ABC News: Six in 10 See CIA Actions as Justified As Many Question Committee Report.
US News: Cow Bolts Butcher Shop, Police Give Chase.
Emblematic of today’s police response. You’re telling me that, in *Idaho*, they couldn’t find a single cowboy with roping skills? Apparently the only other option is ... as usual ... shoot to kill.
Vox: Bill Cosby’s wife invoked the Rolling Stone sexual assault story to defend him.
This just gets more distasteful by the hour. First, he pulls the race card (“the black media needs to stay neutral”); now she pulls the “rape allegation” card.
NY Times: How to Survive a Journalistic Disaster 101.
NY Times: Rolling Stone Cites Doubts on Its Story of Gang Rape.
“We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.” Oh, that’s not going to help now. Lawsuits will fly. Previously here.
Later: Apparently WaPo is spearheading looking into the details.
Vox: Ferguson, explained in 7 sentences.
Hmmm. We in NM have a different view.
Do you remember James Boyd? No? Shame on you. March of this year. He was shot because he was ... wait for it ... illegally camping. Officers flash-banged him as he turned his back to pack his things, shot him three times in the back at close range with rifles (not handguns) ... and while he was lying incapacitated, tasered him, pummelled him with beanbags shot from shotguns, let a police dog chew on him a bit, then handcuffed him while he gasped for breath from a bullet-induced pneumothorax [one lung was perforated]. He died the next day after having his arm amputated from the bullet damage. This man was cornered and killed like an animal in its lair.
Albuquerque had protests, too. With militarized equipment. No indictments. Why no great national outcry for him? No multi-city demonstrations?
He was just a homeless mentally-incapacitated white man. A troublesome nutjob noone really cared for anyway. Dime a dozen. Done away with like a stray cur.
Turns out now, a harbinger. The ‘canary in the coal mine’ that noone paid attention to. Which is why I largely agree with John McWhorter.
My intention is not to minimize the issue of race relations or cultural issues in Ferguson. Brown certainly didn’t deserve to die. My point is, neither did Boyd. You can hang ‘race’ on Brown, ‘lack of mental heath care services’ on Boyd, and let the righteous indignation flow long. I feel those well-worn and little-cured serious issues are obscuring the most dangerous aspect of these events:
The problem of disproportionate police response.
Ask yourself: How much greater would the outrage be, if Brown had been treated as Boyd was? How many would be screaming about race and how this kind of treatment ‘only happens to minorities’? If this had been publicized about Brown’s shooting and not Boyd’s?
Everyone would be livid, urban areas would be burning, and nothing positive would ever come of it. Righteous indignation would translate to violence, and more would die. Police procedure would be militarized further.
[Which, I honestly wonder if that isn’t the point of fanning the flames of ‘race’ alone. Further militarization. Escalating to where such materiel is necessary. There’s a very nefarious feel to how this is all playing out.]
The irony is, Boyd *was* a minority. A minority noone really gives a flying flip about. The mentally-ill don’t have the ability to organize. They have no great orators to capture the 24/7 news cycle. Which makes the fact that Boyd’s needless death is largely forgotten even more chilling. Most minorities have voice, and wide support. But some don’t. Who defends them?
So my contention is, filtering the shooting of Brown through race alone is obscuring most of the real problem here; missing the forest for the tree.
These two men, Brown and Boyd, are victims of police procedures that increasingly see the binary of life/death as the only solution to each and every problem. You don’t need race or mental status to clearly see what happened in both places. The range of possible responses has narrowed ridiculously, inhumanely. Wilson could have let Brown walk away, even after the alleged exchange, and waited for backup. Boyd could have been neutralized by simply waiting him out - crazy as he was, he’d have to sleep sometime.
But no, it seems once you’ve engaged, you must push an incident to an immediate solution - lethal or not. The officer has the legal right to play God - to choose life and death for others. It’s a mighty responsibility that is little appreciated. A responsibility that demands recognition of the fact there are not two responses, a lethal one for minorities, nonlethal for others. All lives should be equal, without regard for skin color, mental or economic status.
Change is necessary, before another such tragedy occurs. Police procedure needs to be looked at from the Federal level, and the use of lethal response needs to be spelled out in unequivocal language. Police need a range of responses with logical escalation steps that are clearly understood. We as citizens should be educated on what to expect in certain encounters, and how to respond. What our rights are, and how existing rights will not be impinged. We, the public, have to be able to stick our noses into police training procedures and judge for ourselves.
Will it happen? Doubtful. But it needs to. Doing so will help more than just one minority - many are at risk - and that’s the bigger picture here that everyone’s missing. Clear procedures would protect law enforcement too. Everyone would benefit.
