July 15, 2018




Just before a wave of violence turned Baltimore into the nation’s deadliest big city, a curious thing happened to its police force: officers suddenly seemed to stop noticing crime.

Police officers reported seeing fewer drug dealers on street corners. They encountered fewer people who had open arrest warrants.

Police questioned fewer people on the street. They stopped fewer cars.

In the space of just a few days in spring 2015 – as Baltimore faced a wave of rioting after Freddie Gray, a black man, died from injuries he suffered in the back of a police van – officers in nearly every part of the city appeared to turn a blind eye to everyday violations. They still answered calls for help. But the number of potential violations they reported seeing themselves dropped by nearly half. It has largely stayed that way ever since.

“What officers are doing is they’re just driving looking forward. They’ve got horse blinders on,” says Kevin Forrester, a retired Baltimore detective.

The surge of shootings and killings that followed has left Baltimore easily the deadliest large city in the United States. Its murder rate reached an all-time high last year; 342 people were killed. The number of shootings in some neighborhoods has more than tripled. One man was shot to death steps from a police station. Another was killed driving in a funeral procession.

“In all candor, officers are not as aggressive as they once were, pre-2015. It’s just that fact.”

*Mice Don’t Know When to Let It Go, Either – Animals, like humans, are reluctant to give up on pursuits they’ve invested in, psychologists report:

Suppose that, seeking a fun evening out, you pay $175 for a ticket to a new Broadway musical. Seated in the balcony, you quickly realize that the acting is bad, the sets are ugly and no one, you suspect, will go home humming the melodies.

Do you head out the door at the intermission, or stick it out for the duration?

Studies of human decision-making suggest that most people will stay put, even though money spent in the past logically should have no bearing on the choice.

This “sunk cost fallacy,” as economists call it, is one of many ways that humans allow emotions to affect their choices, sometimes to their own detriment. But the tendency to factor past investments into decision-making is apparently not limited to Homo sapiens.

In a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, investigators at the University of Minnesota reported that mice and rats were just as likely as humans to be influenced by sunk costs.

The more time they invested in waiting for a reward — in the case of the rodents, flavored pellets; in the case of the humans, entertaining videos — the less likely they were to quit the pursuit before the delay ended.

*California Mayor: ‘Give Folks Money, 9 Times Out of 10 They’re Not Going to Do Any Harm’:

Stockton, Calif. Mayor Michael Tubbs (D) is touting a pilot program that will give 100 low-income residents $500 a month.

Only about a tenth of people who are given money will do something harmful with it, Tubbs said Tuesday during an appearance at the San Francisco Press Club:

“You trust folks; you give folks money, nine times out of 10 they’re not going to do any harm. They’re going to pay for necessities.”

Mayor Tubbs’ ultimate goal is to get Americans paying state and federal taxes to fund the handouts, once his pilot program provides “proof of concept,” the San Francisco Chroniclereports:

“It’s a way for Tubbs to experiment on programs with money the city doesn’t have. If the programs work, he will seek to convince taxpayers and other governments, including the state, to adopt them, albeit with expected tax increases.”

“Going forward I don’t think one city in itself can do it longer than a pilot to show proof of concept,” Tubbs conceded.

While payouts to low-income residents aren’t schedule to begin until early 2019, another of the mayor’s handout programs has already launched: a rehabilitation program that pays “men who most regularly engage in gun violence” a thousand dollars a month to participate in a six-month program requiring them to visit with a case worker each day and obtain both a job and a driver’s license.

Both of Tubbs’ “proof of concept” programs are initially being funded by private benefactors.

Feds Collect Record Individual Income Taxes Through June;
Still Run $607B Deficit:

The federal government collected a record $1,305,490,000,000 in individual income taxes through the first nine months of fiscal 2018 (October 2017 through June 2018), according to theMonthly Treasury Statement released today.

Despite the record individual income tax collections, the federal government still ran a deficit of $607,099,000,000 over those same nine months, according to the Treasury statement.

