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Killed by police in 2017: 1,129 people January 2, 2018

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Final report on 2017 police violence in the US, compiled by Campaign Zero. 1,129 people killed. 92% by shooting. Officers, even those with 1 or more prior shootings, were only charged with a crime 1% of the time.

A 6-year-old boy was fatally shot when Bexar County sheriff’s deputies opened fire on a woman at a Schertz mobile home park after a lengthy manhunt [December 21].”

Trooper Bessner unnecessarily deployed his Taser at Mr. Grimes without legal justification or excuse as Mr. Grimes was traveling at least 35 to 40 miles per hour.” (Note: “Mr. Grimes” was 15 years old.)

Hope Coleman called a local hospital to pick up her son; the police showed up before the EMTs, and ended up fatally shooting him. Oh, and then the police were hospitalized because this caused them so much “stress.” (The police commissioner is quoted as referring to the victim as “this poor kid.” The “kid” was 31.)

A 31-year-old man was shot twice by police in Texas after officers thought he was breaking into his own pickup truck because the alarm was going off.” Lyndo Jones survived the initial attack and was released from the hospital, but rushed back on November 25 for infected wounds.

[Iraq War veteran Denis] Reynoso was shot to death in his apartment by Lynn police officer Joshua Hilton in front of his five-year-old son on September 5, 2013.”

One of the officers on the scene went on to shoot unarmed Malden resident Michael McInnis — who was white, but don’t worry, the All Lives Matter crowd is ignoring it anyway.

“The Georgia police officer who was captured on camera telling a woman during a traffic stop that law enforcement personnel ‘only kill black people’ says he’ll retire amid the backlash.”

People killed by police in the US, 2018. Currently at 6.

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Nice and hopeful links. (No, really.) December 21, 2017

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‘We are Muslims and we’d never had a Christmas tree in our home,’ says Riffat. ‘But these children were Christian and we wanted them to feel connected to their culture.’ So he bought a Christmas tree, decorations and presents. The couple worked until the early hours putting the tree up and wrapping presents. The first thing the children saw the next morning was the tree.”

“On September 26, 1983, Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov received a message that five nuclear missiles had been launched by the United States and were heading to Moscow. He didn’t launch a retaliatory strike, believing correctly that it was a false alarm. And with that, he saved the world from nuclear war.

The 1928 international treaty that outlawed conquest . . . and worked. Nations still go to war for plenty of other reasons, but conquest has screeched almost to a halt.

Letting teens sleep in would save the country roughly $9 billion a year.” Partly because they’ll do better in school, partly because of fewer sleep-deprived adolescents crashing their cars.

First baby in the US born via uterus transplant!

World hunger can be eradicated. A price has been set and estimated by the United Nations to solve this crisis – $30 billion a year. It may seem like a large sum of money, but when compared to the U.S. defense budget – $737 billion in 2012 – $30 billion seems more attainable.”

California is on fire, Puerto Rico still has no power, and also, this. December 8, 2017

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Went to a tiny local pro-net-neutrality rally on Thursday. Spent most of it holding a sign with an older woman who was distinctly not tech-savvy — wasn’t on Facebook, didn’t have a smartphone, wasn’t sure how her service provider interacted with her search engine. She does online research at home, uses email, has sent donations to the Wikipedia Foundation…but wasn’t entirely sure what the rally was about. Just that it was important.

I explained the basics, she was immediately on board. “Corporations don’t need more power.” And what really got her fired up was when we made the connection that this could slow down school and library websites. Extra fees to load your public library, or an academic journal? “They can’t be the gatekeepers of knowledge.”

So that was nice.

____

A Russian singer is believed to have been detained as part of Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’. Zelimkhan Bakayev, 26, hasn’t been seen since August 8 and his friends now think he was captured by police in capital Grozny.”

“Rights groups and other experts say the video of the slave market — although no surprise to many journalists or relief workers — is an uncomfortable reminder for Europe that its policies risk trapping the migrants in slave-like conditions.”

