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  • There’s been some press the last couple of years about the “Memphis model”: that city’s concerted effort to handle encounters with agitated or mentally ill people in ways where no one gets hurt.

    Basically it’s not the proverbial rocket science to keep these situations from escalating. It just requires the authorities to take it seriously and put people on the scene who have the desire and sense to keep everyone safe.

  • A law was passed that allowed Nazarbayev, and only Nazarbayev, to run for president as many times as he wants – subsequent presidents will be term limited.

    It sounds like Nazarbayev may also be getting advice from Michael Bloomberg.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Down With the Traditional Wool Suit in D.C.

    2014-08-21 19:15:21View | Delete

    Unfortunately there’s nothing in here about actually easing up on the A/C, just looks to me like an attempt to keep up with Google et al. in terms of casual attire.

    This being the U.S., to stay warm in the still-arctic office interiors, they’ll probably just switch to sweaters and hoodies after losing the suit jackets and ties.

    Contrast Japan’s “CoolBiz”: a serious move in this direction.

  • “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming …”

  • I only differ in thinking we may already be out of the template phase; that’s more how I think of New Orleans in 2005

  • Two things:

    • The only time in U.S. history when the federal government moved progressively on economic and racial justice was when there was a geopolitical and ideological alternative/rival in the form of the Soviet Union to which people in the U.S. and abroad could look. That was then; no one in Washington will do anything substantive on these fronts.

    • It should be remembered that just because looting isn’t protesting doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a political nature and can’t be examined in other light than as merely something for cops to extirpate.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Monsters at the End of a War

    2014-08-17 18:26:36View | Delete

    August 15 was the end of World War II in Asia, 69 years ago, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I could not find a single reference to the bombings, or to the end of the war itself, anywhere in the American media.

    August 15 was the end of World War II in Asia, 69 years ago, following the Soviet declaration of war and onslaught against the Empire of Japan. I could not find a single reference to this anywhere in this post.

    By mentioning the A-bombings in connection with the Japanese surrender (albeit not explicitly saying they caused it), while not mentioning the USSR’s involvement, you perpetuate the myth that the A-bombs were a painful but necessary step to end the war quickly, rather than a monstrously cynical experiment and first move in the Cold War.

    The bombings can be commemorated without validating their use in this way.

  • Unbelievable. (I don’t mean I don’t believe it; it’s just freakin’ unbelievable.)

    This is really important reporting, showing how rotten the edifice of policing in the US is. And policing is just one branch of the rotten tree of US society and politics.

    Many thanks, Kevin.

  • kapock commented on the blog post John Schindler Out At Naval War College After Sexting Scandal

    2014-08-14 19:55:13View | Delete

    Fair enough, but I doubt he’s learned it.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Local Police Will Be Militarized As Long As Federal Government Is by David Swanson.

    2014-08-14 19:12:53View | Delete


  • kapock commented on the blog post John Schindler Out At Naval War College After Sexting Scandal

    2014-08-14 18:27:27View | Delete

    I haven’t heard of this guy, let alone his scandal, but this would be much better news if he were being ostracized because of his views on the surveillance state, not sexting. This sort of nonsense can just as easily silence voices that deserve to be heard.

  • Agreed. The way they just used the V.A. scandal—a real, but limited, problem of wait times—as a way to get the voucherization foot in the V.A.’s door shows that the Repubs and allies are always probing for and exploiting agenda opportunities.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Ferguson Police Turn Town Into War Zone

    2014-08-14 07:34:59View | Delete

    It’s a fool’s errand to search for a starting date for this stuff, but for me the response to the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle was when I got the message that anybody using U.S. city streets and squares for anything other than going to and from work and shopping will face instant, maximum police force in response. And those 1999 Seattle cops were probably outfitted like ballet dancers compared to the troops any small city can field today.

  • kapock commented on the blog post RIP: Lauren Bacall

    2014-08-13 09:43:00View | Delete

    Nice post. Much appreciated!

  • kapock commented on the diary post Colbert Swallows the Hill-Pill by patrick devlin.

    2014-08-09 16:33:47View | Delete

    That’s pretty disappointing about John Oliver. I don’t get HBO, so I’m not going to be watching his show regardless, but I had hoped for better from him.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Colbert Swallows the Hill-Pill by patrick devlin.

    2014-08-09 08:10:55View | Delete

    For me Colbert’s shark jump was when he used Kissinger for a nothing gag in a taped revenge bit he did when some musicians cancelled on him on short notice and he wanted to prove how many real celebrities he could instantly drum up.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Pull Up a Chair: Coulrophobia by Elliott.

    2014-08-09 08:01:40View | Delete

    I suppose it’s great progress that the people who actually suffer from this can now have their affliction acknowledged as a serious matter, like cancer. But the whole “scared of clowns” thing has become an enormous cliche and easy go-to for lazy comedy and sitcoms writers. That and jet packs: apparently “hey, it’s the future, [...]

  • kapock commented on the diary post Nixon’s Treason Now Acknowledged by David Swanson.

    2014-08-08 09:36:48View | Delete

    … ’80 treason …

    I suppose, using the interval from 1968 to 2014 as a benchmark, we can expect even conservative establishment bulwarks to acknowledge Reagan’s plotting with Iran to prolong the hostage crisis in about 2026, doubtless to comparable yawns.

  • Well obfuscated; I salute you.

    Awkwardly however, using Esther as your genocide counterexample has the glitch of the story ending with a mass slaughter by the Jews of Persians. That part usually gets left out of the kiddie-friendly version during Purim, of course, though I suppose there’s some hope in the fact the rabbis at least think that genocidal detail would kill the fun holiday atmosphere.

    And before you point it out: I realize that that genocide was “notoriously UNsuccessful” as well. There are still plenty of Persians/Iranians around for nuclear-armed Netanyahu and Obama to threaten to wipe out on account of non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons.

  • The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament makes clear in various passages that the only good Amalekite is a dead one. Any Israelite showing mercy to an Amalekite, as King Saul did, was guilty of disobeying God. In modern terms, the imperative was unambiguously genocidal (and successful, I suppose, going by how many Amalekites are walking around today). Unlike all the non-existent passages that supposedly forbid abortion, this stuff is really in there.

    To the extent that Israelis and Jewish supporters are actually thinking in these terms, keeping Amalek in view as a meaningful example, there is no limit to they may attempt against the Palestinians.

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