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Articles on this Page
- 06/05/16--19:47: _Hillary Clinton Win...
- 06/05/16--21:30: _Philippine Presiden...
- 06/06/16--04:51: _155 Days and a Wake Up
- 06/06/16--05:05: _Jalopnik How To Fin...
- 06/06/16--05:50: _Trump Deems Republi...
- 06/06/16--10:13: _MARKET CHAOS: GENER...
- 06/06/16--10:00: _If You Don't See Bl...
- 06/06/16--11:00: _Inside an Amazon Wa...
- 06/06/16--11:20: _Donald Trump Is Sti...
- 06/06/16--11:56: _Cobb County Needs T...
- 06/06/16--13:14: _Some Insightful Ana...
- 06/06/16--13:35: _Did Kanye West Real...
- 06/06/16--13:55: _How Scared Should Y...
- 06/06/16--14:15: _It Is Frankly Unbel...
- 06/06/16--14:13: _Black Flag NASCAR O...
- 06/06/16--14:35: _Here Is the Mugshot...
- 06/06/16--06:54: _Today's Best Deals:...
- 06/06/16--14:55: _Some Highlights Fro...
- 06/06/16--15:19: _Donald Trump Admits...
- 06/06/16--15:30: _Which Long-Shot, Lo...
- 06/05/16--19:47: Hillary Clinton Wins Puerto Rico Primary
- 06/06/16--04:51: 155 Days and a Wake Up
- 06/06/16--10:00: If You Don't See Blackness, You Didn't See Muhammad Ali
- 06/06/16--11:00: Inside an Amazon Warehouse, the Relentless Need to "Make Rate"
- 06/06/16--11:20: Donald Trump Is Still Getting That $304 Middle-Class Tax Break
- 06/06/16--13:55: How Scared Should You Be of a Chinese Financial Meltdown?
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According to projections by CNN and the Associated Press, Hillary Clinton will win Sunday’s Democratic primary in Puerto Rico, leaving her less than 30 pledged delegates and superdelegates away from the 2,383 she needs to clinch the nomination.
This weekend, rival Bernie Sanders said that he “absolutely” believed July’s Democratic National Convention will be contested, an outcome only possible if manages to recruit several hundred of Clinton’s unbound superdelegates by next month.
Despite his remarks, Clinton said she hoped Sanders would join her in trying to “unify” the party after Tuesday’s primaries, where 694 pledged delegates will be awarded.
“After Tuesday, I’m going to do everything I can to reach out, to try to unify the Democratic Party, and I expect Senator Sanders to do the same,” Clinton told CNN on Saturday. “And we will come together and be prepared to go to the convention in a unified way, to make our case, to leave the convention, to go into the general election to defeat Donald Trump.”
Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte encouraged the practice of vigilante justice on Saturday, even promising to reward citizens who kill suspected drug dealers, CBS News reports.
“Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun — you have my support,” said Duterte in a televised address. “If he fights and fights to the death, you can kill him. You can shoot him and I’ll give you a medal.”
Last month, Duterte was elected to the Southeast Asian nation’s highest office on a bloody platform promising to end crime within six months by murdering all drug dealers. From The Guardian:
That vow resonated among crime-weary Filipinos, though police officials considered it campaign rhetoric that was impossible to accomplish.
Human rights watchdogs have expressed alarm his anti-crime drive might lead to widespread rights violations.
Duterte has been suspected of playing a role in many killings of suspected criminals by motorcycle-riding assassins dubbed the “Davao death squads”. Human rights watchdogs say he has not been criminally charged because nobody has dared to testify against him in court.
On Saturday, Duterte joked that he would pay bounties of five million pesos (about $107,000) for drug lords brought in dead and “only 4.999 million” for those brought in alive, but the president-elect assured viewers he was not kidding when he threatened to kill all drug addicts.
“If you’re still into drugs, I will kill you, don’t take this as a joke,” said Duterte. “I’m not trying to make you laugh, son of a bitch, I will really kill you.”
Jalopnik How To Find Free Platinum On The Side Of The Road
For months, Donald Trump has been attempting to discount as racist
According to Trump, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican parents, cannot be impartial, because the presumptive Republican nominee wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. He is “a member of a club or society very strongly pro-Mexican,” Trump told CBS News on Sunday. “I’m building a wall,” he told the Wall Street Journal last week. “It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” A Mexican drug cartel once targeted Curiel, then a prosecutor, for assassination.
Gingrich issued his (mild!) criticism speaking on Fox News on Sunday. “Trump has got to, I think, move to a new level,” he said. “This is no longer the primaries. He’s no longer an interesting contender. He is now the potential leader of the United States, and he’s got to move his game up to the level of being a potential leader.”
Trump, who says he has “very strong, very thick skin,” responded in an interview with Fox & Friends on Monday morning. “As far as Newt is concerned, I saw Newt,” he said. “I was surprised at Newt. I thought it was inappropriate what he said.” But the former speaker isn’t the only Republican to (gently!) come out against Trump’s recent legal strategy. From the Los Angeles Times:
GOP allies quickly criticized Trump for charging that the judge’s Mexican ancestry poses a conflict of interest.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who begrudgingly endorsed Trump on Thursday, said Friday that he disapproved of Trump’s remarks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “I couldn’t disagree more with what he had to say.”
McConnell would not say whether he saw Trump’s attacks on Curiel as racist.
Hillary Clinton has been far more explicit in her attacks on Trump, saying on Sunday that her rival is “trying to divert attention from the very serious fraud charges against Trump University.”
“He does have that thin skin, and you know, Judge Curiel is as American as I am, and certainly as American as Donald Trump is, and Trump’s continuing ethnic slurs and rants against everyone, including a distinguished federal judge, I think makes my point rather conclusively,” she told ABC.
