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The Uninhabitable Earth – David Wallace-Wells


The Uninhabitable Earth

Life After Warming

David Wallace-Wells

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $13.99

Expected Publish Date: February 19, 2019

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

" The Uninhabitable Earth  hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon."—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, “500-year” storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually. This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century. In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today. Like  An Inconvenient Truth  and  Silent Spring  before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.

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The Uninhabitable Earth – David Wallace-Wells

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Craft breweries in Colorado brace for less water

This story was originally published by CityLab and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

There’s an old saying in the West: Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.

In Colorado, home to more breweries than almost any other state, it’s probably more accurate to say that beer is for drinking. And although brewers haven’t yet come to blows over access to their product’s main ingredient, the state’s water is on its way to becoming a fought-over commodity.

Colorado is in the midst of its worst drought since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water in the West, predicts that reservoirs along the Colorado River will reach critical low points by 2020, leading to water shortages throughout much of the western U.S.

“We need to get ahead of this,” said Kelissa Hieber, owner and head brewer at Denver’s Goldspot Brewing. “We are getting to a point where we could have a crisis that could be catastrophic for small breweries.”

Hieber was speaking from behind a keg at her brewery’s stand at the Save the Ales Festival in downtown Denver in August. Hers was one of more than 40 local breweries that donated beer to the festival to raise money for water conservation initiatives throughout the state. Like most of the 200-some other craft breweries in Colorado, Goldspot uses city water to produce its beer. If a water crisis were to strike, these breweries would be subject to the same restrictions as any of the city’s other commercial water users.

Most of Colorado’s cities have yet to face serious water restrictions, but the bleak forecasts have grabbed the attention of leaders in the state’s booming beer industry. “Even though it takes 10 times the amount of water to make a hamburger than to make a beer, people look at the beer and they see the water, so they have a relationship with it,” said Katie Wallace, the director of corporate social responsibility at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins. “I think that gives us a greater responsibility and a greater opportunity to talk about water.”

Wallace refers to Colorado’s rivers as the brewery’s “lifeblood,” a sentiment shared by many other brewers in the state — and a driving force behind a groundswell of water advocacy from the industry. Craft breweries all over Colorado are now championing initiatives to restore rivers and preserve the state’s valuable water resources. New Belgium, for instance, donates to organizations that help protect its watershed and keep water in the river.

Concern over water shortages has pushed many brewers to find ways to save water in their own brewing process. Though municipal water restrictions are likely a long way off, drought and climate change present other risks to the state’s beer. Recent droughts have decreased barley and hops harvests — driving up costs for breweries — while wildfires have spread across the region, contaminating some surface water sources.

In 2012, Fort Collins lost half of its yearly water supply when the largest wildfire in Colorado history contaminated the Poudre River, forcing the City of Fort Collins to drain its reservoirs to meet water demand. The fire was just seven miles from New Belgium’s brewery, and for years, the brewery employed a sensory panel to taste-test the water for smokiness before putting it into their beer.

“People are a little bit surprised at the degree to which climate change is already a problem for something like brewing,” said Dan Carreno, one of the founders of Colorado’s Save the Beer Tour, which educates beer drinkers on the effect climate change has on the brewing process. “This problem is happening now. It’s not happening 20 or 30 years from now.”

The issue of water quality is particularly sensitive in Colorado, where the supply of mineral-rich Rocky Mountain water was the catalyst for what has become a strong brewing tradition in the state. The tasty water first attracted Adolph Coors to Golden, Colorado, in 1873, when he set up the original Coors Brewery right on the river. The brewery has since grown to become one of the largest in the world, producing up to 10 million barrels a day.

Unlike small craft breweries, Coors has insulated itself to the risk of city water shortages by purchasing legal water rights to draw directly from a river, and the company is able to replicate the taste and mineral content of the water at its Colorado brewery in its outposts throughout the country.

Most craft breweries tweak a water’s flavor profile before using it in their beer, but only a little, since the process is energy-intensive and expensive. So they place a high value on the quality of the original water coming through their pipes.

