Archive for September, 2009

  • Rob Spectre
  • 30
  • Sep
  • 09

These kids today.  Your parents and grandparents undoubtedly recite the changes as often as mine.  These kids are different, they say, with bad manners, worse attitudes and a seemingly unending hunger they claim they never had.  The sociologists talk about nature versus nurture, but the psychologists may have found the culprit in something formerly as innocent as childhood: candy.

A group of British experts have discovered that children who eat too much candy are statistically much more likely to be arrested for violent behavior later in life.  How much more is astonishing.

British experts studied more than 17,000 children born in 1970 for about four decades. Of the children who ate candies or chocolates daily at age 10, 69 percent were later arrested for a violent offense by the age of 34. Of those who didn’t have any violent clashes, 42 percent ate sweets daily.

The authors of the study hasten to point out that the motivating factors of violent behavior are very complex; a direct link from candy to crime is hard to prove from one report.  But it does sit in a body of scholarly effort that evidences the diets of our children are changing dramatically.  9 in 10 teens don’t get enough fruits and vegetables.  Americans have been found to eat on average 22 teaspoons of sugar per day – an average of one big candy bar and two cans of soda.  Those under 20 eat an alarming 32 teaspoons.

Sugar figures heavily more heavily in the American diet than ever before, rotting our teeth and perhaps rotting our souls.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 29
  • Sep
  • 09

Of all the places one would not expect to find this video filmed, skaters in San Francisco filmed this exchange between a young skater and SFPD Officer Schwab, 2099.  Thanks to Mission Mission for the find.

The exchange is pure skater harassment, the kind anyone who has picked up a deck knows. Some kids are skating and fucking with a city fence while trying to record a video. Neighbor calls the cops, cop show up and busts up the show. It isn’t long before the officer takes a poke, which a punk is always happy to reciprocate.

Moments later, Schwab delivers this Emmy-winning performance instead of his Miranda rights:

Resist again and I’m going to break your arm like a twig. And then you can treat me like the asshole you think I am.

Undoubtedly many of you have taken that trip to the back of the squad car, where the officer slaps the cuffs on and makes a big show about a night in the clink only to relent a few blocks away from the alpha male from the pack and turn him loose.   Having possessed in my whole life maybe a quarter of the restraint of tongue the arrested skater demonstrated in the short exchange that got him apprehended, I have a special affinity for his situation.  Having made that trip a time or three myself, I learned something each time.

The first time I thought the guy was giving me a break.  That what I had done really did merit incarceration and that the officer was bending the rules to let me out of something that might haunt me for the rest of my life.  The second time I started to get wise to the ruse.  I’d seen people get arrested for real; they were read rights with plenty witnesses on hand in front of cameras.  The third time I got handcuffed but escaped arrest, I recognized it for what it was: a douchebag with a hurt ego making himself feel tough in front of a bunch of kids.

The way they turn your shoulder to tear your ligament just a little, the pull on the cuffs to bruise your wrists for a wee, the way they slam the door onto your other shoulder to give you a lasting knot – it is not law enforcement.  It is purile bullying.

When kids are shooting each other in the gut at public pizza joints in broad daylight, we need less Officer Schwabs.  Police officers need to be serious men and women of even tempers, passionately committed to helping their communities.  It is a hard and unpopular job, made all the more insufferable by dicks like me.  But they chose their life, and in so choosing agree to suffer our ire as we agree to suffer their abuse.

Only now, these criminals called skateboarders can share their everyday with the rest of the world.  And people are learning just how ridiculous these public servants can be.

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  • Robert Taylor
  • 28
  • Sep
  • 09

While President Obama was in the middle of delivering an excellent speech to the United Nations last week, it was pleasantly surprising to see an American president attempt to act like a dignified statement. He was saying all the right things, and raising issues on an international platform that many of our past Presidents have either sidestepped or refused to address: the importance of international law, a rejection of unilateralism in foreign policy, and even some stern words critical of Israeli aggression.

But when the topic of nuclear proliferation came up, the tone and content suddenly changed. Olive branches were quickly replaced with swords and spears, telling the world that Iran and North Korea “must be held accountable” if they continue to put their pursuit of nuclear weapons and international security.

