…ok…so I feel like before I get into it I ought to preface this…because I know some people (including some who are kind enough to read these, even) feel differently than I on the subject of firearms…& I want to be clear that if you can own/carry/use a gun without anybody having to be dead because of it then the stuff I’m liable to say at some point isn’t about you…but…well
…I’m liable to say some shit today that might maybe sound like I feel…& I’m pretty close to losing my god damn mind this morning…so it might get a little out of hand…although I guess you could say that about all kinds of shit at this point
The United States is on track to have gathered an oversupply of hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses as soon as July, even while many countries in the developing world will have to wait years to vaccinate a majority of their populations, according to a report by the Duke Global Health Innovation Center.
The estimates, included in the paper alongside recommendations, come as the Biden administration faces mounting pressure to facilitate equitable vaccine distribution around the world. The United States has pledged money to the global immunization effort, but has resisted calls to share vaccine technology or donate surplus doses.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/04/15/united-states-vaccine-sharing
I’ve been writing about our misplaced obsession with surface hygiene since the summer. Like many, I spent the early months of the pandemic dunking my apples and carrots in soap. That was before I read a persuasive essay in the medical journal The Lancet by Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School: “Exaggerated Risk of Transmission of COVID-19 by Fomites.” (In medical jargon, fomites are objects and surfaces that can transmit an infectious pathogen.) This opinion ran contrary to the conventional wisdom of the broader scientific community, and Goldman told me that several journals rejected his essay. But he was not alone in his quest. Writers such as my colleague Zeynep Tufekci and researchers such as Jose-Luis Jimenez, an aerosol scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, were also outspoken in their insistence that we needed to focus on ventilation rather than surfaces, windows rather than Windex. They were rebuffed, not only by loudmouths on Twitter and on TV, but by other scientists who clung stubbornly to an outdated view of viral spread.https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/end-hygiene-theater/618576/
Peddlers of industrial bleach who urge Americans to drink the fluid as a “miracle cure” for cancer, HIV/Aids and other diseases have begun touting the product illegally as a treatment for the latest variants of Covid-19.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/us-company-florida-oclo-bleach-covid-variants
People like to tell you they saw things coming. But as I talked to many of the campers in Joe Biden’s big tent, particularly those who, like me, were skeptical of Biden, I found that the overwhelming sentiment was surprise. Few of us expected that this president—given his record, a knife’s-edge Congress, and a crisis that makes it hard to look an inch beyond one’s nose—would begin to be talked about as, potentially, transformational.https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/joe-biden-new-progressive-era/618589/
…there’s plenty of other stuff I could be going on about
The bill, which would change the makeup of the court for the first time in 150 years, is unlikely to move forward even with Democrats in control of Congress — at least not before a new commission named last week by President Biden completes a study exploring the subject. But its introduction opened a new front in the escalating partisan war over the judiciary, drawing outrage from Republicans, who called it a power grab.Democrats’ Supreme Court Expansion Plan Draws Resistance [NYT]
Democratic leaders on Thursday expressed opposition to a proposal from a group of liberal lawmakers that would expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, underscoring tensions within the party over how to address concerns that the nation’s highest court will remain reliably conservative for years to come.
The goal of the legislation, which was introduced in both chambers, is to allow Democrats to appoint more liberal justices by expanding the court’s size rather than waiting for vacancies on the bench, a move Republicans derided as court-packing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she has “no plans” to bring the bill to the floor and that she supports a commission created by President Biden that will produce a report this year on possible changes to the court, including expansion and term limits.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democratic-leaders-throw-cold-water-on-proposal-to-expand-the-supreme-court/2021/04/15/story.html
In 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the federal government would resume executions after a 17-year lapse caused by the unavailability of certain lethal chemicals, and despite a still-pending lawsuit concerning the method of execution itself. Mr. Barr announced that the Justice Department had procured the sedative pentobarbital, often used to euthanize animals, from secret sources and that it would begin executing prisoners with that drug alone.Trump’s Killing Spree Continues [NYT]
The Committee on Natural Resources Office of Insular Affairs hosted a legislative hearing on Wednesday to discuss the competing bills in an effort to engage Congress on Puerto Rico’s future — a subject many members have avoided in the past.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/statehood-or-self-determination-tensions-over-puerto-rico-status-rise
OFF THE GRIDhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/interactive/2021/covid-economy-illinois/
A flood of federal aid often fails to reach America’s poorest families
A House panel advanced a decades-long effort to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves by approving legislation Wednesday that would create a commission to study the issue.
