Poor Michael Brown was videotaped by a surveillance camera robbing a convenience store, shortly before he was shot by police.
Armed & Dangerous agrees with the general narrative contending that events in Ferguson, Missouri show that American police use too much military equipment and are ill-advisedly trained to employ military tactics, but –beyond all that– he feels obliged to defend police against knee-jerk accusations of racism.
[The] 2% [of the US population composed of black males aged 15 to 25] is responsible for almost all of 52% of U.S. homicides. Or, to put it differently, by these figures a young black or “mixed” male is roughly 26 times more likely to be a homicidal threat than a random person outside that category – older or younger blacks, whites, hispanics, females, whatever. If the young male is unambiguously black that figure goes up, about doubling.
26 times more likely. That’s a lot. It means that even given very forgiving assumptions about differential rates of conviction and other factors we probably still have a difference in propensity to homicide (and other violent crimes for which its rates are an index, including rape, armed robbery, and hot burglary) of around 20:1. That’s being very generous, assuming that cumulative errors have thrown my calculations are off by up to a factor of 6 in the direction unfavorable to my argument.
Now suppose you’re a cop. Your job rubs your nose in the reality behind crime statistics. What you’re going to see on the streets every day is that random black male youths are roughly 20 times more likely to be dangerous to you – and to other civilians – than anyone who isn’t a random black male youth.
Any cop who treated members of a group with a factor 20 greater threat level than population baseline “equally” would be crazy. He wouldn’t be doing his job; he’d be jeopardizing the civil peace by inaction.
Yeah, my all means let’s demilitarize the police. But let’s also stop screaming “racism” when, by the numbers, the bad shit that goes down with black male youths reflects a cop’s rational fear of that particular demographic – and not racism against blacks in general.
Business Insider describes one of the North American finds strikingly resembling Solutrean tools from Western Europe, which suggest the possibility of some Paleolithic settlement of North America from Europe.
Most researchers believe the first Americans crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia about 15,000 years ago and quickly colonized North America. Artifacts from these ancient settlers, dubbed the Clovis culture after one of their iconic archaeological sites in Clovis, New Mexico, have been found from Canada to the edges of North America.
But in 1974, a small wooden scallop trawler was dredging the seafloor, about 230 feet (70 meters) below the sea surface and nearly 60 miles (100 kilometers) off the coastline in the Chesapeake Bay.
“They hit a snag, or a hang, as they like to say, which meant that something pretty heavy was in their net,” said Dennis Stanford, an archaeologist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who has analyzed the find.
When they pulled up their net, they found the partial skull of a mastodon, a distant cousin of the woolly mammoth that began its slide into extinction about 12,000 years ago, Stanford said. The fishermen also noticed a flaked blade made of a volcanic rock called rhyolite.
The fisherman couldn’t lug the skull back to shore in their tiny wooden boat, so they sawed off the tusks and teeth, tossed the rest overboard and eventually handed portions to the crew as souvenirs. Capt. Thurston Shawn gave the remaining tusk portions, teeth and knife to a relative, who donated the remains to Gwynn’s Island Museum in Virginia. There they sat, unnoticed, for decades.
But while doing his doctoral dissertation, Darrin Lowery, a geologist at the University of Delaware, noticed the teeth and the tusk at the museum. …
By measuring the fraction of radioactive carbon isotopes (elements of carbon with different numbers of neutrons), the team found that the mastodon tusk was more than 22,000 years old.
There was no way to date the blade precisely, but the deft flint-knapping technique used to make it was similar to that found in Solutrean tools, which were made in Europe between 22,000 and 17,000 years ago.
Melting glaciers raised sea levels and submerged that area of the continental shelf about 14,000 years ago, so the knife must have been at least that old, Stanford added.
In addition, both pieces showed characteristic weathering that indicated they were exposed to the air for a while and then submerged in a saltwater marsh, before finally being buried in seawater.
That finding suggested that the two artifacts were possibly from the same environment — such as the marshes found between sand dunes that are often set back from the seashore. That would have been a perfect place for mastodons to find food, Stanford said.