Asked on Sunday whether he’d feel a Muslim judge would also be unable to treat him fairly
NEW YORK - Wall Street is roundly rejecting news out of General Mills (GIS) indicating that it will roll out “Tiny Toast,” its first new cereal product in 15 years, later this month. The cereal bowl shockwave could have destabilizing effects throughout the global breakfast economy.
General Mills stock has plunged roughly 30 cents today, indicating a general distrust of the “Tiny Toast” brand concept and a misestimation of whether American breakfast users have a strong desire for toast, especially in miniaturized form. According to MarketWatch, Tiny Toast “features crunchy toast pieces covered in small pieces of strawberries or blueberries,” and “is made with real fruit and other natural flavors.” It’s unclear how small the “small” pieces of strawberries and blueberries will be on said Tiny Toast morsels, or how well the “toast” units will maintain integrity while soaked in milk or other popular dairy alternatives. From the Gawker Media headquarters on 5th Avenue, disarray and despair sweeping the Financial District was palpable.
Our legends are dying. On Friday, June 3, we lost another—Muhammad Ali, a man who called himself The Greatest, because he was.
The news of his death
The title is a nod to a longer Maya Angelou quote. She’d written, in the 2001 book Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, “Muhammad Ali was not just Muhammad Ali the greatest, the African-American pugilist; he belonged to everyone. That means that his impact recognizes no continent, no language, no color, no ocean. It belongs to us all, just as Muhammad Ali belongs to us all.”
If Muhammad Ali belonged to everyone, it’s because Muhammad Ali demanded that everyone reckon with his presence, his politics, his experience of blackness. Maya Angelou knew this; she understood the radical politics contained in the universality of Muhammad Ali’s appeal.
But everyone wants to claim a legend after he’s dead, and the idea that Ali mattered to everyone, belonged to everyone, evolved in more than a few places into the wild idea that Ali’s career and charisma, his politics and experience, were not uniquely rooted in his blackness. That in achieving legendary status, he had transcended race.
A Fox sportscaster went as far as to say that in Muhammad Ali, a man who spoke about race candidly and often, you “didn’t see color.”
An NBC News obituary swung for the fences and brazenly threw down the actual “transcending race” card.
Ali was an anti-establishment showman who transcended borders and barriers, race and religion. His fights against other men became spectacles, but he embodied much greater battles.
The Los Angeles Times obit also used the phrase “transcended race.”
To subvert the racial politics and black identity of Muhammad Ali, of all people, is astonishing on the level of trying to use Martin Luther King Jr. quotes to reprimand Black Lives Matter. That anyone had the instinct to do so is a reminder of how frequently black Americans are separated from their race as soon as white America deems them great. It’s a reminder of the treatment Prince received when, after his death in April, the New York Times argued that he “defied conventional notions of race.” CNN’s Jake Tapper clumsily described Prince as a “post-racial singer,” and the Independent called him mixed-race as some sort of synonym for having lighter skin. Many wrote that both Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson “transcended race,” following their deaths.
The most insidious part of this idea of transcending race is that it’s meant to be a compliment, in the same way that Hollywood will whitewash history and expect us to be glad that some stories involving a few black or brown people are even being told at all. When a black person is pronounced, after his death, to have transcended race, it means that white people have stopped holding his blackness against him—the way they deigned to, out of the helpless benevolence of their hearts, with Michael Jackson and Prince. Transcending race means being forgiven for being black. It means these artists and athletes and orators were so masterful at their chosen craft that a white audience would look racist, petty and ignorant if they didn’t acknowledge their greatness.
I’m fond of the phrase “black excellence” for the way it honors an extra burden that surrounds success for black people in America. (And, truly, the same can be said for any marginalized group.) We do not yet live in a world where being black or being a woman or being transgender does not, in some way and in most cases, make it more difficult to be successful. Implied within “black excellence” is the fact that, while Steffi Graf was indeed an excellent tennis player, she did not have an Indian Wells.
It is impossible not to read the eagerness to discard race when a black person is very, very good at something as a suggestion that the black person in question would have been more readily worthy of admiration if they were white—and not because of extant racism, but because it is simply the way things are. If a black person is great, they can finally be separated from their blackness. The hubris required of white critics and fans to believe this—that they have the right and the ability to dissect blackness from a person’s identity—is staggering.
Being black is not the entirety of Muhammad Ali’s identity. But as a part of his identity, it is not detachable. Blackness is part of the narrative of every black person in a country that has reminded us of our blackness since the day we arrived. No person who has lived every day of his or her life as both black and American can transcend that fact. Nor, likely, would they want to. Because the idea that greatness distinguishes you from blackness suggests that blackness itself has a built-in limit—that blackness itself can never be great.
Muhammad Ali knew that his blackness was great—that his blackness was humanity, and as such contained infinite possibilities. He was full of braggadocio because he had to be: no one was going to call this black man “The Greatest” unless he did so himself. That did not make him bigger than race or a different kind of black man, that simply made him a black that you hadn’t seen before.
There is no deep and true respect for Muhammad Ali that does not also come with a deep and true respect for his blackness. And to love Muhammad Ali, you must also love his love for his people. Those who attempt to draw attention away from Ali’s blackness—whether deliberately, carelessly, or by delicate omission—do so because they either cannot or choose not to love black people. They can’t understand that Ali’s blackness was integral to what made him great. A white Ali would not have been possible, nor would he have meant nearly as much to the world.
Image via Getty.
Over the past few years
Previous warehouse workers have described physical strain
The following story is from an Amazon warehouse worker in California who wishes to remain anonymous. As you read it, it is worth keeping in mind that Amazon went to the Supreme Court to win the right to not pay its employees
Here’s the deal: I have never felt more disposable or meaningless than I do at Amazon. But this is an easy thing to claim, as a lot of other Amazon storytellers have. So I’ll avoid saying things that can be easily disputed—like management is incompetent, or friends promote other friends, etc.—as these things can be written off or disregarded; I’ll try to stick to facts.
