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WhiskeyGrinder's Journal
WhiskeyGrinder's Journal
March 3, 2019

There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood


(By Stephen Lurie)

The knowledge that we’ve gained since 1982 unequivocally tells us something else: Serious violence is extremely concentrated in very particular places and, most importantly, among very particular people. Dispelling the notion of “dangerous neighborhoods,” extensive research on geographic concentration has consistently found that around half of all crime complaints or incidents of gun violence concentrated at about 5 percent of street segments or blocks in a given city. Moving past “violent communities,” sophisticated analysis of social networks have demonstrated that homicides and shootings are strongly concentrated within small social networks within cities—and that there is even further concentration of violence within these social networks.

For example: In Chicago, a city often used in the media and elsewhere as an example of the worst of American urban violence, researchers found that a social network with only 6 percent of the city’s population accounted for 70 percent of nonfatal gunshot victimizations. Violent crime isn’t waiting to happen on any given block of a poorer neighborhood, nor is it likely to arise from just anyone who happens to live in one.

And, despite claims to the contrary about upticks in violence associated with the “Ferguson Effect” or “ACLU Effect”—reductions in street stops when police have opted to, or have been forced to, change enforcement practices—massive levels of low-level enforcement does not produce public safety. In fact, such policing can make communities less safe by pushing people away from formal means of resolving disputes and towards private forms of violence. So how can we explain the nature of serious urban violence?

At the American Society of Criminology’s annual conference, my colleagues and I at the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College recently presented evidence of what many in the violence prevention field have known for a long time, but has yet to become the public common sense. In our forthcoming study of serious violence in over 20 cities, we found that less than 1 percent of a city’s population—the share involved in what we call “street groups” (gangs, sets, and crews)—is generally connected to over 50 percent of the city’s shootings and homicides. We use “group” as a term inclusive of any social network involved in violence, whether they are hierarchical, formal gangs, or loose neighborhood crews. In city after city, the very small number of people involved in these groups consistently perpetrated and were victimized by the most serious violence.
February 16, 2019

"Worst day for NYC since 9/11."

Eat the rich.


Lightstone Group’s David Lichtenstein said Friday that Amazon’s about-face on its New York megacomplex was the “worst day for NYC since 9-11.”

“Except this time, the terrorists were elected,” the developer added in an email to The Real Deal, in a dig to the politicians who fiercely criticized the tech giant’s deal with the city for the nearly $3 billion in tax breaks and government incentives it came with. On Thursday, Amazon cited pressure from the local politicians as its reason to abandon the deal for the Long Island City campus, which was to bring 25,000 new jobs to New York and would create, by some expectations, $27 billion in tax revenue over a decade.


Lightstone is a major developer with a $3 billion portfolio across New York, Miami and Los Angeles. In Long Island City, Lightstone owns a 428-unit rental building less than two miles from where Amazon’s campus was set to rise.

Lichtenstein is among several industry figures who’ve addressed losing out on the Amazon campus, which the real-estate industry felt would be a major boost to both the residential and commercial markets. “The future of the neighborhood is still going to happen,” said Robert Whalen, Halstead’s director of leasing in Long Island City, “but Amazon could’ve accelerated the process.” Dave Maundrell, of Citi Habitats, said that without Amazon, “we’re back to where we were six months ago. The market’s gonna go back down.”
February 2, 2019

I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman

When black people see the med-school photo of Northam, this is what they know.


Until I started bleeding. That day I sat in the waiting room for thirty minutes, after calling ahead and reporting my condition when I arrived. After I had bled through the nice chair in the waiting room, I told my husband to ask them again if perhaps I could be moved to a more private area. The nurse looked alarmed, about the chair, and eventually ushered me back. When the doctor arrived, he explained that I was probably just too fat and that spotting was normal and he sent me home. Later that night my ass started hurting. Just behind the butt muscle and off a bit to the side. I walked. I stretched. I took a hot bath. I called my mother, The Vivian. Finally, I called the nurse. She asked me if my back hurt. I said no. It was my butt that hurt. The nurse said it was probably constipation. I should try to go to the bathroom. I tried that for all the next day and part of another. By the end of three days, my butt still hurt and I had not slept more than fifteen minutes straight in almost seventy hours.