As impressive as Obama’s speech was, it his ultimately his deeds, actions, and decisions that illustrate how devoted he is to international law and peace. His Administration recently and publicly said that there is nothing the Iranian government can do to convince the US that it’s nuclear weapons are for peaceful purposes, a stubbornness that makes any constructive diplomacy or dialogue impossible. Combine Obama’s repeated threats of more and more sanctions with the troubling and growing calls for a mountain of skulls in Tehran, and war with Iran may be just around the corner.

Obama may speak like a dove, but he acts like a hawk. Like the aptly named Predator drone (remote-control operated aircraft) strikes that Obama wants to escalate into Pakistan. Or the executive order he signed earlier this month giving US Special Forces the authority to launch raids in virtually any country in the world if there are “terrorists” or Al Qaeda suspects. Yemen has been the target of several US raids, and southern Somalia has been shelled on a weekly basis. Obama is also increasing the amount of US weapons being shipped to Somalia, and most of them are ending up in the hands of Islamic militias. Arming the enemy guarantees there will always be one.

And don’t forget about the war in Afghanistan, where Obama is “protecting” the Afghan population by sanctioning election fraud, sending thousands more American boys on vague and never-ending missions, condoning prisoner abuse and torture at the Bagram Gulag, and unleashing his favorite foreign policy tool: lots and lots of airstrikes.

As all of this is occurring under the President’s orders, conservative pundits have actually dared to call Obama “soft” and “weak.” Since this is his only mainstream opposition, he can praise the merits of peace to please his liberal base and not have to worry about any significant criticism for his trigger-happiness overseas.

Until there is more public outcry, especially from the Left, then his eloquent and impassioned speeches (like his Cairo speech) will continue to hide and provide cover for his dangerous militarism.

_

For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 28
  • Sep
  • 09

Only two weeks after the United Nations published a damning report finding war crimes in Israel’s lethal offensive into Gaza last winter, some Palestinian families have already given up hope for help from the international community.  Using the most explicit terms yet to characterize the war, the United Nations report said Israeli troops “punished and terrorized” Palestinian civilians during the conflict and failed to take precautions to minimize civilian casualties.  The report even went so far to suggest that such failures were deliberate.

But within the only other body on the planet with the capability of effecting material justice on the Gaza slaughter – the UN Security Council – it seems the report was already discredited on arrival.  The Goldstone Report (named for the South African Jew who directed its research) was barely mentioned during last week’s meetings, and only then by nations of marginal influence on the international scene.    Since its publication, Israel and, sadly, the United States have been in full-on damage control, seeking to discredit the report even before they had a chance to read its findings.

The PR push seems to have worked, with those who were dimly optimistic of some UN reaction as the war crimes perpetrated on Palestine close in on their one year anniversary.  Gaza remains mostly rubble and for many who continue to dig through the twisted rebar and shattered concrete, this report represented the last hope that the international community would take notice.

However, the historically indomitable reputation of Arabs continues to prove itself true. This week a group of Palestinian families filed suit against Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, former prime minister and honest-to-God cross-dressing assassin, for crimes against humanity.  Though filed in a magistrate court in London instead of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, lawyers representing families devastated by the war on Gaza have brought suit against Barak in the United Kingdom hoping to avail themselves of the UK’s liberal, post-WWII jurisprudence concerning war crimes.

The absurdity of suing in a British magistrate than within Palestine’s or even Israel’s own legal system is not lost to the family, whose lawyer asserted “If the Israeli courts were themselves to investigate there would be no need to have recourse to international tribunals.”

They even point to a similar case in 2005 when Israeli army general Doron Almog could not leave his airplane at Heathrow, as an arrest warrant had been issued similar to the one the Gazan families are seeking in their case against Ehud Barak.  Merely convincing a judge that Israel is worth investigating, it seems, is a major Palestinian victory.

Of course with the attention and the collusion of many Western heads of state, it is unlikely this suit will ever see Ehud  Barak or any of the other war criminals responsible for last winter’s invasion held in court.  Only removing Barak’s privileges to travel to London must seem like such small retribution compared to the loss of 1,300 lives in the offensive, a third women and children.

But for those families, their neighbors and the rest of the innocents trying to put their lives back together, at the very least a comforting picture can be visualized- that of the smile with which the officer serving Ehud Barak the warrant for war crimes would wear.

Hard to imagine how much comfort that daydream brings, but I suspect any would be welcome.

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  • Daniel Austin
  • 27
  • Sep
  • 09
This entry is part 28 of 40 in the series The (d)SP0T

Smoking Mobsterette

Jonathan Rose

Chris is much different outside of work

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