I started working at a warehouse designated ONT8 in Moreno Valley, CA, about a year ago. Right across the street (literally) was ONT6, which was the kind of warehouse you know about, the ones with Pickers, all the cubbies, the supply robots, the whole shebang. ONT8 was not that kind of warehouse—sorry “fulfillment center.”
ONT8 was known as a “Cross Dock,” apparently one of the only ones on the west coast, and we didn’t fulfill customer orders. Whereas the traditional Amazon warehouse is filled with people running around from cubby to cubby, a Cross Dock largely consists of people standing in one place for ten hours a day, doing the same task over and over again. But I’ll get into that in a bit.
My interview was nothing like an interview. No one-on-one, no “what are your best qualities?” About thirty of us were sat down in a room and showed videos that would train us for the exact kind of jobs they did at ONT6, not our ONT8. We were told how to properly pack items into the cubbies at a traditional warehouse, despite the fact that there were none whatsoever at ONT8. We were told how to use the handheld computers needed to Pick from cubbies, again, despite us never ever actually doing that. Then we all put cotton-coated drug tests into our mouths, and Amazon would continue with our employment offers should they come back negative. Basically, Amazon will offer employment to anyone who claims to be able to do the physical tasks necessary and is not currently on drugs during the interview. But that would take two weeks, and in the meantime, there were more training videos we needed to view for jobs we would never do at ONT8. The entire day’s worth of training was sort of pointless.
My drug test came back negative because I’m not an idiot, and I was soon thrown into an area called Prep. In Prep, more than a hundred of us were put in front of stations with computers, scan guns, and full pallets of products. Full, six-feet-tall pallets of all sorts of things. For instance, deodorant. We’d unpack box after box of Right Guard six packs, put two of them into another bag, put that bag into a yellow tote bin, and keep going until the entire pallet of hundreds of deodorants was empty. Then another pallet would be put in front of us, and we’d repeat this soul-numbing process until break, until lunch, until second break, until end of shift, until we died. We were told we were fulfilling customer orders, so we needed to take special care of the product we handled. We did not fulfill customer orders, as I’d come to find out. What we actually did was Prep—read: prepare—products for other vendors so that they did not have to, and then the products would go to other fulfillment centers across the country to be unpacked and cubbied, or to other vendors to be sold by them. We were that middleman that everyone is always trying to cut out, and justifiably so.
We had to make Rate. We had to unpack and repack a certain number of product per hour. Our UPH, or units per hour, was what determined whether or not we’d get a talking to by one of our many bosses. When I first got hired on, we had to make a Rate of 85, which was doable, if challenging at first. By the time Peak season came around the rate was about 180. After Peak, it stayed at 180. That meant that we had to Prep about 3 units per minute, which was fine if the product had no Prep to be done to it, but not easy at all if the product had to be bagged, and bubble wrapped, and then boxed up. In fact, in instances like that, you would never make Rate, it was impossible; things like that took at least a good minute per item. And when you didn’t make Rate, you would get a talking to by a manager, and they did not appreciate it if you explained that you could not make Rate with a pallet of hundreds of dishes that had to be individually wrapped and boxed. That did not matter. Rate was Rate, and if you couldn’t make it, you were in trouble.
That sad part of it was that Rate was largely predetermined for you before you even started work. A pallet of boxes was already at your station from the previous shift, and that was what you had to work through. If it was a load of SD cards that were good to go, all you had to do was scan them. Rate was in the bag. If it was gaudy Rachel Ray platters that had to be bubble wrapped, X00-stickered, and individually boxed, you were fucked. You couldn’t ask for a new pallet, you had to just get through the one you had, and maybe the next pallet would be different. Oftentimes, the next pallet was more of the same. The warehouse got identical pallets in tens and twenties, and we all HATED dealing with Rachel Ray stuff.
Rate was constant. Rate was on you all day. If you went to the bathroom, that lowered your Rate. If your boss came by to see how you were doing, that distraction lowered your Rate. If you ran out of bags and had to go get new ones yourself, that lowered your Rate. If you cut yourself on a box cutter or pinched a finger in the conveyor belt right next to you or something, and had to go to the on-site Amcare office (like a school nurse’s office, and equally as competent), well, you were still on Rate, and that lapse in work lowered your Rate. If your boss pulled you aside to talk to you about your low Rate, I mean, you’re still on Rate during that talking-to, so that further lowered your Rate.
And no, we did not get fifteen-minute breaks, as I’ve read in various other articles. We got ten-minute breaks. Ten-minute breaks which had to be taken in designated break areas. During the morning stand up meetings (basically calisthenics) it was constantly drilled into our heads that we were given ten-minute breaks. Management would ask us, “How long are your breaks?” And like sheep, we’d all drone back, “Ten minutes.” Amazon, by the grace of Jeff Bezos, the bald god that he is, allowed us to have “two-and-a-half minutes to walk to, and from the break rooms,” as management would gleefully inform us. Never mind that it often took longer than that to walk to a break area, sometimes through a metal detector—heaven help you if that thing dinged, there’s like half your break right there. And if you happened to be in a part of the warehouse that took longer than that to get back from, well, your break was just taken from you. You should have planned your bladder better than that, now get back to work.
But at least I was making more than minimum wage, which could not be said for the seasonal employees. Our seasonal staffing company was called Staff Management, and the people they brought to us were known as SMXers. SMXers were technically employed through SM, and not by Amazon. They worked the same 40+ hours a week we did, but they made minimum wage, earned no benefits, didn’t get stock options or a 401k, and could be let go at any time regardless of reason. I heard that one girl from ONT6 was let go of in the middle of her shift at the water fountain. SMXers had their own SM bosses, separate from our Amazonian bosses. I have no idea what determined what made someone a seasonal employee (white badge) or a direct hire (blue badge). I got lucky and was hired on directly by Amazon.
