From my view on the outside, it looks as though there are two important groups in the Republican party: the Establishment, and the Base. By the "Establishment" I mean major individual and corporate donors, and career politicians (and their staffs). By the "Base" I mean the Republican primary voters. The fact that Tea Party-type candidates can usually win Republican primaries against candidates supported by the Establishment tells me that the Tea Party represents the Base pretty well.
The biggest policy difference I know between the Base and the Establishment is that the Establishment wants immigration reform, preferably with a guest worker program, and the Base is utterly opposed to it. This was demonstrated clearly during W. Bush's presidency (when he tried to put through immigration reform and his own party slapped him down), and doesn't seem to have changed since.
In general, the Base seems to despise conservative compromise and moderation, and that's one reason they were never more than lukewarm about Romney (the quintessential Establishment candidate, as I think we can all agree). Except for immigration, most of the policy differences between Base and Establishment seem to be about matters of degree (i.e. how much to compromise), not about goals or principles. But that's just how it looks to me -- I may be missing some important aspect.
What I want to know is, is there any issue where Fox News' editorial opinions are closer to the Establishment than the Base? One thing that's known about the internal workings of Fox News is that John Moody, Senior VP for News, used to send out a morning memo that set out the theme or main talking points for the day's coverage, a unifying message that could be repeated throughout the day. It's not clear that he still does this -- Gabriel Sherman, author of the unauthorized biography of Roger Ailes, thinks they don't need them any more, because any competent employee knows which way the wind blows at Fox and how to present it.
But I figure that means that any reasonably intelligent watcher of Fox News should be able to deduce what the day's memo was, or what it would have been if it existed -- because, AFAIK, Fox has a unified, consistent worldview, and that's one of its big selling points.
On immigration, AFAIK Fox is closer to the Base than the Establishment -- just see how often they use the word "illegals". And IIRC during the 2012 Republican primaries they spotlighted or promoted a whole string of candidates before Romney locked it up.
But I am, as I said, not an insider, and most of my relatives and Facebook-friends aren't big Fox News fans. So, those of you who watch Fox -- or who talk to (or are talked at by) Fox News fans -- what, if anything, is an example of the difference between the positions of the Republican Base and/or Tea Party, and the positions of Fox News?
And then, how could an outsider (like me) tell whether Fox and the Base agree because Fox is accurately following the Base, or because the Base is getting its facts and opinions (and expressions, like "illegals") from Fox News? Who's in the driver's seat?
In almost every speech or article about police behavior, there's a reference to the "difficult and dangerous job" police do, and how they deserve our respect for it.
How dangerous is policing, really? Does society usually have more respect for people who do dangerous jobs in general, and dangerous but necessary jobs in particular? I've looked at the statistics, and they suggest No. Police don't receive respect for facing danger, but for their authority.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights 10 "Occupations with high fatal work injury rates" each year in its Fatal Occupational Injuries Report. I've collated these lists for 2008-2013:
Fishing and logging are consistently far and away the most dangerous US occupations; third place is always aircraft pilot -- almost all from crashes of small airplanes, crop dusters, etc. After that, there's a clump of occupations involving high places, heavy equipment, or both, especially roofers, trash collectors, and farmers. Truck drivers represent by far the largest numbers of occupational deaths, because they have a very high death rate (always in the top 10) and there are a great many people in that line of work.
The biggest caveat about this list is that it doesn't have a separate category for "oil and gas extraction workers", which should probably be in the top 10, but doesn't seem to fall into a single category for easy measurement.
In this six-year period, police officers only showed up on the "most dangerous jobs" list once, in 2010. People talk about cops (and their families) worrying that they'll be killed on the job, but their chances are better than those of a truck driver, a roofer, a farmer, or a garbage collector. Policing is dangerous, but I don't think you can call it extraordinarily dangerous -- not given that it's less dangerous than farming or truck-driving, which aren't considered horrifically risky jobs. And it isn't even close to being as risky as fishing, logging, or piloting.
