Pixel Scroll 6/7/20 It’s Just An Old Fashioned Pixel Scroll, One I’m Sure They Wrote For You And Me

(1) GETTING PAID. On Twitter today, under the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag, writers disclosed the amounts of their book advances in order to generate data that will show if there are systematic biases against writers of color and other marginalized groups.

N. K. Jemisin responded — complete thread here. Comments include:

Jemisin also took questions:

Alyssa Cole, whose comments on RWA have been quoted here before, said it this way:

  • Martha Wells was one of several other sff authors who participated. Her tweets, which weren’t threaded, are here, here and here.
  • John Scalzi gave figures and analyzed the context in which they were paid for a post at Whatever.
  • Irene Gallo, Associate Publisher of Tor.com and Creative Director of Tor Books, linked the discussion to artists, as well.

(2) RWA STATEMENT ON SYSTEMIC RACISM. “A Statement and Action Plan from Romance Writers of America” parallels the strategy SFWA announced earlier this week:

…As an organization that just went through a massive crisis for many of the same reasons that underscore these protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many more —injustice, racism, and unfairness—we acknowledge that we have turned aside from confronting difficult truths for far too long. That our authors from marginalized communities, especially our Black authors, have been treated as somehow less deserving of a seat at the table of publishing. We must admit and learn from this shameful past, while standing up for our goal and commitment to make the future better. We stand together in the fight against systemic racism….

RWA is taking the following steps in addition to our continuing work on diversity issues and continuing efforts to make our organization a safe place for Black writers:

  • We invite all Black authors in RWA to attend our first online conference, to be held August 28-30, at no charge. This admission will include the recordings of the conference 
  • We will make 100 scholarships to our online conference available to non-member Black writers
  • We are making it a priority to find new resources to add to our Diversity and Inclusion Resources page on our website
  • We will direct our Academic Grants Committee to seek out Black academics studying romance to consider for RWA grants
  • This is a time when so many of us are terrified, alone, and feeling helpless. We offer the following links, for those who wish to learn more or find a way to contribute. 

(3) UNCLE HUGO’S UPDATE: If you’re someone who wants to contribute by sending a check or money order (rather than donate online through the “Official Help Save Uncle Hugo’s Fund” GoFundMe), Don Blyly gave me an address for that purpose. Contact me at mikeglyer@cs.com.

The GoFundMe has raised $113,269 as of today.

(4) RECOVERING. David Dyer-Bennett’s photo gallery, “Signs Over Windows”, documents the messages and art on the boarding over vandalized windows in downtown Minneapolis. Also includes images of the scorched bits of books in the rubble around Uncle Hugo’s.

In the aftermath of the Minneapolis Police killing George Floyd, Minneapolis has experienced much distress. We’re being forced to confront issues we’ve let slide for too long (or that our work has not usefully improved). There is a huge amount of anger of course, both immediate and accumulated over decades and centuries. There is despair. There are even some tendrils of hope.

I’m not a suitable person to deal with the big issues here. I’ll keep listening, and I’ll keep voting and pressuring my representatives to do what seems right, but I’m not a leader in any of this.

But the visual changes to the city around me have been striking. In some areas, most businesses have put plywood (or OSB) over all their windows and other glass. That by itself is a big change, but not visually very interesting. However, much of the plywood has been painted with slogans and war cries, straight-forwardly or artistically, or even graphic art. Both the text, and the appearance, have been catching my attention, so I started photographing these decorated sheets of plywood….

(5) TECH IMAGINED. “Ken Liu: ‘We get to define the stories we want to be told about us.’” Mary Wang interviews the author for Guernica. Tagline: “Using photos of his text editors, mapmaking software, and 3D-printed prototypes, the writer talks about technology, myth, and telling stories during a pandemic.”

Wang: If you were a different type of writer, I might ask you how you conceive of characters and build plot. But since you talk about engineering as a language, it would make more sense for me to ask how you conceive of technologies. How do they come about, how do you then refine them, and finally, how do you incorporate them into the story?

Liu: I love talking about this stuff. My other former careers consisted of being a litigation consultant and a corporate lawyer, so I did a lot of research into the history of patents and the history of technology. That turns out to be a great way to find inspiration for fictional machines. If you go into patent databases, you’ll see tons and tons of interesting inventions that never went anywhere. But that doesn’t mean that, in an alternate universe, they couldn’t have become successful and become the progenitor of new lineages of machines. 

