Since last Sunday, May 19, rioters have taken to the streets of Stockholm’s suburbs every night, torching cars, schools, stores, office buildings and residential complexes. Yesterday, a police station in Rågsved, a suburb four kilometers south of Stockholm, was attacked and set on fire.
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.
”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”
Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid, who asked Fria Tider’s photographer to destroy the photos he had taken. Her employer, the parking company P-service, refused to comment when Fria Tider contacted them on Wednesday afternoon.
It’s incredible, isn’t it? “We minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.” What kind of police surrender to barbarians? A country whose police behave like this in the face of rioters and criminals deserves what it gets. Come on, Swedes, have some damn self-respect. Have some respect for your own civilization.
You extol this kind of nonsense, and you shouldn’t be surprised when you get cops who quiver in the face of riots, and who allow the property of law-abiding people to be destroyed. And you shouldn’t be surprised when voters up and elect a far-right government.
[Via Steve Sailer]
A St. Francisville woman named Leslie Davis Navarre posted this on Facebook:
Friday, May 24, 2013 at 1:16am
Well today makes 16 years I have been with the love of my life and married to him for 11yrs. Happy anniversary Jamie Navarre what am amazing blessing u r to me and always will be. I love you!!!!
Leslie and Jamie have been through a lot in their 11 years, especially in the last few. Jamie has fought cancer with incredible faith, courage, and good cheer. This town has been doing for Jamie what they did for Ruthie: love him and support him, Leslie, and their son Tucker throughout the cancer struggle.
Today, Leslie posted this to Facebook:
I married the love of my life and best friend on may 24, 2002 a day I will never forget – god was ready to take Jamie to be with
him and be cancer and pain free on may 24, 2013.
Jamie went very peaceful and he wanted to make sure that when u ever spoke about him never say he lost his battle with cancer it will be he fought hard till the end!!! Thank u for all the prayers and support and most of all being such awesome friends to him. I hope u all understand why I did not say anything last nite I did it to protect tucker till I could get home to hold my sweet son and tell him myself – it was hard enough being away from him for 19 days … God bless u all
Your thoughts and prayers for this family are requested.
Your thoughts and prayers are also requested for little J.J. Walker, a local boy who has inoperable brain cancer. Today was J.J. Walker Day in St. Francisville, to raise money for his medical bills, and to celebrate his spirit.
Ruthie insisted that nobody should be mad at God for her own cancer. I accept her wisdom. But it’s easier to do on some days than on others.
A reader sends a jaw-dropping Washington Post account of the sick world inside a Baltimore detention center. Excerpts:
To investigators, Tavon White is a thug who has been in and out of jail since he was 18, most recently on charges that he shot a fellow drug dealer four times. He is allegedly a high-ranking “bushman” in the Black Guerilla Family, a gang with a reputation for not just killing its enemies but also burning down their homes.
But during his three years at the state-run detention center, White, 36, was allegedly a figure who commanded respect, not only from fellow inmates in jumpsuits but also from many of the women in blue collared shirts and pressed slacks guarding him. Thirteen of them allegedly smuggled cellphones and drugs inside their hair, lunches and underwear for the man they called “Bulldog” or “Tay.” One tattooed his name on her neck, another on her wrist. Four have carried his children.
Through court documents, an affidavit from an FBI agent that contains transcripts of wiretapped conversations, and interviews with people familiar with White, the 13 officers indictedin April and the jail, a portrait emerges of a place where sex and drugs were swapped with stunning casualness, where thousands of dollars flowed in and out each week, and where one man’s power was, by all accounts, no match for a badge.
Just weeks before the two pregnant guards talked about the children they were expecting, a third allegedly pondered possible names for her son.
“What if I name the baby King?” Katera Stevenson, 24, asked in a wiretapped call to her sister recounted in the affidavit. “I like the name King. King Tavon White.”
These are guards. White is a hardcore thug from way back. But he has a way with the ladies:
What his criminal history doesn’t reveal, a family member said, is the loyal grandson and doting father who attended PTA meetings, accompanied his children to church and took them to Six Flags and Sesame Place. (In January, White called his grandmother Bessie Timmons from the detention center to tick off the due dates of the guards he had impregnated, according to the affidavit.)
In jail, he played chess and read novels, court records show. Between prison stints, he cleaned swimming pools and packed boxes for a moving company. That is what he was doing when he met Danielle Hall at a Wendy’s down the street from McCulloh Homes. The two moved in together and had a daughter, who is now 7.
“Tavon will always be a good guy in my book,” said Hall’s mother, who asked not to be identified by name, because of safety concerns. She said she was floored by the allegations that White was a gang leader at the detention center but not by his appeal to so many of the female corrections officers.
