What I’m Reading, September 21, 2015

Police Officer Fired For Racial Bias After Falsely Claiming Black Man Attacked Her With Golf Club, Andy Campbell, Huffington Post, September 17, 2015

Seattle Police Officer Cynthia Whitlatch was fired Tuesday for showing racial bias and a lack of remorse when she improperly arrested a 69-year-old black man who was using a golf club as a cane.

“I was disappointed by your failure during your Loudermill hearing to take any responsibility, or show any understanding that your conduct at issue here was inappropriate,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole wrote in her decision to fire Whitlatch. “In particular, when I asked you what if anything you would do differently in retrospect, you stated that you would do nothing differently.”

‘The narrowing of opportunity in modern America’ (And the rise of the “mandarin” class), Nick Sorrentino, Against Crony Capitalism, February 15, 2015

The “mandarins” populate the power centers of this country almost exclusively. There are very few “sons of truck drivers” on Capitol Hill, on Wall Street, or in the think tanks. (There are probably a few still in the trading pits in Chicago.)


Many of the people I meet these days in our nation’s capital have never seen the inside of a call center and in the case of older folks would rather die than allow their sons or daughters to spend any time working in a call center. (Never mind working as a landscaper or in food service.) Many of the folks I bump into in Washington I sense have had very little experience with the world beyond Washington, New York, San Francisco and the leafy archipelago of “elite” schools which are scattered across the North East. (There are a few in California.) They are more likely to know Paris than Cincinnati.

And these are the people who to a very large extent are writing the laws for the rest of America.


I’m not saying that everyone who is making decisions in Washington should have spent time waiting tables or tending bar. Absolutely not. But I am saying that the country is well served by having a few people who have had to really hustle for a living at least at some point in their lives.

The White Man Defense Of Peter Liang, Elie Mystal, Above the Law Redline, February 12, 2015

Shorter [Bob] McManus [of the New York Post]: Liang was a rookie who made a good faith mistake while patrolling a dangerous area. Sure, a 28-year-old black man died, but are we really going to put a police officer in jail for that? Pish-posh, 28-year-old black men die all the time. You’d probably shoot one too if you were in that dangerous, dark stairwell where criminals (and fathers, and babies) might be lurking around the very next corner. Let’s all feel sorry for Liang, a trained police officer who ignored his training and murdered an innocent man, then offered no aid to the fallen victim.

Yeah, McManus left out the part where after shooting Gurley, Liang allegedly told his partner, “I’m going to get fired,” and then argued about whether they should call a supervisor before his partner returned to Gurley and administered CPR while Liang watched.

But even if McManus’s defense — which is absolutely the defense Liang’s lawyers will give in court — is a little too racist and callous for you, there are other cop sycophants out there laying the ground work for Liang’s acquittal by a jury of people who never have to worry about a cop coming into their apartment building and shooting them to death.

What’s the Hardest Language to Learn? Michelle Bryner, LiveScience, June 11, 2010

The reason Japanese is so hard for native English speakers, according to Richard Brecht, director at the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland, has to do with the complex writing systems of Japanese, which are completely different from the A-to-Z alphabet. Japanese has three different alphabets kanji, which is made up of about 15,000 characters, kata-kana that’s used for emphasis, and hira-gana for spelling suffixes and grammar.

Japanese is ranked by the U.S. Foreign Services Institute as the most difficult language for native English speakers to learn. The institute uses the time it takes to learn a language to determine its difficulty 23-24 weeks for the easiest and 88 weeks for the hardest.

Languages included in the institute’s easiest category are Danish, French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.

And languages in the hardest category are Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.


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