I also get a lot of inspiration from reading about archaeological discoveries of ancient machinery. The Chinese had invented these amazing compound looms that could be programmed to create complex textile patterns, and we didn’t know how they worked because they didn’t survive. But the latest archaeological discoveries actually found some of these looms, or models of them made out of ceramic as grave goods, so archaeologists have been able to recreate them and figure them out. They were amazing, like mechanical computers that could be programmed to weave specific patterns. Similarly, archaeologists realized that Heron of Alexandria, a great Greek inventor of antiquity, had devised all sorts of machines for temple magic as part of religious rituals. That turned out to anticipate many of our modern ideas about cybernetics and autonomous control.

These lines of technology didn’t go very far, but in the fictional world I was creating, I could take it as far as I wanted to. …

(6) HIS NEXT RODEO. Congratulations to Ziv Wities (Standback) for making the grade at Podcastle.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • June 7, 1997 Perversions of Science premiered on HBO. It was a spin-off of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. Its episodes were based off of work from EC Comics’s Incredible Science FictionWeird Fantasy and Weird Science titles. It would last but for one season of ten episodes. Writers adapting those stories included David S. Goyer (the Blade trilogy screenplays), David Schow (The Crow with John Shirley) and Andrew Kevin Walker (Sleepy Hollow screenplay).

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born June 7, 1844 – Robert Milne.  Rediscovered by Sam Moskowitz, who helped collect RM’s stories for Into the Sun.  Eleven there; fifty more not yet reprinted, e.g. “The Great Electric Diaphragm”, “A Dip into the Doings of the Four-Dimensional World”, “What the Great Instrument in the Lick Observatory Observed”.  Even I found the Into the Sun stories and four more here.  (Died 1899) [JH]
  • Born June 7, 1915 Graham J. Ingels. Illustrator best remembered for his work in EC Comics during the Fifties, most notably on The Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. He illustrated one genre magazine, Planet Stories cover as you can see here. Thought didn’t do any other covers, he was a regular interior artist for both Planet Stories and Planet Comics. (Died 1991.)(CE)
  • Born June 7, 1924 Jon Ewban White. Writer who was the script doctor for The Day of the Triffids. He was the writer for Witch Hunt, a dark fantasy series that ran BBC for six episodes. He even wrote an Avengers episode, “Propellent 23”.  His one film screenplay was “Crack in the World” which was straight SF Sixties style story about of the end brought on by the follies of man. You can watch it here. (Died 2013.) (CE) 
  • Born June 7, 1932 – Kit Reed.  Sixteen novels in our field; a hundred forty shorter stories, three dozen in The Story Until Now; fourteen more novels.  First published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under Boucher.  Translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian.  Guggenheim Fellow.  Called herself a trans-genred writer.  (Died 2017) [JH]
  • Born June 7, 1946 – Jon White.  Fanziner and bookseller.  Revived Inside in 1962, brought in Leland Sapiro who renamed it Riverside Quarterly (after a famous dwelling in New York).  Here is the front cover by Arthur Thomson (“Atom”) for vol. 1 no. 2.  (Died 2004) [JH]
  • Born June 7, 1949 – Real Musgrave.  Graphic artist who has maintained a fannish connection.  Artist Guest of Honor at Westercon XLI (here is the cover of its Program Book); exhibited at Magicon, the 50th Worldcon.  Here is a cover for Fantasy Review.  Pocket Dragons, done as drawings, figurines, animated television series.  Brother of astronaut Story Musgrave.  [JH]
  • Born June 7, 1954 – Louise Erdrich.  In the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth (A.B., English; later, honorary Litt. D. and Commencement speaker).  Member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; her grandfather was tribal chief.  National Book Award for Fiction, Lib. Cong. Prize for Amer. Fiction, Amer. Acad. Poets Prize, Pushcart Prize.  Love Medicine, only début novel to win the Nat’l Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.  Children’s books; Scott O’Dell Award for The Game of Silence.  World Fantasy Award for The Antelope Wife; three more novels in our field.  Interview in December 2017 Lightspeed.  [JH]
  • Born June 7, 1967 Dayton Ward, 53. Writer best known for his Trek fiction which began with publication in the Strange New Worlds anthology series. To say he’s written a lot of that media tie-in fiction is an understatement as he’s written forty novels so far with the Mirror Universe and the Starfleet Corps of Engineers being but two of the subjects he tackles. He already written one novel for one of the latest series, Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures. (CE)
  • Born June 7, 1968 Sarah Parish, 52. In “The Runaway Bride“, a Tenth Doctor story, she got to play, with the assistance of extensive CGI, one of the nastiest Who villains to date, The Empress of the Racnoss, an oversized vicious spider with a human face. Great episode. It’s our introduction to Donna Noble, his Companion for quite some time to come. In a much lighter role, she played Pasiphaë on BBC’s Atlantis series. (CE)
  • Born June 7, 1974 David Filoni, 46. Creator and an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels, a most awesome series, for all four seasons, and was supervising director and a writer on another excellent series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (I like the animated series far better than the live action films.) He makes his live acting debut in The Mandalorian playing Trapper Wolf, an X-Wing pilot, in “The Prisoner” episode. It’s also worth noting that he his first job was directing episodes during the first season of animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender (CE) 
  • Born June 7, 1978 – Jesse Ball.  Novelist and poet; spare, surrealistic, and strange.  Went to Vassar, which would have saddened my grandmother who never wanted it to go co-ed.  Guggenheim Fellowship; Illinois Author of the Year, 2015; Berlin Prize; Plimpton Prize.  Gordon Burn Prize for Census; two more novels and a book of shorter stories in our field; five more novels, drawings, non-fiction.  Faculty, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he got Wikipedia to believe he teaches lying, ambiguity, dreaming, walking; and maybe he does.  [JH]