During Peak Season, from October to the end of December, mandatory overtime was called on a constant basis. We had to come in an hour early four days a week. We had to. If you missed a mandatory overtime shift, and you didn’t have a doctor’s note, you’d get written up. During the so-called Blackout Period, from Black Friday to the middle of December, if you missed a shift at all, and you didn’t have the Personal Time Off to cover those eleven hours, you’d better have a doctor’s note, or you’d probably be let go of. No Vacation requests would be honored, either.
And the parking situation was horrendous, as well. I’m not lying when I tell you that you could arrive at the warehouse half an hour before your shift, and still end up clocking in late. That happened. A lot. It happened to me on more than one occasion. It just took that long to find a space!
And the poor SMXers were simply not allowed to park on-site at all during Peak. They had to park at the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, which was an auto speedway miles down the road, and be bussed in. So they’d have to park down there like an hour before their shift to ensure they got bussed in with enough time to clock in on time.
The scary thing was what happened outside the warehouse during Peak. Cars in the parking lot would be broken into quite a bit. It happened so much that the site security team would address the break ins during the daily stand up meetings, but it didn’t help. Cars still got broken into on Amazon property. Probably broken into by Amazon employees. As far as I know, Amazon did nothing to affect any kind of meaningful security change.
We were promised that if we met a certain quota of products shipped during Peak, we’d all get big bonuses on our checks by the end of Peak. Well, we met the quota. The site as a whole did really well. We blew up our quota. But what we weren’t told was that even though our site met the quota, since some of the other sites in the network did not, we would not be getting our bonuses. This little condition was never explained to us beforehand. I consider this a lie by omission. Yes, Amazon lied to me.
In March, Crain’s New York reported that Donald Trump has, for the past three years, received a tax credit intended for New York City families who have an income under $500,000. Both the city and the Trump campaign agreed that a mistake had been made, although nobody could explain what had actually happened. In any case, whatever the mistake was, it hasn’t yet been rectified, because Trump’s most recent property tax bill shows that he’s still receiving the $304 credit.
It may be the case that Trump has a very good accountant who has arranged the presumptive Republican nominee’s assets in such a way that he appears to the Department of Taxation and Finance like someone who earns no more than $500,000 per year. It may also be the case that Trump really does only earn that much money, despite his claims otherwise. This, of course, would explain his reluctance to release his tax returns.
“He should not have received the abatement and should return the full value to state taxpayers,” a city spokeswoman said earlier this year. Trump’s tax lawyer said that he expected the value of the credits would be added to the real estate developer’s future tax bills.
Altogether, Trump is paying $193,222 in property taxes on his Trump Tower penthouse. Crain’s reports:
The city’s finance department said it checks with New York state tax authorities every year to make sure applicants for the STAR benefit have income under $500,000. A state tax official confirmed that the state received a list of STAR recipients every year and notifies the city of who is eligible. (The state defines income for STAR purposes as federal adjusted gross income minus the taxable amount of total distributions from annuities or individual retirement accounts.)
To try to sort it out, Crain’s asked for copies of Trump’s STAR applications under New York’s Freedom of Information Law. But after a two-month search, the city’s finance department said that no documents could be found. So the mystery of the billionaire and the middle-class tax break continues.
“The Department of Finance has a process in place for reviewing eligibility that it must follow,” Freddi Goldstein, a mayoral spokesperson, told Gawker. “DOF has been reviewing Mr. Trump’s exemption status for final determination.”
Trump’s June 1 bill also includes a note from the NYC Health Department, reminding “property owners that they must remove standing water, where mosquitos can breed in warm weather.” Can’t very well have voracious parasites breeding atop Manhattan’s glittering skyscrapers.
SunTrust Park, the Braves’ fancy new suburban stadium, came at a cost of nearly $400 million to Cobb County taxpayers. It doesn’t open until next year, but that bill is already coming due—and the opportunity cost is no longer theoretical.
In 2008, Cobb County approved $40 million to buy up land for public parks, in an attempt to meet the national standard. Residents were all for it—they approved the bond measure with 65 percent voting yes in a referendum. But that money hasn’t materialized, even after county commissioners somehow found hundreds of millions to fund the Braves’ ballpark—a move that they made sure wouldn’t come to a public vote.
(One commissioner said no vote was held because they didn’t want to pay $300,000 for a special election to decide the fate of $400 million.)
So: plenty of cash for the Braves, without the public getting a say. No cash for public parks, which the public overwhelmingly voted for. And now Commission Chairman Tim Lee says, via Field of Schemes, that the county will need to increase taxes if residents want those parks.
The Braves’ ballpark is already a new low
Not only does putting public money toward a stadium take away money that could actually go to the public good (SunTrust Park was approved at a time Cobb County schools were desperately slashing budgets), but the general fund is no longer there to prop up existing and future bonds, forcing taxes to be raised to pay off those debts.
“Cobb County homeowners will not see their taxes go up one penny” to fund the Braves’ stadium, according to the FAQ on CobbHomeOfTheBraves.com, an astroturfed website supporting the stadium. Well, Cobb County homeowners will see their taxes go up to pay for everything else that the county can no longer afford because it gave $400 million to a billionaire.
CobbHomeOfTheBraves.com is also urging readers to re-elect Commission Chairman Tim Lee, architect of the stadium financing deal, in a runoff election next month.
Caesar Goodson Jr., the Baltimore police officer who faces the most severe charges in the death of Freddie Gray, will opt for a bench trial rather than face a jury, it was announced today.