It’s the first time the House Judiciary Committee has acted on the legislation. Still, prospects for final passage remain poor in such a closely divided Congress. The vote to advance the measure to the full House passed 25-17 after a lengthy and often passionate debate that stretched late into the night.
The legislation would establish a commission to examine slavery and discrimination in the United States from 1619 to the present. The commission would then recommend ways to educate Americans about its findings and appropriate remedies, including how the government would offer a formal apology and what form of compensation should be awarded.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-panel-votes-advance-bill-slavery-reparations
Republican senator Ted Cruz has responded to fiery criticism from John Boehner with a tactic beloved of authoritarian regimes: threatening to burn his book.https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/apr/15/ted-cruz-john-boehner-burn-book
Our system of labor law and regulations has too strongly tilted the playing field in favor of companies and against unions.Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance [NYT]
An international coalition of children’s health advocates has called on Facebook to abandon its plans to build an Instagram product for kids, citing harm to teens from excessive use of social media.https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/apr/15/facebook-instagram-children-health-social-media
Near the peak of the American war in Afghanistan, a former chief of neighboring Pakistan’s military intelligence — an institution allied both to the U.S. military and to its Taliban adversaries — appeared on a talk show called “Joke Night” in 2014. He put a bold prediction on the record.
“When history is written,” declared Gen. Hamid Gul, who led the feared spy service known as the I.S.I. during the last stretch of the Cold War in the 1980s, “it will be stated that the I.S.I. defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan with the help of America.”
“Then there will be another sentence,” General Gul added after a brief pause, delivering his punchline to loud applause. “The I.S.I., with the help of America, defeated America.”Biden’s Afghan Pullout Is a Victory for Pakistan. But at What Cost? [NYT]
As I found from my research at the time, hope is a fragile and elusive entity in contemporary Northern Ireland — and the recent spate of rioting there suggests that hope is waning. Although talk about its demise has existed from the moment the province was created 100 years ago, doubts over Northern Ireland’s viability as a distinct geographic, economic and political entity have never been greater.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/15/northern-ireland-peace-waning-reunification/
…all kinds of stuff, even
The Biden administration on Thursday barred American banks from purchasing newly issued Russian government debt, signaling the deployment of a key weapon in Washington’s intensifying conflict with Moscow — threatening Russia’s access to international finance.Sanctions on Russian Debt Are Called a ‘First Salvo’ That Sends a Message [NYT]
The United States is set to hit Russia with fresh sanctions for alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, a sweeping cyberattack against American government and corporate networks and other activities.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-sanction-russia-alleged-election-interference-solarwinds-hack
…because there’s certainly no shortage of crazy shit out there
Teacher killed in ‘old Western shootout’ after trying to rob Mexican drug cartel, authorities sayhttps://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/teacher-killed-old-western-shootout-after-trying-rob-mexican-drug-cartel
The Japanese government has been forced to quickly retire an animated character it had hoped would win support for its decision this week to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/15/japan-scraps-mascot-promoting-fukushima-wastewater-dump
I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Monday and took a selfie. Things got weird after that.https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/i-got-johnson-johnson-vaccine-monday-took-selfie-things-got-weird
…& when you get down to it
In 2018, a far-right activist, Tommy Robinson, posted a video to YouTube claiming he had been attacked by an African migrant in Rome.
The thumbnail image and eight-word title promoting the video indicated Mr. Robinson was assaulted by a Black man outside a train station. Then, in the video, Mr. Robinson punched the man in the jaw, dropping him to the ground.
The video was viewed more than 2.8 million times, and it prompted news stories across the right-wing tabloids in Britain, where Mr. Robinson was rapidly gaining notoriety for his anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic views.
For Caolan Robertson — a filmmaker who worked for Mr. Robinson and helped create the video — it was an instructional moment. It showed the key ingredients needed to attract attention on YouTube and other social media services.Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods [NYT]
If the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) were incorporated into America’s founding document, it would represent a huge victory for women and people across the gender spectrum, whose fundamental rights are too often tied to partisan disagreements.