“It’s a lot to do with the brewers respecting the water and wanting to have high-quality water in their product,” said Greg Schlichting, the head brewer at Denver’s Declaration Brewing Company. “It’s the same thing when they source malt and source hops and they source everything.”

High-quality ingredients are the staples of any craft brewery, but so is innovation, and brewers can improvise when resources aren’t available. In April, Declaration brewed a beer for a special event using only water they recycled in-house. Although the beer was costlier to produce, the water quality after treatment was nearly identical to their other beers. However, not all breweries have the resources to resort to these measures when strapped for water, especially very small ones.

Recycled water could be an option in an extreme situation, but Declaration’s brewers don’t think it will get to that point. Besides, even in a beer mecca like Fort Collins, craft brewing uses only about 2 percent of the city’s water, while lawn care accounts for nearly 50 percent.

“Bottom line: People are going to give up their lawns before they give up their beer,” Schlichting said.

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Craft breweries in Colorado brace for less water

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The Feather Thief – Kirk Wallace Johnson


The Feather Thief
Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
Kirk Wallace Johnson

Genre: Nature

Price: $13.99

Publish Date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

“Fascinating from the first page to the last—you won’t be able to put it down.” — Southern Living A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty for readers of The Stranger in the Woods , The Lost City of Z , and The Orchid Thief . On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

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The Feather Thief – Kirk Wallace Johnson

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What Fools Have Never Heard of Cynthia Ozick?

Mother Jones

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Mention Cynthia Ozick to a group of friends and you’ll likely get a sprawling array of responses. For some, she’s an icon—this camp included the late David Foster Wallace, who famously asserted that she, Cormac McCarthy, and Don DeLillo were America’s premier living fiction writers. Others might give you a blank look. Irrespective of her place in the American canon, Ozick has a distinctive and notable voice. Including her 1966 debut novel, Trust, the lifetime New Yorker has put out 18 books that include poetry, fiction, and criticism, and grapple with capital “t” Themes—Jewish identity, the divine, art’s role in our culture—packaged in some of the most arresting and unforgettable sentences of the past half-century.

Her latest work, Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays, is a powerful collection that laments the downward spiral of the once-exalted literary form. I caught up by email with the 88-year-old Ozick, who still lets no one off easy.

Mother Jones: Does one type of writing hold your heart above all others?

Cynthia Ozick: Yes. The type that I can no longer do. In my 20s and early 30s I was driven to write poetry. In 1992, Epodes, a boxed collection, was published by the Logan Elm Press and Paper Mill, a part of Ohio State University Press, and illustrated by Sidney Chafetz. The paper was hand-milled. My introduction spoke of “the bruises and thwartings and insatiable wantings of the young woman who once wrote these poems in the fever of her desire.” The boxes were crafted by a local dentist. But nowadays, between stories and essays, it is story that claims the fever of my desire.

MJ: After your first novel, it seems as though you gained increased recognition steadily—maybe it felt more like “slowly”—over the years. How might this delayed success have contoured your relationship to acclaim and positive feedback, now that you have 18 books to your name?

CO: How can these words—”recognition,” “positive feedback,” and especially “acclaim” and “success”—stand beside what I’ve so often encountered, which is the seriously diminishing “I never heard of her before”? Certainly your coming into view at this moment counts as highly welcome “positive feedback,” but how many decades have passed in the absence of print interviews such as this one? I offer this not as whine or grievance, which I would furiously deplore, but as simple fact. As for “acclaim” and “success,” they rightly characterize writers with abundant and active international readerships—Alice Munro, for instance, honored by her Nobel, and Philip Roth, long a significant household name. But recognition is something else. Every writer aspires to it, and it comes entirely privately, without public fanfare, each time a piece of work is judged worthy of publication.

Eighteen books? Slim pickin’s. There ought to have been more. Seven years dedicated to the ephemera of theater? Even with the privilege of Sidney Lumet as director? Admittedly an exciting interval. But finally: Ah, waste.

MJ: Back in 1999, David Foster Wallace called you one of the nation’s foremost living writers of fiction. What did that feel like?