Goodson, who was driving the police van Gray was transported in last year, is charged with “depraved-heart murder” for allegedly driving the van in a way that he knew was likely to kill Gray, and doing it with malicious intent. If he is convicted, he will be the first of the six officers arrested for Gray’s death to face punishment: Officer William Porter’s trial ended with a hung jury (prosecutors intend to try him again
Under the headline “Can Prosecutors Convict Anyone at All in the Death of Freddie Gray?”, the Atlantic’s David Graham interviews David Jaros, a University of Baltimore law professor, who has all sorts of illuminating information about and analysis of the case. For one, there’s his vivid explanation of what the ominous sounding charge of “depraved-heart murder” actually means:
Officer Goodson is charged with depraved-heart murder in a case that on its face seems more like negligence, whereas depraved-heart murder says that the individuals showed such wanton and reckless disregard for human life that it amounts to malice. That is a very different mens rea that the commonwealth says is akin to intentional murder. The example I use in class for depraved-heart murder is that the students stand on the roof of the law school and throw cinderblocks off the edge into a crowd below. Where they’re not aiming for anyone specifically, they don’t have the intent to kill, but they’re perfectly fine with the possibility that they might crush someone’s skull. That’s depraved-heart murder. It’s a pretty significant step from that to failing to buckle someone into a van.
The charge seems to depend on the assertion that Goodson intentionally gave Gray what is referred to as a “rough ride” on his way to the station house; that is, that he maneuvered the van in such a way that would injury his passenger intentionally. There’s plenty of evidence that the Baltimore Police Department has used rough rides as a way of punishing arrestees, and the city has paid out millions of dollars in lawsuits to people who were injured in police transport vans. But according to Jaros, it’s less clear that Gray’s death specifically was the result of a rough ride.
Jaros speaks forcefully about the need for police reform: As an example of systemic racism relating to the Gray case, he points to a Supreme Court decision that makes it legal for cops in high-crime areas to pursue and detain suspects who run away from them unprompted, but not in low-crime areas. In other words, if Gray lived in, say, Fell’s Point instead of Sandtown-Winchester, it would have been easier for prosecutors to prove that Officer Nero made an unlawful arrest when he chased Gray down.
But Jaros is skeptical in general that the criminal justice system itself is the best way to achieve these reforms, because it may put policy goals ahead of an individual’s rights as a defendant. “I, being a former public defender and not a great believer in the use of criminal law to shape people’s behavior, am not completely comfortable with the idea of using individuals to promote broad policy reform, and yet at the same time we are faced with egregious practices a powerful institution that has thus far resisted any other efforts to reform it,” he says. “We have to balance our concerns about individuals being used as a tool to reform...and the application of the criminal law to reform the police.”
Early Monday morning, thousands of fans gathered in the East Village to watch a Kanye West pop-up show that never happened, because the crowd was too big. It was a problem big enough for the mayor himself, so Kanye called him up at 2 a.m.
Or did he?
Despite Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat evidence to the contrary, according to the New York City Mayor’s office, Kanye never called the mayor. That Kanye would call the mayor that early in the morning, proposing an impromptu block party to do an outdoor show for the approximated 4,000 people gathered on the street outside Webster Hall is a ludicrous notion. But in the man’s own words: “Call the mayor and shut down the block [garble garble] so we can have a party outside. I know it’s sold out already.”
Someone is lying here and it’s either Kanye West or Bill de Blasio—but who?
According to Karen Hinton, de Blasio’s press secretary, it’s Kanye. “No one contacted the mayor’s office,” she wrote in an email.
West’s publicist, Gabriel Tesoriero, declined to comment.
In the meantime, de Blasio’s office has jokes:
A nice offer, to be sure, but one that’s not nearly manic or grand enough for Kanye to ever consider.
You may be a busy person, but it is important to keep up-to-date on the most current threats to the stability of the global economy, which could plunge us all into poverty and despair. Speaking of that, is China poised for a disaster of hideous proportions?
If you are a scholar of China and/ or global financial markets, the answer is: Why are you just now hearing about this, on Gawker.com? Pathetic. For the rest of you, it’s enough to know that China’s government has been desperately propping up its economic growth rate for years now with ill-advised legal restrictions and an enormous debt boom that will—as debt booms tend to do—come due sooner or later. And it will probably be a bad scene! Here is one data point from Ruchir Sharma, a top Morgan Stanley investment strategist, bolding ours:
My research shows that during the 30 worst debt manias of the past 50 years, private debt — which in China is often held by local governments — rose over five years by at least 40 percentage points as a share of gross domestic product. In all 30 cases, the economy slowed sharply, typically by more than half, in the next five years.
China’s mania is now the largest ever in the postwar emerging world. After holding steady at around 150 percent of G.D.P. for much of the boom, China’s public and private debts surged after Mr. Wen’s about face in 2008, rising to 230 percent of G.D.P. by 2014. That 80-percentage-point increase is also more than three times the increase in the United States before its bubble collapsed in 2008.
A debt increase three times steeper than our own horrific debt bubble that brought the entire world to its knees. That seems... ominous. What does Goldman Sachs have to say about all this?
“Such a scale of deterioration [in China’s leverage] certainly increases our concerns about China’s underlying credit problems and sustainability risk,” the Goldman analysts conclude. “The possibility that there is such a large amount of shadow lending going on in the system that is not captured in official statistics also points to [a] regulatory gap, and underscores the lack of visibility on where potential financial stress points may lie and how a possible contagion may play out.”
This means more or less “there is more financial risk than China will admit” and also “it can’t last.”
There is nothing very novel about this observation; one prominent hedge fund manager who made a bundle on the U.S. subprime collapse has been saying for quite a while that the bad phase of China’s credit crisis “could exceed 400 percent of the U.S. banking losses incurred during the subprime crisis.”
Which is a lot!
In fact, betting on a Chinese meltdown has become fairly commonplace, though some point out that betting against the will of the Chinese government to avoid mass panic could be a loser for a long while. Still, basic logic and history would seem to tell us that, sooner or later, China is in for a debt-fueled economic shit storm that could make the U.S. subprime crisis look like a mere passing cloud. The good news: it will be in China, not here. The bad news: we live in a hyperconnected world
Yeah—hyperconnected us getting fucked, by anything that happens anywhere, probably because of “the cloud.”
