Politics – The Deets http://www.thedeets.com Consistently against torture. Mon, 20 Sep 2021 18:14:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 Vote Yes on 2 to Undo Minneapolis’ Mistake from 1961 http://www.thedeets.com/2021/09/20/vote-yes-on-2-to-undo-minneapolis-mistake-from-1961/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vote-yes-on-2-to-undo-minneapolis-mistake-from-1961 http://www.thedeets.com/2021/09/20/vote-yes-on-2-to-undo-minneapolis-mistake-from-1961/#respond Mon, 20 Sep 2021 18:14:55 +0000 https://www.thedeets.com/?p=14398 Continue reading "Vote Yes on 2 to Undo Minneapolis’ Mistake from 1961"]]> Remember 1961 in Minnesota? I don’t. But here are a few nuggets to put things in perspective:

It was the year that riots of white people terrorized Black Americans in a church that were organizing in support of civil rights for all Americans.

It was the year that Freedom Riders were attacked for daring to help Black people.

It was a year that US Marshalls were sent to the South to defend Americans against white people.

It was the year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Minnesota for the first time to speak.

And, it was the year that white cops in Minneapolis pushed through a charter amendment on taxpayers’ time to change the city’s charter to require a minimum ratio of cops to citizens. That amendment was authored by a white councilmember (they were all white until 1980) representing Linden Hills, George Martens.

In 1961, during a particularly ugly time in America’s racist history, Minneapolis codified into our charter a minimum policing requirement that doesn’t take into account changes in levels of crime, changes in policing technology, changes in policing tactics, changes in police abuse settlement costs, or changes in the city’s attitude towards how it would like to be protected and served.

It sounds like we nailed the timing perfectly to put such a regressive piece of police anti-accountability into the charter. White folks used national headlines to stoke fear among white people to make our democracy less democratic.

Are we capable of being more progressive on policing issues than we were 60 years ago? I like to think so. I think we have a better understanding today than we did 60 years ago about mental health issues. That people who need help don’t deserve to be hurt by people who use force as one of their primary ways to solve problems.

Even cops know that they’re not good at addressing issues like homelessness.

In 1993, PERF conducted a nationally representative survey on the police response to homelessness. PERF surveyed 650 police agencies serving populations of 50,000 or more, or with 100 or more sworn officers, and received an 80-percent response rate. Every state except North Dakota was represented in the sample.

Key findings of the 1993 survey included:

  • 69 percent of respondents reported that the homeless individuals in their jurisdiction were viewed “predominantly as a police problem.”
  • 77 percent reported that their community did not understand the police role in responding to homeless individuals.
  • 88 percent reported that homeless individuals in their jurisdiction appeared to experience alcohol abuse.
  • 60 percent reported that homeless individuals in their jurisdiction appeared to be involved with drug
    abuse.
  • Almost 65 percent of respondents reported that homeless individuals in their jurisdiction appeared to have a mental illness.

When asked about the three most common reasons police make contact with the homeless, 92 percent reported calls from citizens, 82 percent reported officer observations, and 74 percent reported calls from the business community.

Regarding policies and training, 35 percent of respondents said their agency did not have a policy specifically related to incidents involving homeless persons. About 50 percent of agencies reported that at least some of their officers receive training regarding homelessness; only 17 percent of agencies reported that they had an individual or unit assigned to deal with the specific needs of the homeless.

With regard to partnerships with service providers, 97 percent of respondents indicated that police departments needed some type of referral arrangement with other agencies to effectively respond to homeless individuals. About 65 percent reported that it was difficult to get assistance for homeless people outside of normal business hours, and 55 percent reported that it was difficult for police to get mental health care for homeless individuals in their jurisdiction.19

Takeaways:

The right people for the job: People and businesses are calling 911 on homeless people, and 911 has ~3 options to dispatch for those calls today: fire, ambulance, or cops. We need a fourth option that routes those calls to a department with more appropriate training.

Right-sizing staffing: We have cameras in squad cars, in businesses, in public, and in the hands of nearly every resident today, yet somehow need the same number of cops on the force to protect us? Nearly every industry has become more efficient over time due to technology. It’s inconceivable that policing hasn’t as well.

We need a different form of oversight of our public safety investments in order to design an approach to public safety to suit the needs of all residents today, rather than some residents in 1961.