CO: I learned of it about a year ago, having stumbled on a photocopy (on the internet) of the flyleaf of, I think, The Puttermesser Papers, on which Wallace had listed a long column of words, apparently new to him, culled from its pages. I was stunned and touched and puzzled. (How could this be?) It put me in mind of similar studious vocabulary lists in Kafka’s notebooks when he was learning Hebrew: Hebrew words laboriously translated into German.

MJ: My impression is that you are disenchanted with the current state of fiction. Can you speak to that? What has gone wrong? Is it a reflection on the literary project itself, the writers, the readers? Who bears the blame?

CO: I can’t claim to be disenchanted “with the current state of fiction” because I read so little of it. My reading is mostly drawn to history—I’ve just finished East West Street, by Phillipe Sands, a study of the origin of the term “genocide” and its influence since—and older novels and stories. Recently I’ve been immersed in the brilliantly rich work of W.D. Howells, and wondered at his neglect, and his dismissal as a minor writer. What’s impossible not to notice, though—it’s all around us—is the diminution of American prose: How pedestrian it has become. Pick up any short story and listen to its voice, the tedious easy vernacular that mistakes transcription for realism. This would display an understandable pragmatism if it were a pandering to common-denominator readers; but it is, in fact, a kind of hifalultin literary ideology, the less-is-more Hemingway legacy put through an up-to-the-minute industrial blender. Also, if ideas are what feed serious literature and arresting language, who today is writing a novel of ideas (which can often mean comedy)? I think of Joshua Cohen. Who else?

MJ: What do you think of literature’s place between the poles of the academy and the reading public? Do you intend to identify with one group over the other?

CO: Much of the academy on the humanities side, English departments in particular, no longer write what can pass for normal English. Judith Butler, for example, has been awarded first prize in the celebrated Bad Writing Contest for a sentence so clotted with incomprehensible barbarisms that it might be taken for the ravings of a fake preacher speaking in tongues. Is it possible that those fellow academics who pretend to have understood her are lying sycophants?

MJ: In the Amazon era, everyone is equally capable of rating a book by clicking between 1 and 5 stars, and books that have the largest median fan base become the most celebrated. Do you think this has changed literature and criticism? Or has it discouraged writers from big, creative risk taking?

CO: Always respecting the exceptions among them, one notes that too many of these consumer reviewers misunderstand the inmost nature of what literature means. It does not mean “liking.” Novels are routinely denigrated when characters are not found to be likable. Is Raskolnikov likable? Is King Lear? The plethora of such naive readers testifies to a failure of imagination—the capacity to see into unfamiliar lives, motives, feelings—and this failure must, at least in part, be the failure of the teaching of literature in the schools. Writers who witness these lame “reviews” may sigh, but no seriously aspiring writer will be discouraged. Somewhere there lives the ideal reader.

MJ: Do you think the infusion of technology writ large has contributed to the fading star of literature and imagination? As in, do you think there has been a value shift from the high-minded literary intellectualism of decades past toward mere entertainment?

CO: Advances in technology neither impede nor augment literature. Would Shakespeare on a computer keyboard surpass his quill’s eloquence? Both Milton and George Eliot were obliged to dip their pens repeatedly, frequently several times within the same sentence. It isn’t the instrument that influences High-Minded or Low-Minded; it’s the quality of Mind itself.

MJ: Do you think potential young writers are being shepherded into the creation of digital products and tech startups because they’re being told that that is the new avenue of creation expression?

CO: I have no answer for this. It’s true that the young who now flock to script writing, or producing and directing, to fulfill the demands of these new devices would, in an earlier period, have been submitting to magazines and working on their first novels. But even in the midst of all these “digital products,” the wonder of it is that there are still so many young writers who continue to believe in the venerable print novel as the corridor to fame and fortune.

MJ: What do you think of reality TV?

CO: Clueless. I’ve never seen it.

MJ: With young writers especially, there’s a fierce sense of disavowal of one’s previous self; something written a year prior feels as if it came from an entirely different person, often one whose work is excruciating even to consider. At your age, do you feel any sense of alienation from your previous selves?