Is this threat imminent, or far, far away? If you are a person with actual expertise on this issue, please weight in below. All we can tell you for sure is: something bad will happen, somewhere, at some time. Be scared.
In a meeting last week described by one staffer as “the most depressing pep talk,” Bill de Blasio, New York City’s beleaguered mayor, asked members of his administration to keep the faith amid proliferating controversies. “He told us that no one is going to thank him for ‘not being dead,’” the staffer told Gothamist, “because the homicide rate is down and Vision Zero is working.”
Keeping his constituents alive is just about the lowest bar an executive officer needs to clear in order to not be deemed a total failure, but, then again, it is important to be grateful for the little things. After all, one’s risk of getting hit by the L train diminishes significantly when it shuts down for 18 months. And just this weekend we walked across the street without looking both ways—turned out we didn’t have to, because it was yet another pedestrian plaza. (Might have rolled our ankle stepping off the curb, though. Ouch!)
Violent crime is down, and members of the NYPD—itself wracked with corruption scandals
“He said we should put our heads down and focus on our good work,” the mayor reportedly told staffers. “He told us that the media will never be on our side.” Has he considered reminding the media how lucky they are to be working at a time when, thanks to declining circulations and industry consolidation, everyone in the media is so much less likely to die in a freak printing press accident?
In any event, because most deadly accidents happen in the home, we’ll all be even safer when we can’t afford to have one in New York
Black Flag NASCAR Officials Hold Up Race Crew For Illegally Body-Slamming Their Own Car
Last week, Stanford freshman Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. How unfair—to him.
At least that was the response of his father, who wrote a letter to the judge in the case, complaining that his son would have to face a lifetime of punishment “for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Those 20 minutes of action? To be specific
And, at least for a time, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department seemed to agree by declining to release his mugshot after his arrest last year. In so doing, the office allowed Turner to avoid the public scrutiny inherent in a police mugshot. Until the trial, most news outlets had only a professional photo of Turner, smiling in a suit, to accompany the details of his rape. He was allowed the rare dignity of looking like a college student, not a perp.
At least that’s over. Here, finally, via Dayna Evans at The Cut, is the mugshot of a convicted sex offender. How unfair—to his victim.
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Continuing its tireless pursuit of perfecting every
Don’t forget the oils!
If you need a little extra push to get out and go for a run, Amazon will sell you a pair of Mizuno Wave Legend 3 running shoes for just $40 today. These shoes typically sell for about $60-$70 around the web, and you even get to pick your favorite color; just click through to the product page to find the color selector.
Obviously, it’s not big enough to be your primary pan, but Lodge’s 6.5" cast iron skillet is great for eggs, pizookies, single burger patties, individual servings of vegetables, and the like. At $7, why not add it to your collection?
We see lots of deals these days on the original Philips Hue starter kit, but the second generation set includes a Siri-compatible bridge and brighter bulbs (800 lumens vs. 600), and you can save $25 on it today, courtesy of Amazon. That’s the best deal we’ve seen to date.
Update: Sold out on Amazon, but you can buy it for the same price from Automatic with code ThanksForNeverTellingMomAboutThatThingIDid.
No matter how long you’ve been driving, it’s never too late to learn better habits. Automatic is a little Bluetooth dongle that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port (found on almost any car made since 1996) and communicates with your smartphone to track driving habits, mileage, and engine problems. It can even trigger IFTTT recipes and integrate with your Amazon Echo! But best of all, if you’re in an accident, Automatic will automatically alert the authorities and call your family, no subscription required.
Automatic normally sells for $100, but today you can take advantage of a $30 discount, the best we’ve ever seen.
The Braun Series 7 was the overwhelming winner in our electric shaver Co-Op
For comparison’s sake, the razor by itself typically sells for $160, and the spare cartridges would set you back by $20, so this deal is essentially saving you $40. Just note that like all Gold Box deals, this price is only available today, or until sold out.
Most knife sets pad their stats with a bunch of blades you don’t really need, but this Mercer Culinary Genesis collection only includes the basics (with the possible exception of the 5" utility knife), and it can be yours for $100 today, or about $35 less than usual.
The knives come with a unique tempered glass knife block, and boast a stellar 4.7 star review average. Just note that like all Gold Box deals, this price is only available today, or until sold out.
The PS Vita doesn’t get a ton of new games at this point, but it might be worth it just for remote PS4 streaming, and you can pick one up a refurb just $100 today, easily the best price we’ve ever seen.
For a limited time, if you include $10 of Coca Cola products in a Prime Pantry order, Amazon will toss in a $9 credit for the Amazon digital music store. Plus, the deal should stack with this month’s free shipping promotion
Before you head out on your next summer trip, be sure to pick up this popular inflatable travel pillow for just $6 with code OKJTP599.
Most of these things are basically c-shaped inner tubes, which is okay, but this model includes extra cushioning on the sides to help you nod off without straining your neck, even if you’re flying economy.
If your preferred movie theater is run by Regal Cinemas or AMC Theatres, these discounted gift card deals both give you $10 extra to spend on tickets and snacks. That should still be enough for a large popcorn...barely.
iClever’s BoostCube line is The Wirecutter’s pick for best travel charger, and three different models are on sale today. Just be sure to note the promo codes.
After a longer-than-usual layoff, PayPal’s eBay storefront is once again offering a solid discount on a $100 iTunes gift card. This time around, it’s a 15% discount, compared to the more frequent 20% deal, but if your balance is empty or running low, it’s still worth stocking up.
It might seem intimidating at first, but safety razors can get you a closer shave at a fraction of the cost of cartridge-based systems, and you can even try different types of blades to find one that suits your face.
