Thursday, September 29, 2016
WaPo | In 2002, SpaceX basically consisted of carpet and a mariachi band. That was it. That's all of SpaceX in 2002. As you can see, I'm a dancing machine. And, yeah, I believe in kicking off celebratory events with mariachi bands. I really like mariachi bands.
“But that was what we started off with in 2002. And really, I mean, I thought we had maybe a 10 percent chance of doing anything, of even getting a rocket to orbit, let alone getting beyond that and taking Mars seriously. But I came to the conclusion if there wasn't some new entrant into the space arena with a strong ideological motivation, then it didn't seem like we were on a trajectory to ever be a space-faring civilization and be out there among the stars. Because, you know, in '69 we were able to go to the moon and the space shuttle could get to low-Earth orbit, and then after the space shuttle got retired.”
On how the first people going to Mars might die:
“Well, I think the first journey to Mars is going to be really very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high. There's just no way around it. So I would not suggest sending children. It would be basically are you prepared to die, then if that's okay, then, you know, you're a candidate for going.
“But really this is -- this is less about, like, you know, who goes there first or -- it's -- the thing that really matters is making a self-sustaining civilization on Mars as fast as possible.”
On how what SpaceX is doing is a lot like the early days of the United States railroad system:
“The goal of SpaceX is really to build the transport system. It's like building the Union Pacific Railroad. And once -- once that transport system is built, then there's a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something new or build the foundations of a new planet. So it's like who wants to sort of be, you know, among the founding members of a new planet and, like I said, build everything from iron refineries to the first pizza joint. You know, we will want them all.
“And then things on Mars that people can't even imagine today that might be unique or would be unique to Mars. And -- but that's really where a tremendous amount of entrepreneurship and talent would flourish. Just as happened in California when the Union Pacific Railroad was completed. And when they were building the Union Pacific, a lot of people said, ‘Well, that's a super-dumb idea because there's no -- you know, hardly anybody lives in California.’ But now, I mean, today, [it's] the U.S. epicenter of technology development and entertainment. And it's the biggest state in the nation. But you need that transport link. If you can't get there, then none of those opportunities exist. Our goal is just to make sure you can get there.”
On why the return trip to Earth will be free:
“I think it's pretty important to give people the option of returning. The number of people who would be willing to move to Mars is much greater if they know that they have the option of returning, even if they never actually return. I mean, most of the people that went to the original English colonies in North America, they never returned to Europe, even once.
“But some did. And just knowing that if you don't like it there, that you can come back, I think makes a big difference in people's willingness to go there in the first place.
“In any case, we need the spaceship back. So it's coming. You can jump onboard or not. It's cool. You get a free return trip, if you want.”
theautomaticearth | It’s over! The entire model our societies have been based on for at least as long as we ourselves have lived, is over! That’s why there’s Trump.
There is no growth. There hasn’t been any real growth for years. All there is left are empty hollow sunshiny S&P stock market numbers propped up with ultra cheap debt and buybacks, and employment figures that hide untold millions hiding from the labor force. And most of all there’s debt, public as well as private, that has served to keep an illusion of growth alive and now increasingly no longer can.
These false growth numbers have one purpose only: for the public to keep the incumbent powers that be in their plush seats. But they could always ever only pull the curtain of Oz over people’s eyes for so long, and it’s no longer so long.
That’s what the ascent of Trump means, and Brexit, Le Pen, and all the others. It’s over. What has driven us for all our lives has lost both its direction and its energy.
We are smack in the middle of the most important global development in decades, in some respects arguably even in centuries, a veritable revolution, which will continue to be the most important factor to shape the world for years to come, and I don’t see anybody talking about it. That has me puzzled.
The development in question is the end of global economic growth, which will lead inexorably to the end of centralization (including globalization). It will also mean the end of the existence of most, and especially the most powerful, international institutions.
In the same way it will be the end of -almost- all traditional political parties, which have ruled their countries for decades and are already today at or near record low support levels (if you’re not clear on what’s going on, look there, look at Europe!)
This is not a matter of what anyone, or any group of people, might want or prefer, it’s a matter of ‘forces’ that are beyond our control, that are bigger and more far-reaching than our mere opinions, even though they may be man-made.
weburbanist | Former mayor of the world’s second-largest refugee camp, humanitarian Kilian Kleinschmidt notes “the average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That’s a generation.” These places need to be recognized as what they are: “cities of tomorrow,” not the temporary spaces we like to imagine. “In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city,” Kleinschmidt said in an interview. Short-term thinking on camp infrastructure leads to perpetually poor conditions, all based on myopic optimism regarding the intended lifespan of these places.
