Let The Fire Burn, And Ferguson

Jason Osder‘s searing Let the Fire Burn–a documentary about the tragic standoff between the radical black liberation group MOVE and the Philadelphia city administration in 1985–is ostensibly a documentary about an America of thirty years ago, but it is also about the America of today. Last night, as my wife and I waited for theContinue reading “Let The Fire Burn, And Ferguson”

Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars

A nation at war–an indefinite, borderless one, conducted against a faceless enemy, with little legal or moral restraint, with an endless wallet to be dipped into–will find, sooner or later, that the same inchoateness, the same vagueness, the same productive lack of definition of that conflict, which permitted its waging to be conducted secretly withoutContinue reading “Ferguson And The Tale Of Two Wars”

Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization

The killing–execution style–of Michael Brown, the protests in Ferguson that followed, and their policing, both rhetorically and literally, demonstrate some chilling facts about modern American life. Most obviously,  police continue to over-police, with overbearing aggressiveness and force, communities of color.  They have poor relationships with their subjects–an apt description given the asymmetry of power thatContinue reading “Policing Ferguson: Executions, Demonizing Protest, Militarization”

The Police Precinct as Augean Stable

Over the past few years, I have met some–very personable and intelligent–young men who seemed possessed by the same passion: they wished to join the police, to “serve their community”, to “give something back”. They knew the police forces they wished to become members of were dysfunctional and corrupt, but that was precisely why theirContinue reading “The Police Precinct as Augean Stable”

Stop and Frisk, Jersey City Style

This horrifying story of TSA overreach prompts my post today. It has nothing to do with the TSA but everything to do with the abuse of power. Almost twenty-five years ago, while attending graduate school in Newark, I visited Jersey City to meet a good friend of mine. I was accompanied by two other friendsContinue reading “Stop and Frisk, Jersey City Style”

The Boston Bombings Are Bad News

By now, the bombings at the Boston Marathon are ‘old news’ for our  24-hour news and social media cycle. We’ve now run through the standard template of responses to such an attack: suspicion of the usual suspects,  rallying cries of support for the afflicted, stern, righteous denunciations from political leaders, racist rants of revenge andContinue reading “The Boston Bombings Are Bad News”