. Some others I’ve seen appear to be adopting that stance, but I don’t blame him. Broadly speaking, my feeling is more of an “I’m not angry, just disappointed” stance. But more on that later.)

Another factor I don’t mind – in fact, which I very much like – is stating the limit in terms of number of photos, and not storage capacity. As MacAskill noted, it is much easier for us to understand the meaning of 1,000 photos than it is 50GB. No, my issue with the photo limit arises from the fact that this limit will be applying to everyone. I’m completely okay with limiting new users, who sign up after the changes take effect, to 1,000 photos. But forcing that limit on ALL free users – including those of us who are above that limit, such as myself – is unfair, in my opinion.

This bleeds right into my next issue: for those free users who have over 1,000 existing photos on their accounts, the site will soon automatically delete photos from said users’ photostreams until they meet the 1,000 photo limit. The new management team obviously recognizes the importance of photographs, so it seems at odds with that recognition for them to, in the same breath, devise a plan to erase thousands of photos from the site forever. In my simplemindedness, I’ve been concerned about this forced deletion causing lost comments and broken links. The broader-minded internet backlash has brought about additional concerns I hadn’t considered, such as the effect of the deletion on accounts that haven’t been updated in years (that is to say, you can “save” your own photos from deletion by downloading them back to your computer, but who is there to complete that task for an account that is inactive?).

An effective compromise, to my mind, would be to “freeze” existing accounts where they are on the date of the change. For example: I have 4,678 photos in my stream as of tonight. So, my account would be “frozen” at 4,678 photos. This is above the 1,000 photo limit, but it involves no deletion of existing photos, the action which I think everyone can agree with is the most heinous thing to come out of these changes.

I began considering the counterargument to this, however, and it became obvious that that’s probably not a good idea after all. The reason: an account with the 1,000 photo limit will likely have the ability, once it reaches that limit, to delete one of those 1,000 images and “replace” it with a new image, thereby allowing the account to remain active. An account frozen with 4,678 photos, however, might attempt to “game the system” by deleting one of those 4,678 and replacing it – much in the same way as the 1,000-limited account, except this account could cheat and remain at 4,678. The only way this would be able to work fairly is if the account frozen at 4,678 would not be allowed to post anything new until his or her account were to arrive at or below the 1,000 photo limit imposed on all other free accounts.

From that viewpoint, I can see why freezing accounts was not the first option chosen: sure, it would be easy to freeze the accounts, but then those users would effectively be forced to become inactive. At least by deleting images, everyone will be on a level playing field. There are still many different arguments that could be taken in favor of either direction here, but I don’t feel like exploring them further. I believe I made my main point clear: there’s not really a “good” option, either way.

Of course, the way to circumvent these issues is to join flickr pro – which is very obviously what the new site owners want us to consider. The issue here lies in the fact that flickr pro is pricey. $50 a year isn’t a low figure. There are many other ways and venues to store your photos. But flickr is more than a photo storage site. It’s a place for interaction regarding photos. So in effect, what flickr is asking us is whether or not that interaction – the additional benefit, above just plain photo storage – is worth paying for.

To me, it is. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve made a lot of great friends here, and thoroughly enjoy using this site. This is my hobby, and I don’t want to give it up. I may only have 4,000-something photos posted to the site right now, but you’d be amazed at the amount I have waiting in my archives. I’m not going to let those go to waste. I’m also not interested in uploading them at some different platform. (I’ll get into those reasons a little later on.) flickr is the place for me. I like commenting with y’all, I like viewing and faving y’all’s photos, and – quite frankly – I like the organization aspect of the site. (I tag and geotag my photos. I place my photos into albums. I upload photos in themed “weeks” every Saturday of the year. And, very obviously, I write long descriptions to accompany each image. This is the only site that gives me all of those capabilities, as well as the aforementioned interaction benefits, in one place. If I have to pay for it, so be it. I like it too much to leave.)

What I take issue with is the amount we’re being asked to pay. I’ve seen some others suggest a tiered payment platform, with each tier having a higher photo limit until you get to the $50 tier, which features unlimited photos. That seems like it would be a nice compromise. Compared to the logistics and theoretical issues plaguing the photo limit and deletion problems, too, this seems like one that could easily be implemented. And who knows, perhaps the new site leaders are considering this. In my opinion, it would definitely be worth them looking into. Perhaps a cheaper price, coupled with a photo limit higher than 1,000 but less than unlimited/1TB, would entice many of you into staying around rather than jumping ship.

While I’m on the topic of the pricing of flickr pro: I did want to point out that the price has not, in fact, doubled. I’ve seen that posted a lot, but was never able to confirm it. I finally found a post commenting on the root of this rumor in the help forum: an old rate of $25 had been grandfathered in until this year, when the rate for all pro users became standard at $50 a year. It’s easy to attribute this to all the other major changes announced last week, but in fact, it took effect several months ago.