Vote Yes on 2 to undo the mistakes of 1961 so we can move toward a more just public safety department in 2021. Let’s proactively move towards creating a more just Minneapolis rather than sustaining the status quo’s policies that originated in reactive racism and fear.

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Why I Reported Your Comment to Facebook http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/30/why-i-reported-your-comment-to-facebook/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-i-reported-your-comment-to-facebook http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/30/why-i-reported-your-comment-to-facebook/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:49:25 +0000 http://www.thedeets.com/?p=14364 Continue reading "Why I Reported Your Comment to Facebook"]]> If you’re reading this it’s probably because I reported your comment to Facebook and I provided a link to this page to offer a more detailed explanation.

Here’s a problem I see on Facebook: a small number of people post some really offensive or just garbage content to the site. This includes spam, hate speech, bullying, and a variety of other categories of content that does more harm than good.

There was a time in my life when I thought that a real names policy would solve this. As in, if people had to post under their real names they’d surely not post racist content or associate their names with other forms of garbage content. It turns out that I was wrong.

There certainly are people who feel shame about their own thoughts. When people choose to post under fake names, my assumption is that they’re doing so because they don’t want to be held responsible for their own words. What if their friends, family, or coworkers find out how deplorable they really are? Thankfully, Facebook has a way to report fake profiles. They’re pretty slow at taking action on fake profiles by they eventually do.

Here’s a recommendation: If you decide to set up a fake profile because you’re unwilling to stand behind your own words, don’t use it to post publicly. Instead, just use your fake account as a private journal. That way you won’t have to worry about people reporting your fake account.

You may have noticed that I’m doing two things on Facebook: I’m reporting your garbage comments and posting a comment saying that I’ve reported your garbage comment.

The reason I do this is that I want you to know that your comments are not okay.

I also want everyone else who sees your comment to know that it’s not okay.

I want decent people who make the mistake of reading the comments to know that they’re not alone in their assessment of your garbage content.

And I want other people who’d consider posting garbage content to know that their content is not welcome.

Think of this as a public forum. A town hall. If you took a turn speaking at a town hall and said similar things you’d – rightly – be booed, told to sit down, asked to leave. You’d get the feedback you deserve (and, apparently, need) from people in your community.

Optimistically, I’m hoping to bring a similar level of decorum to Facebook comments. I’d like comments to be a welcoming place for members of our community to agree, disagree, and learn from each other without having to wade through hate speech, bullying, spam, and other forms of garbage like the garbage you’ve been sharing.

Longer-term, I expect that manual reporting of garbage comments will be used by Facebook as training data for machine learning systems that will auto-delete or at least auto-hide terms of service violating comments. If you have a history of posting garbage comments and post yet another comment that follows the same theme as previously posted garbage comments, it’s quite possible that your comment won’t be seen by other users.

I expect it will something similar to Twitter’s shadowbanning system where consistently deplorable users’ tweets do not appear in search results and are buried behind an extra click in responses. We already can see where this is heading based on Facebook’s default ranking of comments by relevancy.


Example of hidden comments on Facebook.

You may not realize this but your comments are already being pushed down to the bottom of comment threads due to their low quality. Facebook doesn’t have people hand-ranking comments. Instead, they’ve built programs that have looked through trillions of comments and determined that yours are among the worse their software encounters. It’s a somewhat elegant solution since it allows you to get some garbage out of your head without subjecting other people to your garbage.

Why don’t I just ignore your comments? Because I’d rather solve the problem that is you rather than ignore it. Think of it this way: at least someone’s paying attention to your garbage content.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about where I’m coming from on this.

If you happen to have read this far, and it’s not because you’re a troll, here’s something you can do to help make the web a slightly saner placer. I run a program that automatically reports hate speech on Twitter. You can chip in to help support the machine learning costs here.

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Some Thoughts on Being to the Left of Biden http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/11/some-thoughts-on-being-to-the-left-of-biden/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=some-thoughts-on-being-to-the-left-of-biden http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/11/some-thoughts-on-being-to-the-left-of-biden/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2020 20:56:37 +0000 http://www.thedeets.com/?p=14356 Continue reading "Some Thoughts on Being to the Left of Biden"]]> I write this from the Warren Bubble of the Cooper Neighborhood of Minneapolis.


