Driving while black is real

The Washington Post has confirmed that driving while black is real:

The Justice Department statistics, based on the Police-Public Contact Survey, show that “relatively more black drivers (12.8%) than white (9.8%) and Hispanic (10.4%) drivers were pulled over in a traffic stop during their most recent contact with police.” Or, to frame it another way: A black driver is about 31 percent more likely to be pulled over than a white driver, or about 23 percent more likely than a Hispanic driver. “Driving while black” is, indeed, a measurable phenomenon.

Cue collective “well, duh” from the black community.

Charlotte cops arrest black man for leafletting

The crime rate in Charlotte is so low the cops can waste their time and the taxpayer’s money harassing black politicians distributing voting leaflets:

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—The stars of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement took the stage on Labor Day at Charlotte’s Marshall Park to condemn the state’s record on voter suppression and racial profiling, and urge the community to organize and turn out at the polls this November. Just a few hundred feet away, police cuffed and arrested local LGBT activist and former State Senate candidate Ty Turner as he was putting voting rights information on parked cars.

One does wonder why the vaunted First Amendment doesn’t prohibit anti leafletting ordinances like the one used as an excuse to harass a black politican trying to get out the vote.

UPDATE: indeed, St. Louis had a similar law nixed. (via.)

“White privilege sent me home to my kids”

Matt Zoller Seitz tells the story of that time when he got in a fight with a black man and didn’t go to jail for it:

There’s a much slimmer chance that either of those cops would have patiently listened to the sob story of a drunk brown-skinned man about how he’d ended up on the pavement with his forearm around a white man’s neck, and an equally slim chance that they’d have talked to him for a few minutes and sent him on his way and put the white man in the squad car.

Below are the take home paragraphs:

We have to stop the cycle long enough to realize that what we are really shrugging off is racial inequality. This is not: “Well, if ya factor out race, it’s a class thing.” We all know in our hearts that that is, at best, only partly true. The full truth must include the acknowledgement that if you’re white, different rules apply.

So much of the crosstalk, the shouting, the debate over Ferguson stems, I believe, from an inability to admit this fact of life, which was illustrated so plainly to me that night in front of the deli. I’ve never been profiled. I’ve never been stopped and frisked. I’ve never experienced anything of the sort because of the gift that my parents gave me, and that my son’s parents gave him: white skin. I’ve had encounters with police, mostly during my youth, in which I’d done something wrong and thought I was about to get a ticket or go to jail but somehow didn’t, because I managed to take back or apologize for whatever I’d said to a cop in petulance or frustration; these encounters, too, would have likely gone differently, perhaps ended differently, if I hadn’t been white.

Again, I already knew this stuff. But after that night in front of the deli, I understood it.

Workers to get thousands in unpaid holiday leave

Unison just won a major legal victory for care workers:

The Court of Justice of the European Union, in what has been called the Lock case, has ruled that a worker’s statutory annual leave pay should include commission payments if these routinely make up part of their pay.

Unison says the judgment has important implications for all workers whose pay includes supplements, such as commission and bonuses.

It will have a particular impact on those doing shift work, sleepovers or overtime in the care sector, or support staff working in residential care.

The court ruling means that routinely earned extra money should be included when calculating holiday pay.

Science fiction writers make everything worse

Russian schlock science fiction writers predicted the War on Ukraine:

A pro-Western, NATO-backed Ukrainian government faces a stubborn insurgency in the pro-Russian East. Fighting rages around Donetsk, with civilians dying in artillery fire and airstrikes, while Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border. The latest headlines? No, a two-novel series by Russian-Ukrainian science-fiction writer Fedor Berezin: War 2010: The Ukrainian Front and War 2011: Against NATO.

It’s the deliberate hollowing out of the economy, stupid

“Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches?” and Eight Other Critical Questions for Americans:

But aren’t there small-scale versions of economic “rebirths” occurring all over America?