(9) OUT OF SORTS. Meanwhile, back at the Tingleverse:

(10) SHOWING THE WAY. “Ronald McNair’s Civil Disobedience: The Illustrated Story of How a Little Boy Who Grew Up to Be a Trailblazing Astronaut Fought Segregation at the Public Library” by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.

“Knowledge sets us free… A great library is freedom,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in contemplating the sacredness of public libraries. “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be,” her contemporary James Baldwin — who had read his way from the Harlem public library to the literary pantheon — insisted in his courageous and countercultural perspective on freedom.

Ronald McNair (October 21, 1950–January 28, 1986) was nine when he took his freedom into his own small hands.

Unlike Maya Angelou, who credited a library with saving her life, McNair’s triumphant and tragic life could not have been saved even by a library — he was the age I am now when he perished aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger before the eyes of a disbelieving nation. But his life was largely made by a library — a life equal parts inspiring and improbable against the cultural constrictions of his time and place; a life of determination that rendered him the second black person to launch into space, a decade and a half after a visionary children’s book first dared imagine the possibility….

(11) PLATFORM MATURES. “TikTok Pivots From Dance Moves To A Racial Justice Movement”NPR has the story.

When Raisha Doumbia, a 20-year-old swimming instructor in Roswell, Ga., first downloaded the video-sharing app TikTok, she made lighthearted posts, like her lip-syncing and dancing to a song by the British girl group Little Mix.

But Doumbia paused the playful routines after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis. Now she is using her TikTok feed to urge followers to march for racial justice.

…All of a sudden, TikTok has become the go-to forum for burgeoning youth activism.

“Anger, dismay, disgust and unhappiness are all feelings that can be easily transmitted on a video on Tik Tok,” Aho Williamson said.

Black creators accuse TikTok of suppression

Activism arrived on TikTok just as scrutiny of its parent company, the Chinese-owned ByteDance, intensified.

As protests began to sweep the nation, black creators noticed that videos tagged #GeorgeFloyd or #BlackLivesMatter were hard to find, or looked as though no one had watched them despite a torrent of views.

To some users, it was a suspicious development, considering that ByteDance has censored videos of anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, in addition to having been exposed for previously suppressing posts from users deemed too unattractive or undesirable for the platform.

TikTok insists that is not what happened in posts related to Black Lives Matter. In an about-face, the company apologized and blamed the problem on a “technical glitch.”

“Nevertheless, we understand that many assumed this bug to be an intentional act to suppress the experiences and invalidate the emotions felt by the black community. And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust,” said Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s general manager for the U.S.