Thanks for David Brauer for mapping this.

I feel like the area of Minneapolis I live in has a ton of people who work at the U at other universities, in public policy, for non-profits in leadership roles, as teachers, and other roles that come together around a candidate who understands the problems Americans face, and which candidate would be most capable of creating systemic change due to her expertise and track record. Clearly, not everyone agreed.

One way to think about presidential campaigns is like startups. You can have the perfect idea for a startup and still fail if the market for what you’re creating isn’t large enough, or you’re simply too early. Your startup can solve a real and important problem, but if there aren’t enough people willing to support the business it’s not going to survive.

Facebook was far from the first social media site. YouTube was one of many startups working on video streaming. There have been thousands of dating-related startups but few have turned into viable businesses.

It can be incredibly frustrating to be both right and too early. Or right and not be able to make a viable business out of what you’re creating.

Presidential campaigns are like this. If you’re right on the issues but your platform doesn’t resonate with enough voters, you’re screwed.

Why does this happen?

It could be that your candidate wasn’t able to connect with enough people who show up to vote to explain to them that they’d be better off in your version of the future.

If could be that the candidate’s platform would resonate with people who show up to vote but the candidate didn’t resonate with those people. This could come down to age, race, gender, and religion or other issues. In this case, age didn’t seem to be the issue.

What Should We Do?

My first choice candidate did not win the primary. Yours probably didn’t either. You’re not alone. That’s how primaries work. It’s frustrating when that happens, but what’s most important is to not give up. Even without our first choice candidate winning the nomination, we’ve moved the party toward where we’d like it to go. It’s frustrating to take baby steps instead of leading a revolution, but it still far better than the alternative.

We have some options on where to go from here. We could give up, and pretend that there is no difference between Biden and Trump. We’ve seen that play out over the past four years so we know that isn’t the best approach.

We could throw our weight behind Biden so we can at least press the reset button. Don’t sit it out. Help get the country back to a semblance of normalcy.

We could help flip US Senate seats in order to give Biden’s platform a chance of passing. The only thing worse than a moderate president is a moderate president who can’t even make moderate improvements to our country. Here’s a good list of the seats that are at play. The polling may be a bit dated but it’s still useful for figuring out where to spend time or money.

We could flip state legislatures. In Minnesota, flipping the Senate would have a huge impact on what can be done to address issues like underfunded public schools, insulin for diabetics, sensible gun legislation the majority of Minnesotans support, and civil rights for people the MN GOP continues to persecute in twenty twenty. In 2020, the MN GOP continues to have legislators who’re willing to put their names on bills that discriminate against fellow Minnesotans.

We could move county commissioners to the left. County commissioners have some of the best jobs in politics. I base that on the amount of money the control vs. the amount of public scrutiny they face. It’s way better role than being a city councilmember that hears about every pothole. We have county commissioners that are dedicated to addressing housing issues for everyone, improving the safety of major roads through urban areas, helping with employment, and helping vulnerable children, and there are county commissioners who want to build professional sports stadiums and other mega-projects to entertain wealthy white people.

We could improve our school boards. If you talk the talk on improving the lives of people at the bottom but don’t think about schools, you’re missing a big opportunity to make a difference. Granted, schools take on a HUGE burden for issues that shouldn’t fall to them. (Ex. Being measured based on student performance while the county and city fail to provide stable, affordable housing or food for students.)

Still, one of the roadblocks to public schools being more equitable is the dominance of wealthy white parents in conversations about what actions school boards should take. Minneapolis has one of the worst public school racial disparities in the country, and this needs to change. This appears to have been a socially acceptable reality until non-white students started leaving the district for adjacent districts or charter schools.

Now, things are getting real since students leaving the district cuts into the entire district’s budget. Not surprisingly, the current reaction from white families to proposed changes is to fight for the status quo (based on previous budgets) that’s worked for them but not for everyone else. #NotAllWhiteFamilies, obvs. It’s the first time in a long time that white families have been as organized as they are now, and it’s not happening because they suddenly started caring about closing the racial education gap.

A cool thing about all of those down-ballot races is that they make a tangible change today, and – in some cases – are stepping stones for people seeking higher offices in the future. Granted, it’s awesome if anyone chooses to run for any of these positions as their ultimate goal. Just be good at what you do while you’re there, no matter how long. Think about it this way: Would you like to have someone who sucks at being a county commissioner, but at least you know that they’ll run for governor someday? Of course not. Work every position on the ballot that resonates with you.

