Tag Archive | Politics

Haven’t saved any new COVID links/articles for a while

…because they stopped having much new information.

We figured out the basics of how the virus works (and for figuring out the more complicated workings, I’d just be linking the archives of This Week in Virology over and over). The bad articles are a cycle of the same bad things happening in new places (or being confirmed in places where you could’ve guessed they were already happening). The vaccines are in trials, which still have months to go before we see the results.

But, uh. Today seems like a good day to post the backlog. Clear the deck for incoming links that are new, and significant, and bringing me the most genuine joy I’ve felt since March.

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Police violence & protest links

This visualization documents cases of police brutality or misconduct during the nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. This is not comprehensive — these are only a few hundred cases Tweeted by individuals and compiled by Greg Doucette.”

Showing Up For Racial Justice, “part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially-just society.”

#8CantWait: “Data proves that together these eight policies can decrease police violence by 72%.” Look up your city, find out which ones it’s missing, call your reps. It’s a project by Campaign Zero, an organization led by black activists that’s been analyzing police departments and pushing for data-driven reform since 2015.

March 2016: “Americans are afraid of many threats to their lives – serial killers, crazed gunmen, gang bangers, and above all terrorists – but these threats are surprisingly unlikely. Approximately three-quarters of all homicide victims in America are killed by someone they know. And the real threat from strangers is quite different from what most fear: one-third of all Americans killed by strangers are killed by police.

And before diving into all the heavier articles from this month, here’s a light one:

June 2: “Eight Viacom networks went off the air for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Monday night in a tribute to George Floyd […] Nickelodeon took a more kid-friendly approach to the social justice campaign, using an orange background (the network’s signature shade) with the message: “Nickelodeon is going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality, and human rights.”” (I keep seeing people summarize this as if Nick aired the horror-movie version. Nope, the kids’ network aired a perfectly-appropriate kid-safe alternative.)

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Adding to the justice blogroll

Since 2013, I’ve been adding to the “Justice for…” list of links in the sidebar of this blog.

A set of names, one article per person — almost entirely black people who were killed by police, some people who were severely injured by police, some who were killed by other incidents of reckless violence. All of which got brushed off by a legal system that didn’t think their lives mattered. (Sometimes it came back later and got around to giving them justice. Usually not.)

It’s not comprehensive, and doesn’t try to be. It’s just the ones that I, personally, have read about, and want to be able to remember.

As of starting this post, it has 75 entries. (The sidebar only shows a random subset at a time — you have to refresh for more.)

Here’s some new additions.

In February 1999, Diallo was returning to his building when four officers, dressed in plain clothes as part of the Street Crime Unit, approached him and fired 41 shots, hitting him 19 times. The officers said they thought he had a gun, which later turned out to be his wallet, and that he fit the “general description” of a serial rapist.” A civil suit was filed, and settled, but it looks like there were no criminal charges, ever. Justice for Amadou Diallo.

2012: “I must call the NYPD to task for the rapid public release of information regarding this victim, which may have taken place before notification of the shooting to her family. They should show greater care in the handling of a sensitive inquiry in its early stages, or at the least provide equity to the balance of facts being released; the record of the shooter, who reportedly has a number of outstanding civil rights complaints himself and carries an unfavorable reputation in the community, should be treated with the same level of consideration as the record of the deceased.” Justice for Shantel Davis.

2016: “Danner discussed the need for more mental health training for police officers and described a deadly scenario with a cop that foreshadowed her final moments alive. ‘We are all aware of the all too frequent news stories about the mentally ill who come up against law enforcement instead of mental health professionals and end up dead,’ she wrote.” Justice for Deborah Danner.

2019 (fallout of a 2016 shooting): “A jury found a gunshot fired by Ofc. Royce Ruby that killed Gaines and injured her then 5-year-old son, Kodi Gaines, was not reasonable. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Mickey Norman dismissed the family’s claim, writing in an opinion that Ruby was entitled to qualified immunity.” Justice for Korryn Gaines. And for Kodi Gaines.

2019: “‘He absolutely knew that Taser could not be fired again without her changing the cartridge,’ Turner’s family’s attorney, Ben Crump, told Houston Public Media. ‘And he did not have to use deadly force while she was laying on her back.’” Justice for Pamela Turner.

May 21: “The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was killed after officers forced their way inside her home.” Justice for Breonna Taylor.

June 1: “He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing. My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family. And they come along and they killed my son.” Justice for David McAtee.

June 4: “Justin Howell, a 20-year-old political science student at Texas State, was critically injured after being shot with a bean bag round by a police officer during a protest in Austin on May 31. Howell is currently hospitalized and in critical condition after suffering a fractured skull as well as brain damage.” Justice for Justin Howell.

June 5 (update on an April death): “[British Transport Police] said “there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution based upon the allegation that the man spat deliberately on [railway worker] Mrs Mujinga or said that he had the virus’.” Meanwhile, people who spit on cops get jailed, even when the officers don’t die of COVID-19 a few weeks later. Justice for Belly Mujinga.

