Suspect City

May 30, 2014

First of all, read this article. It’s not only fascinating, it’s a great example of web journalism. Second of all, it’s crazy absurd. It starts:

In the summer of 2010, a young black man was stopped and questioned by police on the streets of Miami Gardens, Florida. According to the report filled out by the officer, he was “wearing gray sweatpants, a red hoodie and black gloves” giving the police “just cause” to question him. In the report, he was labeled a “suspicious person.”

He was an 11-year-old boy on his way to football practice.

I’ve read about Miami Gardens before because there’s one guy who’s been arrested 71 times for trespassing. Where he works. And leaving the store was even worse (there’s a cool graphic showing arrests by distance from work).

To the point where the employer let him live in a room in the back of the store because leaving the store was too risky. So the police tried to arrest him in his “bedroom” (the owner intervenes).

This should be comical, except I’m not making this up. This is happening in America.

Who are we?

On Wisconsin

May 30, 2014

I grew up in Milwaukee, so this is no surprise to me, but via Flowing Data, below is a map showing the bar to grocery store ratio. Green means more grocery stores, brown means more bars.

The big brown area is basically Wisconsin.

George Foreman

May 29, 2014

I was reading an article on about politics and they made and analogy about how one side was like Joe Frazier in the Frazier/Foreman fight. The point was that Frazier, after beating Ali, kept using his great left hook, despite the fact that it simply didn’t work.

Well, the article was OK despite the fact that the analogy wasn’t great. But there was a link to the actual fight on YouTube. So I watched it.

This post is not about politics, it’s about boxing. Today I never watch. Boxing seems stupid and corrupt and it’s all pay per view.

But this is 1973. I’m a young boy. It was probably on Wide World of Sports back then (no HBO pay per view). Sure boxing is barbaric, etc. etc., but as a boy I was totally into it.

And my current memory of George Foreman is of the chubby guy selling the grill. Watch the video and look at him compared to Frazier. This is 1973, pre-steroids. He’s a lean, mean, punching machine.

And the fight isn’t close. In the video,skip to 8:30 to get to the start. But if you want to see the key moment, just skip to the 12:30 point where they replay Foreman’s (red trunks, if you aren’t a fan) biggest knockdown in the first round (1 of 3) and then start the second round.

You won’t have to watch much more. Two quick knockdowns in the second (one looks like Frazier was trying too hard to hit him and fell over) and then at 13:45 (for those that like to skip to the end) Foreman starts a barrage that ends (13:54) with of the classic punches of all time.

I’ve watched it multiple times. I cannot watch it without saying “oooh” out loud.

The Shawshank Residuals

May 29, 2014

Via Daring Fireball, a WSJ article about The Shawshank Redemption and how it continues to resonate and bring in money 20 years later.

I suspect my daughter, years from now, will still be getting checks

– Bob Gunton, warden in Shawshank

“Shawshank” was becoming that priceless entertainment property—a repeater. Viewers watched it again and again

Agreed. I’ll watch it anytime it’s on.

I didn’t realize it was based on a Stephen King novella. He got a check for $5.000.

Mr. King never cashed the $5,000 check Mr. Darabont sent him for the right to turn his story into a movie. Years after “Shawshank” came out, the author got the check framed and mailed it back to the director with a note inscribed: “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve

The funniest quote also comes from Stephen King. The novella was set in Maine and after he heard about casting Morgan Freeman…

Mr. King recalls: “I said, ‘Frank, at that time there were like 16 black men in the state of Maine, and you still want this guy to be black?”

I can’t imagine the movie without Morgan Freeman…

What Could Go Wrong?

May 29, 2014

I already blogged about Jenny McCarthy’s Twitter #JennyAsks fiasco. So when the Washington Redskins encouraged their fans to tweet to Senator Reid in support of the name with #RedskinPride, what could go wrong?

Currently if you do a search on Twitter for #RedskinPride at the top of the page you get images associated with these tweets:

Nazi flags, a mass grave and an article about a mass execution. Oh yeah, that PR move went well…

One Year of Citi Bike

May 28, 2014

I logged into the site to see how many rides I took over the first year of Citi Bike.


I had no idea I’d used it that much. That comes out to about 65 cents a ride. A pretty good deal…

The US Labor Market is not Working

May 23, 2014

Via Antonio Fatas, an analysis of US labor participation vs. the rest of the OECD economies.

Read the whole thing, but this is the key chart:

His comment:

What is interesting is that most of the countries of the top of the list are countries with a large welfare state and very high taxes (including on labor). So the negative correlation between the welfare state and taxes and the ability to motivate people to work (and create jobs) that some bring back all the time does not seem to be present in the data.

I’m particularly amused by the phrase “does not seem to be present in the data”. I plan to use that in the future.