And speaking of the help forum: there’s a lot of great clarification there, from the flickr and SmugMug teams. You’ve likely heard that only 3% of free accounts have over 1,000 photos, and thus are the ones affected by the deletion program on its way to being implemented. One such clarification makes the important distinction that a majority of that 3% “are largely storing vast quantities of *private* photos, not public ones, [and thus] aren’t contributing to the community but *are* making Flickr more costly to run and harder for us to build great things for you. It’s not fair that loyal Flickr Pro customers are supporting those types of accounts.” This better justifies the reasoning behind the deletion program. Had the original press release made sure to note that a majority of this 3% was using flickr only for its photo storage capabilities, while ignoring its social aspects, I think a lot more users might have been on board with the need to impose the limit. As I noted earlier, there are plenty of places to simply store photos. flickr is a place for doing more than that. So yes, I agree, if there are users out there who are effectively abusing the purpose of the site, I have no problem with asking them to delete their photos or move them elsewhere. (To be clear: this is not saying that I have suddenly reversed course and become okay with deleting everyone else’s photos, be it those who upload only publicly or those who have a mix of public and private photos in their stream. I am only okay with deleting the images of those who are using the site exclusively for private storage and have zero public photos or comments.)

Another, more pertinent staff comment reads, “The problem is that everyone agrees Flickr is staggeringly expensive to operate and that someone needs to pay for it, but nobody wants to be the one to pay. Of course, I understand that, but our job is to strike the right balance to make sure the costs are covered by asking those who get the most value out of Flickr to be a paying member. The best way we have to identify who those people are is based on the number of photos stored with us. Is it perfect? No. But after 5 years of hunting for a better way, I’ve never heard one proposed.

“So, yes, the 3% of members whose usage patterns look for all intents and purposes the most like those who have opted to buy Pro memberships” – that is, the portion of the 3% not abusing the site for private photo storage purposes, I’m assuming – “but who are currently getting it for free, are the ones who are asked to make a choice. We sincerely hope that you’ll agree that you get a tremendous value for your money and that you’ll join the ranks of the Pros. But it’s 100% your choice and if you choose otherwise, it’s your call.”

I can’t confirm yet that I’ll be getting a “tremendous” value for my money, particularly since I imagine I’ll be getting most of the same experience I’ve been getting for free thus far. But I’m willing to give it a shot.

I hope I’m correct in saying that those of you who are leaving are not entirely unwilling to give flickr a shot, but rather are simply unable. Well, “unwilling” might not be the best word for that. I understand that $50 is a lot to pay, and even if you can afford it, you may not want to. But I still do firmly believe that flickr is the only place that provides all of the options I mentioned before in one all-encompassing website. I’ve seen many of you mention moving to Blogger or Facebook as free substitutes for flickr. I’ll support whatever route you choose, but here are my personal cons for each of those sites and why I’m not choosing them:

Blogger: to see images clearly, you must enlarge them and view them separately from main post; Blogger’s platform, I’ve found, is not very user-friendly, especially if you’ve got a lot of photos to upload; there are no comment alerts to let you know when you’ve received a reply; I personally prefer to use my blog to host more long-form, formal posts, as opposed to informal descriptions here on flickr (yes, I consider this volume “informal” XD ) – theoretically, if I wanted to, I could start another blog, but that still doesn’t solve those other issues. (Pros of Blogger include some semblance of organization [not albums, but tags]; the “reading list” feature so you can track new posts of the blogs you follow; and the lack of a need for your viewers to be a member of the site in order to interact with your content.)

Facebook: you must be a member to interact with anyone’s content or receive comment alerts (and I have no desire to become a Facebook member); you also cannot view any comments at all on the mobile version of the site.

Instagram: I haven’t seen many of you say you’re considering this as an option, but in my opinion, insofar as your flickr content is based on photos, descriptions, comments, and faves, this seems like the most similar layout. However, for this site you also must be a member in order to interact, and there are also no organization abilities (to my knowledge).

I follow 100 people, and over this past week I’ve made a list of 35 of you who upload content the most regularly. Of these 35, only 5 have pro already. 14 of the remaining 30 of you have stated your plans for the future. 13 of those 14 are planning on leaving the site. I’ll let that sink in.

If this trend continues – which, unfortunately, it likely will – then there will be a much smaller community here on flickr, once the dust settles. With you all scattering to the four winds, not only will it be impossible to keep up with all of your content in one place as we’ve all been able to do on flickr up to this point, it will also consequently become very difficult to keep up with your content – I barely manage viewing all of your photos as it is currently; I can only imagine how behind I’ll get when I’ve got 30 new blogs to follow! I also hate to think I’ll be losing the ability to easily interact with some of you, for those who choose to go to sites that require memberships. Similarly, I hate to think that some of you might be leaving the community altogether (for example, MJBarnes – who only recently returned after a prolonged absence – has already deleted his page a second time).

