“The Criminalization of Poverty”: Radley Balko

writes: ...NPR found that in the vast majority of America, defendants can be charged for a public defender, for their own parole and probation, the cost of a jury trial, and their stay in a jail cell. Some jurisdictions have even found ways to charge people “booking fees” after an arrest, even if the arrest never results in a criminal charge, a policy recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. My favorite example of this nonsense, though it isn’t in the NPR report, is … [Read more...]

“Way Too Early to Declare Victory in War Against Mass Incarceration”

from the Brennan Center, possibly via Radley Balko or PrisonCulture: It is far too early, as a matter of law, of policy, and of fact, to be talking about a “plummeting” prison rate in the United States or to be declaring that the end is in sight in the war to change the nation’s disastrous incarceration policies. There is still far too much to do, far too many onerous laws and policies to change, too many hearts and minds to reform, too many families that would have to be reunited, before anyon … [Read more...]

Mutate, Rinse, Repeat: I watch the new “X-Men” movie

for AmSpec: I have seen the future, brother, and it is a real bummer.Ahhh, look, X-Men: Days of Future Past could be much worse than it is. The last two adventures of Marvel's Merry Mutants were execrable; this one is merely doughily pointless. X-Men: The Last Stand was like watching your big brother break your favorite toys. X-Men: First Class was more like watching somebody else's awful, sticky children have a slap fight in a sandbox, except with the Cuban Missile Crisis going on as … [Read more...]

“Diving with the Humboldt Squid”: Outside Online

feature: What about the giant squid, you may ask? "Wimpy," says Cassell. The giant—which grows to 60-plus feet and is one of only four squid, out of the 400 or so species found in the oceans, that are human-size or bigger—is generally considered to be fairly placid. In any case, it's so elusive, no modern squid hunter has ever even seen one alive. No, if you want a scary squid, you want a Humboldt. more … [Read more...]

From Erich Kastner, “Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist”

tr. Cyrus Brooks: Rather against his will, Fabian was allowing Malmy to enlighten him on the subject of short-term loans. "The whole country, politically and economically, is falling more and more into the hands of foreigners," he maintained. "A pin prick and the whole thing will blow up. If once the money is recalled in large quantities, we shall all go broke--the banks, the municipalities, the joint-stock companies, and the Reich.""But you never put that in the paper," said Irrgang."I … [Read more...]

“Five Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’”: Cracked

well worth reading even if you have no especial interest in weight loss or shows about ditto: ...Every week on the show, you watched us exercising and working out. That's part of the process, of course -- making people healthier. But they don't show the additional mandatory six hours or so of us furiously flailing the pounds away. They much preferred filming us right at the end of a workout, when we looked like lazy quitters for stopping so early. Even the giant scale they had us all weigh in … [Read more...]

Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Some luminous photos. Via Ratty. … [Read more...]


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