December 21, 2014

Two NYPD cops get killed and 'wartime' police blame the protesters. Have we learned nothing?

Is violence threatened still violence?
America’s nightmare of violence and racism got upended in New York City on Saturday with the shooting of a woman in Baltimore, the shooting of two cops in Brooklyn and the suicide of their suspected fleeing killer.
This time, the bloody violence was clear, and the social-media threat appears real, but the racial and power dynamics are as confusing as they are telling: A black man, Ismaiiyl Brinsley, apparently shot his ex-girlfriend (race unknown), then traveled to New York, where he “assassinated” an Asian officer and a Hispanic officer of the New York Police Department (NYPD), in their squad car. In between,an Instagram photo: a gun, revenge and references to the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. You will believe what happened next – white head of the police union declares war on protesters within hours – but it shouldn’t have to be this way.
Violence executed is definitely violence enacted.
This kind of moment requires dynamic leadership, but beyond a brief statement, President Obama was no more going to re-route Air Force One from Honolulu to New York than he would ever direct it to Ferguson. And Mayor Bill de Blasio has such little credibility with his own force that cops turned their back on him when he arrived at the hospital where officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were declared dead.
One person offering clear directives to the cops: Patrick Lynch, their union president, who asked them to sign an emotionally manipulative letter banning de Blasio from their hypothetical future funeral, and who actually said on Saturday night that there was “blood on their hands [of] those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protest … [blood] on the steps of city hall, in the office of the mayor”.
Yes, the cops blamed the protesters. (So did Rudy Giuliani, but don’t get me started on him.) Even more chilling, the police union purportedly declared in a widely shared statement that the NYPD has “become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”
Violence threatened is also violence enacted.
Wartime? These are the marching orders to the 35,000 armed members of the biggest police department in the United States. This is the message now sent to protesters around the nation who have been finding novel and peaceful forms of expression to resist oppression – who have been protesting in reaction to police violence, not causing it.
For the state and its agents, “the ultimate expression of sovereignty resides, to a large degree, in the power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die,” the postcolonial scholar Achilles Mbembe wrote of his term necropolitics, which describe who, exactly, wields the power to kill. The fear inside that police union boss is not just about the actual violence which may befall his members; it’s a fear that the NYPD is in danger of losing its monopoly on the threat of violence. To Patrick Lynch (and to all of us), a cop’s killing is unacceptable. But to Patrick Lynch (and to too many white people), a cop acting as judge, jury and executioneris somehow acceptable.
Now the necropolitics have flipped, and the armed cops are in a position where they feel as vulnerable as the unarmed folks saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” And trust me: that’s when things get ugly. On Friday night, I went to a rally in support of the NYPD, which has been under increased pressure since a grand jury’s decision not to indict in the killing of the unarmed black father Eric Garner in a chokehold. You had almost all white pro-police supporters on one side, and non-white police critics on the other. The non-white people would chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot” – and the white people would respond, “Hands up, don’t loot.” Many of the white protesters invoked 9/11, and they sung “God Bless America” … and they wore t-shirts that read I CAN BREATHE.
Is violence threatened violence experienced?
Six years ago, I went for a run in New York City. I’d left my watch and phone at home, so when I saw two NYPD cops on a corner, I stopped and said, “Excuse me, officers, can you tell me the time?”
One officer reached for his gun, pulled it out of his holster, and – when he saw the terror in my eyes – started laughing.
“Just kidding,” the white cop said as he put away his gun. “Gotcha!”
He didn’t kill me, obviously. But I was going to die. What little faith I had in the most powerful police force in America died in that moment, too. I felt “social death” in the humiliation and shame of being too frightened to go back and get his badge number. I felt powerless when I tried to report the cop’s threat to a civilian accountability board and was told there was nothing they could do.
A cop pointing a gun at me as a “joke” and a cop getting a bullet in his head are no parallel, to be sure, but no one – cops included – should have to live even under the threat of violence, which is a form of violence itself.
So we must not let these brutal cop killings stop an honest movement built on affirming justice and peace.
We must not allow more police departments to adopt a ‘wartime’ mentality, just when we thought we were getting somewhere after the War on Terror military reenactments in Ferguson this summer.
We must not let protesters become labeled “domestic enemy combatants”, and we must not allow episodes where the script gets flipped to become an excuse to surveil black man even more.
And we must not give in to our most base anxieties, especially by indulging the fears of those who have guns and who are still, even after everything this year, expected to “serve and protect” us.

Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Wins Trial Over Airport Arrest

A Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area won a trial Friday in his lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Aaron Tobey claimed in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in 2010 he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:
Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.
Tobey didn’t want to go through the advanced imaging technology X-ray machines, or so-called nude body scanners, that were cropping up at airports nationwide. Instead, when it was his turn to be screened, he was going to opt for an intrusive pat-down, and removed most of his clothing in the process.
Among other things, the federal lawsuit claimed wrongful detention and a breach of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment. Tobey was on his way to Wisconsin for his grandmother’s funeral. Despite his detainment, he made his flight.

This Despicable Woman Posts a Sign ‘Outing’ Neighbor For Legally Carrying a Handgun

A man legally carries a gun when he brings his kids to school. One of his neighbors doesn’t like it so she outed him with a sign placed just outside the school.

