San Diego school system gets their own military assault vehicle – whoopee!

Cobb-County-APC
I don’t think San Diego rates something this big. This is the Cornfederate version.

The nation gaped at the sight of a military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle trundling through Ferguson, but it turns out that was relatively restrained policing.

Relative, that is, to San Diego, where police will use a similar steel behemoth for the city’s schools.

The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.

“I can totally see people thinking ‘Oh, my God. Are they going to be rolling armoured vehicles into our schools and what the hell’s going on?’” Captain Joe Florentino told local media.

Police intended to use it to rescue children – be it from rampaging gunmen or natural disasters, he said. “When we have an emergency at a school, we’ve got to get in and save kids…”

San Diego’s school police obtained the MRAP in April and have been busy modifying it at a transportation centre in the east of the city. Details emerged only this week. Critics were not mollified by the fact the district got the vehicle, valued at $700,000, for free.

“We should not have got it in the first place,” Scott Barnett, a unified school district board trustee, told the Guardian on Thursday before a press conference announcing his opposition. “It sends a wrong message, a message contrary to what we are. We’re an educational institution…”

Barnett’s primary concern was not militarisation – “I would not use that term per se” – but utility and cost of use and maintenance. He proposed leasing it to another police force and using the revenue to replace the school district’s 10 ageing patrol cars. “Most of our vehicles are in serious disrepair, and we use them on a daily basis.”

Thrill-seeking, arrested-development coppers playing at class warfare foretell the end of civilization.

Who needs schoolbooks, anyway?

Republican whines about early voting – too many Black voters!

A Republican state senator in Georgia has vowed to end Sunday balloting in DeKalb County due to the fact that the area is “dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches.”

…State Sen. Frank Millar rants that…”Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election,” Millar wrote in an email. “Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea…”

Millar’s vow comes in response to news that DeKalb plans to reserve Oct. 26 for early voting…

“I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January. Galloway summed it up, ‘Democrats are showing their hand on how they might boost their numbers…”

This creep’s racist buddies may be callow enough to try to deny their bigotry saying they’d reverse their demand if there was the slightest chance Georgia Republicans might acquire a significant number of non-white voters.

Anyone holding their breath waiting for that to happen?

Thanks, Mike

How the rich rule

It is hardly news that the rich have more political power than the poor, even in democratic countries where everyone gets a single vote in elections. But two political scientists, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, have recently produced some stark findings for the United States that have dramatic implications for the functioning of democracy – in the US and elsewhere.

The authors’ research builds on prior work by Gilens, who painstakingly collected public-opinion polls on nearly 2,000 policy questions from 1981 to 2002. The pair then examined whether America’s federal government adopted the policy in question within four years of the survey, and tracked how closely the outcome matched the preferences of voters at different points of the income distribution.

When viewed in isolation, the preferences of the “average” voter – that is, a voter in the middle of the income distribution – seem to have a strongly positive influence on the government’s ultimate response. A policy that the average voter would like is significantly more likely to be enacted.

But, as Gilens and Page note, this gives a misleadingly upbeat impression of the representativeness of government decisions. The preferences of the average voter and of economic elites are not very different on most policy matters. For example, both groups of voters would like to see a strong national defense and a healthy economy. A better test would be to examine what the government does when the two groups have divergent views.

To carry out that test, Gilens and Page ran a horse race between the preferences of average voters and those of economic elites – defined as individuals at the top tenth percentile of the income distribution – to see which voters exert greater influence. They found that the effect of the average voter drops to insignificant levels, while that of economic elites remains substantial…

The implication is clear: when the elites’ interests differ from those of the rest of society, it is their views that count – almost exclusively.

RTFA. Rodrik details the collateral damage – often deliberate, often tactical – arising from the political inequality engendered by wealth and power.

You can understand why the most backward plutocrats hate scientific study. People like the Koch Brothers would rather Americans think of them as benevolent dictators instead of greedy, self-serving thugs.