The Long, Hot Summer: Jesse Walker on Rising Crime in US Cities

at Reason: ...On top of all that, there's the simple fact that we don't know yet whether this is a blip or a trend. In 2005, after crime had been declining for more than a decade, the FBI revealed that homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults had all grown more common in the previous year. The Police Executive Research Forum promptly produced a paper titled "A Gathering Storm—Violent Crime in America," which opened with a warning that such numbers could be "the front end of a tipping point … [Read more...]

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“Selling Plasma to Survive: How Over a Million American Families Live on $2 a Day”: New Book from Kathryn Edin

coauthor of the excellent Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City: In early 2011, 1.5 million American households, including 3 million children, were living on less than $2 in cash per person per day. Half of those households didn't have access to in-kind benefits like food stamps, either. Worst of all, the numbers had increased dramatically since 1996.Those are the astonishing findings Johns Hopkins' Kathryn … [Read more...]

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Fake SVU Screencaps: Your Tuesday Amusement

There's something in this link about the delectation-of-shock narratives we tell ourselves about drugs and violence against the helpless--something about the sewer level of our imagination--but mostly these are just hilarious. "It's called Brenda." (Via Ratty.) … [Read more...]

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“The True Story of Kudzu, The Vine That Never Truly Ate the South”: Smithsonian Magazine

ruminates: ...The hype didn’t come out of nowhere. Kudzu has appeared larger than life because it’s most aggressive when planted along road cuts and railroad embankments—habitats that became front and center in the age of the automobile. As trees grew in the cleared lands near roadsides, kudzu rose with them. It appeared not to stop because there were no grazers to eat it back. But, in fact, it rarely penetrates deeply into a forest; it climbs well only in sunny areas on the forest edge and suff … [Read more...]

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A Practical Agenda on Police Violence: Radley Balko

writes: ...As a whole, these proposals are well-argued, practical and smart. For the most part, they’re supported by empirical data and real-world experience. The Campaign Zero leadership has clearly given these proposals a lot of thought.That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’re portrayed as radical and reactionary, especially by police organizations. This discussion has been so lopsided over the years that any reform, no matter how sensible, is bound to be met with intense oppos … [Read more...]

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“The Supreme Court’s Massive Blind Spot”: The Stories It Knows About Criminal Justice

Radley Balko explains, in a fascinating & depressing piece: ...Each term, the Supreme Court decides a dozen or so cases in which the justices attempt to balance the public’s interest in keeping order (which manifests in the powers we give to police and prosecutors) with our constitutional rights. Yet for the vast majority of Supreme Court justices now and in recent history, you could quite literally say that the criminal justice system is merely academic. Some justices may have seen a cri … [Read more...]

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“Slow Poison”: Ezekiel Kweku on a Lifetime of Preparing for Police Violence

...Half an hour later, I stopped for gas in a small town I’d once known. As I began to fill my car, I realized that several years before I had been to the park across the street. The woman who was not yet then my wife had driven me there one evening while we were in college. We sat there in the car talking as dusk fell, under the strange shadows made by sunset and streetlights through tree branches. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that we spoke with the unembarrassed, giddy exc … [Read more...]

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