Update: Sold out
Even at times when you don’t need any extra USB ports, this Inateck hub earns its spot on your desk with a built-in phone and tablet stand. Plus, its brushed aluminum finish will look great with your brushed aluminum MacBook.
Today only, Amazon’s running a big sale on Wolverine work boots as part of a Gold Box deal. Options include everything from low profile work shoes to imposing steel-toed boots, so head over to Amazon and browse the offerings before they’re gone.
Several of your Studio Ghibli favorites are down to $15 on Blu-ray today. Post your recommendations in the comments!
You know the little charging brick that came with your phone? Throw it out, and spend $7 on this replacement from Aukey (with code IBEEGE8R). It’s basically the same size as Apple’s standard iPhone charger, but it includes two ports, folding prongs, and 2.4A of power (instead of 1A) to charge your devices faster.
Amazon’s offering great deals on Anova’s excellent sous vide circulator. $169 gets you the new Bluetooth + Wi-Fi model, which is a tie for its all-time low price. It’ll cook the most tender and flavorful meats you’ve ever tried
Amazon has finally price matched those recent discounts we saw on the Steam Controller. Grab one for $35.
Like a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, this micro USB cable has a lightning connector literally in tow, so you’ll have all your bases covered... except USB-C.
For a limited time, Amazon will sell you three pouches of Tide HE-compatible laundry detergent (totaling 144 ounces or 93 loads) for just $14. These pouches are designed basically as refills for plastic Tide bottles, but as long as that doesn’t bother you, this is a fantastic price-per-ounce for any detergent, let alone name brand. Just be sure to clip the $3 coupon on the page and use Amazon Subscribe & Save.
Anker’s new vacuum transforms from handheld to upright, has the impressive runtime you’d expect from the brand that makes your favorite battery packs
This was Anker’s first foray into cleaning products (the Roomba-inspired RoboVac was the second), and reviewers seem to love it so far. It’ll run for 24 minutes on a charge at full power, or an hour in eco mode, which should be sufficient for most average-sized homes. The standout feature here though is definitely the detachable hand vac, which lets you clean furniture, shelves, and even your car with ease.
We’ve seen a lot of deals on Bluetooth car receivers, but I don’t think any of them have looked as nice as this model from Aukey. It even lets you pair two phones at once, and comes with a three-port USB charger to keep all of your devices charged as well. Just note that your car will need an AUX jack for this to work.
Amazon’s Prime Pantry program is great for stocking up on household goods and non-perishable foods without actually having to visit a store, but the $5.99 per box shipping charge has always been a drag. This month though, if you buy five select items, you can get that fee waived.
Bonus: If you already have a no-rush free shipping credit in your account, this deal actually appears to stack, netting you an extra $6 discount.
They ran a similar promotion the last few months with different eligible items. Just add five of them to your box (plus anything else that will fit), and use code PANTRYJUN at checkout to get free shipping.
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It was exactly one year and one day ago that Richard Matt, the big-dicked murderer, may god rest his soul, escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility alongside his friend David Sweat, the murderer whose dick is of indeterminate size, pictured above. According to a scathing report state investigators released to mark the anniversary, Clinton guards made the two men’s escape much easier than it should have been.
The 154-page report, published by the New York State Inspector General’s Office, gives an exhaustive account of the escape, and you should take a look at its entirety if you’re interested in this sort of thing, or if you just want to take a walk down memory lane. (Remember Tillie? Damn.) It really is a treasure trove of detail. If there’s a one-sentence takeaway, however, it’s probably this one: “Just one properly performed night round during this months-long period would have foiled the escape.”
That bit refers to the fact that Sweat exited his cell through a hole he’d dug in the wall of his cell almost every single night for three months, searching the tunnels underneath the prison for a possible escape route. While he was off exploring, according to the report, the guards on duty either performed their nightly rounds so carelessly that they didn’t notice he’d placed a dummy in his bed as a decoy, or they didn’t perform the rounds at all, falsifying paperwork to make it look like they did. From the report:
Further, on occasions when he and Matt had stayed up into the early morning hours “just painting, just for no reason,” they noticed “a couple of the COs . . . weren’t walking [the rounds].” DOCCS policy requires that officers making rounds must observe “skin and breathing or other movement” for every inmate. Consistent with Sweat’s claim, the Inspector General’s investigation found evidence that many, if not most, night rounds were not conducted at all, or negligently conducted, in the Honor Block. If only one of more than 400 required checks was properly performed during the time Sweat was out of his cell, the escape would have been instantly foiled.
Before exiting his cell each night, Sweat placed a dummy in his bed to deceive officers who might make a round. He fashioned it by stuffing a pair of pants and a hooded sweatshirt. As apparent in the photograph below, although roughly body-like in shape, the dummy lacked any material resembling human flesh, which, as noted, officers conducting rounds are required to observe. Sweat placed the cut-out portion of the wall and its attached air duct in a bin under his bed, and, once out of his cell, reached in from the catwalk and covered the hole with a painting secured by magnets taped to the back of the painting. As evident in the photograph below, the cut-out cell wall section with attached duct is a large object not easily concealed.
Two corrections officers who worked on Matt and Sweat’s block the night of the escape testified about the sorts of things they’d do while on duty:
While both Blair and Renadette stated they never slept during their shift, Blair testified he observed Renadette reclining in his chair or with his feet on the desk in the control room. Blair recalled, “Feet up? Yep. We’d get lazy. You’ll be doing a crossword, whatever, I’ll be reading a book. We get lazy. But we’re still paying attention to what’s going on in the block. . . .”
In a statement emailed to reporters, New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesperson Thomas Mailey said Clinton had beefed up security since the escape, and that his department was reviewing the report’s findings. “Since last June, DOCCS has instituted a number of reforms to strengthen operations at Clinton Correctional Facility, including installing new cameras and security gates, retraining staff, disciplining responsible employees, appointing a new superintendent and replacing other senior administrative personnel,” Mailey wrote. “We are reviewing the Inspector General’s findings and will work with her office to implement her recommendations to improve operations at Clinton and throughout the entire system, and help ensure this incident is never repeated.”
