Watching the Detectives
“Two officers, outfitted with combat boots and large guns, enter the room. The cops place their guns on the table, pointed at her. The woman is 22, tiny, and terrified.” The woman was then threatened with criminal charges if she failed to give the police some information that implicated men from around her neighborhood. It was not an uncommon scene. But there was one difference. This time the woman was watching the police. Sociologist Alice Goffman spent years living in a Philadelphia neighborhood in an effort to learn how the American penal system is reshaping lives in neighborhoods where most residents and poor and black.
Senate Democrats have triggered the so-called “nuclear option” with a rule change that effectively eliminates the filibuster as a tool to block most presidential nominations. “The rule change means that federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can be confirmed by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been required for more than two centuries.” (Sidenote: Dropping a nuclear bomb will now be referred to as the filibuster option.)
+ Buzzfeed: What the hell happened in the Senate today?
All About People Analytics
To most of us, the data-centric strategies employed by the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane in Moneyball make perfect sense. Take all the data about a player, apply a few algorithms, and keep the most effective players while dropping the rest. But soon, these same tactics could be used on you. Welcome to the world of people analytics. From The Atlantic’s Don Peck: They’re Watching You at Work.
Manny Pacquiao is one of the world’s most famous and successful boxers. During his career, he’s earned well over $200 million. But he needs another fight. And he’ll need another after that. “Why? Because, of course, boxing’s not so well kept dirty secret is that, financially, most fighters can never stop. No matter how outlandish a fortune they’ve earned inside the ring and out, most greats not only never get ahead, few can even manage getting out from under.” SB Nation’s Brin-Jonathan Butler: Requiem for a Welterweight.
+ NYT: Reconciling a Sport’s Violent Appeal as a Fighter Lies in a Coma.
The Next Four Days
The New York Times has posted an interactive feature that enables you to look through headlines and quotes from the paper during the four days that followed the Kennedy assassination.
+ From the days before Twitter… Alan Taylor at InFocus has put together an interesting selection of shots of AP Wire copy following the Kennedy assassination. “If news is the first draft of history, then these pages of raw wire copy are pieces of the rough draft.” (Sidenote: That’s where NextDraft gets its name. If journalism is the first rough draft of history, then this is the next draft.)
Did the BB Gun Shooter Act Alone?
“A boy piped up to say that the shooter was one of Mr. Jacobs’s own tenants: a young teenager who had just received a BB gun as a present.” His name? Lee. Lee Oswald.
Hitting the Juice
Slate’s Katy Waldman tells the juicers to stop: “It’s not healthy, it’s not virtuous, and it makes you seem like a jerk.” That may be true. But now I’ve been stuck chewing on a piece of raw kale for an hour and a half.
+ The Anti-Juice: Cinnabon Vodka Coming Soon.
+ The next bubble: Seaweed.
The Makeover Do Over?
For a day or so, Jim Wolf had the most famous face on the Internet. The video of the homeless vet getting a remarkable makeover was viewed more than 15 million times. This week, he was arrested for trespassing and creating a drunken disturbance at a Burger King. I’m not sure this tells us much. I don’t think anyone thought the point of the video was to suggest that a makeover would rid Wolf of all his ills.
+ San Francisco shelled out about $100K on the Batkid event last week. Seems like a small price to pay to make little kid (and the rest of us) feel good for a day. And besides, if I park illegally a few times next week, the city will break even.
The Bottom of the News
It’s fun to view the world through the eyes of an animatronic penguin. Until you start to wonder how many of your peers are really penguins dressed as animatronic humans.
+ Unrelated people who look a whole lot alike.
+ Just in time for the holidays, seven streakers share their stories.