But amid legal controversies, disingenuous talking points and a chronic lack of urgency, the landmark amendment still faces an uphill battle.
“It’s outrageous – a scandal, quite frankly – that women still have to be in the begging position for their rights,” said Carol Jenkins, president and chief executive of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/us-equal-rights-amendment-congress
Even before the pandemic, many female scientists felt unsupported in their fields. Now, some are hitting a breaking point.Could the Pandemic Prompt an ‘Epidemic of Loss’ of Women in the Sciences? [NYT]
…a lot of it isn’t news in the sense of being a new story
Carlson cut his teeth jousting with the nation’s top elected officials and brand-name pundits on CNN’s “Crossfire” 20 years ago. But as his influence within the conservative media ecosystem has grown, with some calling for him to run for president in 2024, he has increasingly found fodder in criticizing lesser-known media figures whom he presents to his audience as symbols of liberalism run amok. And a subset of viewers are inspired to personally harass those journalists with threatening messages.https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2021/04/15/tucker-carlson-journalists-threats/
Last weekend, more than 100 CEOs joined a call to discuss how to respond to recent proposals in state legislatures to restrict voting rights, most notably in Georgia. Vance said in a recent tweet states should “raise their taxes and do whatever else is necessary to fight these goons”.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/jd-vance-quits-appharvest-board-tweets-voting-rights
The jurors selected so far in Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd are unnamed and unseen on camera, but we do know basic details about them.https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/10/us/derek-chauvin-trial-jurors/index.html
…or because it tells us something new
The trial of Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd is of enormous importance in very specific ways. It is, most importantly, an opportunity for Floyd’s family and friends to gain some semblance of justice for his killing, if a guilty verdict against Chauvin is what justice looks like for them. It’s also, of course, significant for Chauvin himself, who probably faces more than a decade in prison if convicted. And it’s important to people who see the murder trial as a proxy for the larger history of police in the United States brutalizing and killing Black people in egregiously disproportionate ways – often with total impunity. On the last point, a guilty verdict against Chauvin would be significant simply for its novelty. Police officers in the United States who kill people are rarely charged with a crime; they are more or less never convicted of one.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/15/derek-chauvin-trial-george-floyd-death-policing-america
But it would not be too strong to say that a Chauvin conviction would serve a convenient purpose for policing as an institution and for his (former) fellow officers, because a guilty verdict would allow people to leave unexamined the larger issues at hand. For them, if Derek Chauvin is guilty of murder, it means, more or less, that he did his job badly and in violation of his training, in contrast to “good policing” and good use-of-force training. A conviction grants other police and supporters of the police the ability to say that Chauvin’s violence was a bad exception to, rather than a representative example or logical extension of, the everyday forms of violence and violation that constitute policing as a practice.
In the weeks before supporters of then-President Donald Trump assaulted the U.S. Capitol, TheDonald.win forum commenters debated how best to build a gallows for hanging — or simply terrifying — members of Congress deemed disloyal. What kind of lumber? What kind of rope? And how many nooses?
A user named “Camarokirk” had a different suggestion: “I think you should build a guillotine,” he wrote Dec. 30. “A guillotine is more scary.”
User AsaNisiMAGA countered with a practical concern: “It’s better symbolism in every way. But it might prove more difficult to get that big blade into town.”
Such conversations flowed freely and visibly on TheDonald.win for weeks, underscoring the openly violent intent of some of the thousands of Trump enthusiasts who thronged the Capitol on Jan. 6, as well as the intelligence failures of the authorities charged with preparing for that day. The clashes left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/04/15/thedonald-capitol-attack-advance-democracy/
17 requests for backup in 78 minuteshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/dc-police-records-capitol-riot/
A reconstruction shows how failures of planning and preparation
left police at the Capitol severely disadvantaged on Jan. 6
…but…much as I get it ain’t just about the guns
Deep inside President Joe Biden’s 11,700-word plan to revamp the nation’s infrastructure is one sentence that could transform the way America deals with gun violence.
