Attempting to serve a search warrant by entering a house through a window got Killeen, Texas, Police Detective Charles Dinwiddie shot in the face and killed last May. It was yet another SWAT raid organized for a purpose other than the reason they were invented. The police had a search warrant looking for narcotics at the home of Marvin Louis Guy, 49. They decided to serve this warrant at 5:30 in the morning and without knocking on his door. He opened fire on them, killing Dinwiddie and injuring three others.
Who wants to guess whether Guy — who is now in prison for the shooting only, since there were no drugs found during the raid — is black or white?
I’m heading to Flint, Michigan this weekend to participate in the second annual Hero Round Table conference. Last year’s was an unqualified success and I anticipate that this year’s will be even better.
The plan for the panel is for me to ask a series of questions, over an hour or a bit more, that will spark a discussion between the panelists, rather than simply asking each panelist to speak for a few minutes about their experiences, especially as Ellsberg and Rowley will also be speaking individually at another time during the weekend.
The whole panel will be streaming live at 11am Eastern.
I think it should be of interest to many and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of it. I’ll either embed the stream here just beforehand if I can or else I’ll point people to the live stream via Twitter and Facebook.
The 6th-grade teacher, Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery, was in a faculty restroom at Westbrook Elementary School (3451 W. 6200 South) on Thursday morning when her handgun went off, said Ben Horsley, spokesman of Granite School District….
Classes proceeded fairly normally, Horsley said, but a handful of parents pulled their children out of school, following the incident, Horsley added.
The teacher — a concealed carry permit holder — was allowed to have the weapon on campus per state law, Horsley said.
Utah is among the few states that allow people with concealed weapon permits to carry guns in public schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Is it a good idea to let teachers bring their guns to school? The NRA thinks so and, after Sandy Hook, a bunch of people agreed. But we can probably agree that the armed teachers ought to be careful with the loaded weapons they’re carrying near our children day in and day out. And we should probably make sure the administration at least knows who has a gun at school.
Utah teachers are allowed to carry guns, but the weapons must be completely concealed and kept with the teacher at all times, including inside a bathroom stall, according to the state office of education. However, teachers are not required to tell the school that they have a gun.
"This would clearly violate the intent and the strategic advantage of the ‘concealed’ weapon," the district’s statement reads. "If a permit holder had disclosed to faculty or staff that they were carrying a weapon, this could make them a target in an active shooter situation."
Better to find out who’s got a gun when they accidentally shoot themselves at school.
A witness to the incident, Ronald Ritchie, was responsible for calling 911 and reporting Crawford to law enforcement, saying that a black man was “walking around with a gun in the store,” posing a threat to shoppers and pointing the firearm toward them, The Guardian reports.
However, now Ritchie is changing his story, insisting that Crawford never made any gesture indicative of pointing the gun at customers in the store.
“At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old told The Guardian, although he still claims that Crawford III was waving the BB gun around.
I look forward to hearing from all the people who told me this story didn’t have anything to do with race and we should wait for all the facts and that Crawford certainly wouldn’t have been shot by police if he wasn’t acting erratically.
I was looking around my son’s pre-k classroom this morning and noticed that, this week, all the kids made little versions of themselves using paper plates for their heads, googly eyes, and string for mouths. They’re all hanging up on a bulletin board.
Apparently the teachers asked each kid what they’re “best at” and then they wrote little sentences for each kid. My son’s is pretty predictable; he says he’s the best train track builder. He’s right; he’s become very good at building elaborate train sets with his wooden railway track pieces and he’ll play with his trains for hours, by himself or with others. Other kids in the class say they are the best bike rider or baseball player or dancer. It’s all very cute.
One boy, one of my son’s four self-described “best buddies,” said he was the best friend. Kudos to this kid’s parents; they’re doing an awesome job.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve read about and even participated in some heated debates about the University of Illinois’ unhiring of Steven Salaita because of a series of offensive tweets he wrote regarding Israel and Zionists.