CO: In certain pragmatic choices as a writer, yes, I look back on them as mistakes and wish I had done things differently. I wish I had gone into the Great World to pursue literary journalism, rather than hole up for too many years with an overly ambitious never-to-be-finished novel. I wish I hadn’t been faint-heartedly loyal for more than four decades to an agent whose professionalism was wanting. But all this is external to the writing itself. What I felt then I feel now: the inexorable, unchanging interior hum of doubt and hope.

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What Fools Have Never Heard of Cynthia Ozick?

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Donald Trump Ups His Game, Moves From Lying to Meta-Lying

Mother Jones

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Here is the start of a Jake Tapper question to Donald Trump this morning. Trump has just gotten done lying yet again—and at length—about his support for the Iraq War, and Tapper finally decides to move on:

TAPPER: At a rally in Sacramento, you accused Hillary Clinton of lying about your foreign policy as it relates to expressingsupport for Japan being able to get nuclear weapons.

TRUMP: A hundred percent.

TAPPER: Well, let me just read from you….This is from an April 3 interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. You said: “North Korea has nukes, Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.

And Chris Wallace says, “With nukes?”

And you say, “Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.”


This is followed by nearly a thousand words over the course of three minutes of Tapper vainly trying to get Trump to address his question at all. It’s not that Trump tap dances or makes excuses or pretends he really meant something different. He just flatly insists on talking about something else and bowls over Tapper whenever he tries to get him back on track. Finally Tapper gives up and moves on again.

This is not a criticism of Tapper, who has been more aggressive than most about trying to hold Trump accountable for the things he says. But what can you do? Trump very plainly has expressed support for Japan getting nukes. It’s on tape. He’s been explicit on multiple occasions that we should withdraw our military presence from Japan unless they’re willing to pay us a lot more money. That’s on tape too.

Hillary Clinton responded with this: “It’s no small thing when he suggests that America should withdraw our military support for Japan, encourage them to get nuclear weapons.” That’s 100 percent accurate. It’s not even slightly exaggerated. And yet Trump blithely insists that she’s lying and then refuses to answer questions about it. Eventually exhaustion sets in and everyone just lets it go.

How do you handle someone like that?

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Donald Trump Ups His Game, Moves From Lying to Meta-Lying

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Coming soon to a national park near you: Corporate sponsors

Coming soon to a national park near you: Corporate sponsors

By on May 9, 2016Share

It sounds like something out of a David Foster Wallace novel.

In his extremely heavy 1996 book Infinite Jest, Wallace writes about a dystopian future where everything is sponsored, even years: Instead of 2005, you have the Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken. Instead of 2009, you have the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Ludicrous, right?

Or is it?

While we have yet to sell years to the highest bidder, another important resource may soon be up for grabs: national parks.

An $11 billion maintenance backlog has National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis proposing “an unprecedented level of corporate donations” to the national parks, as The Washington Post describes it. In return for their money, companies would get an unprecedented amount of exposure in those parks.

So does this mean that you could soon visit Yellow Cab’s Yellowstone? Marlboro’s Great Smoky Mountains? Crest Whitestrips’ White Sands?

No. Under the current proposal, corporate logos and naming rights would be limited to park facilities like visitor centers and to things like educational and youth programs.

Critics, however, are not pleased.

“You could use Old Faithful to pitch Viagra,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group opposed to the change, told the Post. “Or the Lincoln Memorial to plug hemorrhoid cream. Or Victoria’s Secret to plug the Statue of Liberty. … Every developed area in a park could become a venue for product placement.”

Corporate and private support of national treasures is part of an increasing trend: The New Yorker wrote earlier this year about David Rubenstein, cofounder of the private-equity firm Carlyle Group, who used a small portion of his $2.6 billion fortune to fix the Washington Monument after it was damaged in an earthquake in 2011. “It’s great that he’s helping out with the Washington Monument,” tax-law professor Victor Fleischer told The New Yorker’s Alec McGillis. “But, if we had a government that was better funded, it could probably fix its own monuments.” The same could be said of its parks.

