“The Art of Toilet Cleanliness”: Lucky Peach

life lessons: ...The first option, the win-the-lotto option, was jam a coat hanger down in the grease trap and see if it’s a plastic bag blocking it or something. (One time I found some sorry asshole’s underwear in a situation like that, but that’s a different story.) But it wasn’t. And it was now three minutes later and the restaurant wasn’t any less packed and there was shit water creeping up, so I did what you do if you want to go around calling yourself a chef: I took my shirt off and my fri … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

Let's start with an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette showing how easy it is to camouflage increased punishment and surveillance as "support services": "More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail":This week the New York Times revealed the content of an internal NYPD report showing that a much lauded juvenile crime program doesn’t work. It’s yet another example of misguided punitive policing, offering little by way of actual progress. Originally developed under the title “Juvenile Robbery Inte … [Read more...]

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I’m Coming to Houston! Can I Crash With You (And/Or Speak to Your Parish)?

I'm presenting at the Gay Christian Network conference (see my report from last year) and that's stellar. I have the organizational skills of an especially somnolent area rug, which is less stellar, so I don't have a place to stay yet. The conference takes place in Houston Jan 7 - 10. My presentation is Friday afternoon. I really need a place to park my carcass. In exchange for a spare bed/couch, I would be glad to speak to your church, book club, dueling society, etc etc. I do Gay Catholic … [Read more...]

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“Can Prison Help Convicts?”: A Panel Answers a Lot of Questions (But Not the One It Asked)

So a couple weeks ago I watched this videoand it's an interesting intro to a lot of prison-related issues. I don't think it answered the question in its title, which is fine since a) Dostoyevsky already did that (twice!) and b) Dostoyevsky's answer is basically, "That's not a question that makes sense." A few notes:So Tim Carney's interlocutors are these two guys who have both served time for politics-related chicanery. The conservative one is full of bonhomie; the liberal one is … [Read more...]

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“In Single Moms’ Households, Two Heads Are Often Better Than One”: Washington Post

on finding vocation, and new paths of love, in hard circumstances: When Kimberly Taylor separated from her husband three years ago, she and her daughter, Amelia, stayed in the marital home — a four-bedroom house in Woodbridge, Va., with a finished basement and a huge back yard. It was a lot of square-footage and a financial strain. But rather than downsize, Taylor decided to fill it with someone she could relate to: another single mom.She placed an ad in Craigslist — “Mother w/awesome child … [Read more...]

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In the Year of the Dragon: Ross Douthat Writes About Guns

so I don't have to. He makes his point in his characteristically careful, suggestive style, so I will add value by being incautious and blunt: Crime hysteria leads to expansions of state surveillance and punishment that target poor and minority communities. Gun control isn't different just because you personally are a progressive. Progressives are advocating for tools that others will wield. That is still true--in some ways more true, because the fear runs deeper--when the crime is real and … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Better DAs, Union vs. Heroism, Divisive Forgiveness, The Treatment-Industrial Complex, And What About the Crime Problem?

"How to Run Against a Tough-on-Crime District Attorney--And Win": District attorneys and the prosecutors who work for them are the most powerful actors in the American criminal justice system. They enjoy immense latitude in deciding what crimes to charge people with and how much prison time to push for. And yet their role in the growth of the country’s prison population, which went from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 1.5 million today, often goes unacknowledged as policymakers in Washington d … [Read more...]

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