Ferguson Redux

Jelani Cobb, in the New Yorker, late yesterday:

The conversation here [in Ferguson] has shifted from the immediate reaction to Michael Brown’s death and toward the underlying social dynamics. Two men I spoke with pointed to the disparity in education funding for Ferguson and more affluent municipalities nearby. Another talked about being pulled over by an officer who claimed to smell marijuana in the car as a pretense for searching him. “I’m in the United States Navy,” he told me. “We have to take drug tests in the military so I had proof that there were no drugs in my system. But other people can’t do that.” Six black men I spoke to, nearly consecutively, pointed to Missouri’s felon-disfranchisement laws as part of the equation. “If you’re a student in one of the black schools here and you get into a fight you’ll probably get arrested and charged with assault. We have kids here who are barred from voting before they’re even old enough to register,” one said. Ferguson’s elected officials did not look much different than they had years earlier, when it was a largely white community.

Ferguson had, instead, recently seen two highly visible African-American public officials lose their jobs. Two weeks before Brown was shot, Charles Dooley, an African-American who has served as St. Louis County Executive for a decade, lost a bitter primary to Steve Stenger, a white county councilman, in a race that, whatever the merits of the candidates, was seen as racially divisive. Stenger lobbed allegations of financial mismanagement and incompetence, and worse. Bob McCulloch, the county prosecutor appeared in an ad for Stenger, associating Dooley with corruption; McCulloch would also be responsible for determining whether to charge Darren Wilson. In December, the largely white Ferguson-Florissant school board fired Art McCoy, the superintendent, who is African-American. Those who were gathered at the QuikTrip parking lot on Saturday were as inclined to talk about the underlying political issues as they were about the hail of bullets that ended Brown’s life…

Jordan Weissman, at Slate:

Jeff Smith, a New School professor and former Missouri state senator, had a sensational op-ed in this weekend’s New York Times that dived into the economic forces that have helped shape the strife in Ferguson. His big point is that the local police have a strong financial incentive to arrest, ticket, and otherwise harass the city’s black residents for minor offenses, because that’s how the department funds its budget

When you split a metro area into dozens of tiny local governments (St. Louis County, to be clear, doesn’t include the actual city of St. Louis, which spun off from it in the 19th century), they tend to duplicate each others’ services, which is of course extremely expensive. But raising taxes so that each tiny borough can afford its own police and fire department is a nonstarter, since wealthy residents can always just move one town over. End result: You have police departments that self-fund by handing out tickets. And thanks to the delightful racial dynamics of U.S. law enforcement, black residents are disproportionately stopped and accosted, even though police in Ferguson are less likely to find contraband when they search black drivers than when they search whites….








Monday Night Open Thread

Spent the afternoon at the doctor, and he is thrilled with my progress. I’ve lost 40 lbs from peak John Cole, my blood pressure is great, and everything under my control is doing well. We scheduled a bunch of appointments- ENT to check my hearing and balance, as many of you suggested, a dermatologist to deal with some moles and skin tags, scheduled a sleep test since I haven’t had one in five years, and a sports therapy guy to deal with my shoulders (MRI’s, then probably injections and rehab to fix the hot mess that is my shoulders). Got rid of the vicodin and he game me a non-narcotic pill I take twice a day for the shoulders.

Also got some silver-based cream for the burn on my thigh, which I never told you about because I am tired of you all acting like I am the only person on the planet who hurts myself. At any rate, on Saturday morning before I had my accident at the barber, but before my weed-eater died on Saturday, I managed to give myself a second-degree burn on my thigh with the exhaust from the weed-eater. It melted through my shorts in a split second, and I had to douse it with ice and pick melted fabric out of the wound. Good times. I was actually planning to go to the pharmacy to find something after my haircut, but we all know how that turned out. At any rate, the stuff the doc gave me today is great. No more stinging!

Doc and I discussed having me off all meds by October if I keep on the current trajectory. I only take a mild blood pressure med as it is, but I want off everything and it is an attainable goal.

At any rate, back to substantive posting tomorrow.

Oh- does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap pedometer that will sync with my iPhone 5s? And thanks for all the German language advice. I think I am going to try out the DLI stuff first.








Yawning Dogs Open Thread

After our road trip this weekend, the dogs were like, fuck this shit.

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Please feel free to discuss whatever.








Ich Habe Eine Frage

Have any of you ever used any Rosetta Stone tapes? I want to work on my German. Anyone have any they want to sell?








She’s a MAN, baybee! (Early Morning Open Thread)

Ladybug sexytime in our garden:

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Chances are, at least one of ’em ain’t no lady. May they be fruitful and multiply. Please feel free to discuss whatever.