The decline of toy guns seems like it would be an absolute positive. The decline of toy guns so cops don’t mistake them for real and shoot kids means it isn’t. But I’ll go ahead and fool myself into thinking that maybe this, over time, will lead to less of a passion for real guns. I can dream, can’t I?
Author Page for Erik Loomis
While I have linked many times to incidents of police violence, I have very little to say about the actions of police unions, largely because I don’t care about them since they do not show solidarity with other workers, or any other cause I believe in. I will say this–the leaders of police unions may be horrible human beings. But a) they should have the right to collectively bargain and I categorically reject the idea that the police should not be unionized, b) getting rid of police unions will do nothing to reduce police violence nor will it preclude other police officers’ organizations from presenting the same positions, and c) there is no evidence I have seen suggesting that non-unionized police are less effective in promoting these positions than unionized police forces. So criticize the actions of police unions all you want to–I certainly won’t say anything against that. But I don’t think articulating the position of anti-unionists will help.
Just when you thought Christmas couldn’t get any more expensive… a card company has started making greeting cards decorated with pricey jewels.
The luxury company are producing bespoke Christmas cards which take over a month to create, are decorated with rubies and cost up to $10,000 (£6,395).
Card company Gilded Age Greetings, based in Florida and New Jersey, USA pride themselves on their luxury cards, which are handmade with designs painted on calfskin vellum- a type of medieval parchment.
A spokesperson from Gilded Age Greetings said: ‘Our most expensive cards have been custom commissions, which are original works of art and one of a kinds.
‘We use gemstone accents and real gold leaf or platinum gilding.’
It goes without saying, to me at least, that American companies should have no right to receive compensation for their Cuban property seized in 1959. Making corporate claims a major bargaining chip in dealing with Cuba is a very bad idea for a number of reasons, including the imperialistic origins of those properties that will just remind Cubans of their historical status vis-a-vis the U.S., the potential to derail legitimate negotiations over a sideshow, and the fact that it will give Americans a chance to remember how awful specific corporations have been in their history. Seems to me it is the best interests of the corporations to let it go.
However, if companies like Chiquita, formerly United Fruit, wants to make these claims, it will give bloggers like myself a lot of good material.
This is a good piece on Marshawn Lynch’s refusal to talk to the NFL media. The journalists are furious at him for this. And the piece gets it right–it’s not because they expect to hear anything interesting from Lynch. It’s that they want canned cliched quotes to make their jobs easier and fill word counts. Lynch rightfully doesn’t care about this–nor does he care about the NFL business model–and does what he wants up the point of incurring fines for his behavior. Note that this is not bad behavior. He just doesn’t want to talk and wants to be left alone. There’s nothing wrong with this except that it’s not what the billionaire bosses want.
It’s an entirely reasonable frustration. Reporters have to play this game, even if they realize how dumb it is, and they rely on athletes to play their roles in the ecosystem. Sure, no one’s life would be better this morning if they knew that Marshawn Lynch understood the importance of giving 110 percent, or that the Seahawks were taking things one game at a time. But the writers’ lives would have been easier, their stories 50 words closer to their word counts.
It’s an institutional failure. In other sports, there are long histories of reporters traveling with teams, entering open clubhouses, actually getting to know players. In football, there isn’t really such a thing as a beat reporter, at least not to the same extent as in an everyday sport; every writer is a war correspondent parachuting into a strange country where they’re not particularly welcome. Blame it on the weekly schedule, or the centralized league control, or the fact that every game is national, but the only interactions most writers have with star players come in these unfruitful group scrums, where the best they can hope for is a quote so good that it’ll wind up in every single story.
This isn’t an insurmountable condition. There are good reporters, and there are sometimes great quotes and great insights waiting to be mined. In the “yeah” presser, one asked Lynch a specific, tactical question about the Seahawks’ blocking schemes. That reporter was genuinely curious, and if Lynch had answered, it might have helped readers better understand the game. That ought to be the platonic ideal of an interview question.
Instead, Lynch receives a string of lazy “talk about”s and “tell me about”s, and after dealing with that multiple times per week, every week, for the entirety of his adult life, his frustration is every bit as visible and as justified as reporters’. Neither the writers nor players have easy jobs, but I’ll always have more respect for Lynch’s reaction in this spat. After all, he’s the only one who’s not just going through the motions.
Besides, doesn’t Richard Sherman talk enough for the whole Seahawks’ team. Just get him to talk about how Patrick Peterson is a bad cornerback. How many more quotes do they need?
I neglected to mention this last week, but let me say a quick word lauding the Obama Administration for extending workplace protection rights to transgender people, at least in the public sphere. This is a move toward applying the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to this category of people who have long faced discrimination. An important advance.
The always valuable Economic Policy Institute has its top 10 charts of 2014. They mostly say the same thing in different ways–there is an enormous crisis in income inequality and wage stagnation that is concentrating wealth in the 1% while leaving the rest of us either stagnant or in economic decline. There are real policy solutions to these problems–higher tax rates on the rich, wage increases, making unionization easier, a greater social safety net. But the bipartisan belief that Wall Street is ultimately right–a belief backed up with loads of cash in the post-Citizens United era–makes it hard to see significant legislation fixing these problems in the near future.
Beast Quake 2
Remind me never to turn on Meet the Press, even for 2 seconds. I do today, or more accurately my wife is watching it because as a Latin American historian who has traveled in Cuba, she is following the events of the last week closely. Of course Marco Rubio is on. And in conversation, Chuck Todd and Rubio compare the left-wing dictatorship of Cuba to the left-wing dictatorship of Venezuela.
Except of course that Venezuela is not a dictatorship. They have elections that are relatively free and fair. Which is, you know, the opposite of a dictatorship. But the right-wing can’t win because even though the Chavistas are ineffective at this point, the open contempt of the Venezuelan elite for the poor gets in the way. But hey, we don’t like Venezuela so they are a dictatorship. Never mind that words have meanings.
Why would I put up footage of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which was a world’s fair held in San Francisco, celebrating both the rebirth of the city after the earthquake and the opening of the Panama Canal the year before? The real question is why wouldn’t I? Plus it features a rarity here at LGM–footage of living horses.