Unequal Justice, Example of

Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. The sentence was so stiff it exceeded the jail time Alabama allows for negligent homicide.

Marquita Johnson, who was locked up in April 2012, says the impact of her time in jail endures today. Johnson’s three children were cast into foster care while she was incarcerated. One daughter was molested, state records show. Another was physically abused.

“Judge Hayes took away my life and didn’t care how my children suffered,” said Johnson, now 36. “My girls will never be the same.”

Fellow inmates found her sentence hard to believe. “They had a nickname for me: The Woman with All the Days,” Johnson said. “That’s what they called me: The Woman with All the Days. There were people who had committed real crimes who got out before me.”

In the past dozen years, state and local judges have repeatedly escaped public accountability for misdeeds that have victimized thousands. Nine of 10 kept their jobs, a Reuters investigation found – including an Alabama judge who unlawfully jailed hundreds of poor people, many of them Black, over traffic fines.

Michael Berens And John Shiffman

Spinoza and the False Tag

“More than three centuries ago, Baruch Spinoza pointed out that the human mind cannot suspend disbelief in the truth or falsity of a statement and leave it hanging in logical limbo awaiting a “true” or “false” tag to be hung on it. To hear or read a statement is to believe it, at least for a moment. For us to conclude that something is not the case, we must take the extra cognitive step of pinning the mental tag “false” on a proposition. Any statement that is untagged is treated as if it is true. As a result, when we have a lot on our minds, we can get confused about where the “false” tag belongs, or can forget it entirely. In that case what is merely mentioned can become true. Richard Nixon did not allay suspicions about his character when he declared, “I am not a crook,” nor did Bill Clinton put rumors to rest when he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Experiments have shown that when jurors are told to disregard the witness’s remarks, they never do, any more than you can follow the instruction “For the next minute, try not to think about a white bear.””

Pinker, Steven. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

S-Bend – Modern public sanitation

50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

If you live in a city with modern sanitation, it’s hard to imagine daily life being permeated with the suffocating stench of human excrement. For that, we have a number of people to thank – not least a London watchmaker called Alexander Cumming. Cumming’s world-changing invention owed nothing to precision engineering. In 1775, he patented the S-bend. It was a bit of pipe with a curve in it and it became the missing ingredient to create the flushing toilet – and, with it, public sanitation as we know it.


Uncomfortable Questions

what’s the most uncomfortable question you can ask someone? from AskReddit

Have you seen our toothbrush?

Just have a casual conversation about anything, corona, politics, grandparents and ask immediately afterwards “Anyway how’s your sexlife?”

The Room has taught me a lot about life.

Are you uncomfortable?

“How come I wasn’t invited?”

I was once invited to a party…at the end of which the hostess asked me “how do you keep finding out about these?”

“Weren’t you pregnant?”

Where’s my hug?

The Pivot, Political Rhetorical Technique – Usage, Al Franken

Raising money (“It’s not uncommon to have three straight hours of call time scheduled as part of your day. … It’s brutal.”)

Campaigning (“Imagine the training montage from a Rocky movie … but instead of jumping rope, I’m eating hot dish at an assisted living facility. … [I]nstead of guzzling a dozen raw eggs, I’m being driven five hours to speak for five minutes at the Otter Tail County convention.”)

Remembering voters’ names (“Here’s a tip: if you want to get an officeholder to dislike you, go up to him or her and say, ‘I bet you don’t remember my name.’ “)

Franken says the strangest skill to learn was the art of the “pivot” — essentially, ignoring reporters’ questions. “If someone said, ‘Why are you 20 points behind?’ I explained, ‘Well, you know, we have a long time to go.’ ”

His campaign staff quickly shut that down. “They’d say, ‘No, no, no — just pivot! Just say, “Minnesotans don’t care about the polls. What they care about is their kids’ education and whether they’re going to go bankrupt if they get sick.’ ”

“It took me forever to learn how to do that,” Franken says.

