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Jamycheal Mitchell

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.30.15

Via E. Messily, another death in police custody. This one is more probably homicidal negligence than brutality - he went off his meds and starved to death. Especially horrifying though because he was being held on charges of shoplifting from a convenience store, though.

I'm kind of wondering what made this one stand out enough to publish - it's the type of thing that must happen all the time, right? Does this contribute to the Guardian's count of people killed by police so far this year? I assume not, because their tally stands at 775 and that can't possibly include people who die of untreated illnesses while in jail or prison. Or maybe "police custody" ends at sentencing? That would make sense.



 

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Good Job Vox Part II

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.29.15

Nick S. writes: Second "The government just redefined what it means to be an employer." Which concludes

The NLRB has leaned toward labor recently
The Browning ruling is the latest in a spate of recent NLRB decisions that have fallen in favor of labor. In 2014, the board made the union election process much speedier (opponents call the new standards the "ambush election" rules) and in a separate case said that employees can organize on workplace email systems. In January 2013, the board ruled that speech on social media is protected speech -- in other words, your employer can't ban you from complaining about your working conditions on Twitter.
These actions have angered the business community, causing some to see the Obama-era NLRB as activist.
However, Fick sees a different kind of coherence to these decisions. It's not so much that they're pro-labor as that they're adapting old labor rules to a new world -- one in which employees have public conversations about their jobs on Twitter, and also one in which huge corporations increasingly rely on subcontracted or franchise workers. "As industrial relations change, we have to figure out how to apply the old rules to the new situation," she says.
The NLRB doesn't have the final word
The board's ruling won't necessarily hold. The case could still be challenged in appeals court, and the pro-business DC Circuit Court of Appeals especially has displayed a willingness to overturn NLRB judgments.

I hadn't followed any of those rulings, so I was glad to have that context.



 

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Names

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.28.15

A student introduced herself as Joanie and I spent the first class almost distracted by how anachronistic a name it was, for an 18 year old. Today she turned in an assignment, signed "Joni" and it all made sense.



 

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Guest Post - Vox Explaining Things Well

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.28.15

NickS writes: Two very good articles on Vox today, both of which explain interesting things, while giving a useful amount of context*. First "Tech nerds are smart. But they can't seem to get their heads around politics." which uses a very smart framing of addressing people who are intelligent, used to teaching themselves things, and who find American politics obnoxious and annoying. Compared to an article explaining politics for dummies that gives it a reason to emphasize the ways in which it is interesting and useful to pay attention to political science research. The article is also generally well written and very clear. For example, this excellent observation, which isn't original, but which is very well stated.

I think that these two narratives -- disdain toward politics, and the parties as mirror images with rational thinking in the center -- are connected. That vision of the political spectrum implies that one is partisan precisely in proportion to one's distance from rational thinking. It defines partisanship as irrationality, as blind, lemming-like behavior, the opposite of approaching things "from a standpoint of rationality and what I think makes sense." The independent thinker takes a bit from this party, a bit from that one, as rational thinking dictates.

Since the loudest voices in politics are partisans, people who have chosen a side, seeing the political spectrum this way is inevitably going to lead to an irritation and disdain toward politics, a desire to wash one's hands of it and proclaim, as Urban does, that "I am not political." But that just won't do.
Incidentally, Kevin Drum responds to this article by arguing that the tech community, in general, doesn't get politics because it doesn't get marketing.
Back in the dark ages, this was a little more obvious. Steve Wozniak invented, Steve Jobs sold. It was so common for tech companies to be started by two people, one engineer and one salesman, that it was practically a cliche.
The modern tech community has lost a bit of that. Oh, they all chatter about social media and going viral and so forth. As long as the marketing is actually just some excuse for talking about cool new tech, they're happy to immerse themselves in it. But actually selling their product? Meh. The truly great ideas rise to the top without any of that Mad Men crap. Anyway, the marketing department will handle the dull routine of advertising and....well, whatever it is they do.