“He’s a hunk,” she said. “He’s got a mean-looking body, a body that’s all that, that says, ‘Catch me if you can.’ ”
Loyal grandson, doting father, stone-cold hoodlum, serial babydaddy. What a world. How does this happen? What kind of freakish culture produces dirtbags like Tavon White and his idiotic babymamas?
UPDATE: Let me be more precise. The world of Wall Street is not my world, but it’s easy for me to understand how extreme money and power could corrupt a person, and a community. What I don’t understand is how people like those women put themselves in thrall to a criminal like Tavon White — and how the community doesn’t treat someone like that, who does not take care of his children, like anything but a pariah.
Last night was the year-end program for Sequitur, the classical Christian homeschooling tutorial in which our older son has been studying for the past academic year. At evening prayer the night before, Matthew thanked God for Sequitur. In that, he certainly spoke for his parents. This program has been a godsend for our family.
About a year and a half ago, some homeschooling parents got together with two smart and engaged college graduates — one an art teacher, the other a literature and humanities teacher, both of them practicing Christians — to see if there was enough interest in starting a classical schooling tutorial. There was. Our Matthew was in the first Sequitur class. Twice a week — on Monday and Wednesday mornings — Matthew joined his classmates in Baton Rouge for four hours of lectures and workshops. They learned basic art techniques and forms. They read The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and other Greco-Roman classics, and studied logic. And they did so in an orthodox (small-o) Christian setting.
Julie and I really can’t say enough about this program. Yes, we had to drive Matt 40 minutes into Baton Rouge twice weekly, but that’s a small price to pay for what he learned and experienced. We have enthusiastically signed him up for the fall session. They’re still taking students. If you live in the Baton Rouge area and have a homeschooled kid of junior high age or older, and are curious about Sequitur, e-mail me at rod (at) amconmag.com, and I’ll put you in touch with the teachers and program directors. It’s not for every kid, but for our kid, it’s been terrific.
Matthew Hennessey at City Journal has written a terrific review of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming. Excerpt:
Family is hard. That’s the message at the heart of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Rod Dreher’s book about his sister’s death from lung cancer at 43 and his subsequent decision to return to his (and Ruthie’s) hometown in rural Louisiana. In the hands of a less talented writer, this might have been only a grief-fueled beatification of a life taken too soon. Dreher’s searching book is much more than that.
I found myself choking back sobs as I read about Ruthie’s illness and her struggle to survive. My mother died of cancer and, as with Dreher and Ruthie, an invisible wall had gone up between us in the years before her death. Like Dreher, I left my hometown because I thought it too small to hold my dreams. Like Dreher, I realized, too late, that when things go wrong there is no substitute for family.
This is an important book, shot through with Dreher’s penetrating intellect and cultural commentary. Some reviewers have interpreted Dreher’s relocation as an embrace of small-town, conservative values. But The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is also extraordinary because it does something that few books even try to attempt: it offers a plausible way out of the postmodern alienation and ironic posturing that has for too long informed my generation’s warped notions of the good life.
Read the whole thing. Thank you, Matthew Hennessey!
Hernandez tells EAGnews the day was originally billed as “Gender Bender Day,” but Tippecanoe officials made the name change after she called Principal Jeffrey Krupar to complain.
The Milwaukee mother was not impressed.
“I didn’t have a problem with the title. I had a problem with the activity taking place,” Hernandez says.
She says it’s “ridiculous” and “creepy” to ask elementary boys to come to school dressed as girls, and vice versa, and predicts that having students dress as “transvestites” will distract from the learning process.
The school says this is a “spirit day” activity chosen by the student council, and nobody has to dress like the opposite sex. I agree that it’s ridiculous and creepy. It’s also a highly politicized act in this time and place.
UPDATE: Come on, people, how on earth can we live in the same culture in which we hear every day, all day long, about homosexuality and transgenderism and diversity, and the need to accept these things, and then claim an activity like this is devoid of cultural politics? Thirty years ago, it would have been weird, but larky and innocent. Today? Please.
All this talk about Lois Lerner and the IRS targeting conservative groups brought me back more than a decade ago, when the IRS did not audit Jesse Jackson’s left-of-center organization, the Citizenship Education Fund, whose tax returns were a massive red flag. I was surprised to see that today, the CEF is still rocking and rolling and raising money. If there are any Congressional hearings into the IRS targeting — or refusing to target — 501(c)(3) organizations because of their political orientation or connections, Republicans would do well to dig into the sordid history of Jackson’s CEF, which he treated like a slush fund. It would be useful, perhaps, to see if there’s evidence showing that certain organizations got a pass because of their political mission or political connections.
I find it difficult to locate online all the columns I wrote about Jackson, his shakedowns, and his finances for the New York Post back in 2001. The Chicago Sun-Times also back then ran a series of excellent investigative stories on Jackson’s finances and various shenanigans, all of which were coming to light, if memory serves, because it had emerged that Jackson had his mistress on his non-profit payroll.
