Andy Rooney Moment

by Kieran Healy on March 21, 2006

In this day and age, is there any good reason at all why, upon subscribing to a magazine, you should have to wait six to eight weeks for delivery of your first issue?

An echo chamber of our own

by Henry on March 21, 2006

Via “Atrios”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/2006_03_19_atrios_archive.html#114289859293528974, this “Chris Bowers post”:http://mydd.com/story/2006/3/20/181248/239, which I want to take issue with.

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Category mistake

by John Quiggin on March 21, 2006

According to my local suburban paper, Western Brisbane has won more gold medals at the Commonwealth Games than either Canada or New Zealand. I’m sure Doreen Root would have something to say about this.

Although I’ve contributed nothing to this outcome beyond some desultory cheering at the TV set, and have never previously considered Western Brisbane as a distinct entity, I am, of course, filled with patriotic pride at this glorious victory.

SWAT Teams and Cory Maye Again

by Kieran Healy on March 21, 2006

The BBC are running a story about “SWAT raids”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4803570.stm. The hook is the case of Dr Salvatore Culosoi, a Virginia doctor who was under investigation for illegal gambling. Culosi was unarmed, had no history of violent behavior, and threatened no-one during the raid. He was shot dead by a police officer. A striking statistic from the article is that the number of SWAT raids per year has increased from 3,000 in the 1980s to “at least 40,000 per year” now. Seems like a straightforward “garbage-can”:http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/gloss/g.html process at the organizational level, or a “neoinstitutionalist”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_institutionalism story at the field level: SWAT teams are effective in certain situations. Initially, it’s cutting-edge departments who have them. They also get a lot of press. The gear makes a nice recruiting tool, too. Pretty soon, you need one if you want to be seen as a respectable police department. Once you have one, it’s a solution sitting around waiting for problems to apply itself to. Seeing as your podunk town is unlikely to have a hostage crisis, the bar for its application gets lowered way, way down. Voila, the police force is now militarized.

The story led me back to “Radley Balko’s”:http://www.theagitator.com/ outstanding coverage of the “Cory Maye case”:http://www.theagitator.com/archives/cat_cory_maye.php, which I wrote about “late last year”:https://crookedtimber.org/2005/12/12/knock-knock-bang-bang/. It’s to Balko’s great credit that he’s been following up on this miscarriage of justice. He’s working on a magazine article about the case, which I sincerely hope appears where people will see it. Right now the Maye case shows that a lot of blogger agitation (about a nonpartisan issue, no less) can just sink without a trace unless it gets picked up by the media.

Fellow Timberteer Maria is visiting Singapore on her way to some important meeting. She and Belle ran off to Little India today. I had to work. It is left to me to memorialize their shopping trip, based on its products. What can I say?

Papad_1

My work is done. You, our readers, shall now compose the screenplay/libretto of a Bollywood musical, based on Donnie Darko. (Click for larger image.) Since I am an incorrigible Amazon whore I cannot refrain from noting that the director’s cut is marked down 50%. If you don’t go for that, this Hank Thompson collection is only $4.97. (You’re saving $1.01!!) For some reason, when I was a kid, I had a record with “Whoa Sailor” on it. I played it over and over but turned out straight. The man who is tired of Donnie Darko and Hank Thompson is tired of life. (Don’t miss the slideshow.)

As longtime readers will know, CT is the Internet’s premier research institute for the political sociology of the Eurovision Song Contest. In the recent past, for example, we have warned the econophysics community about the dangers of simple extrapolation from Eurovision voting blocs to national comities.

It appears that recent events have borne us out. I probably shouldn’t be treating this as an “and finally” item, as the Serbian newspaper Danas is comparing it to the 1990 Serbia/Croatia football riot, which was a precursor to the Balkan wars. But I mean really; surely to god, even in the Balkans, nobody is going to kill their neighbours over Eurovision, are they?