For what percentage of your life has the US been at war? (It’s 58.1% for me. And, of course, climbing.)

“After Rapp’s public statement, a man who was friendly with a member of the New York staff approached the magazine to talk about Spacey. At the age of 14, he says, he began a sexual relationship with the actor, who was then 24, that ended with what he describes as an attempted rape. The man is now a 48-year-old artist living on the East Coast with a long-term partner, and he wishes to remain anonymous.”

One Million Moms attacks an ad that features a cis female boxer, calling her “a man in a dress”. (There’s also an actual trans woman in the ad. They didn’t notice.)

“He was the training director of one of St. Paul’s largest security companies — a man certified on when and how to use Mace. Which left police mystified as to why Timothy Knutsen would pepper spray an autistic man in the face for eating a cookie from a Cub Foods sampler tray.” (I’m not mystified.)

“Life-changing surgery is on hold for a 2-year-old boy. His mom says it’s because of red tape between the hospital and police.” Update: the child got a transplant from being on the donor list. But that was after 2 months and 1 rushed hospitalization, and is unlikely to be as close a genetic match as his own father.

The number of homeless people in the United States has increased for the first time since 2010.”

If we’re done being thankful, here are some things we need to be angry about. November 27, 2017

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Two months after Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a sense of desperation seems to be yielding to resignation at best. More than half of the island is still without power, and hundreds of thousands of residents are fleeing to the American mainland in an extraordinary exodus.”

“Within months, Deen’s career was back on track. There was initial backlash, but none of it stuck. He continued to make money and win awards. But we were back to the drawing board. The network refused to give us the rights to the show and wouldn’t let anyone watch the already-shot pilot. After two years, we are still not legally allowed to show it to anyone.” How the media is set up not only to excuse rapists and punish their victims, but punish random innocent people who unwittingly worked with them.

“The liver department’s clinical director is Irish. Its academic director is Spanish. The hospital recently tried to hire a German as academic head of department, but he declined: He had been awarded a high-value European grant that he could not take to Britain after Brexit.” The (totally foreseeable) real effects of Brexit on the NHS.

“Trump was reportedly considering deporting Guo until aides talked him out of it—including informing him that Guo happens to be a member of his Mar-a-Lago resort (a privilege that costs $200,000 in initiation fees plus $14,000 in annual dues). The president subsequently changed his mind.”

“ICE agents in Austin scrambled — and largely failed — to engineer a narrative that would substantiate the administration’s claims that the raids were motivated by public safety concerns. Instead, the emails detail the evolution of ICE’s public statements once it became obvious that the Trump administration’s narrative was not true.

Militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshipers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others. Officials called it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.”

“I’m as tired of writing it as you are reading it, but you know good and well that if [this white American terrorist] was a young Muslim — hell, if he had ever even visited a mosque in the past 25 years — that Trump would be tweeting about him right this very moment to tout how essential a Muslim ban is for American safety. […] In this case, though? Crickets.

Remember that time a white supremacist was reduced to a terrified blubbering mess when he realized he might actually get arrested? (Was that really only a few months ago?) A lot of these people are cowards at heart. They treat being Nazis like it’s LARPing. They do not expect actual consequences. Make them suffer consequences.

nbd, just a bunch of links about how we’re destroying our planet November 14, 2017

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Being caught in a natural disaster can give people long-term PTSD, who knew? (They don’t use the term PTSD, they call it “Katrina brain,” as if this was a total unknown before Hurrican Katrina. It’s bizarre.)

Over 900 people have been cremated in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall a month ago, but the official death toll is still listed as 51.” And that was as of October 30.

Plants like a more CO2-rich atmosphere, but there’s a high price: “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising. We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

“The particles are called microbeads, and consumers can avoid them by checking to see if plastic — maybe polyethylene or polypropylene — is on the product’s ingredient list. Once these virtually indestructible beads enter the water, they attract toxic substances, like PCBs. They become part of the aquatic food chain, soon eaten by fish and then, too often, by humans.”

