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September 01, 2012

This banker just really loves smashing windows

Reminds me of Wisconsin Death Trip. LA Banker Arrested In Window-Breaking Spree - ABC News
Michael Poret, a 58-year-old investment adviser who works on upscale Rodeo Drive, has been arrested in connection with a rash of window smashes along the Ventura Boulevard corridor, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Poret is allegedly responsible for a string of broken windows dating as far back as the beginning of the year, the LAPD said in a statement today. Police allege he used a slingshot and other weapons to shoot windows in numerous buildings with marbles and nuts. The suspect, wearing white gloves, would pull up in a silver SUV and fire the objects, often from the opposite side of the wide avenues. While no motive has been listed for the series of attacks, LAPD Det. Luie Velasquez told the Los Angeles Times, “for whatever reason, these individuals get some kind of thrill from smashing windows.” The suspect would allegedly strike when streets were most empty, according to LAPD. ”Most of the crimes occurred along Ventura Boulevard between Haskell Avenue and Balboa Boulevard, but stretched from Sherman Oaks to Woodland Hills. The majority of incidents happened during hours of darkness, in the early morning or late evening,” LAPD said in a statement.

August 30, 2012

Neil Armstrong, My Grandmother, Moonwalking, and the Only Game in Town

The death of Neil Armstrong occasioned a lot of interesting...

August 21, 2012

A glimpse into how the New York Times performs basic fact-checking

Krugman explains the process while pointing out how unethical Niall Ferguson's Newsweek piece was. Kinds Of Wrong - NYTimes.com
Now, I don’t expect a publication that responds to daily or weekly news to do New Yorker-style fact checking. But it should demand that anyone who writes for it document all of his or her factual assertions – and an editor should check that documentation to see that it actually matches what the writer says. That’s how it works at the Times, or at least how it works for me. I supply a list of sources with each column submission; for yesterday’s piece it looked like this: $4.3 trillion: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?Docid=3301&DocTypeID=5 lines 2, 3 and 5 Ryan cuts: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3723 (I count his Medicaid cuts relative to current policy, not policy including Obamacare) Disproportionate benefits at top: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?Docid=3337&DocTypeID=2 Ryan award: http://www.thefiscys.com/content/sen-kent-conrad-rep-paul-ryan-and-gov-mitch-daniels-named-2011-fiscy-award-recipients Baseline: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-ryan-20120817,0,1246452.story Each time I send in a column draft, the copy editor runs quickly through the citations, making sure that they match what I assert. Sometimes the editor feels that I go further than the source material actually justifies; in that case we either negotiate a rewording, or drop the assertion altogether. Oh, and weasel-wording isn’t acceptable – implying something the facts don’t support is no more OK than stating it outright. And despite all this, sometimes an error slips through. In that case, the response is a print correction.

FACT: Legitimate rape rarely results in pregnancy . . . in ducks

Representative Todd Akin's bizarre claim about the lack of illegitimate...

August 18, 2012

Fun with Word Origins: Bulldozer

It's a quintessentially American word at heart as it has to do originally with both political corruption on a massive scale and terrorizing black people. The first known sighting of bulldoze was in 1876, specifically in regards the election. This was the height of Reconstruction and political corruption was on an upswing. The word began as "bull's dose." As in "a bull's dose of the whip," which was thought to be hundreds of lashes. So, an asswhupping. A flogging. A lynching. Bulldozers were the guys who meted out these massive beatings. And who did they visit these beatings upon? Here is a passage from the Janesville Gazette of November, 1876. “Bull-dozers” mounted on the best horses in the state scoured the country in squads by night, threatening colored men, and warning them that if they attempted to vote the republican ticket they would be killed. That's right. Bulldozers were men who rode around the country on horseback threatening to beat to death any black men who tried to vote. Reconstruction everyone! A generation later the word was applied to heavy machinery like a machine that bent huge pieces of metal. Which is a pretty creepy thing to name your shop tools, America. And then in the 1910s bulldozer came to mean the big plow bit at the end of a device used to smash up and move chunks of whatever. And that's how we still use it. World Wide Words: Bulldozer