It pledges $5 billion over eight years for “evidence based” community violence-prevention programs — or programs that treat gun violence as a public health crisis, rooted in economic insecurity and chronic trauma, rather than as a problem best solved by law enforcement. The projects would target economically distressed neighborhoods where Black and Latino people are disproportionately affected by gun violence.
The proposal represents an unprecedented investment in violence prevention. But it’s a long way off from becoming reality.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/biden-wants-to-give-anti-violence-groups-5-billion-here-s-how-it-could-be-spent
…it’s real fucking hard not to see those as a glaringly common denominator
This kind of disaster happens way, way, way too much. Last year at least 371 children stumbled across a loaded gun and fired, causing 143 deaths and 243 injuries. In one case, a 3-year-old shot himself to death with a pistol that had fallen out of the pocket of a member of his family — apparently while the adults were playing cards.
None of this has led to any significant change in the national attitude toward deadly weapons. Many Americans like to arm themselves to the teeth as protection from crime — and bleep over the danger that comes with all that hardware, especially in the hands of people who aren’t really equipped to use it.Our Firearms Problems Just Keep Piling Up [NYT]
…& despite the best efforts of some
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert also addressed the killing of Wright after an officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, mistook her handgun for her Taser. “It’s dangerous when a policeman can’t tell if you’re holding a gun. It’s insane when they can’t tell if they’re holding a gun,” Colbert said.https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/apr/13/trevor-noah-daunte-wright-killing-daily-show-recap
…there just ain’t nothing funny about this shit
Videos of the incident, some of them from Nazario’s cellphone, as well as police body cameras, underscore the deadly truth we have long known about police interactions with people of color: Lawfulness is not always a recipe for safety. Obedience is not always a recipe for safety. The only person who can control the bodily health and well-being of the person pulled over are the people with the weapons. This is the bloody Catch-22 of modern policing in America.https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/virginia-police-army-lt-caron-nazario-america-s-bloody-traffic-catch-22
Louisville’s police chief has reprimanded the sergeant who was shot during the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment for an email he sent that was critical of department leadership.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly sent the late-night email in September, writing that he and other officers “did the legal, moral and ethical thing” the night of the deadly raid.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/louisville-police-chief-reprimands-officer-over-breonna-taylor-email
…with so many examples to choose from while what seems like none being made
Kim Potter, who quit her job on the Brooklyn Center force two days after Wright’s death, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in what her chief said appeared to be a case of confusing her Taser with her handgun.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/kim-potter-court-police-manslaughter-charge-daunte-wright
“This is going to be an unpopular statement,” Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said Wednesday in an interview with WCCO news radio.
“Daunte Wright, if he would have just complied. He was told he was under arrest. They were arresting him on a warrant for weapons. He set off a chain of events that unfortunately led to his death,” Peters said.
“I’m not excusing it,” Peters continued, “but what we’re seeing in policing these days is that noncompliance by the public.”
Peters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/04/14/daunte-wright-minneapolis-police-shooting/
…while we watch another death on another day
Police body-camera video appears to show officers struggling for a gun moments before a man was fatally shot in the emergency room of an Ohio hospital.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/police-body-camera-video-captures-fatal-shooting-ohio-hospital
…to the point where it’s hard to remember which one is which…or where…or who
A sheriff’s deputy responding to a mental health crisis call Wednesday shot and killed a Houston man, who authorities said approached the deputy with a knife.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-deputy-fatally-shoots-man-in-crisis-sheriff-says
…now…to be fair…which it’s not at all clear to me is a natural tendency at this point…there are some good apples in that barrel…but I don’t know how much solace that is?
A judge in New York has overturned the firing of a long-serving Black former police officer who fought with a white colleague as he placed a suspect in a chokehold.
State supreme court judge Dennis Ward praised Cariol Horne’s intervention during the 2006 incident, which led to her dismissal by the City of Buffalo two years later and a lengthy legal fight for compensation.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/cariol-horne-new-york-officer-chokehold-firing-overturned
…so here’s the thing…it’s not entirely true these days but when I was a kid the cops in the britain didn’t get to have guns at all…not even when the IRA was busy trying to blow shit up right there in london…& they still seemed to be able to enforce the law…so…when I see this kind of shit?
