Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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News and opinion pieces in brief







The bat-shit crazies and the haters have been front and center in the news



















Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pitfalls With Police Recruitment In The U.S.

BY RACHEL CAIN JUL 21, 2016 3:00 PM
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MARY ALTAFFER

Whenever police violence comes under national attention, better training is often advocated as a solution. Before the training even begins, though, departments have a major way to influence how they interact with their communities: who they accept as new recruits.

“The problem is we’ve been addressing the issues wrongly for years. We keep wanting to say it’s a training issue. It’s not a training issue,” Donald Grady II, a retired police chief who served for over 30 years, told The Atlantic. “This is an issue of who it is that we’ve decided we would allow to police our country.”

Grady mentioned that departments often prioritize recruits with aggressive personalities over those who are more docile. “Why are we hiring people to do policing because of their level of aggression?” he said. “I can teach you to be appropriately assertive. What I can’t do is pull unreasonably aggressive tendencies out of a person.”

Finding recruits with the right temperament is especially important now, as fewer and fewer people are seeking positions with the police force. In some parts of the country, applications have fallen by as much as 50 percent.

However, not all recruitment practices in the United States yield the best applicants. Here’s a list of some of the weaknesses with how departments seek out new officers.

Violent Recruitment Videos

Police recruitment videos often prominently feature high-adrenaline, high-risk situations that involve shooting and automatic weapons. These kinds of videos prioritize the more violent aspects of police work over community policing and public service.

“The emphasis [in violent recruiting videos] is totally on SWAT team, and shoot outs, and driving fast and all the militarized equipment, and nothing to talk about problem solving, dealing with the public, diverse skill sets, that can be helpful in policing,” Alex Vitale, an associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, told CityLab. “Too many departments have completely emphasized the adventure-seeking aspects of the job, which are actually just a tiny fraction of what most police officers do every day.”

Thankfully, there are many recruitment videos that highlight the importance of interacting with and helping communities. And that’s what lots of departments really are looking for.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown has said that he doesn’t want to recruit “the person who wants adventure.” Instead, “We want to have people who have a sense of public service, who want to help, people who have a high moral standard. We want the model citizen who wants to go into public service and make our democracy work.”

Small Applicant Pool


Overall, police departments nationwide have experienced a recent decrease in applications. The smaller number of applicants has been attributed to the recent negative publicity regarding police departments, competition of new jobs in the security sector created by the war on terror, and millenials’ aversion to strict regulations in the workplace.

According to a 2014 report published in Law Enforcement Executive Forum, departments have experimented with relaxing certain criteria for recruits in order to expand the applicant pool. Each instance of lowering the bar, though, comes with its own repercussions. For example, some departments have eased their residency requirements, but this results in recruits who may be out of touch with the communities they serve. Other departments have become more tolerant regarding past drug use, poor credit history, or minor arrests, but this may weaken the community’s confidence in the police force.

In 2015, the New Orleans Police Department eliminated their requirement that new officers without two years of military service have at least 60 college credits, and the Philadelphia Police Department is preparing to strike their education requirement as well. Although this change presents the opportunity to accept more applicants, research suggests that the more college education an officer has, the less likely they are to be physically or verbally abusive.

Across the more than 12,000 police departments in the United States, there is no nationwide requirement for how to, if at all, conduct psychological evaluations. States may create their own standardizations, and as of 2010, a little over half of all states required pre-employment psychological screening of new recruits. According to a 2011 article published by the American Psychological Association, almost all police departments that serve populations of 25,000 or greater require some form of psychological evaluation.

Psychological screening is used, at minimum, to select candidates who are “free from any emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect the performance of safety-based duties and responsibilities and be capable of withstanding the psychological demands inherent in the prospective position.” Because the specifics of what a department looks for in the psychological screening of an applicant may vary department to department, hiring agency to hiring agency, psychology researcher M. L. Dantzker suggests that police departments ought to develop greater consistency in psychological screening.

In certain departments, applicants who are not cleared by the police psychologist can shop around for a second opinion. They have the opportunity to find another psychologist who will clear them for service, which creates the possibility that recruits who do not fit the proper psychological profile can still become police officers.

When police departments collaborate closely with the psychologists they can better identify reliable recruits. Grady said that when he sought to improve his department’s relationship with the community, he worked with a psychologist to help find applicants with a less aggressive mentality. “We found a psychologist that was willing to look for a more cerebral, more sensitive, empathetic, rational person than who was being hired as police officers,” he said.

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/07/21/3799465/police-brutality-recruitment/

Trump Campaign Raised $21.9 Million In June

Sara Jerde · Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 11:05 pm

Donald Trump's presidential campaign raised $21.9 million in June, according to its latest monthly report to the Federal Election Commission, a significant improvement over its meager May numbers.

The new report also showed that Trump had forgiven all of his personal loans to the campaign, as he had promised to do. The $21.9 million raised in June included more than $2 million contributed by Trump personally.

The campaign had $20.2 million cash on hand at the beginning of July, according to the Wednesday filing. That was substantially more that the $1.29 million in cash on hand reported the previous month.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-raised-21-million-june

US congressman Steve King (R) thinks white people are the most awesome "subgroup"

Mark Frauenfelder · Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 1:10 pm
Steve_King,_official_Congressional_photo_portrait

Steve King of Iowa loves his "sub-group" of people. Here's what he said on a televised panel on MSNBC:



“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
“Than white people?” Mr. Hayes asked.

Mr. King responded: “Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”
Even if King's proudly ignorant statement was true, which it most assuredly is not, the fact remains that King himself hasn't invented anything, other than fabulist history. To be proud of someone else's invention because you have the same color skin as them is just about the stupidest thing a human being could think. It's unfortunate that this nincompoop has enough admirers to vote him into office.

Quartz put together a list of things not invented by white people. I wonder if Rep King sullies his hands by touching any of them?


  • numerals
  • mathematics
  • religion
  • Christianity
  • irrigation
  • novels
  • paper
  • ink
  • dance
  • music
  • gunpowder
  • guns
  • bombs
  • time bombs
  • the seismograph
  • the compass
  • just-in-time manufacturing
  • CD players
  • MP3 players
  • Pokemon
  • calculators
  • karaoke
  • lithium ion batteries
  • yoga
  • martial arts
  • silk
  • umbrellas
  • tea
  • noodles
  • instant noodles
  • shampoo
  • punk futurism
  • futures markets


http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/boingboing/iBag/~3/ljmvaUBstbQ/us-congressman-steve-king-thin.html

Rumors abound that Russia is trying to get Trump elected by stealing and releasing the DNC's emails. What's going on?

Robert Reich
7.26.2016

Connect the following 7 dots. Do you see a pattern?

1. Trump's debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. At the same time, he’s been blackballed by all major US banks.

2. Post-bankruptcy, Trump has become highly reliant on money from Russia -- most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

3. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager and top advisor, spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor to Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close ally of Putin.

4. Trump's foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom, which, in turn, is part of Putin’s financial empire.

5. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump.

6. The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the Republican Party platform, with one exception: They changed the party platform to eliminate assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. Not incidentally, this is the single most important issue to Putin.

7. Trump is also suggesting the US and thus NATO might not come to the defense of NATO member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion -- another important issue to Putin.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but these are the facts.

https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/?fref=nf

Re-post of a favorite: Making sense of religion is damn near impossible.


Re-post of a favorite: War is shit.


Five OBG posts: Reliving the W years