David Foster Wallace might not approve of this development, but were he still alive, he wouldn’t be surprised.


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Coming soon to a national park near you: Corporate sponsors

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Book Review: Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman

Mother Jones

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Give Us the Ballot

By Ari Berman


Shark attacks are more common in Florida than voter fraud, yet in 2011 the state cut early voting and shut down registration drives in the name of making elections more secure. In Give Us the Ballot, journalist Ari Berman explores the increasingly sophisticated tricks devised to keep minorities out of the voting booth over the past half century, tracing a path from an era of overtly racist campaign ads—”Suppose your wife is driving home at 11 o’clock at night. She is stopped by a highway patrolman. He turns out to be black. Think about it…Elect George Wallace”—to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting the Voting Rights Act. With 2016 on the horizon, Berman helps us understand why we’re still fighting over who gets to exercise this most basic of American rights.

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Book Review: Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman

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Egg Prices Soar 60 Percent as Avian Flu Slams Midwest

Mother Jones

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Retail egg prices have risen from an average of $1.22 per dozen in mid-May to $1.95 this week, the US Department of Agriculture reports. That’s a 60 percent jump in just a month—a reflection of the massive toll being exacted by an avian flu outbreak that has ripped through the Midwest’s egg-laying farms.

“Highly pathogenic” to birds, but so far not to people, the strain first turned up in Oregon in last December and has since rapidly moved east to Minnesota and Iowa. It has now killed or triggered the euthanasia of 47 million birds. I go into more detail on the outbreak here and here, and evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace of the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota gives his take here.

The flu’s spread is slowing as the weather warms up (flu viruses don’t thrive in the heat), but producers in the south, where the great bulk of US chicken is grown, fear an outbreak there this fall. Last week, North Carolina’s agriculture department announced the ban of poultry shows and public live bird sales, effective Aug. 15 to Jan. 15, “due to the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza.”

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Egg Prices Soar 60 Percent as Avian Flu Slams Midwest

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Rumain Brisbon Is Just the Latest to Be Shot Dead by a Cop Over a Phantom Gun

Mother Jones

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A student at a “die-in” protest at the University of Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. The Ann Arbor News, Patrick Record/AP

Last week, 34-year-old father of four Rumain Brisbon was shot and killed by a police officer at an apartment complex in north Phoenix. The officer, 30-year-old Mark Rine, approached Brisbon’s SUV while investigating a suspected drug deal. According to police officials, after Brisbon stepped out of his car and Rine ordered him to show his hands, Brisbon reached for his waistband. Then Rine drew his gun, and Brisbon fled. After a short chase the two engaged in a struggle, with Rine firing two shots into Brisbon’s torso. Rine later said that he thought he’d felt a gun in Brisbon’s pocket, but it turned out to be a vial of Oxycodone, a pain reliever. Rine has since been placed on desk duty pending an internal investigation.

Brisbon’s death is just the latest example of police killing suspects—often black men—over guns that aren’t actually there. And scientific research has shown that unconscious racial bias can be a factor in these situations. As Chris Mooney wrote recently, in an experiment testing whether an object such as a wallet or a soda can be mistaken for a gun, “police are considerably slower to press the ‘don’t shoot’ button for an unarmed black man than they are for an unarmed white man—and faster to shoot an armed black man than an armed white man.”

Below are 10 other cases since 2006 in which an officer shot a suspect after mistaking some other object for a gun. Two of the victims in this list (which is hardly comprehensive) were white, one was Latino, and seven were black. As is common with police shootings, few of the officers faced charges, and none were convicted of a crime.

Date: February 25, 2014
Location: Clover, South Carolina
Race of victim: White
What happened: Terrance Knox, a county deputy sheriff, stopped Bobby Canipe, a 70-year-old white man, for driving with an expired license tag on a highway north of Clover. Officials said that Canipe stepped out of his car and began walking toward Knox while holding a cane, which Knox said he thought was a gun. Knox fired six shots, one of which hit Canipe in the chest, injuring him. Prosecutors declined to charge Knox in August 2014, saying that the shooting was “without question accidental.”