I’ve been known to write strongly worded criticisms of elected officials, for example, because of their position on the death penalty, on immigration, or even on university budgetary matters. And I’ve occasionally disagreed with colleagues in online discussions, sometimes quite vigorously, on a wide variety of topics. But I don’t imagine for a moment that any of us would want the university to weigh in on those discussions to tell us who is in the right and who’d better watch what he says.
But I have to wonder, as a professor who blogs and who is active on Twitter, whether this holds true for other issues … or just when it comes to Israel.
Let me try out an example:
I write quite often about the death penalty. I argue that it’s terrible public policy and that support for the death penalty is predicated on a lack of knowledge about how it works, as well as on a series of unfounded ethical presumptions. I don’t pull a lot of punches when it comes to my opposition to state killing and so, if you happen to strongly support the death penalty, you might find my arguments unpleasant, troubling, or even offensive. If you’re a student, maybe you’d feel uncomfortable in one of my classes, especially if the topic of the death penalty comes up. I wouldn’t be actively trying to make you uncomfortable … but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel that way.
Should I lose my job? Should donors write letters in opposition to keeping me employed?
I could do this with a host of other issues, including the Israel/Palestine issue. Maybe a Palestinian student would feel uncomfortable in my classes? Maybe a Zionist would? I know I’ve written things here, on the topic of Israel, that many people think are wrong-headed, dangerous, idealistic, foolish, and so on.
At what point or on which issues is it acceptable for a professor to make a strongly-worded argument, or even to engage in name-calling, and have it “count” as part of the broader academic freedom package? I mean, it might be beneath me to call someone a troll or a cretin or a moral monster or whatever else, but we know too that sometimes writing on the internet emboldens people to say things they wouldn’t say in person. Do we want to suggest that there’s no point where that’s acceptable?
That’s what seems to be at stake here. One lesson to learn from the Salaita affair is that civility now matters a great deal, at least in certain places and on certain issues. We don’t yet know how far this goes, which issues it touches, and what sorts of words are too uncivil to be tolerated. So, in the meantime, should we all just keep our mouths shut about everything if we don’t have anything nice to say?
From the aged hipster host with the ironic mustache to the ex-convict who believes he must eat Ramen noodles or die of hunger to the doomsday survivalist who spent most of the first week convincing other people to build what she keeps calling a “chicken tractor” to the toothless Southern handyman who secedes from the utopian society in its first week, there’s nothing here but carefully designed chaos.
There’s nothing even approaching reality here and there’s certainly nothing of interest to people who care about political theory. It’s just a bunch of people throwing tantrums about small decisions that don’t have anything to do with building a political community.
“The employees are to Hobby Lobby what the daughters are to Paul and Teresa Wieland.”—
That’s Timothy Belz, an attorney from the conservative Thomas More Society, who represents Missouri state representative Paul Wieland and his wife, Teresa.
The Wielands “are suing the Obama administration over its minimum coverage requirements for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, which includes contraception. They say the government is forcing them to violate their religious beliefs because they have three daughters, ages 13, 18 and 19, who are on their parents’ plan and might get birth control at no additional cost.”
It’s ridiculously wrong-headed to believe that the Affordable Care Act is somehow forcing young women to take birth control simply by making it available to them; in no other instance does anyone believe that having access to medication is the same thing as being forced to take medication. For example, because of my health care plan, I could get prescriptions for a whole host of medications if my doctor believed they were medically necessary and I agreed with that assessment. They don’t just show up at my door just because they’re covered by my health insurance. When I tore my Achilles tendon over the summer, my doctor prescribed painkillers but I didn’t end up filling the prescription because I didn’t feel I needed them. They were covered by my insurance but no one from the Obama administration showed up at my house and forced me to take the pills.
For the Wielands, one alternative to suing the federal government might be to speak to their adult daughters about their beliefs (which they might even share). Another alternative might be to treat their adult daughters like adults.
But I suppose it’s a whole lot easier these days to undertake a trumped up lawsuit against the Obama administration — one that, I think, mocks people with serious religious beliefs — than it is to sit down and talk to your children.