Many refugees may never be able return home, and that reality needs to be realized and incorporated into solutions. Treating their situation as temporary or reversible puts people into a kind of existential limbo; inhabitants of these interstitial places can neither return to their normal routines nor move forward with their lives.. On the one hand, assert experts like Kleinschmidt, planners need build up refugee camps to be durable and sufficient places in their own right. On the other, they also need to move refugee migrants toward countries and regions where they will end up virtuously integrated into struggling economies, including (though controversially): areas of nearby Europe with unused housing and high labor needs.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Musk revealed the plans for an "interplanetary transport system" Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In his address, Musk said that the goal of SpaceX's planned missions to Mars is to turn humans into a "multiplanetary species." Musk has said in the past that making humanity "multiplanetary" is his primary reason for starting SpaceX.
The ship in the video is what the company intends the actual craft to look like, Musk said. It would need to fit about 100 people, and enough cargo to build self-sustaining colonies on the planet, with "iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it."
sciencealert | A rocket engine to get to Mars
This isn't the first the world has heard about the Raptor engine, but it's allegedly the first test-firing of the device – and definitely the first photo we've seen of it.
The image shows a static fire test, which is when a cone-shaped rocket engine is hooked up to a fuel source, ignited, and pushed to the limits to measure its performance.
The Raptor's fuel is almost certainly methane burned with liquid oxygen, based on SpaceX's previous intimations about its Mars rocket system, previously called the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) – and before that a self-descriptive "Big F**ing Rocket" (BFR).
Musk shared a few of the Raptor's test-firing details on Monday morning as well, including a beautiful image. "Production Raptor goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tonnes) at 300 bar," Musk wrote on Twitter.
kunstler | As a blog-writer, I correspond with some interesting people. One of them is a middle-aged black man who has worked for a long time in the Baltimore black ghetto. He is one of those rare Americans these days not susceptible to pre-cooked ideas about what is actually going on in this country. He would prefer to remain anonymous for reasons that ought to be self-evident, but I want you to see his interesting theory about what is going on in the black community vis-à-vis the police shooting meme. The subject line in his email to me was “Trauma programming.”
Its a type of narcissism designed to compensate for [the] fact nobody (of any value) really wants to deal/interact with them; therefore, they gladly adopt this false narrative that “somebody is after us and wants to kill us…”
See how that raises their value by claiming somebody “wants us?”
Its like the ugly fat girls obsessed with getting raped/sexually assaulted.
Truth be told, because so many black people are not useful to each other and/or other people… they end up only a liability. Therefore, most people spend a significant amount of time trying to dodge them. (but the police can’t do this)
This increases their sense of worthlessness, which forces them to cling ever so tighter to this false narrative of “the police are after us and want to kill us…”
(nobody wants you and we wish you would just go away)
it gets worse.
At this point, some black people decide, “try as you might, I’m NOT going to allow you to ignore me, because I’m going to act like a belligerent a-hole until I force you to deal/interact with me…”
NOW you gotta call the police.
And when the police show up, the black person says:
“see, here come the police; they are always after us because they want to kill us…”
But at the end of the day, the key is; the “Long Emergency” is generating increasing numbers of superfluous people; black people are only the most visible, vocal element of this phenomenon.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
robertscribbler | The 2016 presidential candidates’ stances on the most important issue facing this generation couldn’t be clearer.
Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax, wants to increase fossil-fuel burning until the planet bakes and the oceans putrefy, plans to shut down the EPA, wants to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement, can’t wait to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and has a noted penchant for attacking climate change solutions like wind power. Trump’s stances on climate change are so appalling that 375 of the world’s top scientists, including Stephen Hawking and 30 Nobel Prize winners, issued an open letter to the U.S. electorate, essentially pleading that we not vote for Trump on the basis of climate change alone.
The letter notes:
The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.