Four brief tangents:
One. I myself got pulled over the other day. The officer unclipped their holster, and tapped on my driver window with hand on .40 automatic. I’m white ... the problem was an obscured license plate. This is considered a proper traffic stop now? Guilty until proven innocent? That’s military thinking. Wasn’t that way, last time I was pulled over. I can’t really ignore what that automatic was telling me, inches from my left ear. If I’d tried anything even close to what Michael Brown allegedly did? I’d be taking a dirt nap - no minority required. All I’d have had to do is make some sort of fast movement with an arm, and no grand jury in the US would ever say that the officer didn’t need to self-defend. “I felt threatened” is the armor of the officer, and has been for decades. [Side note: Anyone you read who was surprised by the Ferguson verdict - erase them from your feed. They’re either dangerously ignorant of jurisprudence in America, or trying to manipulate your opinion.]
Two. The Brown family has been remarkably level headed, graceful in the face of devastating loss ... and I completely agree with their plea for body-cameras on officers. Note, however, that body cameras did not save James Boyd. Nor did it trigger any indictments. But it’s a step. Even if symbolic, it’s a step that needs to be taken. It will have a calming effect on encounters.
Three. It is worth learning about the MRAP vehicles that are being practically given away to forces across the country. Originally designed for the bush war in Rhodesia, they found a purpose in Iraq. We built thousands of them, only to find the center of gravity was too high (among many other weaknesses). Now our police get to play ‘army man’ with flawed military cast-offs. The reason for giving them to police forces? Best I can find in Google, some feel that with veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, these vets understand how to build and use IED’s. In other words ... the reason these are being given to domestic police forces is because we’re afraid of our own ‘patriots’. I kid you not.
Four. During the first Gulf War, I think it was President Bush (I) who made the differentiation between military and police work very clear. He did not wish to take Baghdad because soldiers are trained to kill, and police are trained to arrest. It would have been a disaster to have soldiers operating in an urban environment. One guess why I brought up that differentation, underneath a tangent about military vehicles being sold to domestic police. [My memory’s hazy on this attribution, but the ethic remains no matter the sourcing.]
Later: Dear God. Not even a warning, it seems.
Even later: I give up.
Youtube: Antares rocket explosion from the launch pad.
My ears hurt, even with the sound turned down.
CJR: Texas reporters fight for access to fracking facts.
Let some sun shine in. To me, this policy bespeaks a great deal of fear.
Atlas: A new ‘craft and curio’ magazine.
Can someone please inform the media there’s no such thing as a cell *tower* in an airplane?
Cell tech, yes. A tower, no. Ridiculous headlines. And everyone’s doing it.
Outside: Does The Wild Truth Tell the True Story of Chris McCandless?
Reuters: Germany’s top publisher bows to Google in news licensing row.
Interesting. I assume the publisher makes money from ad-clicks? There’s no connection made here between visitors from Google and actual revenue. I’d rather see *that* impact.
NY Times: Toxic Partisanship? Bill Clinton Says He Had It Worse, Yet Got Things Done.
For those who lived through it, yes - Bill had it worse. Much worse. The Fairness Doctrine was shredded shortly before, and talk radio had just hit its stride. The wave of conservative partisanship (Gingrich’s GOPAC memo, that document and philosophy that shaped our modern news media and political culture) was to hit hard in the run-up to the ‘94 Congressional elections. These wolverines didn’t just go after Bill, but Hillary as well. Turning on the radio took a great deal of grit and bravery, given the millions of cubic feet of methane being generated.
Obama is the butt of racist attacks (veiled and otherwise), even I look askance at his lack of experience prior to the Presidency ... but the level is dialed down significantly in comparison. Who could forget the weeks of Republican ravings over the Vince Foster suicide? And the insinuations that Hillary and Foster had an affair, and that she offed him? Pound a conspiracy theory hard enough on radio in multiple markets, people start to accept it.
The conservatives hated Clinton because he was the most Centrist Democrat to ever win the Party’s nomination. Even longtime Dems were concerned. The Repubs feared losing a portion of their Southern/Midwestern bloc, as well as corporate donors ... feared it so, they pulled out every stop. Satan and Lilith were in the White House!
I suppose this is part of growing older. Seeing the facts as we lived them get challenged, watered down into a haze of ... ‘history.’
CJR: How do we know what we know about #Gamergate?
“The problem is that when anybody can tweet under the Gamergate hashtag, and no one wants to take responsibility for the movement, the media doesn’t know what to believe.” The media can’t pin down a crowdsourced gripe.
