Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges

Jed Saul Rakoff is a United States District Judge on senior status for the Southern District of New York. He’s breaking the silence of the judges on mass incarceration in the United States in this essay for the New York Review of Books:

For too long, too many judges have been too quiet about an evil of which we are a part: the mass incarceration of people in the United States today. It is time that more of us spoke out.

The basic facts are not in dispute. More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in US jails and prisons, a 500 percent increase over the past forty years. Although the United States accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s population, it houses nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population. The per capita incarceration rate in the US is about one and a half times that of second-place Rwanda and third-place Russia, and more than six times the rate of neighboring Canada.

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1906 Illustrations of H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

Henrique Alvim Corrêa, a Brazilian artist who worked primarily in Belgium, specialized in military and science fiction illustration. In 1906, he illustrated a French translation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Corrêa’s illustrations were definitely ahead of their time. Their atmosphere and texture echo modern science fiction art. Unfortunately only 500 copies of this edition were ever produced, but Corrêa’s artworks are currently up for auction.

wells-h_g-illustrations-K90078-11

War of the Worlds. Translated from English by Henry D. Davray. Illustrated by Alvim Corrêa.

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Documentary — “Buying the War: How Big Media Failed Us” (2007)


Bill Moyers Journal: Buying the War from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn’t have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on. How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 go largely unreported? “What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored,” says Moyers. “How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?”

Read more about this documentary here.… Read the rest

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DEA approves study using MDMA for anxiety in seriously ill patients

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Henry Riley (CC BY 2.0)

Amid growing support for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, the DEA has approved a clinical trial that uses MDMA to treat anxiety.

Renee Lewis has the story at Al Jazeera:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the first clinical trial using MDMA along with psychotherapy to treat anxiety among people with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday, adding that public support for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs is rapidly growing.

“The tide has changed for psychedelic research,” said Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a California-based nonprofit research group that studies medicinal uses for psychedelics and marijuana and is sponsoring the study. The DEA approved the project on Friday, he said.

Unlike Ecstasy or Molly — names for MDMA sold on the street and often mixed with dangerous adulterants — pure MDMA has been proved “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses, MAPS says on its website.

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How Americans’ Views of McDonald’s Changed Over the Years

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Francie Diep explores the ever-evolving public perception of McDonald’s at The Pacific Standard.

via The Pacific Standard:

One morning, you wake up, turn to your partner, and it’s like you don’t even know how they feel about you anymore.

After decades of enormous growth, McDonald’s has been on the decline recently, with same-store sales falling over the past five years, as the New York Times reported recently. America’s tastes have changed, a fact pointed out by many retail journalists. People are more concerned about wholesome, quality ingredients, and are therefore more likely to visit healthier-seeming chains, such as Chipotle.

As a look at the academic literature shows, this change has been a long time coming. Researchers have been bringing up worries about the influence of McDonald’s on business, culture, and health for at least 20 years. But it wasn’t until the last decade or so that the critiques really began to hit home, paving the way for Americans’ rejection of the Golden Arches.

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This is what happens after you die

Todd Huffman (CC BY 2.0)

Todd Huffman (CC BY 2.0)

Most of us would rather not think about what happens to our bodies after death. But that breakdown gives birth to new life in unexpected ways, writes Moheb Costandi. 

“It might take a little bit of force to break this up,” says mortician Holly Williams, lifting John’s arm and gently bending it at the fingers, elbow and wrist. “Usually, the fresher a body is, the easier it is for me to work on.”

Williams speaks softly and has a happy-go-lucky demeanour that belies the nature of her work. Raised and now employed at a family-run funeral home in north Texas, she has seen and handled dead bodies on an almost daily basis since childhood. Now 28 years old, she estimates that she has worked on something like 1,000 bodies.

Her work involves collecting recently deceased bodies from the Dallas–Fort Worth area and preparing them for their funeral.… Read the rest

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Ray Bradbury on Madmen

“Nobody else is going to give a damn what you’re doing, so you need a few other people like yourself”
— Ray Bradbury as told to two college kids on road trip in 1972

In the autumn of 2012, Lisa Potts rediscovered — literally, behind her dresser — a taped cassette of a long-lost interview with author Ray Bradbury that she made as a college student journalist back in 1972.

The recording was made in a car plying the Los Angeles freeways between Bradbury’s home in West L.A. and Chapman College in Orange County. Potts and a fellow student named Chadd Coates were taking Bradbury to present a lecture. Bradbury had a lot of advice for Lisa and Chadd.

On tape we get to hear Bradbury telling the students about the keys to friendship, why he was afraid of himself and would never drive, his keys to writing and telling a story, why Mars was the center of his fascination, what’s the secret to love, and why he called himself “a madman”.… Read the rest

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Pentagon Says Texas Should Not Fear JADE HELM

jade helmThe JADE HELM conspiracy theory keeps running and running, fueled now by the Pentagon insisting that Texas shouldn’t worry about it, reports McLatchy:

The Pentagon has a message for Texas: chill.

Defense officials Monday dismissed as “wild speculation” an Internet-fueled claim that a massive summertime exercise called Jade Helm 15 for special operations commandos is a covert operation by President Barack Obama to take over Texas.

That claim was given legitimacy by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s order last week for the Texas State Guard to monitor the exercises.

“Operation Jade Helm poses no threat to any American’s civil liberties,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday. “Operation Jade Helm is being conducted by Americans – by, specifically, American special forces personnel.”

Jade Helm 15 will be one of the biggest peacetime military exercises in six decades. Starting July 15 and lasting two months, thousands of Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALS and other special operations forces will simulate war missions in mainly remote areas of Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

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GABRIEL MELLAN: A Retroreflective

GABRIEL MELLAN: A RETROREFLECTIVE

Reflective art in the dark made for the flash of a camera phone and a third-eye-LED.

Thursday May 7, 2015
6 – 9 pm
33 Washington st
Brooklyn NY 11201

Rabbithole Projects is proud to present
in conjunction with DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk

The experience:

Contrasting the traditional gallery viewing experience, the lights will be off, use the flash on your smartphone to photograph the work. A third LED eye will be provided for you to illuminate the art and navigate the space. This exhibition is kid friendly, assuming they are a bit adventurous and can handle a cameraphone. Selfies and flash photography are encouraged.

ptg

How it works:

The auto exposure and autofocus feature on smartphones work to make these pieces visible. The autofocus involves a short burst of light to help the camera focus in the dark. When the light to help focus the camera hits the retroreflective surfaces and is bounced back, the camera reads the environment to have more light than there is.

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