Law & Order in America

August 19, 2014

Law & Order in America
If you go to Ferguson Missouri, don’t jaywalk or shoplift cigars. The punishment is summary execution. And don’t sit in your own car in your aunt’s driveway or you’ll be arrested. And police will stop you when you drive or walk away, too.

If you’re black, anyway. And not just in Missouri.

Related:

“Amnesty International Calls For Investigation Of Ferguson Police Tactics,” Mollie Reilly, The Huffington Post

“It’s not just Ferguson: America’s criminal justice system is racist,” Ezra Klein, Vox

“One nation under siege: Law enforcement’s shameful campaign against black America,” Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, Salon

“The ugly history of racist policing in America,” Dara Lind, Vox

“Existing While Black,” Martin Longman, Washington Monthly

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Hello Kitty in Space!

August 18, 2014

Hello Kitty in Space!

Japanese novelty manufacturer Sanrio has put a 1.6-inch-tall Hello Kitty figure into space on board a Hodoyoshi-3 satellite to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the fictional feline’s introduction.

Of course, this isn’t Kitty’s first space trip. Last year Lauren Rojas of Antioch, California launched Hello Kitty 93,625 feet into space as a seventh grade science fair project.

Read the rest of this entry »

The New Gentrifiers

August 17, 2014

The New Gentrifiers

“Look out, gays and lesbians – the straight people are coming for your real estate. In There Goes the Gayborhood, a new book for the Princeton Press, author and University of British Columbia associate professor of sociology Amin Ghaziani explores whether venerable ‘gayborhoods’ like San Francisco’s Castro and New York City’s West Village are disappearing in ‘a new post-gay era.’ As demographics shift, is it a sign of acceptance of a community – or the dilution of it? Is it possible, as the New York Times once so damningly put it, that ‘gay neighborhoods face the prospect of becoming passé’?

— “Are America’s ‘gayborhoods’ dying out?” Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

 More:

“The rise and fall of American gayborhoods,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

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Virginia Firm Stops Hawking Snake Oil

August 16, 2014

Virginia Firm Stops Hawking Snake Oil

Before the prosecution rested in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his former NFL Cheerleader wife Maureen last week, the focus shifted to the patent nostrum sold by Jonnie Williams, who is said to have given the couple high-priced gifts in return for promoting his product, a snake oil named Anatabloc. The active ingredient in Anatabloc is Anatabine, an alkaloid derived from tobacco.

Anatabloc was said to “reduce inflammation and support a healthy metabolism” but was marketed as a “dietary supplement” to avoid those pesky clinical trials required of drugs. That didn’t keep the firm from claiming that the stuff can mitigate Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis and traumatic brain injuries. You know, like a drug. Finally, the FDA caught them at it and issued a stern letter.

But the McDonnell trial has increased scrutiny on and skepticism of Anatabloc, so the manufacturer has finally stopped selling it. If you’re a political memorabilia collector, maybe you can still find a jar behind the counter at your local GNC.

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Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.

August 15, 2014

Hands Up, Don't Shoot

Stop reading about militarized police, reporter arrests, demonstrations, urban rage, segregated cities and police forces for a minute, and read this:

“Michael Brown didn’t die in the dark. He was eighteen years old, walking down a street in Ferguson, Missouri, from his apartment to his grandmother’s, at 2:15 on a bright Saturday afternoon. He was, for a young man, exactly where he should be—among other things, days away from his first college classes. A policeman stopped him; it’s not clear why. People in the neighborhood have told reporters that they remember what happened next as a series of movements: the officer, it seemed to them, trying to put Brown into a car; Brown running with his hands in the air; the policeman shooting; Brown falling. The next morning, Jon Belmar, the police chief of St. Louis County, which covers Ferguson, was asked, at a press conference, how many times Brown had been shot. Belmar said that he wasn’t sure: ‘more than just a couple of times, but not much more.’ When counting bullets,’“just’ and ‘not much more’ are odd words to choose.”

