Beyond the gas masks, violence and clashes with police, there are concerned members of Ferguson who want to be heard.

Here’s what they’re saying.

How Ferguson Highlights the Dangers of For-Profit Policing


Slate highlights the financial dynamics that led to the insane police situation in Ferguson:

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.

In other words, Ferguson’s police department financially buoys itself by treating its residents like crap.

Anyone who understands rational choice theory could explain why this was always a bad idea.

I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.

Via kohenari:

Here’s the central point of an op-ed in the Washington Post:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

Got that? If you don’t want anything bad to happen to you, just do anything and everything the police tell you to do, immediately, and don’t ask any questions. Otherwise, you’re inviting the police to shoot you, tase you, pepper-spray you, beat you, and/or throw you to the ground.

2014 America, ladies and gentlemen. Land of the free, home of the brave.


Via politicalprof:



Via politicalprof:



The counties that have all the heavy weaponry.


Want to know if your county has a crap-ton of military surplus gear? Check out this FOIA-extracted database on Github.

The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.

Find myself — impressed? is that the word — at the number of people who think it’s okay to kill people for being armed robbers standing 35 feet away while unarmed …


I’m just sayin’

Ok. Here’s the thing. If you’re a cop, and the only way you can stop an unarmed person is to shoot him (repeatedly) dead, then either (a) you’re a poor shot, (b) you aren’t trained in non-lethal techniques, or (c) you’re not very brave. Either one should disqualify someone from working in law enforcement. IMO.

Our heads hang in shame when we hear about rapes. Why can’t we prevent this? When a daughter steps out, parents demand to know where she’s going. But when a son returns home, does anyone dare ask where he is coming from? He might have been with the wrong people, doing wrong things. After all, a person raping is someone’s son. Why don’t parents apply the same yardstick of good behaviour for their sons as for their daughters?
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, used his first Independence Day speech to call on parents to take responsibility for the actions of their sons, saying the country is shamed by sexual violence.  (via guardian)


Live chart: Why America grows faster when a Democrat is in the White House



This summer, two economists published a paper assessing the impact of an anti-grade-inflation policy that Wellesley adopted in 2004. Professors were not allowed to let the class average exceed a B+ for intro and intermediate courses.

These were the grade differences by department before they kicked off the policy.

Which department was the toughest grader? Astronomy

It’s nice to see that political science is about at the mean.