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Showing posts from June 21, 2020


Too late I saw I’d got the wrong end thinking that the dough and good legs would always be enough. I turned away from wisdom and subscribed to 1000 cable channels. “I will also laugh at your calamities I will mock when your fear cometh she said, tagging another city gate before the heat closed in with the tasers. No big deal, I thought, another extra gone. Sometimes though at precisely 4 a.m. I remember that I haven’t paid the ransom yet. - Karen Chamisso

Balzac's World

At the beginning of Balzac’s l’envers de l’histoire contemporaine – one of the most brilliant title ever -the narrator, who is easily recognizable as the ever voluble Balzac, places his still unnamed protagonist at the “heart of Paris”: “In 1836, on a beautiful September evening, a man of about 30 years of age leaned on the parapet of the quai from which onne can see both the Seine flowing downriver past the Jardin des Plannttes to Notre Dame and,    upriver, the vast riverine perspective as it passes by the Louvre.” The heart of a city changes more than the heart of a mortal, according to Balzac’s contemporary, Baudelaire. But this perspective is still there – I biked past it yesterday. True, the Notre Dame is a half charred skeleton, and the Louvre is presently defaced with an enormous advertising placard for some miserable luxury object, the kind of neo-liberal graffiti we see, now, in all the world’s hotspots, from corporation named stadiums to the university buildings name

The police function in a system that reaches beyond the police.

Cast your mind back to every Western you have ever seen. Most of them, I’d bet, featured or included a sheriff. The sheriff “kept the peace” but, if you think about it, never stopped a single wagon, carriage or horserider for speeding. Consequently, the sheriff never examined a single wagon, carriage or saddle bag for “contrabrand” material. In Sara Seo’s Policing the Open Road, the burden of the narrative is on   the legal construction that allowed police, around the Prohibition era, more power over the car than the Customs officer had over the incoming ship – that is, police were allowed to make reasonable searches of vehicles without a warrant, and with the standard of “reasonableness” amounting to: what the policeman says. The interesting subtheme, here, is that policing followed technological and legal changes, which intersected with an already existing hierarchy that separated the respectable (white) people and the non-respectable (working class, black, immigrant) peopl

The car and the police state - 1

Sara E. Seo bookends her book, Policing the Road: How cars transformed American Freedom (  ) between two cases. In one case, Wiley v. State (1916), a Police officer in a car – an unmarked car, as police cars weren’t “marked” until the 1940s – named Wiley called out to a car speeding by to stop. He and the police with him suspected that the car was speeding from a robbery. So, with instincts echoed by every officer related shooting since, they trained their guns on the car and shot it up, killing the passenger, a Mrs. Bates. The court decision in this case went against the police: “In the case of Wiley v. State, which affirmed the guilt of Deputy Sheriff Johns, whose shot had killed Mrs. Bates, the Arizona Supreme Court maintained that even if the Bateses had heard the shouts and refused to stop, the officers’ manner of pursuit “was more suggestive of a holdup by highwaymen than an arrest by peace officers.” At the othe

The possible life - Karen Chamisso

Born gangster from the fist of her momma’s belly she grew up rolling on her jams and jelly Two loaded dice were found in her baby hands The odds were in her favor. Everything was grand Love money attention and all the last chances Went up her nose in cold white prances Cars were totaled, parents were called Bounced from all the clubs, while police were stalled The predictions about her in circulation Always pictured her ODed, or in rehabilitation.