Date: February 14, 2014
Location: Euharlee, Georgia
Race of victim: White
What happened: Officer Beth Gatny and another officer were serving a search warrant for the father of Christopher Roupe, for a probation violation. When the officers knocked on the door of the family’s home, Gatny said she thought she heard “the action of a firearm” before the door opened, and drew her weapon. When Roupe, 17, opened the door, Gatny opened fire, killing him, later saying that she thought she’d seen him holding a pistol. Roupe’s family members said he was holding a Nintendo Wii game controller. A Bartow County grand jury declined to indict Gatny in July.

Date: May 8, 2011
Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas
Race of victim: Black
What happened: North Little Rock police officer Vincent Thornton and two other officers chased Henry Lee Jones, Jr., in the Silver City Courts housing projects, after responding to a domestic violence complaint. “As he charged toward me and put his shoulder down…I saw a light-colored object I believed to be a gun,” in Jones’ hand, Thornton, then a 28-year veteran of the force, later testified. The object was a cell phone; Thornton shot Jones, a black 20-year-old, in the upper back, lodging a bullet between Jones’ lungs, severing his spinal column, and leaving him paralyzed. Jones died two years later. In May 2014, a federal court jury cleared Thornton of charges, deeming his use of force reasonable.

Date: July 5, 2010
Location: Miami, Florida
Race of victim: Black
What happened: Rookie Miami police officer Joseph Marin and his partner pulled over DeCarlos Moore, who they suspected of driving a stolen vehicle. Moore stepped out of his car, and the officers ordered Moore to put his hands on his vehicle, according to a report by a civilian investigative panel. When Moore reached for a shiny object inside his car, Marin shot Moore in the head, killing him. Police investigators discovered that the shiny object was rock cocaine wrapped in tin foil (and that the car was not stolen). The State Attorney’s office declined to prosecute Marin in May 2011, and in 2013, the independent panel also exonerated Marin. Moore was one of seven black men killed by Miami police in an eight-month period, eventually prompting a civil rights investigation by the US Department of Justice.

Date: March 12, 2010
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Race of victim: Black
What happened: Around 11 a.m., Metro Police Canine Officer Joe Shelton was responding to call about a burglary and ended up chasing 40-year-old suspect Reginald Dewayne Wallace. As he caught up to Wallace and grabbed him, the two engaged in a struggle. When Wallace reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny object, Shelton fired three times, thinking it was a weapon. The object turned out to be a silver iPod he allegedly stole from the home. Wallace died of his wounds two hours later at a hospital. Wallace’s family members sued the government of Nashville and the officer for damages and deprivation of civil rights. The Nashville Metro Police told Mother Jones that Shelton is still serving in the department and did not face disciplinary action for Wallace’s death.

Date: July 13, 2009
Location: Los Angeles, California
Race of victim: Black
What happened: Two LA County deputy sheriffs pulled up to the car of Woodrow Player III around 9 p.m., believing he matched the description of a man who had reportedly threatened people with a gun. Player fled, and in the foot chase that ensued pointed a “dark object” at the deputies, which they thought was a gun, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputies shot and killed Player, who was 22. Investigators later found a cell phone next to Player’s body. Player’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the department; in September 2011 a jury exonerated the deputies. The LA County Sheriff’s department told Mother Jones that an internal investigation found the deputies did not violate any department policy, and that both still serve on duty there.

Date: March 1, 2008
Location: Los Angeles, California
Race of victim: Black
What happened: At about 7 p.m., several officers from the city’s South Traffic Division saw a gray truck speeding in the Hyde Park area and crash into a palm tree. According to the police account, when Officer Jose Campos approached the truck on foot, Maurice LeRoy Cox, 38, who was driving truck, reached into the glove compartment and threatened to kill the officers if they didn’t move away. Cox stepped out of his truck and pointed what looked like a gun at the officers before running away, police said. Other officers shot at Cox as the chase led to a bank parking lot. Cox died shortly thereafter of his wounds. Police later recovered a cigarette lighter power adapter on the scene. Cox’s wife filed a $10 million claim against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD officers for civil rights violations, battery and negligence. In November 2010, a LA Superior Court jury ruled in favor of Campos.