Hillary Clinton, by comparison, wants to push a big solar energy build-out, support electric vehicles, cut carbon emissions, and ensure that policies like COP 21 and Obama’s Clean Power Plan are enacted and enhanced. Though some climate hawks might not be completely satisfied with Clinton’s record on climate change (we’re going to have to do quite a bit more than what Clinton is shooting for), the reality is that Clinton’s proposed climate policies are aimed at building on and improving Obama’s initial plans.
scientificamerican | President Obama used his final address to the U.N. General Assembly yesterday to warn that climate change would worsen the kind of unrest and inequality that has spurred a global refugee crisis.
Speaking before a high-level summit on migrants he convened at U.N. headquarters, Obama told the assembly of world leaders and foreign ministers that the problems they are seeing would only worsen in a warming world.
“If we don’t act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations, and cities submerged and nations displaced, and food supplies decimated, and conflicts born of despair,” he said.
The president, as he has in the past, pleaded for a “sense of urgency” from countries to help bring last year’s landmark Paris climate agreement into force this year. The United States ratified the deal with China early this month, and 31 more countries have done so today.
Obama also acknowledged the need for countries to do more than they promised in the French capital last year if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of warming.
“The Paris Agreement gives us a framework to act, but only if we scale up our ambition,” he said.
The president also alluded to what is likely to be a particular area of focus at a round of U.N. climate talks that opens in Marrakech, Morocco, in six weeks time: money. He said the $10 billion Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help poor nations address warming “should only be the beginning” of the wealthy world’s commitment.
“We need to invest in research and provide market incentives to develop new technologies, and then make these technologies accessible and affordable for poorer countries,” Obama said, adding that these investments would help developing countries “leapfrog” directly to lower-carbon solutions.
“And only then can we continue lifting all people up from poverty without condemning our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair.”
mishtalk | UK prime minister Theresa May will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. She seeks UN Action to Control Mass Migration Flows.
In contrast, I propose a 10-point “common sense” solution, not UN action.
What the hell can the UN do?
The answer of course is nothing. And asking a political body that cannot possibly do anything useful to solve a problem is like hoping a wish-granting magic genie will pop out of the bottle.
Some readers may be thinking “stop criticizing and offer a solution”. Fair enough.
Mish Ten Point Refugee Plan
- Don’t start wars. This especially applies to the US.
- Don’t nation build. This especially applies to the US.
- Don’t interfere in the internal politics of other nations. Universal
- Don’t welcome refugees with open arms. This especially applies to the EU
- Don’t pay bribes to halt refugee flows. This especially applies to the EU.
- Don’t demand other countries accept refugees they do not want. This especially applies to the EU.
- Don’t criticize other countries for controlling their borders. This especially applies to the EU.
- Do recognize the difference between economic refugees and political refugees. Universal
- Do be willing to accept Australian-style solutions of forcibly stopping refugees from entering a country. Universal
- Do Recognize a nation’s first priority must be the safety and welfare of its own citizens. Universal
If point 6 had been followed, Brexit would never have happened.
Instead of seeking UN action, how about a little common sense?
climatechangenews | China is protecting itself against future food supply problems caused by climate change by buying or leasing large tracts of land in Africa and South America, a leading UK climate scientist says.
Professor Peter Wadhams, an expert on the disappearing Arctic ice, says that while countries in North America and Europe are ignoring the threat that changing weather patterns are causing to the world food supply, China is taking “self-protective action”.
He says that changes in the jet stream caused by the melting of the ice in the Arctic are threatening the most productive agricultural areas on the planet.
“The impact of extreme, often violent weather on crops in a world where the population continues to increase rapidly can only be disastrous,” he warns.
“Sooner or later, there will be an unbridgeable gulf between global food needs and our capacity to grow food in an unstable climate. Inevitably, starvation will reduce the world’s population.”
Monday, September 26, 2016
the enforcement of unjust laws is what puts you on the wrong side of morality, justice, and truth...,
NYTimes | How do we keep people safe? How do we ensure that laws are enforced clearly and impartially?
I helped lead President Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing and have dedicated my career to thinking about these questions. One answer I keep returning to is a greater commitment to partnering with community groups. The police must not be seen by residents as quasi-military occupiers, but rather as allies and partners.
This will require significant efforts by police departments around the country to develop training that goes far beyond learning the criminal code, filling out an incident report or firing a gun.
It’s not an abstract notion. I have seen it in action in educational programs, like the ones offered by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, that help officers better understand their role in a democracy and the dire consequences a society faces when the police fail to live up to their role as guardians of freedom.