Now, policing *is* different from most jobs in that a lot of the risk is that you might be killed by another human, on purpose -- while this risky-jobs list is obviously weighted toward "nothing personal, it's just nature and the laws of physics". Homicide intuitively *feels* much more dangerous than a truck accident, even though the chances of a trucker dying in a crash are much higher than the chance a cop will be murdered.
It turns out, though, that cops aren't the ones with the highest risk of being murdered on the job. When I collated just data on homicides, here's what I found:
Murder rates were higher overall, but there's no doubt about the pattern then and now: policing has a high risk of murder, but the outstandingly dangerous job is taxi driver. Taxi drivers don't usually a have a hugely higher death rate overall than cops only because they don't have as many fatal car accidents:
In other words, cops -- who are supposed to deal with violence professionally -- are more likely to die on the job in a car accident than from murder, while taxi drivers -- who spend their time driving -- are more likely to die from murder than a car accident.
Overall, I don't see evidence that the most dangerous jobs, or the ones with the highest murder risk, are particularly "respected" -- and they certainly aren't exceptionally well-paid. People don't talk about "garbage collectors, risking their lives for us every day" -- even though it's true. And it's not as though garbage collecting isn't truly useful and important work, either.
I suspect that one of the big differences between cops and other high-risk workers is that both police culture and popular culture exaggerate and heroicize the risks cops face, whereas taxi drivers, loggers, barbers, roofers, etc. tend to downplay (or ignore) the risks of their work.
Police use this romantic, exaggerated idea of the risks they take to justify their demands for "respect", but they're not really asking for the kind of respect we give taxi drivers or fishermen. They want unquestioned, untrammeled authority. For instance, in our last thread about this, hairshirtthehedonist talked about an argument he had with a police officer neighbor about the Garner case:
It was nearly impossible to make the distinction between bad police behavior (or plain-old bad cops) and the police in general. Any support for protesters or investigations into potentially wrongful police conduct was taken not just as an attack on police in general (despite my coming from a family full of police, including my own father), but as an approval of the recent murders of the two NYPD officers.
The Mayor shows us no respect, and encourages the public to follow his lead.
-- where by "no respect" he apparently means, "warns his biracial son to be extra careful around police." Lynch doesn't want "respect", he wants both obedience and trust: for members of the public not merely to refrain from challenging the police, but to do so out of pure and complete trust.
"I have a son who I have raised to respect police officers and other authority figures, but if he comes to me today and asks "Why are the police allowing this?" I wouldn't have a good answer."
... First, it is laudable that you are teaching your son respect for the police and other authority figures. However, a better lesson might be that it is the government the police serve that should be respected. The police are merely a representative of a government formed by the people for the people—for all people. Being respectful of the government would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their views.
If "respect" is something that is only due to authorities or superiors, Anderson is making no sense. But I know of no better statement of what "respect" should mean in a democracy.
 The homicide reports I use don't break down the occupational data to the level or with the same categories as this older report, so we can't compare them directly. I think we all expect that the occupations "convenience store cashier" and "late-night liquor store manager", for instance, have much higher homicide rates than average -- probably comparable to the (very high) risk for barbers.
 Many of the riskiest jobs are mostly taken by immigrants -- in New York City, for instance, 96% of taxi drivers are immigrants. It may well be that the murder risk for taxi drivers is just too high for American citizens to tolerate, given that the job comes with no premium in pay or respect. "Police officer" would then be the riskiest, most violent job native-born Americans will take, and "respect" is part of the occupation's pay scale.
ETA: To include prettier versions of some of the charts. Data have not changed.
Please remember to be considerate and not post 2015 spoilers.
If there are jet packs and flying cars then the rest of us would like to enjoy the surprise for ourselves.
However, if we’re facing thermonuclear annihilation then a heads up would actually be appreciated.
I have to go run around like a crazy person, getting everything ready for our New Year's Eve party. Talk about how glad you are to see the back of 2014, and what (if anything) you're actually looking forward to in 2015.