— “Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson?” Amy Davison, The New Yorker

 Related:

“The Anger in Ferguson,” Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

“It’s not just Ferguson: America’s criminal justice system is racist,” Ezra Klein, Vox

“The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America,” Mychal Denzel Smith, The Nation

“We All Live in Ferguson,” Ryan Jacobs, Pacific Standard

“Ferguson, Mo. Emblematic of Growing Suburban Poverty,” Elizabeth Kneebone, Brookings Institution

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Appeals Court Turns Down Donald Sterling’s Suit to Keep the Clippers

August 14, 2014

Appeals Court Turns Down Donald Sterling's Suit to Keep the Clippers

Donald Sterling’s effort to obtain a stay of the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team was denied by California’s 2nd Court of Appeals. So Steve Ballmer now owns the Clippers, and Donny Sterling will just have to take his $2 billion dollars and go home.

Update:

“Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to focus on L.A. Clippers,” Benjamin Snyder, Fortune

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Saint Ronald

August 13, 2014

Saint Ronald

Rick Perlstein wrote a book about Barry Goldwater in 2001; William Buckley praised it. George Will praised Perlstein’s 2008 best-seller Nixonland. Today’s conservatives are not fond of Perlstein’s new publication, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan.  They’re attacking it, and its author.

“What changed?” asks David Weigel. “This time Perlstein is writing about Ronald Reagan. Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan—Perlstein has moved from covering a minor saint, to a martyr, to God.”

Besides this charge of blasphemy,  conservatives chastise Pearlstein for paying attention to the facts and not making up his own, like they do. How unoriginal. He must be a plagiarist.

More:

“It’s Not Rick Perlstein’s Scholarship that Seems to Be in Question. It’s His Politics,” Peter Charles Hoffer, History News Network

“A Question of Character: Craig Shirley’s Scurrilous Attack on Liberal Historian Rick Perlstein,” Adele M. Stan, The American Prospect

“Rick Perlstein: ‘Ronald Reagan absolved America almost in a priestly role not to have to contend with sin. The consequences are all around us today,’” David Dayen, Salon

 

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Eating Leftovers

August 12, 2014

Eating Leftovers

“Chilaquiles: The best thing you can do with leftover corn tortillas, or one of the best, at least. You fry the tortillas until they are crisp (unless you made chips with them, in which case they are crisp to start with); broil the tomatillos, whizz them in a blender and simmer them; fold the tortillas into the sauce and let them soften; and add chicken, if there is any in the fridge. In my house we eat them for brunch, with a runny egg on top, though not often enough.

I was scraping the last smears of sauce from my bowl when it occurred to me that, though I think of chilaquiles as an odd regional one-off—something that makes Southwestern friends hungry and Yankee ones puzzled—they actually belong to a long tradition: recipes that use old bread, or bread’s local equivalent.

Think about it. In Italy, there’s pappa al pomodoro, a chunky soup of tomatoes, oil and stale bread. In Lebanon, fattoush, a salad of chopped tomato, cucumber, dry shards of pita, sometimes greens. In Thailand—most of Asia, in fact—there’s fried rice, made with previously cooked rice, never fresh; and across the same crescent, there’s okayu or congee or jook, rice porridge. In France, pain perdu, what we think of as French toast. In England, bread pudding.”

– “La Cuisine Des Perdus: The Art of Eating Old Stuff,” Maryn McKenna, National Geographic blog

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McDonnell Trial: All In The Family

August 11, 2014

McDonnell Trial: All In The Family

Before he was Virginia’s Governor or Attorney General, Robert Francis McDonnell wrote a Masters Thesis at CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) University, now called Regent University. The thesis: “The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade” (1989). It’s in the Regent U Library, but the Washington Post posted it online during the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial campaign.

On page 65 of the thesis (page 71 of the PDF) Mr. McConnell lists the “real enemies of the traditional family” as “materialism, irresponsibility, feminism, lust, and ultimately selfishness….” Well, the McDonnell corruption trial hasn’t involved feminism so far, anyway. On the other hand, the author of that thesis did acknowledge that his wife Maureen provided “expert clerical support” for the 94-page document ….

More:

“Focus on the Family,” Daliah Lithwick, Slate

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Image (“McDonnell Defense, In One Bumper Sticker”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Coffee Cups

August 10, 2014

Coffee Cups

Take-out coffee cups. We’re partial to the 1963 New York diner classic designed by Leslie Buck (above), but there are others. Now there’s a blog that explores them in photos, Coffee Cups of the World. It’s curated by Henry Hargreaves. If you think he’s missing any you can submit them.

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