The Other Shooting In St. Louis

Aug 21 2014 @ 9:44am

Disturbing footage of Kajieme Powell’s death has emerged:

Lopez captions:

The newly released video begins before police arrive on the scene. A bystander has followed Powell after he took energy drinks and muffins from a market without paying for them, and can be heard chuckling over Powell’s erratic behavior. Powell is seen slowly pacing around the scene of the eventual shooting before police arrive. When the officers enter and draw their guns, Powell ignores warnings to put down his knife, and advances on them. He then repeatedly yells, “Shoot me!”

But Powell does not appear to be holding a knife high, and he looks to be walking normally — and to be further than two or three feet from the officers — when they open fire, killing him.

Ezra is deeply troubled by the video:

Read On

Excessive Restraint

Aug 21 2014 @ 9:02am
by Dish Staff

Medical resident Ravi Parikh considers the cons of physically restraining patients:

In some situations, restraints may be ineffective and even harmful. Doctors and nurses often employ restraints when a patient is at risk for falling or delirious. However, evidence suggests that restraints do not reduce one’s risk of falling. Likewise, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that restraints increase the risk of delirium in the hospital by 4-fold, possibly by increasing patients’ levels of anxiety and stress due to involuntary immobilization. Physical restraints and the resulting immobilization they cause are also associated with increased rates of pressure ulcers, respiratory complications—and even death via strangulation and aspiration. Even more disturbingly, a 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that hospitals failed to report more than 40 percent of deaths related to restraints to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Though these statistics may make the ICU seem like an asylum, it is not. The majority of patients I cared for in the ICU never required restraints. And for the others who were confused or agitated, our team could usually avoid restraints by adjusting or prescribing medication.

by Dish Staff

The great gay, English novelist first went there to see a young Indian man, Syed Ross Masood, with whom he had fallen in love, prompting him to start writing A Passage to India – a novel it would take him nearly 11 years to complete. Why the delay? Damon Galgut speculates that he was hung up on the famous scene involving Adela Quested and Dr. Aziz in the Marabar caves, and that a second trip to India to see Masood, one in which Forster’s hopes for love were dashed and they abruptly parted way, gave him the material he needed to move beyond the writer’s block:

The impact of this parting goes almost entirely unremarked in his diaries and letters, and yet itNPG 4698,Edward Morgan Forster,by Dora Carrington must have been of huge importance to him. There are only faint but significant clues as to how he felt. In his diary on 27 January, the night before he leaves, he admits that he has had a “long and sad day”. Then we find this cryptic entry: “Aie-aie-aie – growing after tears. Mosquito net, fizzling lamp, high step between rooms. Then return and comfort a little.”

It seems that something happened between the two men that night. But what? He apparently never spoke about it to anybody else and the diary entry is frustratingly opaque. But it’s almost certain that this incident, whatever it was, involved Masood and some kind of rejection. Whether he tried to touch or kiss his friend, it’s clear that he made some sort of overture and was rebuffed. And the sparse, telegrammatic style of the words indicate – in his case – how deeply felt they were.

It was in this state of mind that he set off to the caves the next morning.

Read On

A reader writes:

Your recent post about equipping police forces with video cameras struck a chord with me, as I recently sat on a jury where the lack of video played a central role. The case was not particularly exceptional, and the lesson obviously anecdotal, but it was a major eye-opener for me.

Read On

by Matthew Sitman

It’s an interesting question, how we’ll handle death and grief as religion’s place in our lives declines. I don’t mean that the old answers about what “happens” when we die will need to be reworked, exactly, because it seems clear that, no longer believing in the afterlife, most will just acknowledge that nothingness awaits us. There only will be the “sure extinction that we travel to,” as Larkin put it. But that still leaves the issue of how to mourn the dead, in the very practical sense of what to do when a loved one dies. Emma Green looks at Candi Cann’s recent book, Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-First Century, and on how this post-religious dilemma is being handled:

For most of human history, religious ceremony has helped people deal with death, providing explanations about souls and the afterlife along with rituals to help the living deal with their grief. Not all religions do death the same way. “There are certain denominations within Christianity and certain religions in general that do a better job of remembering the dead,” said Cann. “Like the Catholics: There’s a very set calendar for remembering, and it’s still tied down to the religious calendar.”

Tattooing yourself with a dead person’s remains is one new way of memorializing death in the absence of faith, she said. “As society becomes more secular, and people are more and more turning to that ‘spiritual but not religious category,’ they’re forming their own do-it-yourself ways of remembering the dead.”

Green goes on to describe other trendy options, from personalized caskets to “theme” funerals to arranging the deceased in scenes taken from their actual lives. I find all this fascinating, and, especially if a family isn’t religious, don’t begrudge them personalizing the funeral in whatever way they’d like. I do, however, wonder how this changes the grieving process, and would like to say a good word for the old-fashioned religious rituals.