A sign posted in a front yard brings an interesting debate. At the center of it, your constitutional rights. In the past few weeks there’s been a number of stories involving guns on school property in Olmsted County. The issue Friday is a gun near school property and the way one woman is voicing her concern.

Matthew Halleck brings his two girls to and from the outskirts of Harriet Bishop Elementary in Rochester every day. “I’m going to protect my children anyway I can,” said Halleck.

For Matthew, that means carrying a concealed gun that he has a permit for, while adhering to all legal boundaries. “It’s not crossing the street here, where the crosswalk is, it’s making sure it’s concealed so the kids can’t see it,” he said.
But Matthew is no longer the only one who knows he’s carrying a gun. Recently a sign went up in a front yard across the street from the school. It has Matthew’s picture on it and reads, “This man carries a loaded gun around your children every day.”
“Since we don’t have a way to stop him, we felt it was important to notify the neighborhood and the parents that there is an armed man in their presence,” said Kimberly Edson, a Rochester resident who put the sign up. “The first couple days of school he had it very visible, we saw it and were quite concerned,” she said.

Kimberly called the police the day the picture was taken, but they said Matthew has a legal right to carry off school property. Matthew also contacted authorities concerning the sign, and while they briefly took the sign down, it was eventually determined that Kimberly was also breaking no laws. “He has a 2nd Amendment right to carry the gun, I have my 1st Amendment right to say that I don’t like it,” said Edson. 

To Those Who Say America Didn’t Really Care About The Innocent Lives

Watch: Video on Orion spacecraft's return to Earth

A video recorded during NASA's Orion return through the Earth's atmosphere provides viewers a first look of the intense conditions astronauts will endure when they return from deep space destinations on the journey to Mars. The video was recorded through windows in Orion's crew module following its unmanned Dec 5 flight test, the US space agency said in a statement. "Now, the public can have an up-close look at the extreme environment a spacecraft experiences as it travels back through the Earth's environment from beyond low-Earth orbit," NASA scientists said. The video begins 10 minutes before Orion's splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, just as the spacecraft was beginning to experience the Earth's atmosphere. Peak heating from the friction caused by the atmosphere rubbing against Orion's heat shield comes less than two minutes later. The footage shows the plasma created by the interaction change from white to yellow to lavender to magenta as the temperature increases. As Orion emerges safely on the other side of its trial by fire, the camera continues to record the deployment of the series of parachutes that slowed it to a safe 20 mph for landing and the final splash as Orion touched down on the Earth. Orion travelled 3,600 miles above the Earth on its 4.5-hour soace flight test, "farther than any spacecraft built for humans has been in more than 40 years. Orion will travel faster and experience even higher temperatures on future missions when it returns from greater distances. Orion's flight test was a critical step on NASA's journey to Mars. Work has begun on the next Orion capsule which will launch for the first time on top of NASA's new Space Launch System rocket and travel to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon.

So someone asked who was the world in debt to? Here it is.

December 20, 2014


You can go to extreme measures for youthful-looking skin, like spending a month's rent on a fancy treatment and drinking human blood à la Pharrell (we kid). Or you could simply rejuvenate your grocery list.

As any esthetician worth her salt will tell you, a tailored diet can be one of the greatest assets to your skincare regimen, and ultimately your secret to the fountain of youth. It's all about looking to super-nutritious foods that promote cell regeneration, reduce free radical damage, and keep skin hydrated.

We asked Stephanie Middleberg, RD and founder of Middleberg Nutrition in NYC, to break down the foods that will keep skin glowing and wrinkle-free.

1. Berries
"Berries contain some of the most potent sources of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanin, which protects skin cells from free radical damage and combats oxidative stress, one of the main causes of aging. When protected from damage at the cellular level, the skin looks younger for longer."

2. Anything with Omega-3
"Think foods like sardines, wild salmon, and anchovies. They're a great source of omega-3s and antioxidants that work to fight inflammation, reduce skin conditions like psoriasis, and help to keep skin hydrated and moist by forming strong cell walls and assist with cell repair. Plus, protein is needed to build and repair skin cells."

3.  Avocados
"They're a great source of vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium, and monounsaturated fatty acids.  They hydrate the skin and maintain flexibility."

4. Nuts and Seeds
"Both are rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to reduce free radical damage caused by smoke, pollution, and sunlight. They're a good source of protein, fiber, and omegas. Chia is a great source of essential fatty acids that nourish the skin and help to attract and absorb water for added hydration."

5. Turmeric
"Turmeric contains some of the highest  levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of all foods and spices. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric responsible for its bright color, is behind the many health benefits attributed to this culinary spice. It protects skin cells from free radical damage, improves concentration, and slows the formation of wrinkles and fine lines." 6. Tomatoes

"They have lycopene, an antioxidant that fights off free radical damage, which contributes to skin looking worn and dry."

7. Leafy Green Veggies
"They're filled with vitamins and minerals including vitamins E, K, and A. Vitamin A supports cell growth and skin-turnover and prevents dry, rough skin. Vitamin K helps to fortify blood vessel walls and helps to reduce under eye circles. Eating foods rich in these antioxidants can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration."

8. Cucumbers
"Not only are they high in silica, but they also prevent water retention and reduce swelling and puffiness under the eyes."