Police chiefs apologize for historical mistreatment of minorities

❝ The president of America’s largest police management organization on Monday issued a formal apology to the nation’s minority population “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”

❝ Terrence M. Cunningham, the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., delivered his remarks at the convention in San Diego of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership includes 23,000 police officials in the United States. The statement was issued on behalf of the IACP, and comes as police executives continue to grapple with tense relationships between officers and minority groups in the wake of high-profile civilian deaths in New York, South Carolina, Minnesota and elsewhere, the sometimes violent citizen protests which have ensued as well as the ambush killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

…Cunningham’s comments are an acknowledgement of police departments’ past role in exacerbating tensions and a way to move forward and improve community relations nationwide. Two top civil rights groups on Monday commended Cunningham for taking an important first step in acknowledging the problem.

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❝ “…If we are brave enough to collectively deliver this message, we will build a better and safer future for our communities and our law enforcement officers. Too many lives have been lost already, and this must end. It is my hope that many other law enforcement executives will deliver this same message to their local communities, particularly those segments of their communities that lack trust and feel disenfranchised.”

The IACP members present for Cunningham’s speech gave him a standing ovation, IACP spokeswoman Sarah Guy said. Cunningham made the remarks on behalf of the membership…

Overdue. Justly applauded.

San Francisco Noir: Photos from the ’40s and ’50s by Fred Lyons

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Fred Lyon is 92 years old and has photographed his hometown, San Francisco, for more than 70 years. His rich black-and-white scenes conjure a bygone era, when flash powder still existed, being alone with your thoughts was common, and the famed cable cars were public transportation for locals, rather than rolling tourist traps headed to Fisherman’s Wharf.

A large selection of these amazing photographs, so incongruous with today’s lifestyle, is being exhibited at the Leica Gallery in San Francisco through Oct. 21, and collectively they do the city’s history proud…

San Francisco, too, has undergone a reinvention lately, with the much-publicized arrival of residents and money from nearby Silicon Valley. But with a longer-term perspective than most of us have, Fred Lyon is not concerned for the future of his beloved city, saying “every city that’s really alive has to keep changing.”…

“What I really miss is the kids playing in the street,” he said. “That was a constant source of joy for me. I don’t know where they’ve gone. Their parents don’t allow them out. It just doesn’t happen. The kids were always great. They’d laugh at this silly guy with the camera, and know I really wanted to get in their games with them. And indeed I did.”

Lovely, talented work. If you’re in the northern Cali chunk of the Left Coast, get your butt to town to see Fred Lyon’s work.

U.S. coal production down 26% – first half of 2016

Just showing how up-to-date coal-based energy really is

Coal production fell in the first half of 2016 dropped 26% from the same period of 2015 on widespread output curtailments especially in the massive Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana…

This output drop has been foreshadowed by the idling of dozens of coal mines across the U.S. in the first half of this year.

In terms of overall drop in production half year-over-half year, the Powder River Basin was the hardest hit, dropping about a third from 199.2 million tons produced in the first half of 2015 to only 134.2 million tons in the first half of this year. That 65 million ton drop represents more coal than that actually produced in the first half of 2016 in any of the three other major producing regions: Illinois Basin, Central Appalachia and Northern Appalachia.

Look elsewhere for jobs, folks. Learn to do better with your life.

4-foot-long Titanosaur footprints found in the Gobi desert

Professor Shinobu Ishigaki lies next to the footprintAFP/Getty Images

One of the largest ever dinosaur footprints has been found by a joint expedition of Japanese and Mongolian researchers in the Gobi desert.

The giant print measures 106cm (42in) long and 77cm (30in) wide, according to AFP. It is thought to have belonged to a titanosaur, a group of giant, long-necked herbivores. Researchers said the creature may have been more than 30 meters (98ft) long and 20 meters (66ft) tall.

The print was discovered in August in a geologic layer formed between 70 million and 90 million years ago by researchers from Okayama University of Science and the Mongolian Academy of Science…

The print is a cast from sand that flowed into dents left by the creature’s enormous footprint. Its discovery could help scientists understand how titanosaurs walked.

In 2014, a titanosaur skeleton was discovered in Argentina and was dubbed the largest dinosaur ever discovered. A replica of the dinosaur, which has yet to be named, is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It weighed about 70 tons and its skeleton is 37 meters (122ft) long.

I would love to be convinced of the possibility of viewing prehistoric times via some sort of time warp. Scientists would line up for primary source accuracy.

Don’t underestimate Cosmo!

❝ The day after Hillary Clinton landed a devastating blow to Donald Trump over his history of sexism and crass comments about Alicia Machado at the first presidential debate, Cosmopolitan released an eerily well-timed profile of the former Miss Universe contestant.