“They like to chew on bushes and more rough shrubbery,” Stanford said.
To Stanford, Lowery and their colleagues, the discoveries suggest that people lived along the East Coast more than 14,000 years ago — potentially thousands of years before the Clovis culture emerged there. These first American colonizers may have even crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, Stanford said.
The Eastern elk subspecies existed in North America until 1877, when the last known specimen was shot in Pennsylvania. It was noted by scientists as being much larger than the elk species of today, boasting racks as long as six feet in length. Eastern bull elk could stand as tall as 60 inches at the shoulder and weigh more than a thousand pounds.
Not everyone believes they are totally extinct, however. It is suspected that some form of the elk subspecies still lives on—in New Zealand. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt gifted a small herd of elk to New Zealand in 1905. Experts believe that the herd included several individuals of Eastern elk, which may have eventually begun breeding with local animals.
Andrew Sullivan’s little munchkins are manning his blog while the great poof vacations on the Cape. Phoebe Maltz Bovy (who actually gets a byline — you go, girl!) yesterday identified two pieces so notable for thought crime that they may not be quoted or linked.
Piece 1 was a rant contending that “Transphobia is Perfectly Normal” by Gavin MacInnes at Thought Catalog. Bovy says:
I tend to agree with Allen, who writes:
I refuse to link to it—that’s how bad it is. McInnes willfully misgenders all transgender people, Janet Mock included, while pathologizing them as “nuts” and fixating at great length on the state of their genitals. It’s repulsive.
McInnes’ piece doesn’t deserve a formal response.
Yep. McInnes does not simply make an argument about gender identity that falls outside conventional liberal (and, as Allen notes, medical) norms. Such an argument might be buried below what it is he did write, but it’s hard to say, given the muck surrounding any possible substance. I’m also not keen to drive traffic to something odious…
Actually, his editorial is pretty short, and most of it consists of intentionally-colorful-and colloquial rhetoric. But MacInnes does really make one serious argument: the argument that, when you play along with the particular fantasy and encourage all this, you are helping psychologically defective people harm themselves. Quote:
By pretending this is all perfectly sane, you are enabling these poor bastards to mutilate themselves. This insane war on pronouns is about telling people what to do. It may empower you to shut down a school’s computer system because they phrased your gender wrong, but that’s just a game to you. To them, it’s a life-changing event that fucks them up. To fight against transphobia is to justify trannies. To justify trannies is to allow mentally ill people to mutilate themselves. When your actions are getting people mutilated, you’re at war with them.
The other case of forbidden speech was an August 1 editorial in the Times of Israel (republished here) by Jochanan Gordon, titled “When Genocide is Permissible.”
Gordon’s editorial was quickly removed from the Times of Israel web-site and, a bit later, also taken down from The Five Towns Jewish Times web-site with this explanation:
An article that was posted earlier today on our website dealt with the question of genocide in a most irresponsible fashion. We reject any such notion or discussion associated with even entertaining the possibility of such an unacceptable idea.
The piece should have been rejected out of hand by editors but escaped their proper attention. We reject such a suggestion unequivocally and apologize for the error.
In reality, though, Gordon’s sin consists entirely of his use of the word “genocide.” Gordon was really trying to justify the “disproportionate” Israeli response to Hamas’s rocket attacks. He implicitly (and most unwisely) accepts the accusation that what Israel has been doing in Gaza is a kind of genocide, and then argues that Israel is justified by its right of self defense. He never actually advocates real genocide. He just agrees to term what Israel is already doing “genocide,” and contends that Israel’s actions are necessary and ought to continue. He should have used a different word.
Jim Treacher reports that thanks to Matthew Colbert: “Now You Can Bring The Stifling Joylessness Of Modern Political Life To The Grocery Store.”
Are you worried that at some point in your day, you might unknowingly make a personal decision untainted by any political considerations whatsoever? Afraid that a single penny of your hard-earned money* might go toward someone who doesn’t share your views of the world?
