INTERESTING TIMES THINKPIECE ON INSTITUTIONALIZED FEARMONGERING. THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF, ETC.: “Whatever their motivation, by using fear to induce the rollback of individual rights, politicians, judges and lawmakers are working against the hard-won democratic principles and ideals that we and other democracies have defended for almost 250 years. They are manipulating our fears to undo centuries of democratic reform. And it doesn’t matter if the empowered leader is called a king or a prime minister or a president; the end result is that fear has been used to place us back under the yoke of Hobbes’s sovereign and Machiavelli’s prince. Yet ultimately we are not powerless. We can resist the impulse to be afraid. We may not at the moment have answers to the very real dangers that we face in this world, but we can begin to identify those dangers and seek solutions once we overcome our fear. Or as Bertrand Russell rather more elegantly put it, as World War II was drawing to a close, ‘to conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.’” (New York Times)
THERE GOES THE FEAR AGAIN
SCHADENFREUDE JUST GOT A LITTLE MORE DICEY. NO MORE FUN MUGSHOTS FOR YOU!: “In 2011, Wired broke the story on how Florida's insanely liberal public records coupled with some algorithm profiteers were making a killing through humiliation tactics. The magazine piece focused on florida.arrests.org, which is run by a ex-con. Last October, the New York Times wrote about how mugshot sites tarnish peoples' lives long after they've been cleared of -- or served time for -- the crimes they've been charged with. (Full disclosure: Both New Times papers have re-posted mugshots in regular blog features.) But all that might be about to change. Late last year, the New York Times reported that Google, Mastercard, Discover, American Express and PayPal wished to sever their ties with the industry. The latest blow came last Friday, when a Tampa judge found that the republishing of mugshots for profit is in violation of a state statute. Arthur D'Antonio, who is behind the websites justmugshots.com and mugshots.mobi, must now face charges of privacy invasion and unfair trade. The statute in question reads: ‘No person shall publish, print, display, or otherwise publicly use for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likeness of any natural person without the express written or oral consent to such use....’” (via Miami New Times)
RUBIO’S CHARACTERISTIC UNCERTAINTY ON ISSUES NOW TRANSLATES TO UNCERTAINTY ABOUT HIS POLITICAL FUTURE: “He says he'll reach a conclusion around this time next year, but he'll have to drop strong clues this year.‘I really can't tell you today where I'll be. A lot can change between now and then.’ The uncertainly belies a carefully planned, if not always seen, effort by Rubio and his team to position for a presidential bid. He has raised millions through his Reclaim America PAC, investing in consultants and growing a national donor base. Rubio also has been meeting with top fundraisers in New York, California, Florida and other moneyed states. In April, while in Las Vegas to attend a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting, Rubio sat down with Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who used super PACs to spend at least $100 million in the 2012 presidential election. Rubio has begun writing his second book, on the future of the country and the Republican Party, which will come out after the fall midterm elections, just as presidential hype soars, affording a platform, publicity and travel opportunities. ‘The goal for those of us on his team is to keep as many doors open as possible, so that no matter what he decides, we'll be ready,’ said Todd Harris, a chief strategist.” (via Tampa Bay Times)
LOVE IS AN EMERGENCY: “When you're a married cop trying to carry on an affair during a work shift, you've got to be creative and smart. Ocoee Police Officer Shaun Whiting was creative, but maybe not smart. Whiting, a decorated four-year veteran of the force with two school-age children, was forced to resign from the department after authorities discovered that he'd started an extramarital affair with a woman he'd met on a police call. To keep the dalliance secret from their spouses, they planned sex meetups at hotels and empty police substations while Whiting was on duty. To keep it secret from his employers, he arranged for his mistress to make a quick distress call to 911, which he would then answer alone and sexily, according to Orlando's WFTV.” (via Gawker)
911 IS A JOKE!