The senseless cruelty of some people

I keep plugging that truly excellent radio program This American Life and this week they had a new episode that looked at the travails of security guards at JFK airport, through the eyes of one of them, LaDonna Powell. It was a gripping show but as I listened I grew increasingly furious at how badly the supervisors treated the guards, especially the women and people of color.
[Read more…]

Michelle Wolf’s new show

I watched the first episode of Michelle Wolf’s new comedy series The Break that will air a new half-hour episode every Sunday on Netflix. It is clear that she is going to continue with her take-no-prisoners attitude that she showed in her speech at the White House Correspondents Association dinner recently. The show was biting and funny.

The one jarring note for me was the fat-shaming jokes she did of disgraced chef Mario Batali, who has been accused of multiple acts of sexual abuse. It is true that Batali seems like an awful person but my feeling is that she would have been better served by poking fun at his behavior than his looks. Fat shaming anyone seems wrong to me because however bad the target might be as a person, it inflicts collateral damage on other people who are quite innocent. Since she is very slim, it feels even worse.

Here is a promo for the show.

Gambling in sports: the cricket fixing scandals

Now that the US Supreme Court has allowed gambling on sporting events, a lot more money will be wagered on the outcome of games. As soon as a lot of money is at stake on the results, it is also likely to increase the chances of attempts to fix the outcomes. In cricket, there have been cases of players being bribed by gambling interest to affect their performance, to score slowly or deliberately lose their wickets or bowl badly. Yesterday a new and different type of scandal emerged, one that involved something peculiar to cricket where it was not players who are alleged to have been bribed but the ground staff at a particular venue in Sri Lanka.
[Read more…]

Why the Democratic party leadership is so awful

The national leadership of the Democratic party relentlessly pushes the candidacies of so-called ‘moderates’ in primary elections, people with Republican-lite views, even when the grass-roots favors more progressive candidates. The leadership and some political analysts argue that they do so for strategic reasons, not ideological ones, because they think this gives them a better chance of winning elections by attracting some people who would vote Republican. Progressives have argued that number of such voters who can be won over is small and will be offset by those voters who will not vote out of disgust at the lack of real choice they are confronted with. It would be far better to target the large number of people who have become disaffected with the Democrats precisely because they have not been vocal and aggressive about the issues that they care about.
[Read more…]

Irish abortion ban overturned

With most of the votes counted, the people of Ireland have voted to overturn the complete ban on all abortions, including in the cases of rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality, that had been written into the constitution by a large margin of 68%-32%, pretty much in line with early exit polls but contradicting opinion polls that had shown a close vote. For an overwhelmingly Catholic country, this is a huge deal, and the ‘yes’ vote won in every region, even in the most staunchly Catholic ones. What is astounding, as Robert Mackey informs us, is that it was only as recently as 1983 that the ban was imposed by a huge margin of 67-33%. This is a huge change in opinion in a short time.
[Read more…]

The drug problem is going to get worse before it gets even worse

You may have read of the drug bust that found enough fentanyl to kill 26 million people That is a massive number so I was shocked to lead that the total haul was just 118 pounds, which works out to about two milligrams per fatality. Mark Kleiman explains that fentanyl is one of the most potent drugs, which is why a tiny amount can be so dangerous. He says that fentanyl is just one of a class of synthetic opioids that are far more dangerous than prescription opioids and heroin and also much easier to produce since they do not require an agricultural crop as its starting point but can be made entirely in a lab.
[Read more…]

Terrorist protected by the US has died

News came yesterday that one of the worlds worst terrorists died yesterday. He had successfully evaded prosecution in the US and extradition to the US for his crimes because he had been protected by the US government.

Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born veteran of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, died Wednesday aged 90 at his home near Miami.

“The murderer Luis Posada Carriles, who plunged Cuba into mourning, died with impunity,” the official Granma newspaper said.

Posada went on to plot attacks and assassination attempts against Castro’s government, becoming a hero to many Cuban exiles and a terrorist in the eyes of Havana.
[Read more…]