Sunday, November 20, 2011

NYC -- How It Evolved from Most Dangerous City to Safest: Salon.com

No one would argue that New York City is simply not the same city it was back during the 1970s to 1980s, and the results are good, crime wise, although there is something a bit boring and antiseptic about the city today.

In a Salon.com book review there is a theory put forth explaining how this change happened -- and the book will surprise you. The New York of the film "Death Wish" is today a city out of Disneyland, if you ask me.

"In the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s, New York was viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous metropolises — a cesspool of violence and danger depicted in gritty films like 'The Warriors' and 'Escape From New York.' Friends who lived here during that time talk of being terrified to use the subway, of being mugged outside their apartments, and an overwhelming tide of junkies. Thirty-one one of every 100,000 New Yorkers were murdered each year, and 3,668 were victims of larceny," the story says.

"Today, in an astonishing twist, New York is one of the safest cities in the country. Its current homicide rate is 18 percent of its 1990 total — its auto theft rate is 6 percent. The drop exceeded the wildest dreams of crime experts of the 1990s, and it’s a testament to this transformation that New Yorkers now seem more likely to complain about the city’s dullness than about its criminality."

How did this happen? According to a new book by a Berkeley law professor, the reasons for this evolution, despite the popularly held view, is not Giuliani’s “zero tolerance” bluster,Salon.com reports.

"In his fascinating new book, “The City that Became Safe,” Franklin Zimring, a professor of law and chairman of the Criminal Justice Research Program at the University of California at Berkeley [reports that] it was a combination of strategic policing and harm reduction by the New York Police Department. Police targeted open-air drug markets, and went after guns, while leaving drug users largely alone. The implications of the strategy could make us revise not only the way we think about crime, but the way we think about our prison system and even human nature."


Read full story: What really cleaned up New York - Salon.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kershaw on the Last Days of the Third Reich

The German city of Hanover was
bombed to utter ruin in 1943.
During 1944, many other cities in
the Third Reich met the same, or
worse, fate.
In a SPIEGEL interview, the best-selling British historian Ian Kershaw talks about the last days of the Third Reich, why the Germans persevered when it was clear that all was lost and the devastating consequences of the failed July 20, 1944, attempt to assassinate Hitler.

SPIEGEL: Professor Kershaw, you have spent the last three years studying the collapse of Nazi Germany. In the end, are we left to shake our heads in amazement at the absurdity of the final phase, or do you, as a historian, also feel something akin to admiration for the perseverance of the Germans?

Kershaw: The head-shaking predominates, at any rate. I'm convinced that we English would have given up much earlier. It's certainly unusual for a country to continue fighting to the point of complete self-destruction. It's the sort of thing we usually see in civil wars, but not in conflicts in which hostile nations are at war with one another.
"We English would have given up
much earlier. It's certainly unusual
for a country to continue fighting
to the point of complete self-
destruction."

SPIEGEL: The question of why the Germans persevered for so long is the starting point of your new book. What would have been the obvious thing to do?

Kershaw: In any armed conflict, there is eventually a point at which one side realizes that it's over. If the people in power don't give up but instead continue to plunge the country into ruin, there is either a revolution from below, as was the case in Germany and Russia near the end of World War I, or there is a coup by the elites, who attempt to save what can still be saved. An example of that is the overthrow of Benito Mussolini in Italy in July 1943.

SPIEGEL: What is the latest point at which the Germans should have recognized that they could no longer win the war?


Kershaw: I would say in the summer of 1944, after the successful landing of the Allies in Normandy and the Russians' enormous territorial gains in the east. At that point, the war was objectively lost, even if the German public didn't see it that way. But starting in December 1944, after the failed Ardennes Offensive (ed's note: also known as the Battle of the Bulge), it was also clear to the power elite in the German Reich that there was nothing left to be gained militarily. At that point, it would have made sense to enter into capitulation negotiations.

Read full story: Ian Kershaw on the Last Days of the Third Reich: 'Hitler's Influence Was Fatal' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Casey Anthony 'Assassination Attempt' Fake: Baez

"You may want to consider donning a pair of quality hip waders before delving into the latest Casey Anthony article in the National Enquirer, according to her lawyer," reports The Huffington Post.

"None of it is true," Anthony attorney Jose Baez told the website.

The article in question, "Casey Anthony Survives Assassination Attempt," appears in the tabloid's latest issue. The Enquirer reports that someone found 25-year-old Anthony's secret hideout in Florida and placed on her door a threatening note that read, "I know where you are, I'm coming to put a bullet through your brain."


See related post here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Proof! John Travolta Is a Vampire -- or Not

Everyone’s A Vampire From The Civil War - 2 - The Superficial:

A photograph of a man from the 1860s that resembles John Travolta and/or proves he's one of those time-traveling vampires.