Sen. Al Franken Embraces ‘The Funny’ Again In New Book
Scott Detrow, NPR

Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable / Buy Some Popcorn and Watch the Show

‘Be comfortable being uncomfortable.’

It is a phrase that’s sometimes tossed around flippantly, but if put into practice, it can have a powerful impact.

Pain and unpleasantries make up an important part of the human experience, yet given our conditioning to lean towards safety and away from risk, accepting them is very unnatural.

“Humans seem to have developed a host of coping mechanisms to distract or dissociate ourselves from unpleasant or negative feelings,” Dr Muireann Irish, Senior Research Officer at Neuroscience Research Australia, told The Huffington Post Australia.

Consider the physical sensations that arise when your body feels stressed or anxious. Instead of resisting them, try to sit with them.

“Mindfulness builds on the premise of maintaining a focus on experiencing the present, even if that means attending to the experience of negative sensations,” Irish said.

Emma Brancatisano

Buy some popcorn and watch the show. – Phrase I’ve recently heard to describe the policy of sitting in discomfort.

Impeachment Drinking Game Ideas

Now that PBS has announced they’ll be televising the impeachment hearings, what will the drinking game rules be? from AskReddit

If you still have a witches hat laying around from Halloween, you can have a person wear it. It’ll rotate around the room on time or whenever a new person is introduced during proceedings. Whenever the term witch Hunt is used you all scream burn the witch and the person in the hat takes a shot of fireball

And whenever someone says “I don’t know.” “I don’t recall.” Everyone takes a shot!

If you hear “That’s not in my purview.” Everyone has to shotgun a beer.

You could also pass a coach-style whistle around and take a shot every time someone says “whistleblower”

Drink every time someone doesn’t answer the question

This reminds me of the 2016 debates where the candidates would listen to someone ask a question before they talked about whatever they want

It’s almost as bad as having a speaking timer and doing nothing when it expires. What’s the damn point if they’re never going to cut them off anyway?

Effective Complaining

  • Be clear and concise. Describe the item or service you bought and the problem. Include serial or model numbers, and the name and location of the seller. If you’re following up on a conversation, be sure to say who you spoke with and confirm the details of your discussion.
  • State exactly what you want done and how long you’re willing to wait for a response. Be reasonable.
  • Don’t write an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. The person reading your letter probably isn’t responsible for the problem, but may be very helpful in resolving it.
  • Include copies of relevant documents, like receipts, work orders, and warranties. You also may want to send copies of emails and notes from conversations you’ve had with the seller about the problem. Keep your originals.
  • Include your name and contact information. If an account is involved, be sure to include the account number.

via FTC
See also their sample letter: FTC – Sample Consumer Complaint Letter

Walking Tour of Lower East Side, Manhattan – Village Voice

For the past year and a half, maybe the coolest touristy thing to do in the city–even if you live here–has been the three-hour walking tour “The History of Art, Crime, Drugs, and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side,” led by Cro-Mags singer John Joseph.

“I had a front-row seat for the craziest, illest, most fucked-up shit you could ever fuckin’ believe,” says Joseph.

I got a fuckin’ photographic memory and I got stories out the wazoo,” he says. Among his anecdotes: Living in the same building as Daniel Rakowitz, who in 1989 killed his girlfriend, dismembered her, then cooked her into a soup that he fed to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park. Hanging out at 171A while the Beastie Boys and Bad Brains recorded their first albums. Going to Union Square–“it was called 14th Street Park back then, that shit was the Wal-Mart for drugs”–to cop pills, weed, and acid. Cops busting through the door of his squat at 713 E. 9th and sticking guns in his face; thugs doing the same with shotguns and pistols while taking over another squat at Eldridge and Rivington. Watching the jazz guys go to Tompkins to score dope, then play at A7 ’til the sun came up. Witnessing rival drug dealers and gang members killing each other in cold blood and warring with cops during Operation Pressure Point in Alphabet City in the mid-’80s.