Planet Princeton: Princeton Police and Health Department Enforcing Quarantine of NBC Crew.
“Snyderman and two crew members were quarantined Friday night after the New Jersey Health Department has issued a mandatory quarantine order. The mandatory order was issued after a voluntary 21-day isolation agreement was violated.” Journalists being stupid.
Science of Us: Ebola Fears Are Triggering Mass Hypochondria.
“We tend to think of hypochondriacs as the irrational individuals who, after spending entirely too much time on WebMD, become convinced that a minor headache means a brain tumor, or that a lingering cough means lung cancer. But that anxiety and fear some of us are having over catching Ebola (a highly unlikely health outcome)? That’s hypochondria, too ...” The media is exacerbating this. Too much information can be worse than too little.
CJR: Reporters struggle to stay safe covering Ebola.
“Really, if you’re going anywhere that requires personal protective equipment, you need to be under the supervision of someone who knows what he or she is doing. Proper removal requires about 20 sequential steps, with spraying and hand washing throughout.” In which we may see the act of feeding the 24/7 cable news behemoth is a suicide that involuntarily takes others along for the ride. Freelance journalists are free to go just about anywhere; the question is, should they? In this case, their barebones modus operandi and ill-preparedness can kill innocents.
If I hear one more newscaster ...
... trying to sew fear-and-panic over ‘the man in Dallas with a bowler’, I’m gonna implode. I know you want to be all PC and all, newsies, but if you can’t get the pronunciation correct, don’t even try. Most tourists are calling it eee-BOW-lah anyway.
Every time newscasters do it, I picture John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks.
Hollywood Reporter: Were ‘Longmire’ Viewers Too Long in the Tooth to Matter?
“Every second and a half an American turns 50, which means that in a very short time, we will be the largest demographic in the country — and with our longer life spans, we’re not going anywhere. It also just so happens that 50-plus-ers account for of 75% of disposable income in America.”
SF Gate: Macworld kills print edition amid layoffs at IDG.
A lot of good journalists got laid off. I suppose we’ll be treated to even more ‘autoplay’ videos now. I suspect this is another feed destined to be culled ...
Archaeology News Network: ‘God’ particle could destroy Universe, warns Stephen Hawking.
Panicked? Don’t be. “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become megastable at energies above 100bn giga-electron-volts (GeV). [snip] A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.’” Watch how many media organizations sensationalize this one.
Aeon: The warped world of 1950s marriage counselling.
“We’re used to thinking of the 1950s ‘housewife’ as a vague, happy caricature on gift-shop mugs and postcards – vacuuming in pearls, offering a post-work martini to the returning husband. In its intimate individual details, this advice column resurrects a sharper history, showing the array of cruelties that this kind of marriage could entail, the number of wives who resisted their roles, and the way that mainstream culture tried to put them in their place.” Hence “mother’s little helpers.” A wife not far down the street used to get cases of Johnny Walker Red delivered weekly. When she pulled out of the driveway, we all knew to hide behind something substantial.
Medium: Last Call. (For print newspapers, that is.)
“Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade.” A must-read. Via George Kelly on G+.
Slate: Ferguson, Missouri photos - Tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized police force.
Hmmm. Then there’s Tom Tomorrow, hitting it on the head as usual. Militarizing police forces *is* a slippery-slope situation. I went in search of guidelines, perhaps Federal ones ... but none seem to exist. With all the surplus weaponry ending up in nonmilitary hands, Federal guidelines are overdue. Mr Obama - Congress - can you do something about this, please?
Too many police today are responding with a video-game-like kill-reflex; the reflex that used to be the lone purvue of the trained soldier. Killing should not be the first response of a police officer. Training high-powered rifles on protestors by itself is a terrible act of aggression.
I’ll say it again: Have we forgotten the ‘60’s?
Later: See who the cops are targeting. It would be interesting to see where Homeland Security’s money’s gone ... more to areas with distinct segregation among the populations? One wonders. Probably only ProPublica would contemplate such a report. Via Dan Lyke (Flutterby) on FB.
NY Times: A Resurgence in Inequality and Its Effects on Culture.
“What makes the middlebrows so contemptible? Woolf’s tautological response is their very middleness, their inability to be either one thing or another, and their habit of ‘indistinguishably and rather nastily’ mixing up art and life (the pure, complementary pursuits of the high and the low) with things like ‘money, fame, power or prestige.’” Perhaps, but who wants to be a lowbrow ‘dancing monkey’ for the higbrows? The ‘affinity’ of the high and low could only be expressed in such terms by the highbrow urbanity of the NY Times; happy to look down upon their readership.