Speaking of 501(c)3 organizations, I'm putting together our yearly charity donations spreadsheet -- what we've given so far this year, who we'll give to between now and midnight Dec 31, what our plans are for next year.
I don't know how I'd manage this without Charity Navigator and a spreadsheet. We try to have a mix of local, national, and international charities, for a variety of issues -- but only one or two charities per issue & level because, as Charity Navigator says, investing needs diversification, giving should be concentrated for best results.
huh, looking over our list, I see we've got mostly state and local orgs for environmental issues and homelessness/poverty, national/international for health & medicine (e.g. Doctors Without Borders) and "culture" (e.g. Organization for Transformative Works). We also support the ACLU, which isn't a 501c(3) but which does a lot of work that really needs doing. Mr Dr Science isn't sure they're the best choice, but I don't know who else is doing so much work to, as they say, "keep us safe".
This scene of the Limosina (Almsgiving) represents a pompous procession where the bishop, in the center and mounted on his heavy roan horse, is about to knock over one of the master workers waiting outside the work site of the Hospital.
The hospital was run by a Rector and friars independent of the Bishop, and this fresco strikes me as unusually and pointedly satirical. It makes a good illustration of the danger of supporting the wrong charities -- the kind that spend your money on themselves instead of the needy, or that do more harm than good.
I had started a post that tried to draw a connection between Gamergate, the Rolling Stone UVA rape report debacle and the Sony hack, noting that the common thread that tied all these together was the release of information that should have been kept private. I also wanted to note how small of an impact the Sony hack story has made here in Japan as well as riff a bit on the fact that the way this has played out, if it is indeed North Korea, shows that they are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. This Guardian article talks about how NK is not funny, perhaps because it is evil, which is in part true, but also, the West has typically used NK as a punchline, but, again if it was really NK, they were able to play the channels of journalism and news like a concert violinist. But further thinking is below the fold...
Or not. Talk about whatever, holiday related or otherwise.
It seems this Friday is the perfect day for a nice government document dump, who knows what will happen! Related, and to the surprise of no one who knows anything about the inner workings of the IRS, Darrel Issa has yet to find anything linking the White House to the Tea Party targeting scandal. But it must be in those missing emails!
Related to Darrel Issa, Zombie Baby Jesus (or, at least, the two are related in my mind). When you think about it, for those of you who watch the Walking Dead, Jesus is the original walker. Nothing in the Bible about him munching on the living though, AFAIK (maybe it's in those missing emails).
Also, too, Jeb! I'm looking forward to the Chelsea/Jenna Presidential election of 2032....
Anyone going anywhere interesting this/next week? We're off to Jamaica, same as last year only a different place.
So a guy in Baltimore with no known gang connections shot his ex-girlfriend, then went up to Brooklyn, assassinated two police officers, and killed himself when confronted. His social media posts claimed he did this to avenge the death of Eric Garner -- though I've heard no explanation of why he started by shooting his ex. It does continue the American custom of start by shooting a woman, so I think it possible that attacking his ex was the original crime, assassinating NYPD cops was just a particularly dramatic suicide plan.
The NYPD is enraged -- after all, "up in arms" is already in their job description. When Mayor de Blasio visited the hospital where the officers died, the crowd of police waiting there deliberately turned their backs on him. Patrick Lynch, the head of one of the police unions (I don't understand why there are so many; is this just a NYC thing?), has said that the slain officers' blood is on de Blasio's hands -- I guess for the way he's been willing to listen to some of the protestors. Any criticism of the NYPD, as far as Lynch is concerned, is unfair, inappropriate, and "throwing cops under the bus".
I was talking to a man who seemed curiously consumed by self-pity. He was not happy his profession was being maligned, but he didn’t seem to think it had anything to do with the way his colleagues–other than a few bad apples, who he wanted to disown all too quickly–behaved with the communities they policed. The police were the real victims here, unfairly made to bear the brunt of a community’s wrath. Louima might have suffered one night, but all the agitators and demonstrators–sometimes folks who didn’t even live in Brooklyn!–were now making life oh-so-difficult for the rest of the police, forced to deal with this daily reminder of their brutality.