This piece at Salon makes very clear a point I’ve made before: White men with guns are patriotic activists who should be afforded every courtest as they exercise their rights while black men with guns are dangerous thugs who should be apprehended or simply shot on sight:
Here’s what happened. It was a Sunday afternoon about 4 p.m. when Kalamazoo 9-1-1 got several calls from citizens concerned about an intoxicated man with a gun walking around a coin laundry and “stumbling around a little bit and kind of bumping into some stuff” on the street. The police arrived shortly and confronted the man by saying, “Hey, partner, how you doing? Can you set that down real quick and talk to me?” (The officer didn’t have his gun drawn.) The armed man refused to set it down. The officer told him that he was jaywalking and was being detained. At that point the officer radioed that the armed man would not drop the weapon. He tells the man again that he just wants to talk to him and says, “You’re walking around here scaring people, man.”
A second police car arrives at the scene. The man refuses to identify himself and demands to know if he’s free to go and the officer says no, that he is resisting and obstructing, a misdemeanor, for jaywalking and failing to identify himself. The man says, “Why don’t you fucking shoot me?” The officer gently replies, “I don’t want to shoot you; I’m not here to do that.”
This back and forth continues, with the man refusing to give up his gun and the cops patiently trying to talk him down from his position. The whole time he’s rambling about revolution and accusing the cops of being “gang members.” It becomes clear that he has conceived this drunken episode as an “open carry” demonstration. He’s proving to the community how important it is that “good guys” be allowed to carry guns on the street to protect themselves.
Soon 12 police are on the scene, including a supervisor and SWAT negotiator. The street is shut down in both directions. Police recordings describe the man as agitated and hostile and although he is holding his gun at “parade rest” he’s switching it back and forth and fumbling in his pockets for chewing tobacco. After much discussion, he finally agrees to give up the weapon.
Do the police then instantly swarm him and wrestle him to the ground? Do they handcuff him, throw him in the back of the police car and arrest him for the trouble he’s caused? Did he get roughed up or put in a chokehold for resisting arrest and being uncooperative?
None of that happened to this man. The police took his gun and then said he could have it back immediately if he agreed to take a breathalyzer test on the spot. (You can be arrested for carrying a firearm while intoxicated in Michigan if you blow a .08 or above, the same legal limit for DUI.) The man refused. They carried on for a while longer with the man objecting to having his gun taken away even as the police explain that he is free to walk home and retrieve it at the police station the next day. They spar over whether he’s mentally unstable and if it’s a good idea for him to “demonstrate” this way, particularly being hostile to the police. He finally apologizes and leaves the scene without his gun. No charges were filed. Nobody was hurt. He got his gun back.
We’re now in the third week of my ancient political theory class and the students have all begun publishing longer posts based on the readings. Here’s one, published this morning, that highlights why this is my favorite class to teach and why I’m especially excited about the way it has begun this semester:
At the opening of Book IX of the Iliad, Nestor spends some time berating Agamemnon for the royal mistake he made in angering Achilles: “And you dishonored a great prince, a hero to whom the gods themselves do honor” (9. 130-31). The last line seems to show some ignorance on the part of Nestor. The gods certainly pay Achilles more attention than other mortals, but added attention doesn’t equate honor. What it could mean is that the gods simply find Achilles more interesting than other humans.
The Iliad makes it clear that the gods are incredibly selective in whose prayers they chose to acknowledge with action. In Book IV, the women of Troy gather to make sacrifices to and honor Athena in hopes she will turn the tide of war in their favor. Athena, already committed to the cause of Achilles, disregards their pleas (4.340-360). But Athena’s reasons for ignoring the Trojan women seem puzzling to modern readers more familiar with Judeo-Christian theology. The women are sincere and humble in their requests, and generous in their sacrifice. A Western worldview would say that these qualities would please a god. But Athena isn’t moved, and for no other reason than that she likes Achilles better. We never fully understand Athena’s preference—it could be that Achilles is stronger, or that he is really awesome on the battlefield.