This is nothing new

One of my relatives just shared a post that went “Trump had to be elected so we could really understand just how bad things were” and I wish I could throw it against a wall.

Things have been bad forever! All you had to do was pay attention and you would’ve understood that already! The (latest wave of) deaths are of real people with their own stories and identities and full complete lives, they’re not some background plot device that only existed to advance your moral development!

…I’ve also seen people going “why can’t all those rich celebrities and one-percenters who donated millions of dollars to Notre Dame send some of their money to ordinary people working for racial justice,” and I just want you all to know…you’re giving them too much credit. Millions of dollars were not actually donated to Notre Dame. The people who made the headline-grabbing pledges were “all press release and no cheque.”

A further mix of links, some from the past few weeks, others from the past few years:

May 18: “‘Threatening to shoot out the power at the hospital, to open the doors and demanding all the keys to the ambulances,’…Police were able to get control of McFadden, who faces four felonies, including transporting a loaded firearm in a vehicle and three resisting an officer charges….McFadden has been arraigned but was released from with the condition that he check into a hospital for treatment.” This gun-toting, hospital-threatening, cop-fighting guy is white. Obviously.

May 2017: “‘I don’t believe it was a suicide,’ the senior Crawford told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported the death on Friday morning. It’s not the first time a notable Ferguson protester has died from gunfire.”

May 22 (NYT): an insider portrait of the crushing headache of trying to get Trump to pay attention at White House intelligence briefings. “…getting Mr. Trump to remember information, even if he seems to be listening, can be all but impossible, especially if it runs counter to his worldview. […] Mr. Trump has also shown interest in foreign leaders, particularly autocrats like President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, and Ms. Sanner mentions them to draw in the president on topics that he might otherwise tune out. While Mr. Trump does not appear to read the intelligence reports he is given, he will examine graphs, charts and tables. Satellite pictures clearly interest him, too: He tweeted one from his intelligence brief, revealing the capabilities of some of the government’s most classified spy assets.”

August 2019: “It is not completely clear where the image Trump shared came from. Security experts told NPR that, given the image’s angle and the time at which it was taken, it could have been taken by the USA-224 American spy satellite. Other experts believe the image actually came from a military drone. Either way, such images are usually kept classified in order to occlude US intelligence gathering methods and capabilities.”

May 28: “Democrats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives on Thursday accused Republicans of keeping a lawmaker’s positive coronavirus test a secret to avoid political embarrassment, even at the risk of exposing their Democratic colleagues.” Andrew Lewis has been vocally against shutdowns and health measures, but he did tell his Republican colleagues about his positive test, so they could quarantine and take precautions. He just…conveniently forgot to tell his political rivals.

October 2019: “‘It is noteworthy and of concern that Hernandez was immunocompromised and ill’ when ICE officers took custody of her and transferred her to two detention cites before arriving at Cibola, the report said, ‘and by the time she reached CCCC, was so ill that a physician ordered her immediate transport to the emergency room.’ Still, the detainee death review said there were no deficiencies in ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards.” And then they conveniently deleted the footage.

Egg replacer, international light shows, holy squirt guns, and…data malpractice

Finally managed to give blood on Sunday, after a few misfires earlier in the month. (For the first time, my pulse kept coming in high. This round I cut all caffeine for a week, recorded my own pulse a couple times a day to figure out the best strategy, and set the appointment for shortly after I woke up. Success!)

Other nice/heartwarming things:

April 14: ““I re-read ‘So Much Cooking,’” one of my friends said on social media, tagging me, “and realized I hadn’t stocked up coffee. Now I have. So, thanks.” Someone else bought two bottles of chocolate syrup, crediting my story. Another person bought themselves birthday cake ingredients. “I’m shopping based on what Natalie would want,” someone else told me.”

May 16: “Buildings around Europe and beyond were lit up for Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light. Shine A Light was played by the Rotterdam Philharmonic, from home.” Video that’ll hit you right in the heart.

May 17: “A Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area has taken aim at his parishioners in a bid to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, using a squirt gun to shoot holy water.

In less-heartwarming news, public-health data in the US is being skewed by people with a financial interest in reopening things, safety be damned. A few examples:

May 18, Florida: The data architect of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard: “As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it.”

May 18, Georgia: “But on closer inspection, the dates on the chart showed a curious ordering: April 30 was followed by May 4; May 5 was followed by May 2, which was followed by May 7 — which in turn was followed by April 26. The dates had been re-sorted to create the illusion of a decline. The five counties were likewise re-sorted on each day to enhance the illusion.”

May 21, the whole US, via the CDC: “The government’s disease-fighting agency is conflating viral and antibody tests, compromising a few crucial metrics that governors depend on to reopen their economies. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, and other states are doing the same.”