The New Yorker: Why Jihadists Write Poetry.
“It may seem curious that some of the most wanted men in the world should take the time to fashion poems in classical metres and monorhyme — far easier to do in Arabic than in English, but something that still requires practice. And these are only the most obvious signs of the jihadis’ dedication to form.” Twisting this a bit (my nature), I wondered. And looked. Our Founding Fathers weren’t much for poetry. GW left two. TJ left two. Jemmy Madison [A good Princetonian student] showed a bit more spirit.
The Atlantic: Patagonia’s Human Trafficking Problem.
“... the findings of Patagonia’s audits take on a different cast, a sign not of corporate hypocrisy, but of the near impossibility of treating workers well at every step in the production process, even when a company is genuine in its desire to do so.” Impossibility? A bit far-reaching, that. You don’t have to source overseas; but then your pricing tiers would rise. There are a ton of smaller manufacturers all over the US now, doing all kinds of similar things ... though not ramping up to the huge scale of a Patagonia.
Register.UK: FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What’s that?
MessyNessyChic: A Forbidden No Man’s Land Poisoned by War.
Before the President or Congress marches off to war again they should view — and contemplate — this.
Guardian.UK: Denton, Texas, banned fracking last year - then the frackers fought back.
“Oil and gas is allowed in every zone [in Denton, yet] bakeries aren’t allowed in every zone because there’s a bit of morning truck traffic.” I suppose they could hire some biker toughs from Waco. The state isn’t going to lift a finger.
BBC: Prince Charles visits Lord Mountbatten 1979 IRA murder site.
Shaking hands with Gerry Adams. Surprised he could do it. Trivia: the same man who embalmed Lord Mountbatten, also embalmed King George VI, Winston Churchill, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix and Bon Scott, among others. Amazing where a hyperlink will take you.
The Atlantic: Many Americans Still Aren’t Spending.
“Volatility—especially for month-to-month earnings and consumption — continues to plague American families. Nearly half of respondents reported income swings of more than 30 percent on a month-to-month basis, and more than half of respondents said that their spending shifted by 30 percent or more in an attempt to balance budgets — with earners at opposite ends of the economic ladder seeing the most significant monthly variations.”
NPR: Cherokee Chief John Ross Is The Unsung Hero Of ‘Jacksonland’.
Which is why you never give a $20 bill in change to a Cherokee (Jackson is on the bill). The Cherokee went as far as anyone could to assimilate into white society, and were treated as chattel. A powerful lesson there. If you ever get the chance, visit New Echota in Georgia. Watch the video, when you have an opportunity.
BBC: Obama restricts ‘military’ gear going to police.
Militarization of police has not made us safer. From my reading, available statistics post-9/11 show very little improvement in murder rates, and surprising increases in drug offenses. CJR needs to pull some stats and do an in-depth report.
Tangential: Why did police forces stick with revolvers for so long? Glock showed up in the US in 1988. Anyone my age will remember the fits over “plastic guns” ... the biggest complainers (law enforcement) became the biggest purchasers, ironically.
Hyperallergic: Woman Found Guilty of Criminal Harassment for Instagramming Street Art.
Shouldn’t they go after the street artist instead?
CJR: The media’s reaction to Seymour Hersh’s bin Laden scoop has been disgraceful.
“Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims — even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident. Even less attention has been paid to the little follow-up reporting that we did get, which revealed that the CIA likely lied about its role in finding bin Laden, which it used to justify torture to the public.”
Techdirt: Looks Like CIA’s ‘Torture Revealed Osama’s Courier’ Story Now Even More False.
The machinations this story points to, are not pretty.
Mashable: Another major earthquake strikes Nepal.
Kathmandu can’t catch a break.
London Review of Books: Seymour M. Hersh · The Killing of Osama bin Laden.
“High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no.” People, you need to read this one.
Day later: The expected caveats; no deal-breakers.
Dissent: The Long Shadow of Neoconservatism.
“... American inattention to or incomprehension of the likely consequences of ‘decapitating’ the old regime stemmed directly from the fateful mindset that had guided war thinking from the start. American violence, in this view, simply offered a means to universally held, life-giving values that Iraqis, given the chance, would immediately embrace. Confronted with a reality that everywhere flew in the face of that assumption, proponents of the invasion took increasingly outlandish positions as to what was necessary to realize the promises of regime change.”
Vox: How do police departments train cops how to use force?
Smithsonian: The Media Needs a History Lesson When Addressing Civic Unrest.
“... I think the way the media is depicting Baltimore, especially, is as if the choice is either don’t protest, which may lead to violence, or accept the lot. I mean part of the notion of calling people thugs is painting a lot of people with a broad brush and I think that’s a challenging thing to do.”
NPR: Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover.
When foil hats organize. Waste of taxpayer dollars, if you ask me. The TX State Guard is tasked mostly with emergency situation management these days. Purely a bit of political sideshow to make a niche happy.
Guardian.UK: Psychologists met in secret with Bush officials to help justify torture.
“Based on an analysis of more than 600 newly disclosed emails, the report found that the APA coordinated with Bush-era government officials – namely in the CIA, White House and Department of Defense – to help ethically justify the interrogation policy in 2004 and 2005, when the program came under increased scrutiny for prisoner abuse by US military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.” I believe we knew a few individual psychologists had been hired, but not an entire organization.
In These Times: Black Faces in High Places Haven’t Helped Average Black People.
“Cities have been thrust into competition with each other to attract capital, resulting in a race to the bottom to cut taxes and essentially shove out those in need of social services. Focusing on individual failure and lapsed morality (rather than structural inequities) justifies the budget cuts and shrinking of the public sphere that these Black political elites are charged with carrying out.” Ms Taylor is an assistant professor at Princeton University.
NY Times: As Human Crisis Takes Priority After Quake, a Nation’s Treasures Become Its Scrap.
CNN: When you’re the only white person in the room.
From last year. I’m reminded - by the pious outcries from many who are distant from the conflicts - of an Omaha [native] saying: “It is easy to be brave from a distance.” I think we need to do a whole lot less talking, and do a whole lot more listening. And reading. Try these: one, two, three. Extend that with a search on “Baltimore Slums”.
Later: And this kind of crap is not helpful.
Dissent: A Conservative Case for the Welfare State.
“Today’s conservatives often suggest that the American welfare state is alien to the American experience, imposed on the nation during a particularly vulnerable time in its history by a quasi-dictatorial Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
SF New Mexican: Adam Sandler film angers Native American actors, who walked off set.
Judging third-hand; so I shouldn’t comment. They were filming just down the way, at the long downhill RR bend to Lamy on 285. I didn’t get to see if they’d shipped in a vintage locomotive ... the site had two sinister-looking State police vehicles in attendance. I figured if I whipped out my DSLR with long black telephoto, I’d get nailed.
Guardian.UK: Capitol-bound gyrocopter pilot ‘should have been blown out of the air’.
Alas, it’s not just paranoia. Spend two minutes thinking about what could be carried aboard a small gyrocopter [some can carry two, so you’re looking at 150-250 pound payload in addition to pilot], you’ll know what I mean. As I’ve expressed previously, I could wish this guy had found a more benign method for registering his disapproval. Yet, given the focus on drones, these actions may be fortuitous in sealing off a blind spot.