What is clear is the insignificance with which the gods regard humans, even as their actions bear incredible importance on mortal lives. At one point in Book IV, the actions of Hera and Athena are described as “making mischief for the men of Troy” (4.24-28). Mischief seems too childish a word to describe what’s happening. The lives of Trojan men are lost because of their actions, but to the immortal Hera and Athena, those deaths are nothing. Battles are won and lost because of their interference. Similarly at the opening of the Iliad, when Zeus and Hera are at odds over Thetis’ request to protect Achilles, Hephaestus complains that “Ah what a miserable day if you two raise our voices over mortal creatures!…What pleasure can we take in a fine dinner when baser matters gain the upper hand?” (1. 662-665). Humans clearly don’t matter to the gods, at least not in the deeply significant way that the gods matter to humans. To the immortals of Olympus, humans are distractions; their affairs are simply one of many ways to fill up the endless hours of eternity. Sometimes, humans matter less than the meal at hand.
And that is why Nestor’s statement that Achilles is “a hero to whom the gods themselves do honor” displays ignorance in a rather sad way. The word “honor” simply doesn’t describe the way in which the gods perceive humans. They may find mortals interesting, at times. They may choose to become involved in their affairs for the sake of causing mischief. But the word “honor” implies a high level of respect, and respect is just not a way in which the gods perceive humans. The mortals are too insignificant to deserve the continuous respect, the honor of a god. But Nestor, like many other pious Greeks, is deluded into thinking the gods are as invested in the lives of men as much as men rely on the intervention of the gods.
At a conference this year in Rancho Mirage, Sears told a roomful of pregnant women, new mothers and healthcare professionals that vaccines work well and are responsible for the nation’s low disease rate, something parents who don’t want to immunize can take advantage of.
"I do think the disease danger is low enough where I think you can safely raise an unvaccinated child in today’s society," he said. "It may not be good for the public health. But … for your individual child, I think it is a safe enough choice."
Seriously, this guy should lose his medical license.
He’s deliberately putting people in danger and it’s pretty clear he knows better but has built up a sizable business by catering to the baseless fears of a group of people who either don’t understand science or choose not to embrace anti-scientific theories about vaccines.
The whole notion that he would tell people it’s safe and acceptable not to vaccinate because enough other people do vaccinate seems to suggest not only that he doesn’t care about public health (which he straightforwardly admits) but also that he doesn’t fully understand what might happen if enough people actually do as he says:
In a concept known as herd immunity, communities must be vaccinated at a high rate to avoid widespread disease outbreaks. For measles and whooping cough, at least 92% of a community needs to be immune, experts say.
In the Capistrano Unified School District, which includes the upscale South Orange County neighborhood where Sears’ office is located, 9.5% of kindergartners had personal-belief exemptions on file last fall, compared to a state average of 3.1%. At some individual schools, as many as 60% of students had such exemptions.
There sure are an awful lot of hot takes on Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL, Joe Paterno, Penn State University, and the NCAA today.
It’s as if a whole bunch of people somehow can’t figure out that domestic violence and child rape are unqualified evils. Anyone who thinks otherwise or attempts to excuse or make light of these things in any way is morally bankrupt. Full stop.
It’s downright ghoulish to suggest that the NCAA shouldn’t have punished Penn State’s football program and that they’re finally doing the right thing by lifting the postseason ban ahead of schedule, just as it’s reprehensible to claim that the Ravens or the NFL acted responsibly in handling the Ray Rice situation before today because they didn’t have all the facts or they didn’t know what it actually looked like when he knocked his fiance unconscious.
Fox premiered its newest reality show last night and, at least at this point, it’s an absolute train wreck. The premise is that 15 people will live together on 5 acres of land and they’ll have an opportunity to create their society from scratch.
Bu there are two problems:
Almost all the people they’ve chosen are complete caricatures of human beings. As a friend wrote to me last night, an hour into the broadcast, “I don’t think it’s real. They have to be actors, right?” Obvously, they all wanted to be on television, but it’s not clear why the show’s producers chose people who would necessarily be antagonistic toward one another. The whole idea is to see if they can build a working society, but the deck is completely stacked against them because they’re all maniacs. If these were cartoon characters, people would be offended by them because they’re such overblown stereotypes.
