March 23, 2013
A young British man has been convicted of manslaughter after killing a gay teen by setting him on fire.
The BBC reports that 20-year-old Jordan Sheard has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for the death of Steven Simpson after pleading guilty to manslaughter charges. Simpson, 18, died one day after sustaining “significant burns” in June 2012, according to the report.
Simpson had Asperger’s syndrome, a speech impairment and epilepsy, the Yorkshire Post noted. The teen had reportedly been dared to strip down to his underpants before being doused in tanning oil, after which Sheard set him aflame at the party. Other reports said that anti-gay messages, including “gay boy” and “I love d*ck,” had been found scrawled across Simpson’s body.
Detective Sean Middleton described Simpson to the BBC as “a very caring and likeable young man” and a “generous spirit was taken advantage of and a single thoughtless act resulted in his death.”
A number of local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates said they believed Sheard’s prison term to be too lenient, but prosecuting attorney Tim Warburton nonetheless told The Star that the sentence was “within the range of what would be expected had it been considered a hate crime,” and that it would not be appealed.
“This was a cruel case of bullying based on Steven’s sexuality and disability,” Warburton is quoted as saying. “While we accept Jordan did not intend to kill Steven, his actions did lead to his death.”
Meanwhile, Sheard’s attorney said his client had been “deeply and significantly affected by what he has done and the tragic consequences that ensued,” which describing Simpson’s death as a “stupid prank that went wrong in a bad way,” the Daily Mail noted.
Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
[Photo: Steven Simpson.]
This is fucking awful and I hope at the very least that everyone online sees this and it haunts this murderous hateful asshole forever until someone runs him over.
I’m sharing for awareness and you should too. This is tragic. We need to look out for each other.
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I really enjoyed talking to Don Fanelli about all my failures. What a trip down memory lane! Fair warning: I clear my throat 100 times. (sorry)
Playtime is over for Dora in our 3-part adventure series!
I directed and edited this Dora The Explorer 3 part web series (starring Ariel Winter from Modern Family!) and part 1 is out today! Give it a watch and let me know what you think. A lot of people worked super hard on this and I’m really happy with how it turned out. So big thanks to Ben, Patrick, David, Hesley, Carl, William, Alisha, Kat,Chance, Mike, Josh, and more!
More reason to love my job and the people I work with.
Josh Ruben is an actor, writer and director at CollegeHumor. He’s a member of the UCB sketch team Onassis and a co-founder of the production company J+V Films.
Watch Josh chat with Batman, I mean, Michael Keaton.
Follow Josh on Twitter here.
Thanks Alex Mann & team! this was fun. Also why didn’t anyone tell me I have “dead eyes”?
Here’s the trailer debut of our short film, Ollie, starring Henry Zebrowski. Shot and executive produced by Vincent Peone, written and directed by Josh Ruben.
Special thanks to editors Michael Schaubach and Ralph Arend as well as producing team Sam Marine and Andy Archer without whom this would not be possible. Please share it.
Big day for Vince and I, heading to SXSW and debuting the trailer for our first short film. Please share it!! Original soundtrack by my sis, Rachael Yamagata!
Directing a Kellogg’s commercial in Wilmington SELFIE!
We live in a world capable, in principle, of providing a diverse and healthy diet for all, and yet one quarter of its people suffer from frequent hunger and ill health generated by a diet that is poor in quantity or quality or both. Another quarter of the world’s population eats too much food, food that is often heavy with calories and low on nutrients (colloquially called ‘junk food’). This quarter of the world’s population risks diabetes and all of the other chronic illnesses generated by obesity. In Mexico, for example, 14 per cent of the population have diabetes, and in India, 11 per cent of city-dwellers over 15. In the US it has been estimated that one-third of the children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes—a truly sad prospect, given that most of this is entirely preventable. Study after study in recent years has come to the conclusion that the single most important factor in human health is diet, and diet is something we can shape.
Cheap food is important to capitalism because it allows wages to be lower (and thus profits to be higher) and yet leave workers with more disposable income available to buy other commodities. For these and other reasons, early in the history of capitalism, the food system became tied to colonialism, where various forms of forced or semi-forced labour were common. After the civil war ended slavery in the US, the domestically-produced food system came to rest primarily on the family farm. But after the Second World War the increasing mechanization and chemicalisation of agriculture favoured larger farms. In the early 1970s the US Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz got Congress to pass a programme of subsidies that rewarded high yields. As a result, the larger the farm and the higher the yield, the larger became the subsidy. Nearly all the subsidies went to large farms, and for a few basic crops: tobacco, cotton, corn, wheat, and eventually soy. Moreover the large farms that could benefit the most from mechanization and chemicalisation became increasingly subservient to the gigantic corporations that supplied the inputs and bought the outputs of these factory farms.
This situation remains essentially unchanged today. In 2005 alone the US government spent over $20 billion in agricultural subsidies (46 per cent of this went for corn production, 23 per cent for cotton, 10 per cent for wheat, and 6 per cent for soybeans). The largest 10 per cent of the farms got 72 per cent of the subsidies and 60 per cent of all farms got no subsidy at all. For the most part, fruit and vegetable crops received no subsidies, and the same could be said for most small and medium sized farms. In short, the subsidy program rewards the large yields that result from very large, highly industrialized farms.
Today, while there are still many family farms in the US, the older mixed family farm that utilized manure from its animals to fertilize the land, and practised crop rotation and other techniques to control pests, has been largely wiped out. The giant capitalist farm of today is dependent on cheap oil and government subsidies. David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University and a globally recognized expert on food systems and energy, has argued that if the entire world adopted the American food system, all known sources of fossil fuel would be exhausted in seven years. At the same time, utilizing such huge amounts of petroleum-based chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) would not only contribute enormously to global warming, but also would make our toxic environment even more toxic.
In this short essay most of my examples come from the US, because, as the most hegemonic capitalist power in the world, it has done the most to shape the global food system. But I don’t want to give the impression that there is one tightly integrated capitalist world food system. Even in the US, capitalism has not entirely subsumed the whole food system, and while there are few places in the world untouched by capitalism, its degree of hegemony may vary a great deal. Still, up to the present, capitalism has been the single strongest force shaping the global food system, and much of that shaping power has flowed outward from the US.
It is scandalous that in the academic world many professors of economics still teach the doctrine of consumer sovereignty when it is so clear that on the contrary, corporations are the far greater sovereign force.
Easy, sad, and true
Turned Geoffrey Arend into many different characters for this music video.
President Merkin Muffley, Dr. Strangelove, Turgidson, and Starhole…yup.
“WAKE UP AND SCREAM”
Well, what more can be said…WE REMADE THE WAR ROOM FROM DR. STRANGELOVE. Watch Kubrick’s lost pie fight scene for the first time!
This video was a dream to shoot for Starhole’s Geoffrey Arend, with director Ralph Arend, producer Josh Ruben, art director Andy Myers, set builder Bennett Wilson, makeup artist Hana El-Assad, Corey Fontana, Richard Walker, Kevin Olken Henthorn, Patrick Cassels, and countless other pros. Full creds listed below vid.
One year later, one of the most ambitious videos I’ve ever produced (next to this one) is released. Enjoy!
Rejected Pitches takes on the Oscars. And honestly, they’ve never been so convincing.
Let them tell you why you shouldn’t waste your time watching the so called “best” movies of the year. Also, Fred Armisen.
I make a little cameo as David O. Russell in this. Doing a Rejected Pitches was a dream come true!