The approximately $1,305,490,000,000 in individual income taxes that the Treasury collected in October through June of this fiscal year was $71,815,310,000 more (in constant June 2018 dollars) than the $1,233,674,690,000 (in constant June 2018 dollars) in individual income taxes that the Treasury collected in October through June of fiscal 2017—which was the previous record.

Alan Johnson, a choreographer renowned for his campy movie collaborations with Mel Brooks on the “Springtime for Hitler” goose-steppers-and-showgirls extravaganza in “The Producers” and the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” tap dance in “Young Frankenstein,” died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

His death was confirmed by his nephew Todd Johnson, who said that he had received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease several years ago.


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Raw-Food Juicing
1. Eating 6 large carrots is equivalent to drinking 8 ounces of carrot juice.

2. Because carrot greens, rhubarb greens, or the peels of oranges and grapefruit contain toxic substances, these greens and skins should not be juiced. However, the pithy white part of citrus just underneath the skin is very nutritious. To benefit from this pith, grate the peel off oranges and grapefruits instead of peeling.

3. Good quality juicers can run anywhere from $100-$500. The most expensive juicer is the original Norwalk hydraulic press juicer for $2,495.00.

4. Depending on cooking temperature and time, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients are lost in varying degrees while cooking. Other negative affects of cooking food include the following:
a) proteins become denatured, which renders them useless to the body
b) water in food evaporates, which leads to the loss of valuable minerals and water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B-complex,
c) food reduces in volume but maintains its calorie count, so you end up eating more calories by volume of food than your body needs
d) food softens, making it easier to eat quickly and overeat, and
e) high heat creates toxins, especially when cooking starches and fats.

5. When choosing raw fruits and veggies to juice, terms such as “pasteurized” and “hydrogenated” indicate that the food has been heated above the 118° threshold, which make them cooked—not raw—foods.


“BigMike” Straumietis, Global Cannabis Expert, Becomes the First Cannabis Influencer on Instagram’s IGTV

Instagram recently launched their new app called IGTV that features full-screen, hour-long videos that are created by the accounts you follow. With well over one billion subscribers to the service, BigMike Straumietis, the founder of Advanced Nutrients, one of the largest cannabis businesses in the world, with products in over 100 different countries, proudly becomes the first cannabis influencer on IGTV, Instagram’s latest platform.

“I’m proud to be the first cannabis influencer on IGTV. To me, this is as much a responsibility as it is an opportunity— I’m looking to pass real, relevant, reliable cannabis information on to the next generation. Instagram has proven itself to be that generation’s platform of choice,” BigMike declares. “I’m excited to be the first major cannabis player on IGTV and look forward to connecting with even more cannabis enthusiasts and young entrepreneurs through educational and entertaining content.”

View the real-time US and world population clock, see facts about cities all over the countries and much more.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to write a comforting column. The thesis was going to be that even though Donald Trump is doing his best to inflame racial division, we are still making gradual progress against racism and racial disparities.

I was going to cite evidence showing a steady decline in racist attitudes. I was going to point to a steady rise in intermarriage rates. In 1967, 3 percent of American newlyweds married outside their race or ethnicity. As of 2015, 17 percent do, including 24 percent of African-American men.

I was going to point out that in 2017, 87 percent of blacks 25 and older had completed high school.

I was even going to note some positive economic statistics, too. The black unemployment rate was at a record low (and is now still close). After you control for parental income, black women now out-earn their white counterparts. In 1960, only 38 percent of black men — measuring by family income — were members of the middle class or above. Today, 57 percent are. In 1960, over 40 percent of black men lived in poverty. Now only 18 percent do.

Unfortunately, this is not that comforting column. The deeper I dug into the evidence, the more I came to doubt the idea that we are still making progress on race. For every positive statistic indicating racial reconciliation, there was one indicating stagnation or even decay.


Chet Baker, singer, New York, January 16, 1986

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