In 2015, The Washington Post began to log every fatal shooting by an on-duty police officer in the United States. In that time there have been more than 5,000 such shootings recorded by The Post.https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/
…there’s some shit I just can’t get past
How can we reduce traffic stops without undermining public safety? The solution is to decrease our reliance on human enforcement. Having police officers implement traffic laws is not the only way to promote road safety. Indeed, the evidence suggests that it is not even the optimal way to do so.Police Officers Shouldn’t Be the Ones to Enforce Traffic Laws [NYT]
…because there’s no excuse for this…not now…not then…not fucking ever…& I’m not saying there aren’t situations in the face of which a cop deserves to be armed…but you can’t ignore the correlation here
…I ain’t kidding…I could double the length of this post just venting my feelings on this subject…but suffice to say we could sure use a fred hampton right about now…well…some of us, anyway
The connections are as revealing as they are disturbing.
Daunte Wright, who was killed by police Sunday at a traffic stop in Minneapolis by a White police officer who confused her gun for a Taser, knew George Floyd’s former girlfriend.
Caron Nazario, a Black Army officer threatened by White police officers during a traffic stop in Windsor, Va., considered Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold on Staten Island in 2014, his uncle.
Yet the bonds of trauma have tethered Black people together long before now.
Consider this: Iberia Hampton, the mother of slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, used to babysit for Emmett Till, whose searingly brutal killing by White racists in Mississippi in 1955 when he was 14 helped usher in the civil rights movement.https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/04/15/emmett-till-fred-hampton-connections/
Something is horrifyingly wrong. And yet, the killings keep happening. Brown and Floyd are not even the bookends. There were many before them, and there will be many after.
These killings often happen during the day and in public, not under the cover of night, tucked away in some back wood. And they are often caught on video. Tamir Rice was killed during the day. There was video. Walter Scott was killed during the day. There was video. Eric Garner was killed during the day. There was video.
[…]Very little has changed. The aftermath of these killings has become a pattern, a ritual, that produces its own normalizing and desensitizing effects. We can now anticipate the explosions of rage as well and the relative intransigence of the political system in response.
That is not to say that absolutely nothing has changed, but rather that the changes amount to tinkering, when in fact our whole system of policing must be re-evaluated and fundamentally altered.
That examination, oddly enough, starts with gun control. The police justify their militarization and armed-and-ready positioning, by correctly observing that they can be outgunned by a public with such easy access to guns, including military-style guns.
But once they are armed and anxious, they can be that way in all cases: against an armed suspect as well as one who is unarmed. To all interactions, they can bring personal biases, some of which they don’t even know they possess. And, in the blink of an eye, something tragic can be done, something that can’t be undone.
There is no new angle. There is no new hot take. There is very little new to be revealed. These killings are not continuing to happen due to a lack of exposure, but in spite of it. Our systems of law enforcement, criminal justice and communal consciousness have adjusted themselves to a banal barbarism.
This has produced in me and many others an inextinguishable rage, a calcification of contempt. As for me, I no longer even attempt to manage or direct my rage. I simply sit with it, face it like an adversary staring across a campfire, waiting to see how I am moved to act, but not proscribing that action and definitely not allowing society’s idea of decorum to proscribe it.Rage Is the Only Language I Have Left [NYT]
…frankly…if this shit doesn’t make you angry…you ain’t paying enough attention
A shaky, fast-moving video released in Chicago on Thursday shows a police officer chasing a boy down a dark alleyway, yelling at him to stop. “Stop right now!” the officer screams while cursing, telling him to drop his gun. “Hands. Show me your hands. Drop it. Drop it.”
As the boy turns and lifts his hands, a single shot rings out and he collapses. The boy, Adam Toledo, was killed. He was 13.Video Is Released of Chicago Police Fatally Shooting 13-Year-Old [NYT]
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot stood alongside leaders of the city’s Latinx community on Thursday and called for calm in the city and “deep empathy” as body camera video was released for the first time of a police officer shooting dead 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month.
Lightfoot, her voice breaking while speaking at a press conference before the footage was released to the public, describing the video as “incredibly difficult to watch, particularly at the end” and said “we failed Adam”.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/15/chicago-police-shooting-adam-toledo-video-released
…god fucking damn it, y’all…when do we get to the part about protect & serve?