Radley Balko’s Civil Liberties Predictions for 2015

See if you can guess the sci-fi twist. Sometimes, real life can be stranger than parody. This can be particularly true when it comes to the beat we cover here at The Watch, civil liberties. With that in mind, I’ve gone out on a limb to make some predictions about what might happen on the civil liberties front in 2015. I realize that some of these prognostications may seem a wee bit hyperbolic, a bit paranoid, maybe even a little nutty. But I think we can all agree that we should hope none of t … [Read more...]

“Marilynne Robinson in Montgomery”

This essay takes a while to get going, but it's a good, steady look at the way aesthetics and theology can lead us to flatten human experience--especially when "us" is white Americans writing about race. As somebody with a very "suffering and humiliation keep you close to Christ, you should consider them sometime" spiritual style myself, it was good to get a reminder of the way that kind of spirituality can cut against a communal pursuit of justice. As somebody who loves Robinson's books, it was … [Read more...]

Woop Woop, That’s the Sound of… These Links About Policing

and related issues. They're not all completely depressing!"Fallout Grows Over Calif. Chief's Participation in Protest": But let's start off with a raincloud for your silver lining. RICHMOND, Calif. — One week after photos of him holding a sign with the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter" at a peaceful local protest went viral on social media, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus is still grappling with the fallout — including accusations from his department's police union that he broke the law — but sa … [Read more...]

Links from a Prison Nation

A round-up of stuff I've been reading."The Protester": Raven Rakia writes a powerful piece which I think probably functions as a Rorschach test. Do you focus on the rules this guy breaks, or the colossal overreaction he faces when he breaks them?When Frankie was 13, school authorities at his middle school called the police in to deal with him for disrupting class. Two police officers ended up physically restraining him: They hogtied his legs and tied his hands behind his back, duct-taped … [Read more...]

Small Screens: Several Very Short Movie Reviews

What I've been watching.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Actually pretty fun, once you get past the narcissism and abuse of women.EDIT: I should say that the latter two elements aren't things I wish they'd left out of the movie. They add texture to what could have been a plasticky, "drugs R fun!", self-consciously edgy cliche. F&LILV manages to be neither a cautionary tale nor an ad for addiction.Whiplash: Miles Teller is a super actor. This is not the movie to see him in. It's a … [Read more...]

“Five Stories That Prove Police Are Just As Terrifying in Canada”: Cracked

service journalism: ...So here's a guy who deserves his own movie. In the early morning hours of Jan. 28, 2000, Darrell Night, a member of the Cree Nation, was picked up by two Saskatoon police officers (both white) after a drunken argument at his uncle's apartment got a bit out of hand. Like any clear-thinking intoxicated person, he expected to be taken to the town drunk tank to sleep off his buzz. That didn't happen. Instead, Night was driven three miles out of town, removed from the vehicle, … [Read more...]

“Washington Bails on Demilitarization After Ferguson”

Seasons Greetings: Lawmakers vowed changes to the Pentagon programs that deliver military-grade equipment to local police after images of cops climbing out of armored vehicles with military-grade weapons filtered out of Ferguson, Missouri, in August.But months later, the chaotic 1033 program — which sends surplus military gear built for combat to local police forces with little oversight — hasn’t changed at all.The 113th Congress will end without substantive changes to the program. The W … [Read more...]


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