(12) TROMPE L’OEIL. Those who got to L.A.con III may remember the debut of Omar Rayyan with some stunning fool-the-eye work. Now somebody’s doing it in public: “David Zinn: Street art that washes away in the rain” – video.

David Zinn is a professional chalk artist who’s on a mission to show that you don’t need fancy equipment to draw.

His work has appeared on subway platforms in Manhattan, village squares in Sweden and street corners in Taiwan.

(13) HIGH PRAISE.“A Master of Hidden Things” is John Banville’s tribute to a fine writer in The New York Review of Books.

…Revisiting Elizabeth Bowen’s Collected Stories, one realizes that there are certain literary works that, once read, make one burn with envy of those readers who have still to come to them for the first time.* There is not a story in this substantial volume, from the first to the last, that is not brought off beautifully. While it is no doubt foolhardy and certainly vulgar to choose favorites, one must mention instances in which Bowen outdid herself. These include the elusive but vividly immediate “Summer Night”; the haunting “Mysterious Kôr” and the haunted “The Demon Lover”; the trance-like wartime set pieces “Ivy Gripped the Steps” and “The Happy Autumn Fields”; the forlorn “Joining Charles”; and the merely—merely!—marvelous early tales “Daffodils” and “The Parrot.” In these and many other of the stories, Bowen reached, as Glendinning puts it, “a perfection and a unity that the sustained narrative and shifting emphases of a novel do not attempt.”

(14) WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. “How map hacks and buttocks helped Taiwan fight Covid-19”.

With direct flights to Wuhan and a population of 24 million people living in densely packed cities, Taiwan’s coronavirus outlook seemed grave.

But, to date, the disease has claimed just seven lives on the island, and it never went into full lockdown.

Its leaders credit masks as playing a key role, but not for the reasons you might suppose.

“Masks are something that, first, reminds you to wash your hands properly and, second, protects you from touching your mouth – that is the main benefit to the person who wears it,” explains Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister.

Taiwan’s citizens have worn face masks for health and other reasons since the 1950s, but the spread of coronavirus prompted a spate of panic-buying.

To even out demand, the masks had to be rationed while production was ramped up, from two million to 20 million items a day.

Long queues snaked back from pharmacies and other outlets – which posed a risk of contagion in themselves. So, the government decided data about each location’s stock levels should be made publicly available.

To do so, Ms Tang’s ministry launched a platform which each vendor could keep updated with their stock numbers.

Then, Taiwan’s hacking community, with whom the government had been building a strong relationship for years, stepped in.

It began drawing on the data, which had been made public, to build a series of real-time ‘mask maps’.

…Earlier this week, Chien-Jen Chen – the island’s former vice-president and a renowned epidemiologist – told British MPs that a well-designed contact tracing system and the application of strict quarantine rules to inbound visitors had also played a major role

But he too said the nature of the island’s “hyper-democracy” – and the efforts its health chiefs had made to gain the public’s trust – were the key factors in it success.

Those in power aren’t just responsive to the voices of citizens, but also the memes and other messages they share.

It helped the government counter false claims that the material used to make masks was the same as that found in toilet paper. In response Taiwan’s Premier posted a self-mocking cartoon, which showed his bottom wiggling, alongside an explanation of the different sources that toilet paper and mask paper come from.

“It went absolutely viral” says Ms Tang, of the government strategy referred to as “humour over rumour”.

[Thanks to John Hertz, Chip Hitchcock, BravoLimaPoppa, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, JJ, Michael Toman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/7/20 It’s Just An Old Fashioned Pixel Scroll, One I’m Sure They Wrote For You And Me

  1. (8) Louise Erdrich’s name is misspelled (missing the second ‘r’).

  2. (2) Can I hope that this is a hopeful sign? I’d like to. I worry that it’s just show.

    (4) I was interested to see, late this afternoon, that the Minneapolis City Council has voted, with a veto-proof majority, to abolish the police department, and do something else about public safety. The quote I remember, but this is from memory, is “Our attempts at incremental reform have failed.”

    (6) Congratulations, Ziv!

    (11) “Technical glitch.” Yeah, sure. And I’ve got a bridge I can sell you.

    Fifth?

  3. ” and Andrew Kevin Walker and Andrew Kevin Walker”

    I’ve often thought it would be nice to have a clone at crunch time.