“The History of Art, Crime, Drugs, and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side” walking tour happens on Sunday at 3 p.m., meeting at the Cube in Astor Place. Tickets are $35, with a portion of the proceeds going to Hardcore Against Hunger–Feeding Vegan Meals to the Homeless.

Expose Yourself To Cro-Mags Singer John Joseph’s “Fuckin’ Photographic Memory and Stories Out the Wazoo” on His Walking Tour of the LES
NOVEMBER 16, 2012
Village Voice

What is the strangest mystery that is still unsolved? – AskReddit

What is the strangest mystery that is still unsolved? from r/AskReddit

An unknown group of people broke into an FBI building, and no one has found out who they are. But the best part of the story is, they did it by leaving a sticky note that said “Do not lock the door tonight” and it worked.

Imagine being the guy who left it unlocked

I think that would be everyone that day…

Last one out was the most rotten egg, though.

This is my favorite weird and barely known one:

Back in 2013 an unknown group assaulted a power substation in California. By all appearances it was pretty sophisticated: scouted firing positions, all casings wiped of prints, they targeted transformers so they’d take time to overheat before triggering any alarms, also knew exactly when the police would arrive.

No suspect or motive to this day, they also cut some fiber optic cables in a vault nearby. Conspiracy types think it was a dry run by Russia or possibly China to see how effective an attack like that might be.


What kind of Transformers, Autobots or Decepticons?

Since the mystery was never solved, I’d say it’s the perfect Optimus Crime.

Cultivating The Walk with the Arnold Schwarzenegger Mental Visualization Technique

“Look, you be a builder, you carry yo’self like a builder.”

Sweepea and Mousie exchanged a glance and abruptly rose from the table. After hastily paying for the drinks, I followed them out into the night. And there it was, out on Second Avenue between Fifty-second and Fifty-third, that Mousie and Sweepea taught me “the Walk,” that peculiar weight-lifters’ waddle.

I’m sure you know it. The huge man we spotted the previous hour had done it particularly well. It’s the not-so-secret signal among the iron cognoscenti of the presence of a dues-paying member of the bodybuilding guild.

I watched as first Sweepea, then Mousie strutted down the street. They swept their arms out to the side, as if the sheer massivity of their lat wings necessitated it. They burrowed their heads slightly into their shoulders to make their necks appear larger. They looked bowlegged, absurdly stiff, and infinitely menacing. At the corner light, they stopped and turned. “Go on, now,” Mousie said, encouraging me.

Mousie watched Sweepea’s swagger. “That’s right, homeboy, with dignity, dignity!” he yelled. At last, I understood. The Walk wasn’t an upturned drawbridge and moat; it was a twenty-one gun salute, a full military cavalcade. I ran back down the street and tried again, this time curling my lip into a sneer. Once more, I used The Arnold Mental Visualization Principle, but this time I was Paul Bunyan, crushing Wisconsin hamlets with every giant step.

Deep in my reverie, I barely heard their shouts. “That’s it, man, a positive mental attitude! You got it, now! You fine!”

Fussell, Samuel Wilson. Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder 

Inequality – Some Suggestions on How to Address – New York Times


Rituals Keep These Athletes Grounded. They Can Help Parents, Too. – The New York Times

Rituals — or the tasks we perform repeatedly, not for what they accomplish but for what they mean to us — help athletes prepare their minds for the unknowns they’ll face when they perform. As a child psychiatrist, I see those rituals as anchors, not only for athletes but for all of us, to help us remember who we are and how to navigate life. By adopting our own rituals, we can bring calm, meaning and connectedness to our lives and families.

Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers said rituals are a support system for the mind. His 90-minute ritual before an N.B.A. game is full of activities that families can try at home, like yoga, stretching and listening to mellow, atmospheric music by the band Hammock.

“I named the playlist ‘Airplane Mode’ because it’s a way for me to just shut off,” he said.

“Rituals Keep These Athletes Grounded. They Can Help Parents, Too.”.
Neha Chaudhary, M.D.