Travel through some of the old Rust Belt towns of this country and you’ll quickly notice that “economic rebirth” seems to mean repurposing buildings that once housed factories and shipping depots as bars and boutiques. Abandoned warehouses are now trendy restaurants; a former radiator factory is an artisanal coffee shop. In other words, in a place where a manufacturing plant once employed hundreds of skilled workers at union wages, a handful of part-timers are now serving tapas at minimum wage plus tips.

Of course the thing about looking at any individual unemployed person is that you can always find something they can do to get a job, even more so when you don’t care what job they get. However, doing so for all of them is impossible in a situation where there are more unemployed than there are job offers.

A rising tide lifts all boats — not!

John Emerson on why Thomas Piketty “strikes at the heart of liberal Democrats’ first principle of political economy”:

Piketty’s “r>g” formula denies specifically this point. And not only did he disprove the liberal economists’ fundamental principle, he did it using the tools of liberal economics. For forty years or so American workers’ incomes have been stagnant or declining, and as the years have gone by this tendency has intensified. But there has been no theoretical explanation for these very evident facts, and without a theoretical explanation liberal economists felt that their hands were tied; these were things that everybody knew, but no one knew it in a proper scientific way.

IDF looting

So when the IDF went searching the West Bank for the three Israeli teenages it already knew were dead, it managed to steal at least $3 million from the homes and businesses it searched:

Ramallah- During the course of Israel’s three-week campaign of mass arrests in the West Bank, ostensibly to search for the killers of three settlers, the Israeli military and police conducted an average of 18 raids per day into Palestinian homes, charities and businesses, stealing cash and property worth an estimated $3 million, documents a new report from the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights.

The full report (PDF).

“Why the world hate Israel?” the soldier whispered.

An Israeli soldier asks Paul Mason why the world hates Israel.

It was the second conversation of the day along the same lines: the guy who issued my press pass made the same points to me as the soldier: that “we don’t target civilians” and that Hamas’ infrastructure hides within civilian homes, hospitals etc.

To anybody who’s been anywhere near a military staff college, or an international law course, there is an obvious missing point in these justifications: soldiers, and their commanders, also have a duty to take precautions against killing civilians.

Not taking those precautions can be just as criminal as getting a rocket and firing it indiscriminately towards civilian areas as Hamas is doing.

In previous conflicts, even during Operation Cast Lead only six years ago, Israel was largely able to control the media picture of their warwaging, with arguments like those cited above. Even with bloggers and other new media channels hostile to their intepretation, the public still had to seek out those. Now though, with Twitter and less so, Facebook, the real facts of the war get shoved in your face and Israeli propaganda can’t compete with pictures of children killed by IDF strikes and can no longer control what’s being told about the war:

Reporting goes through an editing process; things that don’t conform to editorial policy can be weeded out; facts have to be cross-checked with other facts and claims. The reporting team itself – producer, reporter, camera crew, translator for TV – form an initial filter. But in Gaza, there is no filter; plus you are now getting camera crews and off-screen TV journalists tweeting. On newspapers, several different reporters will be tweeting, rather than it all going into the editorial machine and coming out as one thing.

But what I wonder how much it does matter that so many more ordinary people get to know something of the truth of Israel’s warcrimes when our own elites and the media are still reflexivily pro-Israel. We’ve seen what happened with the War on Iraq, where the public was opposed but they were in favour of the war.

Sweden’s School Choice Disaster

So it turns out that the good results of the Swedish school voucher system of “free” school choice, long the benchmark for all sorts of rightwing busybodies wanting to disrupt public schooling were created by, well, cheating:

It’s the darker side of competition that Milton Friedman and his free-market disciples tend to downplay: If parents value high test scores, you can compete for voucher dollars by hiring better teachers and providing a better education—or by going easy in grading national tests. Competition was also meant to discipline government schools by forcing them to up their game to maintain their enrollments, but it may have instead led to a race to the bottom as they too started grading generously to keep their students.

Hands up anybody who didn’t see this coming? Thought so.