Police officers carry a lot of baggage. They have not always been on the right side of justice as we define justice today. In some cases, they were enforcing unjust laws of a different era. When I went into the Chicago Police Department in the late 1960s, it wasn’t the most popular thing a young black kid could do.
There are consequences to that difficult history that will take time to repair. But this challenging moment is also a tremendous opportunity to make real improvements. I hope none of us squander it.
newyorker | In case there was any doubt about Elizabeth Warren’s feelings toward John Stumpf, the C.E.O. of Wells Fargo, it was cleared up on Tuesday during a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. “Okay, so you haven’t resigned, you haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings, you haven’t fired a single senior executive,” Warren said to Stumpf, during an interaction that might properly be characterized as a verbal evisceration. “Instead, evidently, your definition of ‘accountable’ is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy P.R. firm to defend themselves.”
Warren kept going, articulating a very pointed attack on the head of the company. She estimated that Stumpf’s stock holdings had increased by two hundred million dollars in value during the time that “this scam,” as Warren put it, occurred, in which fifty-three hundred employees opened unauthorized customer bank accounts in order to meet sales targets. “You should resign,“ she finally said. “You should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
The banker was ostensibly there to defend his company’s handling of the falsified accounts, which were first reported in detail in 2013, but which became major news after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the bank a hundred and eighty-five million dollars, earlier this month. At the same time, though, the episode seemed designed to remind the public that, almost exactly eight years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and one of the worst financial crises in history, very little about the unrestrained, incentive-driven banking culture that caused so many problems has changed.
Wall Street has always been bonus-driven; the amount of money an employee receives in January or February each year is seen as a direct reflection of a person’s worth. Even the staid retail portion of the industry—checking, savings, mortgage, and credit-card accounts–came to mimic the culture of Wall Street trading firms. Dozens of regulatory investigations since the crisis have shown that this high-stakes incentive culture that works so well to motivate employees to push and take risks has no apparent mechanism in place to moderate bad decisions.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
npr | Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., is a mecca for joggers and families out with their strollers. Along with the smell of sweat and goose poop, weed is an equally present aroma.
Police seemingly take a "light up and let live" attitude here. But Nashanta Williams, who's out walking her dog, says it's not like this in other parts of the city.
"I have been pulled over and been told that my car smells like marijuana and put on the sidewalk and had my vehicle searched," Williams says. "And I felt like they were fishing."
California is one of five states this year where marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Washington and Colorado paved the way for making recreational pot legal back in 2012. Since then marijuana arrests have plunged in Washington. They've also gone down in Colorado, but not by as much.
This raises the question, what is the effect of legalizing marijuana on policing?
guardian | The story Ohler tells begins in the days of the Weimar Republic, when Germany’s pharmaceutical industry was thriving – the country was a leading exporter both of opiates, such as morphine, and of cocaine – and drugs were available on every street corner. It was during this period that Hitler’s inner circle established an image of him as an unassailable figure who was willing to work tirelessly on behalf of his country, and who would permit no toxins – not even coffee – to enter his body.
“He is all genius and body,” reported one of his allies in 1930. “And he mortifies that body in a way that would shock people like us! He doesn’t drink, he practically only eats vegetables, and he doesn’t touch women.” No wonder that when the Nazis seized power in 1933, “seductive poisons” were immediately outlawed. In the years that followed, drug users would be deemed “criminally insane”; some would be killed by the state using a lethal injection; others would be sent to concentration camps. Drug use also began to be associated with Jews. The Nazi party’s office of racial purity claimed that the Jewish character was essentially drug-dependent. Both needed to be eradicated from Germany.
Some drugs, however, had their uses, particularly in a society hell bent on keeping up with the energetic Hitler (“Germany awake!” the Nazis ordered, and the nation had no choice but to snap to attention). A substance that could “integrate shirkers, malingerers, defeatists and whiners” into the labour market might even be sanctioned. At a company called Temmler in Berlin, Dr Fritz Hauschild, its head chemist, inspired by the successful use of the American amphetamine Benzedrine at the 1936 Olympic Games, began trying to develop his own wonder drug – and a year later, he patented the first German methyl-amphetamine. Pervitin, as it was known, quickly became a sensation, used as a confidence booster and performance enhancer by everyone from secretaries to actors to train drivers (initially, it could be bought without prescription). It even made its way into confectionery. “Hildebrand chocolates are always a delight,” went the slogan. Women were recommended to eat two or three, after which they would be able to get through their housework in no time at all – with the added bonus that they would also lose weight, given the deleterious effect Pervitin had on the appetite. Ohler describes it as National Socialism in pill form.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
whitehouse | When I learned of the decades-long effort to establish a national museum dedicated to preserving that too often untold story, I readily joined the effort. Every session of Congress for 15 years, I introduced a bill to create this national museum.