Here is one of the columns I wrote in 2001. It gives you a good idea of how messy CEF’s tax filings were:
It has been 18 years since the IRS has audited any of Jesse Jackson’s organizations. So at my request, an expert examined the 1998 and 1999 IRS filings of the Citizenship Education Fund, a tax-exempt arm of his Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, as well as supplemental forms submitted by the charity. The papers are public record.
“There are red flags all over this,” said Cleta Mitchell, a Washington lawyer who specializes in tax laws regulating nonprofit organizations.
“You can’t help but be struck by the fact that, reading those tax returns, there’s a lot of money being spent in ways that aren’t clear,” said Mitchell, a registered independent voter whose clients are predominantly Republican.
Among the biggest questions suggested by the documents:
* The 1999 filing says CEF, whose president is Jackson, spent $1.3 million for travel. But it does not itemize. “Was any of that travel paying for Jesse Jackson to go speak for candidates?” Mitchell asked. “If so, that is illegal, and they should lose their tax-exempt status.”
More than $1 million was spent by CEF in 1999 on consulting fees. Who were these consultants? What did they do for the money? “The law says you have to list your five biggest independent contractors. They list none,” said Mitchell. “You don’t have $1 million in consulting fees without having contractors.”
* CEF spent $1.1 million on conferences and meetings in 1999, according to its tax filing. What were these events?
* The 1999 return states that CEF spent nothing on lobbying and “grass-roots communications.” But elsewhere on the form it “suggests” that $2.3 million went for grass-roots lobbying related to the charity’s tax-exempt purpose, Mitchell said.
There are also discrepancies among various forms submitted to the feds and the state of Illinois. Some list key employees and officers whose names are not on other documents.
A meaningless technical oversight? Could be. But sloppiness like this gives ammunition to those who suspect that Jackson uses creative accounting to treat CEF like a slush fund.
“Because the IRS doesn’t look very carefully at these [filings], and nonprofits know that, they don’t tend to fill them out completely and accurately,” says Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a journal that covers charities.
There’s lots more to ask, but it all comes down to one thing. “The overall question we’re facing here is whether or not tax-deductible dollars are being spent for political purposes and personal inurement” – a legal term meaning “benefit” – “both of which are forbidden to a [tax exempt] charity,” says Mitchell.
It’s fair to pose these questions, and fair to expect a complete and credible answer from this and any honestly run charity – particularly a tax-exempt one.
On Monday, I spoke with Billy Owens, the chief financial officer of CEF and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, who asked me to put these and other questions in written form and submit them via e-mail. He promised to respond by 10 a.m. yesterday. He neither called nor e-mailed, nor did he respond to another phone message I left for him yesterday afternoon.
Owens and Jackson may not have a thing to worry about, if a former U.S. Justice Department official who worked in the tax-fraud division knows his stuff. “They hate going after religious organizations, and it’s unlikely that they’re going to go after an African-American organization led by a clergyman,”said the ex-official, who asked that his name not be printed.
Does the IRS care? Do stockholders in the big companies – Verizon, AT&T, Viacom, SBC/Ameritech and others – who donate heavily to CEF have any regard for how Jesse Jackson spends their money? Will treasurer Billy Owens ever give an explanation?
If you submitted tax returns like these, don’t think for a minute you wouldn’t be asked to give an accounting. Why should Jesse Jackson get special treatment?
I found that text in a long formal complaint the conservative National Legal and Policy Center filed on Feb 28, 2001, with the IRS asking for an investigation of CEF. All these potential crimes and abuses are detailed in the complaint, and documented. What was the response, I wonder? I don’t recall hearing of any CEF audit. Was there one? If not, why not?
These abuses by the tax-exempt organization headed by the politically connected Democrat Jackson were not mere allegations. They were documented, and published in my newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and aired on Fox News. Jackson subsequently said CEF would amend its tax returns, at least in a limited way:
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday he would amend tax returns by his organizations which omitted a $35,000 payment to a staff worker with whom he had an extramarital affair.
He called the omission a mistake and said the money paid to the woman was severance pay.
The news conference was the first time Jackson had released financial records for his groups, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund.
Jackson defended his groups’ operations as sound and rejected suggestions that he uses threats of economic boycotts or protests to pressure companies to contribute to his organizations.Jackson denies personal gain from groups
Jackson also disputed accusations that he uses donations to his groups for his personal gain.
“Our record of service, our financial records reflect discipline, dignity, integrity and results and legal propriety,” Jackson said.
Jackson conceded that 1999 tax returns filed in connection with the operation of the Citizenship Education Fund failed to reflect $35,000 paid to former staff member Karin Stanford. In January, Jackson revealed that he is the father of a child with Stanford.