The report is as frankly detailed about the sexcapades between Matt and Joyce “Tillie” Mitchell, the guard who was convicted of providing material assistance to the escapees, as it is about any other facet of the prison break. There’s a whole section entitled “Mitchell and Matt Have Sexual Encounters in the Shop,” which includes an anecdote about Matt doing the “smell my fingers” thing:
Matt, as Sweat had earlier, told Mitchell he had romantic feelings for her. Mitchell testified that Matt told her, “You know I love you.” Over time, Mitchell’s and Matt’s relationship turned sexual. According to Mitchell, one day while she and Matt were alone in the adjoining Tailor Shop 9 to retrieve a machine part, “Matt grabbed me . . . and he kissed me . . . I was scared shitless. . . .” Asked by a State Police investigator, “Scared but excited?” Mitchell responded, “Yeah.” Mitchell claimed that while the encounter meant nothing to her, Matt might have seen it differently. “What makes it a relationship in his [opinion]?” the State Police investigator asked. “Maybe because I didn’t go to anybody and say anything,” Mitchell answered. Mitchell admitted that a second sexual encounter occurred in Tailor Shop 9 not long after the first. In that shop again to retrieve a part, Mitchell stated, she performed oral sex on Matt.
While Mitchell stated that only two incidents of sexual contact occurred in Tailor Shop 9, an inmate testified that Matt and Mitchell entered Tailor Shop 9 for sexual encounters “six, seven, eight times.” According to the inmate, Matt, referring to Mitchell, said, “I’m gonna get that . . . I’m gonna take her in the room, we already talked about it, she’s saying I can, I gotta be quick.” The inmate said Matt asked him to serve as a lookout, and when Matt and Mitchell emerged from Tailor Shop 9, Matt placed his fingers under the inmate’s nose, saying, “Here, smell this.”
Finally, the report addresses the infamous “Have A Nice Day” note the escapees left for their pursuers (the racist Asian caricature had “no particular significance,” according to Sweat), and reveals that the men left another note, with what seems like it might be a mangled Dirty Harry quote:
Both notes, which Sweat said were written by Matt, on printed images of extraterrestrials, stated, “Are You Trying Me Punk?” Sweat said the message was part of a running joke with Matt that started when Sweat used this expression in the tailor shop and Matt found it humorous. Next to the entry hole on the steam pipe, Sweat affixed a third note – a smiley face on which he had written, “Have a Nice Day.” Sweat said another inmate had given him the note several 80 weeks earlier, but stated that its crude caricature of an Asian face had no particular significance. All three notes were held in place by magnets taken from the tailor shops.
You may recall that Matt, the big-dicked murderer, was himself shot and killed by police three weeks after his escape, about 40 miles away from the prison. Sweat was captured, and is back in jail, as is Tillie. They may be gone, but fortunately for us, we’ll always have their story.
Donald Trump, at least two snitches tell Bloomberg, got on a conference call today with his supporters to urge them to attack the judge overseeing two federal lawsuits filed against the entity formally known as Trump University. He also encouraged them to brand any reporters criticizing him for it as “racist.”
Trump, in the last week, has suggested that Judge Curiel, who is overseeing the federal cases filed against Trump’s so-called Trump University, is incapable of being impartial. Judge Curiel—who was born in Indiana—“happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine,” Trump explained
Trump, Bloomberg reports, doubled down on that tactic in the conference call:
A clearly irritated Trump told his supporters to attack journalists who ask questions about the lawsuit and his comments about the judge.
“The people asking the questions—those are the racists,” Trump said. “I would go at ‘em.”
Suggesting a broader campaign against the media, Trump said the campaign should also actively criticize television reporters. “I’d let them have it,” he said, referring to those who Trump portrayed as hypocrites.
According to Bloomberg, Trump also inadvertently revealed he has no idea what his campaign is doing. Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who endorsed Trump in February and graciously volunteered she might be open to the position of vice president, reportedly stopped the call to “inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday.”
Trump was unaware of the email, and told the callers to ignore it, saying, “Take that order and throw it the hell out.”
Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn’t know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren’t allowed to talk.
“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”
In response, Trump said he’d hold more calls with surrogates—presumably under his own name—which is, as Bloomberg points out, a duty usually delegated to lower-level staffers.
NBC seemed to confirm the Trump campaign is essentially the blonde leading the blind, with a report Monday that Trump is running a bare-bones operation.
Veteran operatives are shocked by the campaign’s failure to fill key roles. There is no communications team to deal with the hundreds of media outlets covering the race, no rapid response director to quickly rebut attacks and launch new ones, and a limited cast of surrogates who lack a cohesive message.
“They don’t or can’t cover it all, and there are things that happen that need to be addressed immediately and don’t get addressed at all, and that hurts the candidate,” a source within the campaign groused last month.
Trump responded proudly, in broken English:
Hope Hicks, who has never answered one of my emails, did respond to a request from Bloomberg, explaining “The call was scheduled in order for Mr. Trump to thank his supporters and congratulate everyone as the primaries officially come to an end. Many topics were discussed and it was a productive call for all parties.”
Things sound great.
Tuesday is the California primary, wherein Golden State voters will be asked to pick a replacement for long-beloved and mostly normal
Voting in the primaries is not all fun and games, however! How, after all, does one choose between, say, Democrat Herbert G. Peters, whose political inspiration is Andrew Jackson and motto is “Manifest Destiny,” and Massie Munroe, Democrat and practitioner of Christ consciousness?
Fear not, Californian. There’s no need to feel as though you’re “throwing darts at a dart board.” We’re here to help.