Fox is going to swap out some of the Utopians every month. I have to wonder whether this just encourages people to go crazy, burn bridges, and not really care about building a working society. If there’s no prize at the end and if you might be there for just a few weeks (or a couple months at most), why put in the hard work to create a working system of self-governance rather than just having fun and getting a bunch of attention from the television audience?
And my fears that there’s not going to be any serious thinking about what makes for a good life or self-sustaining community or a just system of self-governance are pretty much immediately justified. In the first five minutes, the Utopians are tasked with paring down the meager possessions they brought with them and, for no apparently reason, Dave — the homeless ex-convict — throws a tantrum worthy of my four year old about bringing all of his stuff rather than pcking and choosing as everyone else has been doing to fill one big communal crate.
Then, once they start wandering around their new environment, they immediately start arguing with each other. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly becasuse Josh the general contractor is an amazing ass. He talks over all the women, he cuts off one guy who wants to say a prayer before dinner, makes fun of two women who want to calm everyone down by suggesting some yoga techniques, sexually harasses — and nearly assaults — at least one of the women, and gets embarrassingly drunk.
Trying to turn things around after a tough day, Dave says, “I thought we did really, really good with Day One.” But he’s wrong, very wrong. On the first day of Survivor or Big Brother, everyone’s incredibly friendly. And those are people who are actively scheming against one another in order to win a bunch of money by systematically eliminating everyone else from the competition. The Utopians, with absolutely nothing on the line, are literally attacking one another before the show gets underway.
On the second day, Hex the huntress has to be removed from the set because she drank herself to illness the night before. Jonathan, the pastor, spends a fair amount of time crying because three of the women do a lot of skinny-dipping. And then everyone has a meeting/trial to debate Josh’s fate.
In the middle of that meeting, Aaron, a chef, asks the group how they intend to make decisions. Will it be a democracy? No one has an answer for him. So they just vote to decide Josh’s fate (7-6) and the utopia is a simple majoritarian democracy thereafter by default.
I can’t help thinking the whole thing would have been much more interesting if they’d decided that the smartest, the strongest, the calmest, or the most capable had simply governed them and assigned tasks to everyone else. At least half of the people seem to have no discernable skills for surviving without electricity or plumbing, and seem to have been chosen simply because they have strong views or strong personalities. I’m thinking, for example, of Dedeker the polyamorous bellydancer, Dave the ex-convict, Amanda the behavioral specialist, Mike the attorney, Jonathan the pastor, and Rob the security programmer. These people basically bring nothing to the table, at least after three days in which they couldn’t even dig a single trench or keep all of their chickens alive.
But maybe it’s just that I’ve spent too much time reading Plato and this is actually the best we can expect.
“If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”—
That’s Rand Paul, in an emailed statement a few days ago, going along with the general line of thinking amongst American politicians.
This is something of a contrast with Paul’s previous statements regarding American military intervention more generally.
For everyone, on the Left and the Right, who was either weary of or morally opposed to bombing campaigns, and certainly of boots on the ground, in the Middle East, Paul seemed a terrific choice in 2016. He has been a harsh critic of Obama, Clinton, and many members of his own party for their hawkishness, taking a line that seemed downright isolationist.
Indeed, just a week before calling for the destruction of ISIS, he wrote:
Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little thought to the consequences. This is not a foreign policy…. A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe.
So, is Rand Paul an interventionist now? And how do his supporters feel about his hawkish language and the way it supports bombing campaigns that they surely oppose as they did when they complained about air strikes in Libya or potential intervention in Syria?
So it doesn’t matter that he killed his employer and raped the employers wife, but let’s be upset because of the few points.
This is a pretty common way of thinking so it’s worth saying a few things by way of response.
First, it does matter a great deal that Ramiro Hernandez committed a horrific crime. You’ll get no argument from me that he ought to be incarcerated, and I suspect you won’t find anyone who will try to excuse his crime or suggest that punishment is an inappropriate response.
But that’s unrelated to whether or not we ought to be upset about the way the state of Texas circumvented the justice system in our country, which is what happened in this case. We ought to be.
