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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on race and class in Ferguson (and how The Nation butchers the story by putting a sportswriter on it)

Let's start with the headline from Time:

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

Sure, sure, clickbait. But also not accurate, and distorting Jabbar's message (and note the URL says "coming-race-war-class-warfare," so that was probably Abdul-Jabbar's original title before an editor struck out the taboo word, "class"). Compare the Washington Times:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Ferguson unrest about class warfare, not race

So to Abdul-Jabbar's message. There's a media critique we're all familiar with, but I'm going to extract what I consider to be the heart of the argument: Read below the fold...

In the garden: So now I have to become a birdwatcher...

Na ga happen, my eyes are too bad. But I just heard a lovely melody and saw a bird, and I imagine its partner, at one of my honeysuckle bushes ("Birds love a mess," as Nippersdad says).

Then they flew off, as birds will do! I can't reproduce the melody, but I did notice that both birds had prominent round yellow bellies (and not buff, or beige, but yellow).

This year I've seen not only more hummingbirds, but a pair of cardinals, and now this pair of whatever-they-ares. (Not chickadees; the call of the chickadee can hardly be characterized as melodious, no?) Read below the fold...

Green Party rebrands; Asher Platts uses the new logo immediately

Here's the rebranding site, and here's is the trade dress:

Wait! Don't react! Either way. Trade dress -- logos, design treatments -- are not standalone. They are meant to fit into larger contexts, unobtrusively yet visibly. So I like the way Asher Platts took the new logo and immediately repurposed a poster from the Austrian Greens: Read below the fold...

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Tweet of the Day

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What I learned watching Timcast’s reports from Ferguson

First of all the trouble ALWAYS happens after the police separate the reporters from the demonstrators. That is proof of exactly nothing, but it sure is suspicious.

On Sunday night I learned that Tom’s Meat Market, one of the stores that was looted, called the police many times and there was no response.

Last night I learned that when the Quick Trip gas station/market was on fire the police blocked the fire trucks so that they could not put out the fire. The lawyer for Quick Trip maintains that they never called the police. Read below the fold...

In the garden: A happy oak (?)

Quercus rubra? I don't have an acorn, but perhaps the happy growing tips -- maybe Dromaius has another ____ tropic word, here -- will give clue.

Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

This is a test

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Ferguson Tweet of the night

Re-POST: Over-Fortifying Mayberry!!!

According to Zac Corrigan in “Militarization of police in America” the Pentagon under the Obama administration is equipping -- OVER-EQUIPPING -- US police departments across the country with former overseas military weaponry and vehicles.

The ominous dots aren’t hard to connect for any of us paying the least bit of attention to the dramatic and merciless economic polarization in America along with the escalation of inappropriate and inhumane lethal force by the police. Read below the fold...

#Ferguson: Obama emits greatest statement EVAH on "healing." So how about justice?

WaPo's running transcript:

[OBAMA:] Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other.

What a steaming load of crap. Read below the fold...

#Ferguson: Cops say they won't use tear gas, use it, and keep reporters away from the scene (and why not a People's Tribunal?)

That builds confidence:

In all, seven people were arrested early Sunday for "failure to disperse" during a five-hour curfew that was imposed earlier in the day. Johnson said the police used tear gas in response to a report of the shooting and arrested the seven people from the roof of a restaurant.

Update, 3:20 a.m.: Police confirmed the reporters on the ground were right after all, tear gas was used in addition to smoke bombs in order to disperse protesters in Ferguson who defied the curfew.

Police denied initial reports that they had fired several rounds of tear gas into the protesters, insisting they were smoke bombs. Others aren’t so sure.

The Guardian’s Jon Swaine, for example, directly calls the claim a lie:

AP contributor Nigel Duara says the claims that it was just smoke is “fucking bullshit”:

Vice’s Tim Pool also has no doubts:

Alderman Antonio French for his part does not directly contradict police but says the smoke “does burn the eyes”:

Whether it was tear gas or not is a key question because State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of Ferguson security, had earlier said police wouldn’t enforce the curfew “with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas.”

[A]lmost two hours after the curfew began, it appears most of the streets of Ferguson have been cleared, but it’s difficult to tell, particularly considering that officers are keeping reporters away from the scene, reportedly threatening arrests to anyone who leaves a designated press area.

Well, that's a Clusterfuck. Or not. But here's what really frosts me. Another statement from (black) State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson: Read below the fold...

Here's the study that nukes "Make me do it," "lesser of two evils," and every other legacy partisan talking point

I forget whether I gave this article its own post, but it certainly deserves it. Allan J. Lichtman in The Hill (of all places):

A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.

This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government

The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.

The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a "non-significant, near-zero level." [Emphasis beyond italics mine. Does blink still work? Alas, no.] he analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.

The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.

The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences, "the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater" than their findings indicate.

So there you have it. That makes electoral politics 100% kayfabe with respect to policy[1], no? Read below the fold...

In the garden: What are these plants?

Because you demanded it!

This is the plant with the pretty yellow flowers (though the photograph could be better; I need a hood so I can see the screen when the sun is at my back, because otherwise my shadow tends to end up in the frame). Read below the fold...

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