What makes policemen really dangerous, I think, is that their implements of destruction do not end with the deadly firearms that they discharge so easily and so carelessly. They carry around too, a toxic mix of self-pity, righteousness, and resentment at a deliberately obtuse world. When they walk the streets, they do not see a ‘community’ around them; they see the sullen, non-compliant subjects of their policing.
And via Balloon Juice, I'm reminded self-pity wasn't new then, either:
In 1992, more than 4,000 off-duty NYPD cops stormed City Hall, blocked Brklyn Bridge, beat up reporters. No arrests. http://t.co/MFKrPmqDta
While the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association had called the rally to protest Mayor David N. Dinkins's proposal to create an independent civilian agency that would look into police misconduct, the huge turnout -- estimated by the Police Department at 10,000 protesters -- and the harsh emotional pitch reflected widespread anger among rank-and-file officers toward the Mayor for his handling of riots against the police in Washington Heights last July, his refusal to give them semiautomatic weapons and his appointment of an outside panel to investigate corruption.
In contrast, the police officers in Brooklyn Nine Nine aren't self-pitying, self-righteous, and resentful. The worst of them are goldbrickers, just waiting for retirement; none are aggressive, authoritarian assholes. Not all police officers are like that, of course, but I've never heard of a precinct without at least a few -- it would be like having all children above average.
I know B99 is "just a TV show", but as the months have passed it's become more and more difficult for me to just relax and suspend my disbelief. It starts to see less like an innocuously pretty picture, where attitudes have been cleaned up along with the cussing, and more like out-and-out propaganda.
hiring officers in the spirit of adventure, who have been exposed to action oriented police dramas since their youth, and sending them to an academy patterned after a military boot camp, then dressing them in black battle dress uniforms and turning them loose in a subculture steeped in an “us versus them” outlook toward those they serve and protect, while prosecuting the war on crime, war on drugs, and now a war on terrorism
-- bold mine. Even police officers have seen far more shootings on TV than they have in real life, and that will tend to shape their expectations -- about who gets shot, and why, and whose fault it is.
I always thought our post-Castro Cuban policy was insane (and the embargo continues to be insane). It certainly has been insane since the fall of the USSR.
How is it that we could normalize relations with Vietnam and China, each of which killed thousands of U.S. soldiers in, you know, actual full blown shooting wars? But not with Cuba because....why? It's too close? The beaches are too nice? It's just been ridiculous all the way down.
So, good for Obama. Here's hoping the embargo gets lifted too, although that seems doubtful given the current state of Congress.
We now have enough money that when my old car (2001 Honda Accord, 147K miles)'s transmission decided to bid farewell to this mortal coil, we could just go out and buy a new car:
A 2015 Subaru Legacy. In "Twilight Blue Metallic" so it's not the same color (black, white, or beige/gray) as every other damn car in the mall parking lot.
The ability to just plain go out and buy a new car, instead of laboriously finding an acceptable used care you have to constantly repair and worry about, is a classic example of the Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice, which states that it's much more expensive to be poor than to be rich. Even when, like me, you didn't figure out how to use Consumer Reports' Build and Buy Service until it was too late. ugh, even though we're not poor anymore, making money mistakes makes my stomach churn.
Anyway, there are whole new levels of car tech taking place -- this is *definitely* living in the future. The car has all kinds of assisted-driving features: a backup camera, lane drift warnings, "there's someone in your blind spot" warnings (I *really* love this feature already), and assisted cruise control so you can use it in the kind of traffic you get on I-95. It also had a lot of voice-activation, which I predict I'll really appreciate because my driving glasses don't really let me read a lot of the interior buttons without squinting.
And now we have to think of a name. I'll be the main one driving this car, so I'm thinking of naming it Arod, so I can imagine Legolas & Gimli are riding along with me. No way it's a Shadowfax -- maybe if our next car is the midlifemobile Mr Dr Science yearns for.
So, Happy Hanukkah to us! Talk about presents you're anticipating, or automotive technology, or whatever.