March 13, 2015 archive

NYPD Blues

NYPD Caught Editing Wikipedia Entries About Police Brutality Victims

by Aviva Shen, Think Progress

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

The New York Police Department has anonymously edited and tried to delete Wikipedia pages about police brutality victims, Capital New York has discovered. Edits coming from 1 Police Plaza headquarters targeted pages for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo.

Someone at the NYPD also tried to delete the article on Sean Bell, an unarmed man who was gunned down by officers firing 50 bullets in 2006, arguing that “no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore.” The user wrote, “The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable.”

The NYPD also edited entries about the police force’s stop-and-frisk policy deemed unconstitutional in 2013.

The edits and deletion attempts reflect the NYPD’s sometimes clumsy response to the increased scrutiny in the wake of controversies over stop-and-frisk, their treatment of Occupy Wall Street activists, and most recently, the crackdown on #BlackLivesMatter protesters.

The NYPD even cracked down on an artistic mural calling the police force “murderers,” even though the property owner had approved it. When the artist declined police requests to remove the mural, NYPD officers painted over it themselves.

Actually, it’s not so much the Beat Cops (who while technically ‘Officers’ aren’t really in charge) as it is the ‘White Shirts’ at 1 Police Plaza and the unrepresentative Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association that ceased paying attention to its blue shirted Patrolmen members a long time ago.

Bill Bratton should resign or be fired.

Well duh!

Herr Doktor Professor is sounding more MMT by the day.

Strength Is Weakness

Paul Krugman, The New York Times

MARCH 13, 2015

We’ve been warned over and over that the Federal Reserve, in its effort to improve the economy, is “debasing” the dollar. The archaic word itself tells you a lot about where the people issuing such warnings are coming from. It’s an allusion to the ancient practice of replacing pure gold or silver coins with “debased” coins in which the precious-metal content was adulterated with cheaper stuff. Message to the gold bugs and Ayn Rand disciples who dominate the Republican Party: That’s not how modern money works. Still, the Fed’s critics keep insisting that easy-money policies will lead to a plunging dollar.

Reality, however, keeps declining to oblige. Far from heading downstairs to debasement, the dollar has soared through the roof. (Sorry.) Over the past year, it has risen 20 percent, on average, against other major currencies; it’s up 27 percent against the euro. Hooray for the strong dollar!

Or not. Actually, the strong dollar is bad for America. In an immediate sense, it will weaken our long-delayed economic recovery by widening the trade deficit. In a deeper sense, the message from the dollar’s surge is that we’re less insulated than many thought from problems overseas. In particular, you should think of the strong dollar/weak euro combination as the way Europe exports its troubles to the rest of the world, America very much included.

Currency markets, however, always grade countries on a curve. The United States isn’t exactly booming, but it looks great compared with Europe, where the present is bad and the future looks worse. Even before the new Greek crisis blew up, Europe was starting to resemble Japan without the social cohesion: within the eurozone, the working-age population is shrinking, investment is weak and much of the region is flirting with deflation. Markets have responded to those poor prospects by pushing interest rates incredibly low. In fact, many European bonds are now offering negative interest rates.

Who wins from this market move? Europe: a weaker euro makes European industry more competitive against rivals, boosting both exports and firms that compete with imports, and the effect is to mitigate the euroslump. Who loses? We do, as our industry loses competitiveness, not just in European markets, but in countries where our exports compete with theirs. America has been experiencing a modest manufacturing revival in recent years, but that revival will be cut short if the dollar stays this high for long.

In effect, then, Europe is managing to export some of its stagnation to the rest of us. We’re not talking about a nefarious plot, about so-called currency wars; it’s just the way things work in a global economy with highly mobile capital and market-determined exchange rates.

And the effects may be quite large. If markets believe that Europe’s weakness will last a long time, we would expect the euro to fall and the dollar to rise enough to eliminate much if not most of the difference in interest rates, which would mean severely crimping U.S. growth.


The Breakfast Club (Come Ye To The Fair!)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

Uncle Sam cartoon debuts; Brigadoon opens on Broadway; Deadly rampage at Scottish elementary school.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Grifters Gonna Grift

And media organizations like Politico make it so damn easy because it’s their grift too.