If the law of the land says that it’s unconstitutional to execute someone who has an IQ below 70 — as it does — then we’re prohibited from executing someone with an IQ of 62. To say that IQ tests are biased against Latinos — and therefore to add enough points to allow for the us to execute a particular Latino — is both illegal and a disturbingly callous way of thinking about racial bias.
None of what I’ve said excuses the heinous crime committed by Hernandez; I have no interest in even attempting to offer an excuse because, really, I can’t imagine there is one.
But even if you don’t agree with me that it’s shameful for the United States to be executing people in 2014, at the very least it seems clear that we shouldn’t be killing the intellectually disabled … especially when the Supreme Court ruled years ago that it’s unconstitutional to do so.
So, we now know a little bit more about the botched execution of Clayton Lockett. The short version is that the whole bunch of people responsible for poisoning him to death didn’t know what they were doing:
Anita Trammel, the warden, had covered Lockett’s body with a sheet when it was believed that the IV was inserted because of a desire “to maintain Lockett’s dignity and keep his genital area covered,” the report states. However, as a result, no witnesses were able to see where the needle went and no one looked at where the IV was inserted until after the problem was discovered….
Trammel told investigators that she would normally monitor the place where the IV was inserted to keep an eye out for any problems, saying that the problem could have been discovered earlier if the IV’s insertion point was visible. The physician and paramedic, meanwhile, said that they did not know when the catheter became dislodged and weren’t sure how much of the drugs were delivered into Lockett’s vein.
But the review notes that IV access “was not viable as early as the administration” of the first drug, midazolam, because the state’s autopsy found higher levels of midazolam in the tissue near his groin.
An independent autopsy found that the execution team failed to properly place the IV, despite the “excellent integrity” of Lockett’s veins at the time of his death. While Department of Corrections employees said they believed that Lockett had dehydrated himself on purpose, the independent autopsy and the state-ordered autopsy found that there were no indications that Lockett was dehydrated. The official review also notes that medical personnel with the Department of Corrections said that Lockett’s veins were deemed suitable for an IV on the day of his execution.
Apart from an obvious lack of medical knowledge that resulted in botching the execution, it’s also fascinating to read the warden’s justification for the failure to follow protocol with regard to IV visibility: she wanted “to maintain Lockett’s dignity.”
In the context of the celebrity photo hacking we all became aware of this week, Wendy Shalit takes to Time.com to proclaim the virtues of modesty and decry the cultural pressure to externalize everything we ought to keep private. She even manages to link all of this to the beauty of keeping Shabbat, not taking pictures of even the sweetest things, and thus living in the moment. It’s a monumental feat of kitchen-sinkism.
But here’s where she starts:
Young women are told that it’s a sign of being “proud of your sexuality” to “sext” young men—a philosophy that has turned girls into so many flashing beacons, frantic to keep the attention of the males in their lives by striking porn-inspired poses.
Are young women told this? By whom? Shalit makes it sound as though our culture is pushing camera phones into the hands of young women and that they can’t go anywhere without a variety of people telling them to hurry up and get sexting.
This is her answer to the following question:
why do many young women feel the need to take and share nude selfies in the first place?
Now I’m not a young woman — spoiler alert! — but I have to imagine that one reason young women (and young men) take nude selfies is that they feel like it, that they derive some enjoyment or satisfaction from it, that it appeals to them in some way.
Will I take nude selfies? I will not. [You’re welcome.] Is this because I understand the virtues of modesty, keeping certain things private, and living in the moment? I’m deeply skeptical that’s the right answer, given everything I know about myself. And I’m also deeply skeptical that blaming our supposed culture of immodesty and pride in sexuality is the way to prevent young women from having nude photos of themselves stolen and shared on the internet.
“One of them, I guess, thought he could teach the other he could shoot”—
That’s Sgt. Mark Stein, commenting on an incident last week at a Florida gun range in which one man shot himself and his friend.
The man acting as instructor tried to unjam the 9mm Smith & Wesson, which was owned by someone else at the range, Stein said, when he inadvertently pulled the trigger.