  4. 12) for the last 10 years Houston has had a chalk art festival downtown in the fall, I believe there were about 200 artists last time.

  5. @Lis Carey: I wonder what will actually happen with that ?law?resolution?budget-action?; without the backing of the mayor (who IIRC has been behind the curve) it will go nowhere whether or not it’s vetoed. (We’re not looking at the end of Vanished, where the President announces he’s abolishing the CIA.) I can also imagine endless litigation from “concerned citizens” (probably heavily funded from the outside), during which there might be no change whatsoever. (Yes, I’m feeling pessimistic tonight.)
    I recently saw a statement that Chauvin, despite all the complaints against him, had been involved in training other police officers; words fail me.
    At least Minneapolis is unlikely to be faced with the mess Boston is IMO still sorting out from, in which an entire force was fired due to a strike and replaced largely with returning WWI soldiers.

    @11 is quite a story. Today’s issue is that with such obvious barriers down, too many people think all barriers are down; events of the last couple of weeks come and go as too-easily-forgotten reminders that they aren’t.

  6. @Chip Hitchcock–I’m sure that actually getting to real and useful change will be a hard fight, but the Minneapolis City Council is certainly putting a marker down. In a more perfect world, I’d rather have had them have a plan ready. But on the other hand, the mayor does at least seem to grasp there’s a real problem, even if he’s not caught up with the city council and much of the community. He may decide to hurry up and get in front of the parade.

  7. Chip Hitchcock: At least Minneapolis is unlikely to be faced with the mess Boston is IMO still sorting out from, in which an entire force was fired due to a strike and replaced largely with returning WWI soldiers.

    I’m interested in seeing if Buffalo is going to clean house and start fresh, or whether they’re going to allow the 57 officers who resigned in support of the 2 who shoved and seriously injured a 75-year-old man to remain on the force.

    I just seriously don’t understand being that utterly lacking in conscience. 😐

  8. 6) Congratulations to Ziv!

    13) Many years ago, before he was famous, I chanced to visit some pretty crappy behaviour from the author of this article. It has coloured my view of everything he’s done ever since.

    Which has nothing whatsoever to do with Elisabeth Bowen.

  9. (4) I should point out that the boards protecting Dreamhaven Books’ windows also feature in my collection (look for “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”, only about 4 rows in to the gallery).

  10. @JJ They’re still on the force, they just resigned from the Old Man Pushing Squad – sorry, I meant the Emergency Response Team.

  11. Got a question that someone here might be able to answer.

    I’m in a book club that’s currently reading Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Some of the original songs in the book were later recorded by Cats Laughing, a band that that Emma formed along with Steven Brust and others.

    I can find their first album online but only a couple of songs from the followup, Another Way to Travel. Does anybody know where I can buy or stream the songs or buy a copy of the CD?

  12. 4) It’s going to be terribly destabilizing as all the long-term arrangements for graft, corruption, bribery, and police criminality are destroyed.

    I don’t think people realize how much each half of the cop-crook syndicate relies on the other to keep the criminal justice system profitable. Look for early trouble in the institutions and markets where cops and crooks compete and cooperate–pawn shops, bail bondsmen, repo men, all the corrupt, cash-filled institutions.

    I’m so glad to finally be living in the future, jet pack or not!

  13. Acoustic Rob asks Got a question that someone here might be able to answer.

    I’m in a book club that’s currently reading Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Some of the original songs in the book were later recorded by Cats Laughing, a band that that Emma formed along with Steven Brust and others.

    I can find their first album online but only a couple of songs from the followup, Another Way to Travel. Does anybody know where I can buy or stream the songs or buy a copy of the CD?

    An excellent question, so I just sent Will Shetterly , Emma’s husband, an email as to where you can find a copy.

    BTW Terri Windling did the cover art for that album which shows the band against a hearse doubling as their tour vehicle according to her. David Dyer-Bennet sent me her original artwork years ago and I really should do something with it…

  14. An excellent question, so I just sent Will Shetterly , Emma’s husband, an email as to where you can find a copy.

    Thank you! Hugely appreciated!

  15. The other quirk in the Buffalo story is that some officers have said they only resigned from the Emergency Response Team because the Police Benevolent Association said they’d no longer be legally backing officers who remained. The PBA presented it as all 57 members quitting in support of the two suspended officers, but it sounds like they orchestrated the mass resignation.