There was far, far more wrong with those tax filings than omitting payment to his mistress. At that same press conference, Jackson denounced the center that brought the complaint as a right-wing outfit. It certainly was, and is, a right-wing outfit, but that has nothing to do with whether or not CEF violated the law.
Whatever became of NLPC’s request? Did the IRS investigate CEF? If so, what did it find? If not, why not? Who made that call within the IRS bureaucracy?
Michael Shermer, a psychologist, historian of science, and professional skeptic – he founded Skepticmagazine — called this property of the human mind patternicity. He defined patternicity as “the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data.”
What all these examples tell me is that in society, the three kinds of minds — visual, verbal, pattern thinkers — naturally complement one another. When I recall collaborations in which I’ve successfully participated, I can see how different kinds of thinkers worked together to create a product that was greater than the sum of its parts.Yet society puts them together without anybody thinking about it.
But what if we did think about it? What if we recognized these categories consciously and tried to make the various pairings work to our advantage? What if each of us was able to say, Oh, here’s my strength, and here’s my weakness — what can I do for you, and what can you do for me?
Let’s apply this same principle to the marketplace. If people can consciously recognize the strengths and weaknesses in their ways of thinking, they can then seek out the right kinds of minds for the right reasons. And if they do that, then they’re going to recognize that sometimes the right mind can belong only to an autistic brain.
I remember a few years back, when our son Matthew was suffering a great deal from his Asperger’s and related conditions (sensory processing disorder) — which meant that his parents, especially his mother, struggling with him were suffering too — I thought that there was no amount of giftedness that was worth what that child was going through. He’s a really intelligent kid, but I would have traded that genius in a heartbeat for respite for him from what really was torment. He has grown out of most of the bad stuff, thank God, and I can see easily now how his mild autism can be a tremendous intellectual and vocational asset to him, depending on the field he goes into, even as it remains to some degree a social problem. Put simply, he sees things that most of us don’t, and he sees them as a result of the way his brain is wired.
This is a gift. It is at times a terrible gift, but it is a gift.
If it had been possible at the time he was conceived to genetically engineer autism out of him, I’m sure we would have done it. Wouldn’t you have? And yet, had we done that, he wouldn’t have the gifts he does. He also would have been spared a lot of suffering.
As I’ve said before, learning about autism and Asperger’s has revealed to me ways that I’m pretty clearly on the spectrum myself. I think about myself as a Little League player. My dad, who coached me, said that at every moment I knew every possible play that should happen, depending on where the batter hit the ball. Though I had poor motor skills, my mind was constantly computing these things, so I would be ready to do my part as shortstop or second baseman. See, I remember all this as misery-making, because I was so anxious that I would fail to do the right thing, or one of my teammates would fail to do the right thing. In retrospect, it seems that my ability to see deeply into the mechanics of the game was inseparable from my rigid expectations of human behavior. In other words, the strategic gift I had came at the cost of intense anxiety and frustration, in part because I suffered a motor-skills deficit, like many kids on the spectrum.
This is pretty much why I would have preferred to have had my head in a book as a kid, instead of being on the ball field. But I digress. Up with Temple Grandin and neurological diversity, is my point.
Following the kiddie cryfest occasioned by the end of Where The Red Fern Grows, my son Matthew recommended something in a different key for my bedtime reading to his younger brother and sister: Terry Pratchett’s The Bromeliad Trilogy, which is one of his favorite books.
We’re a few chapters in, and it’s as good as he says. I find that I’m enjoying it about as much as Lucas and Nora, because it’s startlingly philosophical and theological, even though it’s written for young readers. It’s a book about nomes (yes, that’s the spelling), little people who live among us. The first book of the trilogy begins with a bedraggled tribe of woodland nomes migrating to a department store, where they find thousands of other nomes living. The store nomes struggle to believe that the outside nomes exist at all; their cosmology, derived from their experience and attempts to read the clues in their environment, told them that the Store is all that exists. The outside nomes cannot exist, therefore they cannot be seen (at least initially) by the priestly class of store nomes.
What’s so entrancing to this reader is how the store nomes created their own cosmology through plausible (but very wrong) interpretations of the clues their own environment gives them. They can’t comprehend human culture (which they disdain as slow-witted), and make big mistakes because they can’t understand what’s being communicated by human language. For example, a sign in the store that reads, “Everything Must Go!” — a sale banner — they interpret as a philosophical maxim, along the lines of “All things must pass,” delivered by God, whose name is Arnold Bros (est. 1905). This is comic, but only in a limited way, as we learn that a cosmic crisis is upon the store gnomes, a crisis that they are not prepared to face because they don’t know how to read the signs of the times.
We’re only eight or nine chapters in, but as a Daddy who’s preoccupied with questions of theology and epistemology, I’m totally entranced. Lucas and Nora don’t appreciate the book on my level, but they’re as into it as I am. Any other fans of this book among my readers?