"He shot himself in his own finger," Stein said. The bullet then went through his friend’s thigh and embedded itself in a wall.
Several witnesses saw what happened and one described it as “just a case of stupidity.”
Given all the responsible gun owners found at gun ranges, I’m pretty surprised these aren’t amongst the safest places in our great country, since so many gun activists keep telling me that more people with more guns means more safety.
It turns out you might need to apologize when you write something like this about slavery:
Slaves were valuable property, and much harder and, thanks to the decline in supply from Africa, costlier to replace than, say, the Irish peasants that the iron-masters imported into south Wales in the 19th century. Slave owners surely had a vested interest in keeping their “hands” ever fitter and stronger to pick more cotton. Some of the rise in productivity could have come from better treatment. Unlike Mr Thomas, Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.
So, here’s the apology from the Economist:
In our review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, we said: “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.” There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil. We regret having published this and apologise for having done so. We are therefore withdrawing the review but in the interests of transparency, anybody who wants to see the withdrawn review can click here.
It’s a good apology. It doesn’t offer excuses and try to suggest that people who were offended made some sort of mistake. It’s short and to the point.
And it’s also, I think, a good reminder for people who insist that objectivity somehow involves telling the story of the potential upside of world-historical crimes like slavery or genocide.
There is no upside. Don’t go looking for one. You won’t find it.
“When they passed this law it was bound to happen.”—
That’s Idaho State University president Arthur Vailas, commenting on an “unfortunate” incident on campus:
Just into the second week of fall classes, a Idaho State University professor has literally shot himself in the foot and provided one answer to the question of “What could go wrong?” on the growing number of college campuses that allow the concealed carry of firearms.
The unnamed professor was teaching a class of roughly 20 students at the Physical Science building yesterday when his handgun—pocketed, but not holstered—accidentally discharged, Lieutenant Paul Manning of the Pocatello Police Department told The Daily Beast.
All the people who think having guns on campus sounds like a good idea because of freedom and the 2nd Amendment and whatever else, go ahead and gunsplain this to me.
Is this guy a responsible gun owner? A good guy with a gun? How exactly would we have known that he wasn’t responsible or a good guy before he shot himself (and, obviously, might very well have shot others)?
The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.
Man, it is exhausting to read so many different variations on blaming women who had private pictures of themselves stolen from them and shared all over the internet for milions of strangers to gawk at and pass judgment on.
But I suppose I get it. I mean, apparently some people always make excellent choices in every aspect of their private and professional lives. And they are shocked and appalled when other people make choices they deem as not being excellent. And they maybe don’t feel so bad for someone who makes a choice they wouldn’t make themselves.
And so, these people who make great decisions all the time and about everything, they have no sympathy for women who — gasp! — took some naked pictures of themselves in private and had the audacity not to delete them but instead to save them somewhere that might not be 100% secure from hackers who are doing everything possible to steal naked pictures of women and post them all over the internet.
Because nudity is bad and wrong and shameful, first of all. And second of all, if you have any expectation of privacy, you can never take a photo of yourself.
The real criminals here are the ladies, obviously, because they made a bad choice according to people who are morally upstanding and perfect in every way. Not the actual criminals who hacked into the cloud, violated their privacy, and shared stolen photos all over the internet. That’s apparently to be expected, according to fine citizens of the internet. If you don’t know this and you take a naked picture of yourself, or if you do know this and you still take a naked picture of yourself, you’re a moron who gets what she deserves.
Having said all of the above in an angry, sarcastic tone, let me say one thing very clearly: It shouldn’t be so difficult to recognize that women can do whatever the hell they want to do in private, including taking naked pictures of themselves, and that the men who steal those photos and post them on the internet are the ones who are doing something wrong.
Since we’re turning our attention to Homer’s Iliad this week in my ancient political theory class, it was incredibly fortituous to come across this recent op-ed in the New York Times about the value of reading Homer and Plato, especially for student-athletes in college:
Am I saying that athletes ought to be reading Plato and Homer and using them to think about their lives? At first that may sound absurd. But what is a student-athlete if not someone who is learning a sport but also learning about the meaning and value of sport? There are good coaches who try to guide their players, no doubt about that. But to my knowledge there are no college programs (and none in the pros) that explore the relationship between playing a game and developing the spirit.
