Some Light Reading

There’s been a handful of articles from the past few weeks that I’ve found really interesting/eye-opening/rage-inducing.

From Daily Kos, is an article attempting to debunk the recent premise that a lack of father figures is the cause of the conflicts in Baltimore and Ferguson. The article evolved over the course of the day as folks dove into the numbers (from the CDC). In the end, it seems there’s no evidence to support that black fathers are any less involved their white fathers

However, what the CDC info does show is that pound for pound, on a family by family average basis Black fathers are generally more attentive to their children whether the live with them or apart from them, and even using the Census Bureau numbers there are far more White Children “at risk” from their less attentive and absent fathers than there are Black

Sy Hersh wrote on his (reasonably well sourced) suspicions that the assassination of Osama bin Laden didn’t happen quite the way we’ve been told. This is an astonishing article, and one that has generated a ton of criticism. Certainly it’s wise to be skeptical. I did love this analysis of the criticism from the Columbia Journalism Review. Both worth reading.

Finally, this Ars Technica article about one of the early documentaries about Silk Road and Ross Ulbricht is so even handed in its takedown of the documentary and the “Free Ross” crowd that I don’t know how a reasonable person could quibble with it. I’m going to start paraphrasing parts of it to use to shut down the super-libertarians who believe that folks like Ross Ulbricht are activists:

Take a hypothetical example: Let’s say I go outside my apartment in Oakland and mark off a few city blocks as a “freedom market” where anything can be bought and sold—I just need a 10 percent cut of all transactions to maintain the marketplace. (Suspend your disbelief to imagine this can be done without violence.) No surprise, it’s mostly drugs that are sold in the market. The goods are high quality and sold peacefully. My “freedom market,” when it works right, arguably does reduce harm, making sellers and buyers safer. It also inarguably will make me rich, as long as I get my 10 percent cut.

But running my hypothetical street market doesn’t mean I am striking a nail in the coffin of the drug war. Likely, it’s just the opposite. A market designed to hide from the law is a great excuse for law enforcement to double down on the severity of enforcement and punishment.

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