It’s a slice of a new brand of feminist media afloat — one that’s not afraid to be political. Hillary Clinton has noticed.

❝ There has been a tangible shift in the kind of content produced by women’s magazines in recent elections. In the past decade, publications have shifted from a period of fluff election coverage in the early aughts to a platform for impactful political content, from interviews with important figures in the election to sharp policy analyses…

But women’s media often faces the obstacle of not being taken seriously in the political landscape — yes, even in an election that saw presidential candidates arguing about the size of their penises…

❝ Cosmopolitan’s Prachi Gupta has had a triad of striking interviews in recent weeks, including an interview with Ivanka Trump on parental leave, which ended abruptly after Gupta pressed Ivanka on some holes in her proposed policy and resulted in Ivanka’s worst news cycle of the whole campaign. Cosmo also published an interview with Chelsea Clinton about Trump’s attacks on Bill Clinton’s infidelity and Hillary Clinton’s health and a profile of Alicia Machado.

President Barack Obama penned an op-ed about his feminism in Glamour in August:

Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard. … It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.

Marie Claire published an in-depth story about the intersection between women voters and the gun debate, a traditionally male-dominated subject, partnering with the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and surveying more than 5,000 women on what they think about gun laws.

❝ Some of these pieces reached an audience in the political press. But a lot of them didn’t. And nearly all of these interviews or pieces might be considered huge scoops in more mainstream publications…

❝ …In 2014, Cosmopolitan magazine made a big statement: It was not only going to cover midterm elections and delve into politics with #CosmoVotes — its politics vertical — it was also only going to endorse pro-choice candidates…

The shift with Cosmopolitan, and with this growing spate of young feminist magazines, cuts through the fluff of the early aughts — what Aarons-Mele calls a “dead zone” for serious content in women’s publications — and allows for impactful political journalism with a pro-woman angle…

❝ In an election where the Republican candidate has a long history of showing disrespect to women, it’s even harder for women’s magazines to sit on their hands. For Republican women, some of whom may not agree with women’s magazines’ more liberal-leaning policy issues like abortion rights, there’s a relatable message of empowerment…

RTFA. There’s more depth – and breadth – than I’ve indicated in this precis. Overall, I’d say the picture is progressive and successful. Sure, independent thought will come up Left or Right – or cautious. The view of class conflict is different to begin with.

Point is – there’s more happening than generalized media is recognizing and talking about.

Saudi women file petition to end male guardianship — the fight never ends


❝ A petition signed by more than 14,000 Saudi women calling for an end to the country’s male guardianship system is being handed to the government.

Women must have the consent of a male guardian to travel abroad, and often need permission to work or study…

Activist Aziza Al-Yousef told the BBC she felt “very proud” of the campaign, but now needed a response.

❝ In the deeply conservative Islamic kingdom, a woman must have permission from her father, brother or other male relative – in the case of a widow, sometimes her son – to obtain a passport, marry or leave the country.

Many workplaces and universities also demand a guardian’s consent for female employees and students, although it is not legally required…

Renting a flat, undergoing hospital treatment or filing a legal claim often also require a male guardian’s permission, and there is very little recourse for women whose guardians abuse them or severely limit their freedom.

❝ In July, an Arabic Twitter hashtag which translates as “Saudi women want to abolish the guardianship system” went viral after a Human Rights Watch report was published on the issue. Saudi women tweeted comments, videos and artwork calling for change. Bracelets saying “I Am My Own Guardian” appeared.

❝ The women counted on the petition all gave their full names, though more signed anonymously. Hundreds of women – one estimate suggests as many as 2,500 – bombarded the Saudi King’s office over the weekend with telegrams containing personal messages backing the campaign.

Human Rights Watch researcher Kristine Beckerle, who worked on the report, described the response as “incredible and unprecedented”.

❝ Ms Yousef, who was stopped by police in 2013 for breaking the country’s ban on women driving, said she did not expect any negative consequences from the petition: “I’m not worried, I’m not doing anything wrong,” she said.

She and another activist took the petition to the Royal Court in person on Monday, but were advised to send it by mail…

“In every aspect, the important issue is to treat a woman as a full citizen,” she said.

Might be nice if some of our prominent citizens get on board this Freedom Train.

Are you in the American middle class?

About half of American adults lived in middle-income households in 2014, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. In percentage terms, 51% of adults lived in middle-income households, 29% in lower-income households and 20% in upper-income households.

Our updated calculator below lets you find out which group you are in – first compared with other adults in your metropolitan area and among American adults overall, and then compared with other adults in the U.S. similar to you in education, age, race or ethnicity, and marital status.

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New data has updated this calculator – released last December.