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The incarceration racial gap is narrowing

• In the some good news, anyway, category: German Lopez writes in the NYT The Morning newsletter that the long standing massive discrepancy in racial incarceration rates in the U.S. is finally declining:

“Slowly, the American criminal justice system has become more equitable. The racial gap among inmates in state prisons has fallen 40 percent since 2000, fueled by a large decrease in Black imprisonment rates, according to a new report by the Council on Criminal Justice, a think tank.

Finding the right balance between public safety and human dignity animated many of the criminal justice policies enacted in the U.S. over the past couple of decades. The decline in racial disparities is a remarkable reversal of policies now widely seen as unfairly punishing Black people. “It’s a tremendous drop,” said Thaddeus Johnson, one of the report’s authors.”

2022-11-03T11:32:55-05:00October 31st, 2022|HomeRecommended|

Elon Musk, the selective libertarian

Good commentary by Matt Yglesias, describing how Elon Musk is quite selective when advocating for his libertarian principles. He’s all for free speech on Twitter, but very quiet when it comes to suppression of free speech in China.  He complained bitterly about pandemic-related protocols in Cali, but trumpets China’s “no new domestic corona cases” (no Covid restrictions there, eh Elon?).  And he publicly advocated for Taiwan to become “a special administrative zone” of China a day before Tesla was granted a Chinese purchase tax exemption for its Model X and S EVs.  It seems that profits take precedence over principle for Elon.  Guess he does need the Benjamins for his Twitter purchase…

2022-10-18T18:31:39-05:00October 18th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Christian authoritarianism

Will Bunch, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the blinders Republicans seem to have for political candidates failing to live according to their purported values: “Because the so-called “family values” of American fundamentalists now drawn toward Christian nationalism turn out to be mere window dressing that can be tossed for the movement’s true aim: authoritarianism.

2022-10-07T14:22:22-05:00October 7th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Paxlovid should perhaps be used more, particularly for those older than 60…

• Another worthwhile Morning newsletter from David Leonhardt of the NYT, riffing on how some therapies for Covid-19 are being underutilized, especially in certain populations.   Improving usage and access might improve the persistent mortality of this disease, still averaging almost 400 deaths a day in the U.S. David L. is on leave for a few months; I’ll miss him!  A revealing excerpt:

2022-10-07T14:18:34-05:00October 7th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

Nature is amazing

This was a wonderful story in the Times about the godwit, which holds the record for the longest annual nonstop migration for a land bird – over 7,000 miles, from Alaska to New Zealand! And that’s over 8-10 days, no stops for food or water, and flight by continuous flapping, not dynamic soaring. Their round trip migration is about 30,000 km, since the return trip includes a stopover in China.  Scientists do not completely understand the birds’ physiology, since all models predict they should not have the available energy stores to make such a nonstop flight.  An excerpt:

‘…they are proficient at the incredibly risky endeavor; the survival rate is more than 90 percent.

“It’s not really like a marathon,” said Christopher Guglielmo, an animal physiologist at Western University in London, Ontario, who studies avian endurance physiology. “It’s more like a trip to the moon.”’

Amazing stuff.

2022-10-04T11:45:46-05:00October 4th, 2022|Home, Musings|
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