A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now — because of climate change.”

Double pregnancies, megatides, dinosaur reconstructions, and other cool science things. November 9, 2017

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“While instances of superfetation in humans are incredibly rare, this case was even more so because it ultimately involved two different sets of genetic parents due to the surrogacy.

About half of people – 85% of women and 25% of men, for an average of 55% of the total population – don’t have spontaneous desire as their dominant desire style. Can this settle, once and for all, the question of whether or not responsive desire is just as normal as spontaneous desire?”

Tides in [the Bay of Fundy area] reach a peak of around 16 m (50′) — the height of a 5-storey building. This is many times higher than typical tides on the rest of the Atlantic coast! The huge tides expose the sea bottom and shape the coastline.”

“Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. [Now,] a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery.” Including whole lost languages.

NecroSearch’s members have achieved a level of success unmatched anywhere in the world; they are so respected that even their unsuccessful searches are deemed significant. Or, as the prosecutor explained to me, ‘If you want to search for a body in a certain place, and those people don’t find it, that means a body probably isn’t there.'”

“Most serious paleoart bases itself on the detailed findings of paleontologists, who can work for weeks or even years compiling the most accurate descriptions of ancient life they can, based on fossil remains. But Kosemen says that many dinosaur illustrations should take more cues from animals living today. Our world is full of unique animals that have squat fatty bodies, with all kinds of soft tissue features that are unlikely to have survived in fossils, such as pouches, wattles, or skin flaps.”

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, some reminders about charitable giving. November 8, 2017

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Use sites like CharityNavigator to find out “where your money is going.”

Don’t wait until the next newsmaking disaster to give blood. Call your local Red Cross/Red Crescent/etc. for an appointment, or just show up during their open hours.

Although the Red Cross is great for blood donation, it does have a bad record of mismanagement when it comes to disaster recovery. For that, try UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders instead.

The Salvation Army is genuinely terrible for LGBT+ people. Try Goodwill or the VVA.

Don’t get swayed by clickbaity articles about Outrageous Scandals without doing your own further investigation. For example, Locks of Love doesn’t actually make wigs for child cancer patients!…it makes wigs for children with a disease you’ve never heard of. Wow, much shocking, very horrible.

What Goodwill “actually does” with your donated clothes is one of these non-scandals. If they can’t sell a piece of clothing, it’ll get processed as textile recycling. The planet wins, and nobody loses. (Just make sure to wash and dry everything before donating, because if it’s wet or moldy they can’t even try to sell it.)

Give cash, not canned food. “Find well-managed charities in your community and trust them to know how to do their job. They have access to food at a fraction of the price. They know their clients, and they have better things to do than to sort through your canned goods.”

In fact, give cash in general. “GiveDirectly wants to see what happens when you give extremely poor people a much longer runway — a guaranteed ‘basic income’ they can count on for years. Michael Faye, the chairman of GiveDirectly, says they’ve chosen to set the payment at $22 because in Kenya $22 per person per month is ‘the food poverty line — the amount of money it would take to afford a basic basket of food for yourself.'” (And so far…so good.)

More stories of police officers who mysteriously still have their jobs. October 23, 2017

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People killed by police in the US, 2017. Currently at 970.

“Police in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night fatally shot a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them.” Fire those cops. They’re not competent to do the job. Justice for Magdiel Sanchez.

“An unarmed 15 y/o child died after being shot in the head by Balch Springs PD (TX). A cop shot muliple rounds into a car filled with teens.” Justice for Jordan Edwards.

“Three of the gunshots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew struck Lyles in the front of the torso and chest, three struck her in the back or rear of her arm, and one grazed the side of her ribs, according to the report. Several of the wounds would have been life-threatening on their own, including the one that cut through her uterus and the fetus.” Dear lord, any kind of justice for Charleena Lyles.