So I guess that’s my main overall issue with these changes: that our growing retail community on flickr is effectively being destroyed. In Matt Smith’s farewell speech on “Doctor Who,”* he said, “We all change, when you think about it. We’re all different people, all through our lives; and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” It may be a bit of a stretch, but that’s what I’m imagining with this flickr situation – the site is changing, and, as I discussed earlier, it frankly needed some of these changes in order to remain economically viable. But from the social/interaction aspect, flickr was something, and thanks to the photo cap and (particularly) the paywall, now it’s becoming something else, with the platform we like/want/need ceasing to exist. Really, it’s just a shame.

So, to summarize: I’ll still be here. And I’ll miss all of you, as well.

Uploads continue Saturday.

——————–

* – On an unrelated, but related, note: not only am I losing a bunch of you guys, I’ve also lost “Doctor Who”… my mom and I, who have been watching together since the Matt Smith era, have taken the show off of our TiVo to-do list this season. I like Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor, but I really don’t care for the writing of the show at all. It seems like Chris Chibnall (the new showrunner) is trying to morph the show into a more dramatic character piece, which I don’t like at all. Similarly, there’s a new composer this season as well, and the music – which sets the mood – is no longer as fun as it used to be. “Rosa,” the last episode we watched, actually made me uncomfortable as we watched it. Don’t get me wrong – the episode was beautifully handled, and the fact that its portrayal of the 1960s in southern America was so realistic makes it a powerful teaching tool (one reviewer whose article I read noted that he wouldn’t be surprised if it began being showed in classrooms soon). But that’s just the thing – I watch “Doctor Who” because it’s science fiction, not reality-based. It’s just not the same anymore. Which, again, is a shame.

(c) 2018 Retail Retell
These places are public so these photos are too, but just as I tell where they came from, I’d appreciate if you’d say who 🙂

Posted by Retail Retell on 2018-11-07 06:07:27

Tagged: , geoffrey , toy , box , toys , r , us , kroger , marketplace , hernando , ms , desoto , county , retail , flickr , changes , pro

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Once Upon A Deadpool is a artlessly attention-grabbing move from Marvel‘s quirkiest franchise. Released over the anniversary period, it’s a PG-13 recut of Deadpool 2—a blur whose aboriginal address relied on developed amusement and ultraviolence. The family-friendly adaptation additionally includes some new scenes riffing on The Princess Bride, which led to an abrupt catechism this week: Did Once Upon A Deadpool abduct its abstraction from a fan on Twitter?

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Last year, biographer and artisan M. V. Bramley tweeted an abstraction that sounds uncannily agnate to Once Upon A Deadpool—even bottomward to the detail of recruiting Princess Bride actor Fred Savage for a cameo.

In an annual with io9, Bramley said he came up with the abstraction of using The Princess Bride because it would explain a kid-friendly call of the aforementioned story.

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“I anticipation about The Princess Bride’s framing accessory actuality about censorship (and, of course, Deadpool would be a fan) and the abstraction of Deadpool kidnapping an developed Fred Savage and banishment him to accept to Deadpool apprehend the cine affectionate of absurd me up.”

The aboriginal cheep was acquaint in Dec. 2017, and Once Upon A Deadpool was appear in Sept. 2018. The annual are so agnate that you accept to admiration if addition at Fox saw this cheep (albeit from a actual abstruse Twitter account) and blanket the idea. On the added hand, The Princess Bride is absolutely the affectionate of genre-savvy advertence the Deadpool authorization brand to make, and sometimes abundant minds do anticipate alike.

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Deadpool 2 co-writer Paul Wernick attributed the abstraction to Ryan Reynolds, although the timeline suggests that Reynolds aggregate his abstraction months afterwards Bramley’s tweet. Bramley was understandably afflicted (no one brand the abstraction of actuality acquired by a multimillion dollar cine franchise, afterwards all) but it looks like they’ve appear to some array of agreement. In a cheep acquaint on Nov. 22, he said that he’d announced to Reynolds and the accomplished bearings seemed like a awe-inspiring coincidence. He added that he wasn’t planning to sue anyone affiliated to the movie, and he’s more “amused/confused” than angry.

Will this be abundant to lay the appropriation rumors to rest? It’s clearly abundant for Bramley, but we won’t be afraid to see some cabal theories amble on. Those two cine pitches are around identical, afterwards all.

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Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a agents biographer at the Daily Dot, accoutrement beatnik ability and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she additionally appears as a blur and TV analyzer on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop ability podcast Overinvested.

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