While the journey has been long, today the history of African Americans will finally take its place on the National Mall next to the monuments to Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson -- exactly where it belongs.
It is important that The National Museum of African American History and Culture tells the unvarnished truth of America's history -- a story that speaks to the soul of our nation, but one few Americans know.
It's a reminder that 400 years of history can't be buried; its lessons must be learned. By bringing the uncomfortable parts of our past out of the shadows, we can better understand what divides us and seek to heal those problems through our unity.
If we look at the glass-topped casket that displayed the brutalized body of Emmett Till and hear his story, we may better understand the exasperation and anger Americans feel today over the deaths of Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice.
If we see that an everyday leather wallet is what's left of Harry T. Moore -- a man who fought for the right to vote and died in a bombing meant to silence his activism on Christmas Day in 1951 - perhaps we will see why so many are fighting to protect any encroachment on that most sacred right today.
And as we look at the exhibit dedicated to an African American who now leads the free world from a White House built by black slaves, we can better understand the unshakeable optimism that has defined his belief that -- with dedicated work and a little good trouble -- we can help create a society that is more fair and more just, which benefits all Americans.
This museum casts a light on some of the most inspiring -- and uniquely American -- heroes who were denied equal rights but often laid down their lives to defend this nation in every generation. Often they profited least from the struggle they were willing to die for because they believed that the promises of true democracy should belong to us all, equally and without question.
I hope you will join me and President Obama for the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture today.
When you hear about the heroes memorialized in its halls, you may discover the depths of the invincible American spirit. As we learn and confront this history together, we can begin to build one inclusive, and truly democratic family -- the American family.
theintercept | Students are being threatened with punishment for not participating in rituals surrounding the national anthem or Pledge of Allegiance — and they are fighting back.
Since NFL 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem in August to protest oppression of people of color, many Americans, particularly professional athletes and students, have followed suit. But their constitutional right to engage in such gestures of dissent is not always being respected.
Threats from school administrators and teachers have put free speech advocates like the ACLU on high alert. At Lely High School, a public school in Naples, Florida, the principal told students that they would be removed from athletic events if they refused to stand during the national anthem — though he said the quote was misunderstood when the ACLU of Florida reached out.
“You will stand, and you will stay quiet. If you don’t, you are going to be sent home, and you’re not going to have a refund of your ticket price,” Lely High School Principal Ryan Nemeth told students.
“The Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that public schools may not constitutionally force students to salute the flag,” Lee Rowland, a First Amendment attorney who works with the ACLU, told The Intercept. “That ruling is crystal clear about a student’s right not to be compelled into patriotism by their government, and it is over 70 years old.”
The ruling that Rowland references came after many Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States began to refuse to salute the flag in solidarity with their brethren in Nazi Germany who were being arrested for refusing to salute that country’s fascist flag.
The action by the American Jehovah’s Witnesses provoked a backlash, and a number of followers of the faith were persecuted for refusing to salute. In West Virginia, a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses brought suit after their children were sanctioned for doing so.
The court ruled in favor of the family. In his opinion, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote, “Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”
vox | Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday night pointed out that Black Lives Matter activists just can’t win over some people.
On one hand, you have the first two nights of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, in reaction to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Some — but not all — of the protesters turned violent, leading critics on social media to characterize all the protesters as people senselessly destroying their own communities.
“I sure wish there was some sort of respectful, silent civil protest that people could engage in that wouldn’t enrage the other side,” Colbert said. Then an image of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick flashed on the screen.
“Yeah, no, that’s not gonna work either,” Colbert quipped.
By taking a knee during the national anthem during football games, Kaepernick has drawn tremendous criticism and anger online — becoming the most hated football player in the league, according to a poll by E-Poll Marketing Research. Many people, such as conservative pundit Tomi Lahren, have characterized Kaepernick as unpatriotic, telling him to “leave” if America “disgusts you so much.”