Now, admittedly, I don’t think many student-athletes have enrolled in my ancient political theory course over the years. The author of this piece argues that they’re actually discouraged from doing so and instead encouraged to take “easier” courses. But this piece explains to them what I explain to all the non-athletes who do enroll, namely the vital importance of thinking critically about our values and our actions. As the author asks,
Which path is better for the spirited individual: the Homeric or Platonic? Should the athlete on the field risk suspending reasonable control over his or her passions in order to win? Should he do so, knowing that what Plato suggests might be true: that once he has allowed the hunger for domination to rule unchecked on the field, that same hunger might manifest itself in other venues? Or should we look at sports in another light and see them, as Aristotle might, as opportunities to rid ourselves of dangerous emotions by venting them in a designated space?
These are crucial questions, not only for the athletes themselves but also more broadly for a society like ours in which athletes are thought of as heroes to be emulated, where they are rewarded extravagantly for their athletic exploits, and also where we often turn a blind eye to some of their very troubling behavior off the field, court, and diamond.
The Ku Klux Klan is trying to recruit new members … with Jolly Ranchers:
The flier was tucked into a plastic bag along with a membership application, the address for the KKK national office in North Carolina, a list of beliefs and three Jolly Rancher candies….
Robert Jones, the “Imperial Klaliff” of the Loyal White Knights sect, told WHNS that the effort was part of the Klan’s “national night ride” — a recruitment event that happens three times a year.
Jones said recruitment efforts were not aimed at specific people and that residents “shouldn’t be fearful unless they’re doing something that the Klan considers morally wrong,” according to WHNS.
This particular recruitment drive seems to be focused on immigration from Mexico rather than any of the myriad things the Klan considers morally wrong. One person got the flier and called the Klan hotline, but he definitely wasn’t someone the Klan was looking to recruit during its “national night ride”:
Damian Neveaux, who is African-American, found a flier and called the number because he, too, was concerned about border security, KPRC reported.
He reached a Klan representative who told him he would not be allowed to join.
“‘The only way you can become a member is if you’re 100 percent Caucasian,” Neveaux recalled the Klan member telling him, according to KPRC. “This flier wasn’t meant for you.’”
There are no dusty bookshelves or piles of textbooks in the library of Florida’s newest university. Welcoming its first students this week, Florida Polytechnic University’s new library houses not a single physical book.
Instead, its inaugural class of 500 will have access to around 135,000 ebooks. “Our on-campus library is entirely digital,” said director of libraries Kathryn Miller. “We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program. However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally.”
The 11,000 square-foot library is situated within a huge, white-domed building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Eschewing physical books, it is a bright, open space featuring computer terminals, desks, and comfortable spots to read.
So, this new university built an 11,000 sq. ft. library that houses 0 physical books. I haven’t found an estimate of the expense of this brilliant project, but I suspect it wasn’t cheap. Presumably, a smaller building could have been built to house this non-library … at substantial savings to the students. But, after all, there’s nothing quite so impressive as walking prospective students through a big empty building and explaining to them that there are plenty of places to sit quietly with their eReaders.
I’m not a technophobe; I rent novels from the library all the time and I actually enjoy reading them on my iPad. But I want my students to read physical books, to carry them around, to take notes in the margins and underline passages. And when I’m doing research, I want the books in my hands and spread out on the desk in front of me, covered in little sticky notes. I want to flip quickly between the notes I took on page 30 that point me to the notes I took on page 130. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work with Plato on a Kindle.
Maybe this just makes me an old grouch. I’m sure you’ll let me know.
When your debilitatingly uncharismatic male lead explodes like a bag of meat filled with overripe fruit to end your show’s seven season run, will this herald the end of our long national love affair with the sexy undead?
If the answer is “no,” can the next HBO show be entirely about those white trash sex panthers who turned up in 2011 and then were never seen again?