Enter Matthew Colbert, a former campaign and Hill staffer, who has built a new app for smartphones that allows users to scan the barcode of products in the grocery store and immediately find out what political party the company and its employees support…
The app, based on data from Center for Responsive Politics, the Sunlight Foundation and the Institute for State Money in Politics, is the first rollout from Colbert’s new company, “Spend consciously.” It’s [sic] tagline: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend how you believed?”
The goal of the company, he said, is make “every day Election Day” through “spending choices.”
Daniel McCarthy, over at the American Conservative, argues that if you want liberalism and democracy, you are going to need an Empire capable of “by upholding a relatively un-Hobbesian global security environment.”
In the 19th century, the United States enjoyed the advantages of an international security environment propitious to liberalism and democracy without having to incur the costs of empire necessary to sustain those conditions. America could be liberal without having to be imperial—although the Indians, Mexicans, and Filipinos might well disagree. Beginning with World War II, however, if America wished to remain liberal and democratic, it would have to become imperial in many of the ways Britain had been—including playing a leading role in Europe and on the oceans. Indeed, America would have to do much of what the British Empire had done in the previous century on an even larger scale.
The efflorescence of liberal democracy in the latter half of the 20th century—the growth of international trade and support for democracy and human rights to the point where the total package appeared to be the “End of History”—was not a spontaneous, natural development. It was driven by U.S. prestige and power. Germany is now deeply committed to political liberalism, and Japan may in some respects be more consumerist than the U.S. itself. But these states were, of course, remade by the U.S. after World War II.
This is not to say there aren’t genuinely local traditions of liberalism or democracy to be found among America’s allies, nor that American arms can simply transform any other kind of regime into a liberal and democratic one: the apparent success of nation-building in Japan and Germany owed as much to the threat that the Soviet Union posed to those states as to anything America did. The Germans and Japanese had the most urgent incentive imaginable to make their newly liberal and democratic constitutions work—because aligning with the U.S. was the only insurance they could buy against being annexed by the Soviet empire instead.
There is a crucial difference between the Napoleonic, land-empire mentality that wants to revolutionize other states—a mentality taken to extremes by the Soviets and exhibited with considerable fervor by many neoconservatives and liberal hawks today—and the example set by Britain in the 19th century, which was a liberal but not revolutionary world power and encouraged liberalization mostly though indirect means: via trade, culture, and above all, by upholding a relatively un-Hobbesian global security environment.
Liberal anti-imperialists today, whether libertarian or progressive, make the same mistakes Britain’s pacifists and America’s interwar noninterventionists once did: they imagine that the overall ideological complexion of the world, as determined by the state most capable of projecting power, need not affect their values and habits at home. They believe that liberalism is possible without empire.
The world’s oldest European eel just died in its home, a well in a southern Swedish fishing town, aged 155. …
In 1859 an 8-year-old Swede by the name of Samuel Nilsson threw the eel into the well. While the act may be reminiscent of children throwing strange objects into toilets in modern times, it was in fact common practice to throw an eel in your well.
Many towns didn’t have public water systems until the 1960s, and eels ate the flies and other creepy crawlies, keeping the house’s water supply clean .
Since its drop into the dark in 1859, the eel has been featured in books and documentaries, and made multiple cameos on Swedish TV.
Alan Caruba thinks –as do I– the more vacationing Obama does, the better.
When the President spent three of a recent week’s five working days fund raising for the Democratic Party people, even the press took notice. On August 9 he began a two-week vacation in a Martha’s Vineyard mansion and I’d like to suggest that he just stay on vacation for the remainder of his second term.
I grant you that his vacations do tend to be a tad costly. Last year the Obama family took vacations to Africa in June and July, and spent Christmas in Honolulu. According to Air Force documents, the two trips racked up nearly $16 million in expenses. If the President would just pick someplace to stay and not be getting on and off Air Force One to fund-raise it could be considered a savings. …
My thought is that, as long as Obama is on vacation things cannot get much worse here at home, short of a foreign invasion. …
My feeling that he should just stay on vacation for the next two years is based on what he’s done to us over the past six. Indeed, our grandchildren will be able to name the 44th President given the fact that they will be paying off the debt he has created since 2009; $17 trillion and growing.
