According to Zac Corrigan in “Militarization of police in America” the Pentagon under the Obama administration is equipping -- OVER-EQUIPPING -- US police departments across the country with former overseas military weaponry and vehicles.
The ominous dots aren’t hard to connect for any of us paying the least bit of attention to the dramatic and merciless economic polarization in America along with the escalation of inappropriate and inhumane lethal force by the police. Read below the fold...
[OBAMA:] Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other.
What a steaming load of crap. Read below the fold...
#Ferguson: Cops say they won't use tear gas, use it, and keep reporters away from the scene (and why not a People's Tribunal?)
In all, seven people were arrested early Sunday for "failure to disperse" during a five-hour curfew that was imposed earlier in the day. Johnson said the police used tear gas in response to a report of the shooting and arrested the seven people from the roof of a restaurant.
Update, 3:20 a.m.: Police confirmed the reporters on the ground were right after all, tear gas was used in addition to smoke bombs in order to disperse protesters in Ferguson who defied the curfew.
Police denied initial reports that they had fired several rounds of tear gas into the protesters, insisting they were smoke bombs. Others aren’t so sure.
The Guardian’s Jon Swaine, for example, directly calls the claim a lie:
I tasted it and this was a lie RT @mattdpearce Police liaison tells press it's all been smoke, not gas.
-- Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 17, 2014
AP contributor Nigel Duara says the claims that it was just smoke is “fucking bullshit”:
Hearing now they told our reporter Jim Salter it was only smoke. Wow. That is, how to put this gently, fucking bullshit.
-- Nigel Duara (@nigelduara) August 17, 2014
Vice’s Tim Pool also has no doubts:
I have been teargassed many times, the police definitely used it today in #Ferguson
-- Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 17, 2014
Alderman Antonio French for his part does not directly contradict police but says the smoke “does burn the eyes”:
-- Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
Whether it was tear gas or not is a key question because State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of Ferguson security, had earlier said police wouldn’t enforce the curfew “with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas.”
[A]lmost two hours after the curfew began, it appears most of the streets of Ferguson have been cleared, but it’s difficult to tell, particularly considering that officers are keeping reporters away from the scene, reportedly threatening arrests to anyone who leaves a designated press area.
Well, that's a Clusterfuck. Or not. But here's what really frosts me. Another statement from (black) State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson: Read below the fold...
Here's the study that nukes "Make me do it," "lesser of two evils," and every other legacy partisan talking point
I forget whether I gave this article its own post, but it certainly deserves it. Allan J. Lichtman in The Hill (of all places):
A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.
This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government
The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.
The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a "non-significant, near-zero level." [Emphasis beyond italics mine. Does still work? Alas, no.] he analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.
The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.
The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences, "the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater" than their findings indicate.
Because you demanded it!
This is the plant with the pretty yellow flowers (though the photograph could be better; I need a hood so I can see the screen when the sun is at my back, because otherwise my shadow tends to end up in the frame). Read below the fold...
So I pretty much grow all my tomato plants from seed. (They are started indoors under T8 fluorescent lighting).
One of the two packs of seeds I used this year proved to be pretty odd. It was supposed to be an early girl, medium sized variety, but I've gotten semi-large, medium and cherry sized tomato plants from the seeds. Each plant produces a different sized tomato, so it's not just variation in "energy" or whatever on a plant. The cherry sized tomatoes actually taste like big tomatoes, basically like a small dog with a big dog personality ;-). Read below the fold...
crossposted from The Sunday Train
The topic for this week's Sunday Train was brought to my mind when I listened to the Energy Gang podcast. They were discussing the question of whether "CSP (that is, concentrated thermal solar power) is dead", and the always entertaining, but not uniformly informative, "energy futurist" Jigar Shah declared that "CSP is dead" (segment starts 30:29), backing the claim up with a set of bullet points that fell far short of supporting the claim. And listening to the set of bullet points, it seemed to me that he was talking in the context of the phase of the transition to renewable energy that we are presently in, and ignoring the phase of the transition that we will have to pass through if we are to survive as a national economy and national economy.
In short, he seemed to be talking more as an energy presentist than an energy futurist, claiming that there was no plausible position for solar CSP power based on both the technology currently rolled out for a technology that is experiencing rapid development, and on context of renewable energy being added to an energy system which is untenable over the long term.
But I do not mean to single out Jigar Shah, since as I have recently been exploring various discussion spaces talking about various issues in the roll-out of renewable energy, cross-talk between the different phases of the transition to renewable energy seems to be commonplace. So what I wish to write about this Sunday afternoon is the "Two Transitions" to renewable energy: the Current Transition and the Next Transition. Read below the fold...
Yeah, OK, flower, water drops. But anyhow:
(Part of me wants a whole bed of poppies, but I think I like a wildflower mix, with poppies included, that cycles through a whole season even better.)
The sun came out, so glint on the raspberries: Read below the fold...
I hate to quote the Washington Times, but since they actually covered the story, this from August 6:
Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee to fill ousted Rep. Eric I. Cantor’s seat in Virginia, has not yet filed personal financial disclosure forms, putting him on the wrong side of federal law and leaving voters in the dark about the college professor’s income, investments and potential debts.
Federal disclosure rules require congressional candidates to file ethics forms a month after they become serious candidates — triggered when they are nominated by a party or when they raise at least $5,000.
Mr. Trammell became a serious candidate for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District seat on June 8, meaning he should have filed his disclosure by the middle of July.
Alerted to his failure, Trammell campaign manager Beth Cope blamed an “oversight” and said they will file soon.
She said the campaign had received assurances from the House Office of the Clerk that no fines would be issued if he files by Aug. 16.
No followup, so I assume the Trammell campaign took care of this. But here we've got a novice candidate; Trammell is only in the race because his right wing opponent, David Brat, miraculously took down Eric Cantor. Do the Democrats want Trammell to make a go of it against Brat? Or do they want to stifle him? Based on performance so far, I'm going with "stifle." After all, don't parties, and in particular party chairs, exist to help novice candidates like Trammell navigate around these pitfalls? So WTF? Read below the fold...