On This Day In History March 13

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 13 is the 72nd day of the year (73rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 293 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1881. Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, is killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary “People’s Will” group. The People’s Will, organized in 1879, employed terrorism and assassination in their attempt to overthrow Russia’s czarist autocracy. They murdered officials and made several attempts on the czar’s life before finally assassinating him on March 13, 1881.

Alexander II succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father in 1855. The first year of his reign was devoted to the prosecution of the Crimean War and, after the fall of Sevastopol, to negotiations for peace, led by his trusted counsellor Prince Gorchakov. The country had been exhausted and humiliated by the war. Bribe-taking, theft and corruption were everywhere. Encouraged by public opinion he began a period of radical reforms, including an attempt to not to depend on a landed aristocracy controlling the poor, a move to developing Russia’s natural resources and to thoroughly reform all branches of the administration.

Emancipation of the serfs

In spite of his obstinacy in playing the Russian autocrat, Alexander II acted willfully for several years, somewhat like a constitutional sovereign of the continental type. Soon after the conclusion of peace, important changes were made in legislation concerning industry and commerce, and the new freedom thus afforded produced a large number of limited liability companies. Plans were formed for building a great network of railways-partly for the purpose of developing the natural resources of the country, and partly for the purpose of increasing its power for defence and attack.

The existence of serfdom was tackled boldly, taking advantage of a petition presented by the Polish landed proprietors of the Lithuanian provinces and, hoping that their relations with the serfs might be regulated in a more satisfactory way (meaning in a way more satisfactory for the proprietors), he authorised the formation of committees “for ameliorating the condition of the peasants”, and laid down the principles on which the amelioration was to be effected.

This step was followed by one still more significant. Without consulting his ordinary advisers, Alexander ordered the Minister of the Interior to send a circular to the provincial governors of European Russia, containing a copy of the instructions forwarded to the governor-general of Lithuania, praising the supposed generous, patriotic intentions of the Lithuanian landed proprietors, and suggesting that perhaps the landed proprietors of other provinces might express a similar desire. The hint was taken: in all provinces where serfdom existed, emancipation committees were formed.

But the emancipation was not merely a humanitarian question capable of being solved instantaneously by imperial ukase. It contained very complicated problems, deeply affecting the economic, social and political future of the nation.

Alexander had to choose between the different measures recommended to him. Should the serfs become agricultural labourers dependent economically and administratively on the landlords, or should they be transformed into a class of independent communal proprietors?

The emperor gave his support to the latter project, and the Russian peasantry became one of the last groups of peasants in Europe to shake off serfdom.

The architects of the emancipation manifesto were Alexander’s brother Konstantin, Yakov Rostovtsev, and Nikolay Milyutin.

On 3 March 1861, 6 years after his accession, the emancipation law was signed and published.

Late Night Karaoke

The Daily/Nightly Show (Drain Bamage)

Training Games

This is a variation on a pretty common Leadership Training game (been at many, moderated more than a few) that I also saw a takeoff of today on Girl Meets World.  In the game I played you broke into problem solving groups where you were treated according to your label.

These were not randomly assigned and I knew my moderator and later worked with him as State Membership Recruiting Co-ordinator.  It was a job I thought I’d loathe because I hate selling and I only took it to keep an eye on this guy and keep him 100 because at the time my Rebel Alliance thought the primary problem with the Club was fake growth and cooking the Memberships books.  I had no reason to trust him nor he me.

As it turns out we made quite a team.  Flushed the paper, organized 10 new locals, added 300+ members.  I worked hard, but no harder than he did.  Capped 5 consecutive years of growth.  I thought I’d hate selling but I didn’t understand what it was that we sold-

Opportunity, success, and leadership to people who might otherwise go through their whole lives thinking that they were hopeless and inferior.  As I look back it’s perhaps the best work I’ve ever done.

You may ask what this moderator labeled me on my team.

Expert.  Listen to him.

Tonightly we’ll be talking about Boxing and Brain Damage.  I’d have more thoughts about this if I hadn’t been pounding a deeper dent in my desk today.  Was that a bell?  I’m sure I heard a bell.


Why is it NEVER about racism?

Next Week’s Guests-

Rob Corddry will be on to pitch Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (some people say it’s funny, I’ll probably never know) and most definitely NOT to remind Jon that he’s getting old and quitting.


Just a gentle reminder. We’re coming up on Silly Season (me for doing it) with March Madness looming and Melbourne Sunday.  Expect more incoherence and distraction.

Common’s web exclusive extended interview and the real news below.