I went to the hospital. They asked again about my back, implied I had eaten something “bad” for me and begrudgingly, finally decided to do an ultrasound. The image showed three babies, only I was pregnant with one. The other two were tumors, larger than the baby. The doctor turned to me and said, “If you make it through the night without going into preterm labor, I’d be surprised.” With that, he walked out and I was checked into the maternity ward. Eventually a night nurse mentioned that I had been in labor for three days. “You should have said something,” she scolded me.

After several days of labor pains that no one ever diagnosed, because the pain was in my butt and not my back, I could not hold off labor anymore. I was wheeled into a delivery operating room, where I slipped in and out of consciousness. At one point I awoke and screamed, “Motherfucker.” The nurse told me to watch my language. I begged for an epidural. After three eternities an anesthesiologist arrived. He glared at me and said that if I wasn’t quiet he would leave and I would not get any pain relief. Just as a contraction crested, the needle pierced my spine and I tried desperately to be still and quiet so he would not leave me there that way. Thirty seconds after the injection, I passed out before my head hit the pillow.

When I awoke I was pushing and then my daughter was here. She died shortly after her first breath. The nurse wheeled me out of the operating room to take me back to recovery. I held my baby the whole way, because apparently that is what is done. After making plans for how we would handle her remains, the nurse turned to me and said, “Just so you know, there was nothing we could have done, because you did not tell us you were in labor.”

The healthcare system fails black people, and black women in particular and black mothers the most. Controlling for all factors still finds that the reason is racism. The yearbook photo is a part of that. Northam was a part of ensuring it stayed institutionalized within the system.
February 2, 2019

Hi! I am an opposition researcher.

Here's a fascinating thread about how oppo research works, and why something like a yearbook doesn't necessarily come out until much later -- making it important for candidates to disclose as much as they possibly can to their own campaigns.

The thread starts here: https://twitter.com/WillCaskey/status/1091456543432814593

I've edited it lightly to make it more accessible.

Hi! I am an opposition researcher. I don't know how much Gillespie paid for his research but By all appearances Gillespie wanted to be MORE racist than Northam not less (and) that level of scrutiny costs a lot more than many statewides are willing to pay/budget for.

This isn't a matter of "how much does it cost to go looking for student yearbooks." It's a matter of how much it costs for scrutiny deep enough to INCLUDE looking at yearbooks. Gov campaigns I've worked for have ranged from $9K-$12K per book (including incumbent govs!) I'm not looking at yearbooks for $9K and neither will most reputable researchers. It's not a matter of greed, it's a matter of time being finite.

Clips/courts/property/money/etc (standard stuff)= about 5 weeks of work for a statewide. Looking at yearbook level = about 10 weeks Because again, it's the LEVEL of scrutiny. Yearbooks=also student papers, archived theses/dissertations, letters to editor in microfilms, city/town historical societies, every. Single. court venue for every single address going back to 18yo, fraternity events...It is huge. And it's worth more like $30K for an established public figure.

You might look at this and say, 9K for ten weeks x 5.2 = $46,800, profiteering capitalist pig. Well, a basic Lexis-Nexis account is going to start at $3.6K, and it goes up by X% compounded yearly. Other necessary subscriptions run you, call it $2K

Add to that you're going to get billing losses. You get better at avoiding them but travel reimbursements will get "forgotten" or "lost," sometimes you are juggling projects and forget to demand payment before sending material. Call it $5K avg/yr.

Finally throw in advance marketing costs. A trip to DC here, a trip to pitch a caucus there. The occasional business meal. Call it another $5K. So, we've spoken for $15K JUST to even set yourself up to DO research.

And that's assuming you're just some rando working from home (like me). Open an office? Another 15K at least. Hire a decently paid assistant? Call it $35K with health care I'm not trying to justify this, I'm showing why most researchers draw lines around projects.

So in summary: 1 I don't know how much Gillespie paid for his research and don't care 2 Down with racism and fuck Northam 3 PAY 👏 YOUR 👏 OPP 👏 RESEARCHER 👏 MORE 👏 MONEY The end.

February 2, 2019

"Dumb." "Wrong." "Stupid." "One silly thing." "Years ago." "Whomst among us."

Y'all, Northam's costume was RACIST. Straight-up racist. Not acknowledging it was racist makes it sound like you're excusing him.

January 28, 2019

NYT: Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies?


Hard to excerpt -- lots of good stuff here.