    For an Oceania theme, it’s Anna Torv and Karl Urban’s birthday. She was Olivia (and Fauxlivia) on Fringe and he was Dr McCoy, Éomer and Cupid.

  16. Meredith Moment: The ebook version of Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl In The Ring is available on Amazon for $2.99.

  17. @Cat Eldridge: I just seriously don’t understand being that utterly lacking in conscience. Progressive (e.g., boiled-frog) erosion of conscience is perhaps not trivial, but runs along well-established paths. (Milgram is obvious, but his experimental design is … controversial.) There have been a number of articles in the last few days pointing to the effects of police unions, e.g. this from NPR, but (cf @Arkansawyer’s comments) also noting that politicians aren’t clean-handed in this (as they often concede everything but money because money must be found and those who spend it can be blamed). Some articles have noted the multiple stages (e.g., not just post-9/11 but previously, e.g. under Reagan) of increased militarization of the police; this has the not-entirely-intended side effect of encouraging an us-vs-them mentality as opposed to we’re-public-servants. (Not that us-vs-them is confined to police — after all, it got the Cheetoh elected — but ISTM it has been encouraged there.) This last I think is key: once the mental distinction begins to arise, justifying doing anything to “them” to save “us” is an easy slide.
    (aside: sometimes unions get smacked with the folly of resisting everything; in Boston an officer who had just recently accepted a bodycam shot someone attacking him with a knife — and a number of ~community-leaders who would otherwise have cried havoc looked at the recording and decided not to. But this is rare; in the current disturbances officers seem to be gambling that working bodycams would be more likely to show indefensible behavior.)

    @Jamoche: that’s an interestingly different-slant / clarification of this NPR story (look a little over halfway down, after “WKBW”) — but sounds plausible; do you have a link?

  18. Chip Hitchcock says @Cat Eldridge: I just seriously don’t understand being that utterly lacking in conscience.

    Errr that’s definitely not me that you’re quoting, it’s JJ.

  19. Rob Thornton exclaims Meredith Moment: The ebook version of Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl In The Ring is available on Amazon for $2.99.

    Ymmm! And it’s available on iBooks as well which is where I just purchased it which suggests it’s at all the usual digital suspects. This was her first novel and in some ways I think it’s her best novel still as her storytelling goes.

  20. Chip Hitchcock: this has the not-entirely-intended side effect of encouraging an us-vs-them mentality as opposed to we’re-public-servants… This last I think is key: once the mental distinction begins to arise, justifying doing anything to “them” to save “us” is an easy slide.

    I read somewhere that the psychometric tests used for admission to police academies are scaled so that anyone who seems too predisposed to independent thought and action will fail, because they are looking for people who will follow orders unquestioningly and support the “party line”.

    Which would certainly explain a lot of the problems we’re getting a lot of visibility on right now. A PD steeped in corrupt culture will be self-perpetuating and train successive new waves of officers to fall in line with the police-brutality mentality, so that when something like Buffalo happens, each of the dozens of officers standing there know that the others standing there will support them on doing nothing to offer aid.

  21. Meredith moment: The first two books in Laura Anne Gilman’s Retriever series, Staying Dead and Curse the Dark are on sale for $2.50 More details at her website.

  22. @Jack Lint

    For an Oceania theme, it’s Anna Torv and Karl Urban’s birthday. She was Olivia (and Fauxlivia) on Fringe and he was Dr McCoy, Éomer and Cupid.

    And Skurge and Judge Dredd and Elijah Bailey by another name in Almost Human.

  23. @Jack Lint: I was very impressed by Anna Torv’s acting on Fringe – she briefly played Olivia possessed by Leonard Nimoy’s character and really conveyed Nimoy’s body language etc.

  24. And Skurge and Judge Dredd and Elijah Bailey by another name in Almost Human.

    And Vakko and Billy Butcher and John Grimm. Dude doesn’t shy away from genre work.

  25. @Chip I’ve read that Minneapolis is what’s called a ‘weak mayor’ city, meaning the City Council is superior and the mayor can’t veto their actions.

  26. @rochrist

    I’ve read that Minneapolis is what’s called a ‘weak mayor’ city, meaning the City Council is superior and the mayor can’t veto their actions.