Friday, September 23, 2016
Forbes | It is starting to look like disrespecting the country during the national anthem is accomplishing what the concussions, domestic violence and deflategate could not do–drive down television ratings for the National Football League.
Through two weeks of football the NFL’s television ratings are down across the board. The drop in ratings and viewership is unprecedented in recent years and has occurred during the protest of the national anthem, started by San Francisco 49ers backup QB Colin Kaepernick. Just last year some opined that the league’s ratings had no ceiling. That appears to be false.
To summarize Sports Business Daily: NBC’s three primetime games, which includes the NFL Kickoff game, have averaged 23.7 million viewers, down 12% from the same period last year. ESPN also is seeing a 12% decline for its three “MNF” games to date. While CBS CBS -0.02% and NFL Network have only one Thursday night game to date, that lone game (Jets-Bills, 15.4 million viewers) was down 27% compared to the opening “TNF” game last season. Looking at Sunday afternoons, Fox is off (-0.2%) through two weeks, averaging 20.9 million viewers. CBS is averaging 17.3 million viewers through the same point, down 5%.
While some suggest that the drop in ratings may be due to the lack of “marquee” match ups, I don’t buy it. For starters, none of the recent PR debacles, such as drugs, beatings or concussions, creating something like #boycotnfl. Two, Kaepernick is the most-disliked player in the NFL. Three, I challenge anyone to look at the comments on stories about the NFL national anthem protests and tell me the anecdotal evidence does not strongly suggest many, if not most viewers are fed up either because they are against the protests, or just don’t want politics of any kind to interfere with their football.
citylab | Ferguson, Baltimore, and now Charlotte: We sometimes see that local protests in response to police killings morph into riots. Why do you think this is?
Riots, though they do occur, are relatively rare. More frequent are peaceful protests and community meetings, but these of course don’t get the same coverage. Riots occur because these police killings just keep happening, no matter how many peaceful marches happen. It is, in every sense, maddening.
Many have tried to discredit the riots by pointing to the occasional looting that has occurred, claiming such actions by protestors are destructive to "their own communities." In Ferguson, a QT gas station became an iconic site of destruction during the protests. In Baltimore, it was a CVS and the payday lender ACE Cash Express. In Charlotte on Tuesday, it was a Walmart. What drives the animus against these institutions, which often seem to be large corporate chains, and why are they the secondary targets of anti-police brutality protests?
For poor black people in cities, the surveillance that they experience at stores and on the streets are of a piece. When they walk in a store they are watched. When they leave the store, their receipts are questioned. They might be ripped off, or not, but they are made to feel less like sovereign customers and more like suspects. Unwarranted police stops feel similar. Those who are watched feel disrespected, and constantly reminded that they are not in charge. Riots provide that sense of control, but at a terrible cost.
Middle-class white people rarely have these experiences, so it is hard for them to understand what Walmart and police could have in common.
You have written that "riots reflect fury not just at the police, but at the constraints of the ghetto’s retail economy, where the poor pay more." How do police uphold this “ghetto retail economy,” where the poor are deprived of the competitive market pricing present in better-off suburbs?
In places where there are few legitimate jobs, the underground economy makes up the difference. Payday lenders and pawn brokers are the tip of an illicit iceberg, of which the drug trade is a major part. Fighting this illegal economy has resulted in police becoming an occupying force. Policing an economy with a handgun, needless to say, is an impossible task.
Are there historical cases in which riots have been an effective tactic for police brutality reform?
Riots draw attention to these issues in a way that protests and op-eds do not. It is hard to say that riots lead to reform, but without the riots, these kinds of activities would easily slip forgotten into the news cycle. In that sense, they are effective. But too much rioting, and the goodwill of Americans will ebb.
charlotteobserver | U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger apologized Thursday after saying the violence in Charlotte stems from protesters who “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”
Pittenger is a Republican whose district includes parts of the city where protests have turned violent in the wake of a police shooting of a black man.
He made the statement on a BBC-TV news program Thursday when asked to describe the “grievance” of the protesters.
“The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” Pittenger said. He then criticized people who receive welfare. “It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, and we’ve put people in bondage, so they can’t be all they’re capable of being.”
He later apologized on Twitter, saying his answer “doesn't reflect who I am. I was quoting statements made by angry protesters last night on national TV. My intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies.”