Date: February 27, 2008
Location: Los Angeles, California
Race of victim: Latino
What happened: Around 7 p.m., LAPD motorcycle officers in the Van Nuys neighborhood pulled over Julio Eddy Perez in a 1997 burgundy Saturn for a traffic violation. After the officers approached the car and had a brief conversation with Perez, Perez drove off and a chase ensued. Byron San Jose, a 25-year-old Latino who was riding in the backseat, jumped out of the car as it slowed down. San Jose walked toward the officers holding a “black metal object,” and one officer hit San Jose with the front of his motorcycle. The other officer, Derek Mousseau, fired several shots, killing San Jose. The aspiring rapper had been carrying a 2-foot-long microphone stand. San Jose’s family later sued the LAPD and Officer Mousseau for use of excessive force, asking for $750,000 damage compensation. The family lost the suit in November 2010.

Date: November 30, 2006
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Race of victim: Black
What happened: Joseph Fennell and Coby Taylor were walking to work when a San Antonio police officer drove onto the sidewalk, blocking their path. Officer Robert Rosales, who was investigating a string of robberies, ordered them to put their hands in the air and move toward a fence. Police officials later said Rosales stopped Fennell, 24, and Taylor, 20, because they both matched the description of a robbery suspect: a short black man in his twenties. Fennell pulled his hands out of his coat pocket; he was holding a set of keys, which prompted Rosales, who mistook the keys for a gun, to shoot. The bullet grazed Fennell’s forehead. In 2007, a grand jury declined to indict Rosales and the City Council approved an $80,000 settlement for Fennell. An internal probe into the incident did not result in disciplinary action, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Date: June 6, 2006
Location: San Francisco, California
Race of victim: Black
What happened: Three San Francisco police officers, John Keesor, Michelle Alvis, and Paul Morgado entered a town house near Lake Merced after responding to a call about suspected trespassing. After apprehending one man and finding a knife near him, they found another man, Asa B. Sullivan, hiding in a dark attic. Police said that Sullivan had stretched out his arms holding a “cylindrical object” when the officers confronted him and refused to cooperate, prompting the three officers to shoot and kill Sullivan. The object was an eyeglasses case. Sullivan’s family sued the SFPD for entering the building without a warrant and using excessive force. Eight years later, a federal court declined to charge the officers, ruling that they had acted reasonably and did not violate Sullivan’s rights. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in May 2009 that Alvin was placed on desk duty after the shooting incident. SFPD told Mother Jones that the officers were still serving on duty, but declined to disclose whether they’d faced disciplinary action related to the case, saying it was confidential.

Original article: 

Rumain Brisbon Is Just the Latest to Be Shot Dead by a Cop Over a Phantom Gun

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Ralph Reed Compares Barack Obama to George Wallace

Mother Jones

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Top social-conservative strategist Ralph Reed compared President Barack Obama to segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Fifty years ago George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door and said that African-Americans couldn’t come in,” said Reed, the founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, in response to the Department of Justice’s attempt to block Louisiana’s school voucher program. “Today, the Obama administration stands in that same door and says those children can’t leave. It was wrong then and it was wrong now and we say to President Obama, ‘Let those children go.'”

Remarkably, Reed wasn’t the first speaker at CPAC to compare the Obama administration’s policies to the Jim Crow South.

On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made the same comparison in his address to the conference. “We’ve got Eric Holder and the Department of Justice trying to stand in the schoolhouse door,” he said.

But as I reported in a new profile of Jindal, Louisiana isn’t exactly a pillar of inclusiveness. Some schools that receive state funding under the voucher program promise to immediately expel any student who is found to be a homosexual—or to be promoting homosexuality in any form.

Originally posted here:  

Ralph Reed Compares Barack Obama to George Wallace

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