* I note that both of these articles are significantly longer than the typical vox article and both benefit from extending a narrative thread over that length. Both of them would be much weaker as a card stack (though I note that both contain numerous links, external and to other vox articles). That is just to say that I'm still not convinced that vox has figured out exactly what it's supposed to be doing but those articles made me glad to see that it is, at least, generating some quality writing.


Heebie's take: Stay tuned for Good Job Vox, part II.



 

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Ed Graf

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.27.15

Post-Cameron Todd Willingham, Texas eventually revamped its Fire Marshall Office, and among other reforms, is reviewing all old arson cases based on faulty forensic evidence. Ed Graf is the first case to be reviewed. He was convicted in 1988 of murdering his stepsons, and was re-tried in 2014. I found his story totally riveting.



 

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Go Jump In The Lake

Posted by Ogged
on 08.26.15

So,

WAUKESHA, Wis. -- This city, once famous for its bubbling natural springs, sits about 17 miles from the shore of Lake Michigan. So when the state and federal authorities began demanding that the city address a growing contamination problem in its aquifer, the answer seemed simple: Get water from the big lake.

Hey Waukesha,

Go fuck yourself.

Before we rape yet another natural resource to sustain whatever piece of shit lifestyle people have grown accustomed to, maybe try some real conservation beyond "no daytime lawn watering" and teaching kids about conversation. That's not even a joke.

Or just make beer and soft drinks. That totally makes sense.

It would also be nice to see some proactive conservation in places like the one I live, which does get its water directly from the lake, so that we can actually keep the water we have. Rahm is ON IT. (Actually, Milwaukee is on it.



 

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Wednesday

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.26.15

Let's make a list of all the things that are annoying us. I'll start.



 

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The N-word

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.26.15

I laughed.

Via Jammies



 

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Guest Post - Helicopter parenting

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.25.15

Witt writes: This woman is comparing her life in Montreal to friends in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Not sure I buy her whole theory, but it's interesting to contemplate.

Compare these two mothers of 18-month-old toddlers: Jen [in Quebec] spent the first 10 months of her kid's life taking care of him at home, relatively free of financial worry since she was getting paid a portion of her salary. For the past eight months she's been back at work, while her kid is at a daycare that never costs her more than $300 a month. Her rent hasn't gone up by more than $20 a month in the past five years, and isn't likely to change.
Meanwhile, Lisa in Brooklyn spent two months at home with her baby, and he has been in daycare ever since -- at a cost of over $1,200 a month. (Which by the way, makes it one of the more affordable options. Even in lower-rent Philadelphia, full-time daycare will easily run upwards of $1,200 a month.) Her cost of living is subject to change based on what the market can withstand, which in 2015 Brooklyn, appears to be a lot. She is living under the sword of Damocles that hangs over every new parent back at work: Let family life derail your focus on work and you risk losing your job.
Can you blame Lisa for being a little more anxious, a bit more of a helicopter mom?

Heebie's take: that article is long...

It seems odd to attribute helicopter parenting to being financially strapped, as though being financially strapped was this brand new thing that just got invented by hipsters a few years ago and now they're all partnered and having financially strapped Brooklyn babies. There are lots and lots of poor people who are not helicopter parents.

I'm much more inclined to attribute helicopter parenting* to class anxiety. If you were to buy the premise of the article, I think you'd have to rephrase it like this: "People who think of themselves as upper-middle class now find the ever-increasing trappings of upper-middle classdom very stressful, in part because the basics, like childcare, are such a huge financial toll. Whereas poor people find the basics to be sufficiently stressful."

*helicopter parenting being one of those concepts that I read about far more than I witness. I'm never exactly sure how prevalent this actually is.



 

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Guest Post - Penelope Trunk is back!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.25.15

E. Messily sends along: She's still crazy.

Heebie's take: I defended her in the past, but this is indefensible. I'd rip it more but I have to go be bored in convocation.



 

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