    Minneapolis’s city charter requires a minimum level of funding for the police department. A unanimous city council can’t change that; it takes support of the mayor as well (or a popular vote on a referendum).

    https://m.startribune.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-plans-to-defund-minneapolis-police/571112392/

  27. @bill: “Minneapolis’s city charter requires a minimum level of funding for the police department.”

    Which is fine. Take away the money needed to provide services the police are the wrong people to provide. Let’s see if that hits the minimum. If not, do it again.

  28. I wish folks had come up with a different word than “defund”. It’s way too easy to see that as calling for ALL police money to be taken away. Some advocates do want to go that far, but others don’t.

    Personally, I’d like to see police salaries raised — it’s easier to attract good employees if you pay them reasonably — and increase money for good training. Then take away money from some of the toys — no, they really don’t need all that military paraphernalia — incentivize de-escalation techniques, increase legal accountability for abuse (which will depend in part on a SCOTUS decision that I think is pending right now), and legally require all cops to be wearing body cams at all times (which will take MORE money, not less).

    Also, I read an interesting article mentioning Camden today — their crime rate dropped by some huge amount, I forget whether it was 20% or 50%, after they dissolved their city PD and started relying on county cops instead.

  29. 1) Regarding Alyssa Cole, may I recommend her Loyal League series about a group of black spies operating behind enemy lines during the Civil War. There are three books to date, An Extraordinary Union, A Hope Divided and An Unconditional Freedom, and they’re fantastic. The series is historical romance, so there are sex scenes. And obviously, there is slavery – after all, it’s set during the Civil War.

  30. @Contrarius: it is unclear that raising salaries will attract the preferred people; in many cities police are already well-paid compared to other vital city workers (e.g. teachers) — and that’s before counting overtime, which they’re eligible for and a lot of others aren’t. (The local paper said recently that 500 Boston police netted more than the mayor’s $110K last year.) ISTM the real problem is finding people with people skills (putting it very crudely).

  31. Here is a Minneapolis councilman on what happens when you try to cut the Minneapolis police budget.

    As recently as last summer, there was strong support for 250 more officers in the Minneapolis PD, including from a majority of black people.

    “Defund the police” is a big rallying cry right now, but I’ll bet it will end up being like gun control after a mass shooting incident — six months later, the status is quo.

  32. @bill: Most people want police protection. They don’t want a gang of thugs who slowly kill a man in public because they thought he might’ve done something.

    So I figure the community will get those new officers, right after the existing organization has been burned to the ground. We saw the Minneapolis criminal justice system require days of riots to get one killer cop charged with a televised murder. Talk about criminal!

    So I kinda think people aren’t going to stop till they get acceptable policing.

  33. @Contrarius

    Also, I read an interesting article mentioning Camden today — their crime rate dropped by some huge amount, I forget whether it was 20% or 50%, after they dissolved their city PD and started relying on county cops instead.

    And I’ve read that in reality, the dissolution of the Camden PD was actually an exercise in union-busting, where the PD (with its expensive union contract) was dissolved, and the officers were mostly re-hired by the county sheriff’s dept at lower wages.
    Do you think crime actually went down, or that this was a manifestation of “blue flu”, in which law enforcement simply didn’t process as many people through the system?

  34. @bill: Police “unions” aren’t unions because they don’t practice solidarity with other unions.They’re a guild at best and conspiracy at worst.

    As for whether crime went down? Yeah. I bet there were a lot fewer arrests for Standing Around And Doing Nothing. Sounds good to me.

  35. And I’ve read that in reality, the dissolution of the Camden PD was actually an exercise in union-busting, where the PD (with its expensive union contract) was dissolved, and the officers were mostly re-hired by the county sheriff’s dept at lower wages.

    What John said.

    Also, the details of who did or did not get rehired by whom aren’t the essential point here. The essential point is that disbanding the original department worked.

    Do you think crime actually went down, or that this was a manifestation of “blue flu”, in which law enforcement simply didn’t process as many people through the system?

    Crime rates are calculated from the number of reported crimes, not the number of arrests. But nice try. 😉

    Oh, and I Googled the crime rate drop to refresh my memory. Crime dropped by nearly 50%. Violent crimes dropped 42%.

    An interesting article that discusses some of the pros and cons of Camden:

    Camden disbanded its police department and built a new one. Can others learn from it? — Philadelphia Inquirer

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