Read On

The Hawk Gap

Aug 20 2014 @ 8:05pm
by Dish Staff

Last week, after observing that the prospective 2016 candidates are taking much more hawkish positions on foreign policy issues than public opinion would suggest, Beinart suggested that this might be one more deleterious effect of money on our political system:

For a century, Americans have responded to disillusioning wars by demanding a less interventionist foreign policy. It happened after World War 1, after Korea, after Vietnam, and it’s happening again in the wake of Afghanistan and Iraq. The difference between this moment and past ones is the role of money in politics. As on so many issues, politicians’ need to raise vast sums from the super-rich makes them ultra-responsive to one, distinct sliver of the population and less responsive to everyone else. The way campaign finance warps the political debate over financial regulation is well known. What we’re witnessing this year is a case study in the way it warps the foreign-policy debate as well.

Daniel Drezner’s not so sure about that, pointing out that foreign policy talk is about as cheap as it gets:

Read On

The Meaning Of #Ferguson

Aug 20 2014 @ 7:40pm
by Dish Staff

Over the weekend, David Carr marveled at how well Twitter has matured as a tool for journalism:

For people in the news business, Twitter was initially viewed as one more way to promote and distribute content. But as the world has become an ever more complicated place — a collision of Ebola, war in Iraq, crisis in Ukraine and more — Twitter has become an early warning service for news organizations, a way to see into stories even when they don’t have significant reporting assets on the ground. And in a situation hostile to traditional reporting, the crowdsourced, phone-enabled network of information that Twitter provides has proved invaluable. …

In and of itself, Twitter is not sufficient to see clearly into a big story; it’s a series of straws that offer narrow views of a much bigger picture. But as a kind of constantly changing kaleidoscope, it provides enough visibility to show that something significant is underway.

Along those lines, Amma Marfo focuses in on how important Twitter has become to the black community, particularly over the past week:

Twitter’s lack of algorithms to control the display of content means that posts are elevated in popularity only by the people who favorite, Retweet, and share screen captures of impactful or informative messages. Such a structure allows the insight of the observant but relatively unknown amateur, alongside high-profile and highly educated (another population that uses Twitter in high volume), to stand alongside one another. This egalitarian information sharing model is welcome for historically disenfranchised populations. This could be key for its popularity with other minority groups such as Hispanics. Its use among African-Americans continues to rise, as does the increasing use of Twitter as a credible means to gauge public opinion and the newsworthiness of given topics.

But it’s worth noting that the overall social media ecosystem is not always like this. Last week, Zeynep Tufekci pointed out the difference in following the Ferguson protests on Twitter, which shows you all the tweets from whoever you follow in real time, and Facebook, which uses an algorithm to determine both what you see and when you get to see it. To highlight the frenzy of Ferguson tweets last Wednesday night she flagged this graph:

Read On

Face Of The Day

Aug 20 2014 @ 7:12pm

"ET: The Extra Terrestrial" - Somerset House Film4 Screening

A fan waiting for a screening of ET: The Extra Terrestrial last night at Somerset House in London, England. Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images.

by Dish Staff

Coates is beyond tired of the continual “transmutation of black protest into moral hectoring of black people”:

Don Imus profanely insults a group of black women. But the real problem is gangsta rap. Trayvon Martin is killed. This becomes a conversation about how black men are bad fathers. Jonathan Martin is bullied mercilessly. This proves that black people have an unfortunate sense of irony.

The politics of respectability are, at their root, the politics of changing the subject—the last resort for those who can not bear the agony of looking their country in the eye. The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts—they evidence them.

Ioffe likewise addresses the “troubling self-flagellation in Ferguson’s black community”:

Read On

by Matthew Sitman

After asking readers about the novels, poems, and short stories that have meant the most to them, the response has been so affirming – at a time when we all wonder about the future of reading, writing, and publishing, it’s good to be reminded of why those questions matter at all. Many more of you have been in touch with us since Monday, for which I’m grateful. One reader writes:

For me, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities has been that understanding, consoling companion you wrote of. I came across it fresh out of high school, and I remember feeling like these little prose poems were systematically presenting all my own faults and shitty tendencies to me – but so beautifully and carefully articulated that I couldn’t help feeling proud of identifying with them. It followed me through university, across a couple continents, and it’s rare now that I go more than a month without opening the copy beside my bed, seeking comfort in its perfectly precise bittersweetness. The book opens (sort of) by evoking, then puncturing, the same nostalgic feeling I now often try to get out of rereading it:Invisible Cities

The special quality of this city for the man who arrives there on a September evening, when days are growing shorter and the multicolored lamps are lighted all at once at the doors of the food stalls and from a terrace a woman’s voice cries ooh!, is that he feels envy toward those who now believe they have once before lived an evening identical to this and who think they were happy, that time.

And it ends with what still probably amounts to the full extent of my theology:

The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.

Thanks for giving the good stuff space!

Another writes:

Read On