Then, of course, there’s Obamacare which a Democrat-controlled House and Senate passed without a single Republican vote. And we all know how partisan the GOP is, right?
On the other hand, millions of people who had perfectly good healthcare insurance plans lost them and the problems plaguing Obamacare have run from its website to the path White House lawyers are making as they visit the Supreme Court every other week trying to justify its various provisions. If the President stays on vacation maybe people will forget that he told them, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”
If he stays on vacation, maybe people will forget the billions wasted on Green energy projects, wind and solar, involving companies that went bankrupt so fast it was hard to keep up with them. The solar farms that exist roast birds in mid-flight and the wind farms decapitate them, including eagles that are a protected species everywhere other than near a wind turbine.
Obama is not a big fan of affordable energy. He gave the finger to Canada on the Keystone XL pipeline which would have not cost taxpayers a dime and generated jobs, plus revenue. He has openly waged war against coal used to produce electricity even though the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal. At least he hasn’t come out against fracking that has helped produce a boom in natural gas.
One thing Obama would not have to think about while on vacation are the millions of Americans who are still out of work. Unless, of course, he doesn’t think about them anyway. Unless, of course, he only thinks of them in terms of how to get them enrolled in some Big Government giveaway program. The problem with that is that he’s giving away the money taken from people who do have jobs.
My concern is that, on an extended vacation, he might begin to obsess about “climate change”, but then I realized that, for him, that only applies if his golf game gets rained out.
Who could take over while he’s on the links? Certainly not Joe Biden. Or John Kerry. Maybe George W. Bush would lend a hand?
So think about it, Mr. President. You’re taking off two weeks in August. Why not make it two years?
Jessica Valenti argues, in the Guardian, that the world owes her some tampons.
For too many girls, the products that mark “becoming a woman” are luxuries, not givens. And for young women worldwide, getting your period means new expenses, days away from school and risking regular infections. All because too many governments don’t recognize feminine hygiene as a health issue.
We need to move beyond the stigma of “that time of the month” – women’s feminine hygiene products should be free for all, all the time.
Sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example, have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights. Earlier this year, Jyoti Sanghera, chief of the UN Human Rights Office on Economic and Social Issues, called the stigma around menstrual hygiene “a violation of several human rights, most importantly the right to human dignity”. …
But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such. But much in the same way insurance coverage or subsidies for birth control are mocked or met with outrage, the idea of women even getting small tax breaks for menstrual products provokes incredulousness because some people lack an incredible amount of empathy … and because it has something to do with vaginas. Affordable access to sanitary products is rarely talked about outside of NGOs – and when it is, it’s with shame or derision.
In 1986, Gloria Steinem wrote that if men got periods, they “would brag about how long and how much”: that boys would talk about their menstruation as the beginning of their manhood, that there would be “gifts, religious ceremonies” and sanitary supplies would be “federally funded and free”. I could live without the menstrual bragging – though mine is particularly impressive – and ceremonial parties, but seriously: Why aren’t tampons free?
Quote the artist: “When Richard Nixon first traveled through time there was a considerable malfunction with his time machine, he was transported back to the ice age where he ended up battling a sabertooth tiger.”
You find strange and wonderful things on the Internet, even things which boggle the mind. Yesterday, I was doing a Google Image Search and, in the normal manner of things, a number of images having nothing recognizably in common with what I had searched for turned up. One usually just skims past those kinds of images, instantly dismissing them from mind, but this image made me stop and do a double-take.
I began to hear Neil Young singing: “Smilodon tabbies and Nixon coming…”
The artist, a fellow named SharpWriter, seems to have done quite a lot of US presidents and some historical figures as fantasy superheroes. Check out Bill Clinton. I think this artist has ascended past the realm of kitsch to the space of laughing-with-appreciation.