Security officers can even feel attacked by black people who do not, strictly speaking, exist: “Emergency dispatch audio said the at-large suspect was a black man wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans […] After the search failed to find any suspect, Mr Ahlers admitted to police he had accidentally shot himself.

To be clear, sometimes the cops do kill white people: “A 21-year-old Georgia Tech student, who was the president of the campus Pride Alliance, was shot and killed by a Georgia Tech police officer, according to a statement released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.” Justice for Scout Schultz.

And here’s a case where the cop was black, and got himself in a panic after shooting at a white couple: “A Sevier County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire without warning in a mobile home park, suffered an apparent panic attack four minutes later and was forcibly disarmed by a paramedic.” The people he shot at were then jailed for more than a month for “assault.”

Notice how the people who talk about Black Lives Matter are still standing up and saying these last two incidents are unjust. The “all lives matter!” crowd is…mysteriously absent. Funny how that works.

“I talked with the federal authorities two weeks ago, asking for additional federal assistance, I was told point-blank ‘no’.” September 26, 2017

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Paul Ryan’s tax postcard, explained: “The form’s simplicity makes its priorities clear: No matter what rates are applied or which deductions or credits are allowed, a worker would end up paying twice as much in taxes as an investor with the same income.

GOP sheriffs reportedly under pressure from Trump to break the law. Good on them for standing their ground. (Are Democratic sheriffs not getting credit for resisting, or simply not being asked?)

Oregon governor asked the Trump adminstratiion for wildfire support: “I talked with the federal authorities two weeks ago, asking for additional federal assistance, I was told point-blank ‘no’.”

“In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

“My supervisor, for example, runs a large department. He was just promoted to a new, even more demanding position, but his position running the department will not be filled. He will now be doing what is a 60-to-70-hour job ‘on the side.’

“Virtually all the top political jobs below Carson remained vacant. Carson himself was barely to be seen — he never made the walk-through of the building customary of past new secretaries. ‘It was just nothing,’ said one career employee. ‘I’ve never been so bored in my life. No agenda, nothing to move forward or push back against. Just nothing.’

“We find that white Trump supporters randomly exposed to a black (versus a white) man in the context of soliciting their support for a housing-assistance policy were more opposed to the policy, angrier about the policy, and more likely to blame beneficiaries for their situation.

“But it’s the degree to which the alt-righters differed from the comparison sample that’s most striking — especially when it came to measures of dehumanization, support for collective white action, and admitting to harassing others online..”

“Mr. Hermansson, who was sent undercover by the British anti-racist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, spent months insinuating himself into the alt-right, using his Swedish nationality (many neo-Nazis are obsessed with Sweden because of its “Nordic” heritage) as a way in. It wasn’t always easy. ‘You want to punch them in the face,’ he told me of the people he met undercover.

“Even a single page of bullet points on the country seemed to tax the president’s attention span.” September 15, 2017

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“A self-described “email prankster” in the UK fooled a number of White House officials into thinking he was other officials, including an episode where he convinced the White House official tasked with cyber security that he was Jared Kushner and received that official’s private email address unsolicited.”

“Among [McMaster’s] biggest challenges was holding the attention of the president. […] Trump had little time for in-depth briefings on Afghanistan’s history, its complicated politics or its seemingly endless civil war. Even a single page of bullet points on the country seemed to tax the president’s attention span on the subject, said senior White House officials.”

From August: “Residents told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that at least 100 civilians had been killed [by US-led airstrikes on Raqqa] since Sunday, with 55 civilians killed in the eastern neighbourhoods of Bedou and al-Sukhani on Monday.”

And my eleven-year-old asked me what that sticker meant, and what did it have to do with Trump, and weren’t we not supposed to use words like that.”

Meanwhile, when people were lining up for a Hillary Clinton book signing (starting the night before), she sent her staff to deliver them pizzas. Imagine having someone like that in the Oval Office. Imagine.