So, continue to fight to move people toward your values. You’re on the right side of history but perhaps ahead of where America is today. Don’t stop caring and don’t stop channeling your energy towards making positive change. If Biden isn’t far left enough for you to put energy into his campaign, fine. But, don’t give up.

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Degrees of All Are Welcome Here http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/02/degrees-of-all-are-welcome-here/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=degrees-of-all-are-welcome-here http://www.thedeets.com/2020/03/02/degrees-of-all-are-welcome-here/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2020 15:19:52 +0000 http://www.thedeets.com/?p=14349 Continue reading "Degrees of All Are Welcome Here"]]> All Are Welcome Here signs are great, but not all All Are Welcome Here behavior lives up to that sentiment.

Here is a list of some examples of this.

  1. All Are Welcome Here but don’t park on the public street in front of my house.
  2. All Are Welcome Here, you can park in front of my house, but don’t block the walk.
  3. All Are Welcome Here as long as you don’t build a cookie-cutter house near homes that were purchased from the Sears catalog.
  4. All are welcome Here as long as you can afford to own a single-family home that was built with a racial covenant attached to it.
  5. All Are Welcome Here as long as you mean welcome to live directly on the bus route since it’s not true density if people willingly walk a few blocks to get to transit.
  6. All Are Welcome Here as long as any improvements you make to your home are done to make it more expensive for single families and not more affordable for multiple families.
  7. All Are Welcome Here as long as you wring your hands about gentrification.
  8. All Are Welcome here, and we mean – specifically – garbage trucks. The more the better. We welcome garbage trucks on our streets every day of the week. #stpaultrash
  9. All Are Welcome Here as long as you don’t get in the way of people driving by biking.
  10. All Are Welcome here, but please wear a reflective vest while running or walking your dog at night so your neighbors don’t need to slow down on residential streets.
  11. All Are Welcome Here. Now, please state how long you’ve lived in this neighborhood before speaking so I can determine whether your opinion is valid. Bonus if you share where you moved here from so I can use that data point to further discount your opinion.
  12. All Are Welcome Here to appreciate and not meddle with the work done by people who’ve lived here a long time, making this neighborhood what it is.
  13. All Are Welcome Here who understand that this neighborhood is a solved problem that should be preserved in amber.
  14. All Are Welcome Here but don’t ask me to do to anything about public schools losing non-white students to charter schools because they don’t feel welcome in our public schools.
  15. All Are Welcome Here including students from other neighborhoods but don’t you dare ask my kid to go to a school in that kid’s neighborhood.
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How Many Boomers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? http://www.thedeets.com/2018/12/02/how-many-boomers-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-many-boomers-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb http://www.thedeets.com/2018/12/02/how-many-boomers-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb/#comments Sun, 02 Dec 2018 16:45:03 +0000 http://www.thedeets.com/?p=14280 Continue reading "How Many Boomers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?"]]> One?

The Boomer goes to YouTube and searches for “how to change a lightbulb”:

They click on a result for a DIY video. While watching the video, they see this related video:

After watching a pre-roll ad, they learn this nugget 11 seconds into the video:

Having satisfied their curiosity about millennials and lightbulbs, they see a video from a young man offering more information about what’s wrong with millennials:

After consuming 4 minutes of content on what’s wrong with kids these days (explained by a kid these days), YouTube auto-plays a nearly 2-hour video called, “Ben Shapiro: Toughen Up Spoiled Children”.

At some point during those two hours, they notice a compelling video about illegal immigration:

After consuming some content from an ex-felon right-wing propagandist, it was time for something lighter, like a video with Jay Leno making people feel smart by cherry picking geographically challenged Americans.

After two-plus hours of consuming right-wing propaganda, they remain in the dark.

The majority of the right-wing propaganda videos that were suggested by YouTube and clicked on by the Boomer were paid for by a handful of conservative billionaires who benefit from intergenerational fights rather than watching Americans come together to realize that their common interest is to not be screwed over by billionaires who are trying to destroy our air, water, public education and healthcare systems.

The lesson: Keep your parents off YouTube.

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