Not knowing what these movies were “about” didn’t mean it wasn’t clear what they were about. They symbolize a style of American storytelling in which the wheels of interracial friendship are greased by employment, in which prolonged exposure to the black half of the duo enhances the humanity of his white, frequently racist counterpart. All the optimism of racial progress — from desegregation to integration to equality to something like true companionship — is stipulated by terms of service. Thirty years separate “Driving Miss Daisy” from these two new films, but how much time has passed, really? The bond in all three is conditionally transactional, possible only if it’s mediated by money. “The Upside” has the rich, quadriplegic author Phillip Lacasse (Cranston) hire an ex-con named Dell Scott (Hart) to be his “life auxiliary.” “Green Book” reverses the races so that some white muscle (Mortensen) drives the black pianist Don Shirley (Ali) to gigs throughout the Deep South in the 1960s. It’s “The Upside Down.”

Any time a white person comes anywhere close to the rescue of a black person the academy is primed to say, “Good for you!,” whether it’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Mississippi Burning,” “The Blind Side,” or “The Help.” The year “Driving Miss Daisy” won those Oscars, Morgan Freeman also had a supporting role in a drama (“Glory”) that placed a white Union colonel at its center and was very much in the mix that night. (Denzel Washington won his first Oscar for playing a slave-turned-Union soldier in that movie.) And Spike Lee lost the original screenplay award for “Do the Right Thing,” his masterpiece about a boiled-over pot of racial animus in Brooklyn. I was 14 then, and the political incongruity that night was impossible not to feel. “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Glory” were set in the past and the people who loved them seemed stuck there. The giddy reception for “Miss Daisy” seemed earnest. But Lee’s movie dramatized a starker truth — we couldn’t all just get along.

By this point, you might have heard about the fried chicken scene in “Green Book.” It comes early in their road trip. Tony is shocked to discover that Don has never had fried chicken. He also appears never to have seen anybody eat fried chicken, either. (“What do we do about the bones?”) So, with all the greasy alacrity and exuberant crassness that Mortensen can conjure, Tony demonstrates how to eat it while driving. As comedy, it’s masterful — there’s tension, irony and, when the car stops and reverses to retrieve some litter, a punch line that brings down the house. But the comedy works only if the black, classical-pop fusion pianist is from outer space (and not in a Sun Ra sort of way). You’re meant to laugh because how could this racist be better at being black than this black man who’s supposed to be better than him?

Money buys Don a chauffeur and, apparently, an education in black folkways and culture. (Little Richard? He’s never heard him play.) Shirley’s real-life family has objected to the portrait. Their complaints include that he was estranged from neither black people nor blackness. Even without that thumbs-down, you can sense what a particularly perverse fantasy this is: that absolution resides in a neutered black man needing a white guy not only to protect and serve him, but to love him, too. Even if that guy and his Italian-American family and mob associates refer to Don and other black people as eggplant and coal. In the movie’s estimation, their racism is preferable to its nasty, blunter southern cousin because their racism is often spoken in Italian. And, hey, at least Tony never asks Don to eat his fancy dinner in a supply closet.

January 23, 2019

Stu Lourey (son of Tony, grandson of Becky) wins DFL primary

SD11 (Pine and Carlton counties, and a little bit of St. Louis County) is having a quick-turnaround special election to fill the spot vacated when (now former) Sen. Tony Lourey was tapped to be HHS director by the Walz-Flanagan team. Stu Lourey beat Michelle Lee last night in the special election DFL primary. Special election is February 5. Lourey will face 11B Rep. Jason Rarick.


January 6, 2019

'Surviving R. Kelly' Documentary on Lifetime Details Sex Abuse Accusations


By Jacey Fortin

For more than two decades, the R&B singer Robert Kelly, who performs as R. Kelly, has faced accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse.

This week, a six-part documentary on Lifetime is taking an expansive look at the allegations against Mr. Kelly, a chart-topping artist whose history has invited extra scrutiny in recent years.

The series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” includes testimony from several women who accuse the singer of abuse, as well as commentary from Mr. Kelly’s critics, including the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, and the singer John Legend.

The six episodes, each an hour long, cover the long history of allegations against Mr. Kelly. They feature women who described being controlled or abused by him, often when they were teenagers, as well as associates and relatives of the singer.

In addition, a private screening of the documentary was shut down by threats last month. The series itself was devastating. We must do better in general, and by girls and WOC in particular.

December 14, 2018

O'Rourke doesn't know if he's a progressive.


Rejecting labels makes it easy for people to project what they want to see on you, for better and for worse.

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