There are good reasons for any species to think darkly of its own extinction. Ninety-nine percent of the species that have lived on Earth have gone extinct, including more than five tool-using hominids. A quick glance at the fossil record could frighten you into thinking that Earth is growing more dangerous with time. If you carve the planet’s history into nine ages, each spanning five hundred million years, only in the ninth do you find mass extinctions, events that kill off more than two thirds of all species.
But this is deceptive. Earth has always had her hazards; it’s just that for us to see them, she had to fill her fossil beds with variety, so that we could detect discontinuities across time. The tree of life had to fill out before it could be pruned.
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer involved in the arrest of a man who died in custody after being placed in an apparent chokehold has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty, police said Saturday. Officer Daniel…
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer involved in the arrest of a man who died in custody after being placed in an apparent chokehold has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty, police said Saturday.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year NYPD veteran, and an officer who has been with the force for four years were both taken off the street after the death Thursday of 43-year-old Eric Garner on Staten Island, police said.
The department would not identify the second officer but said he would retain his gun and badge while on desk duty. The reassignment is effective immediately and will remain in effect while Garner’s death is being investigated, police said.
The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, called Pantaleo’s reassignment a “completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction.”
The decision, Patrick Lynch said in a statement, “effectively pre-judges” the case and denies Pantaleo the “very benefit of a doubt that has long been part of the social contract that allows police officers to face the risks of this difficult and complex job.”
Pantaleo did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
Partial video of the encounter obtained by the New York Daily News shows the 6-foot-3, 350-pound Garner becoming irate and refusing to be handcuffed as officers tried to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on a sidewalk.
The video then shows one of the officers placing Garner in what Police Commissioner William Bratton said Friday appeared to be a chokehold. The tactic, which can be fatal, is prohibited by departmental policy.
The department disclosed Pantaleo’s reassignment hours after Garner’s wife, Esaw, burst into tears at a Harlem rally where Rev. Al Sharpton said his death could strain the black community’s relationship with the police department.
"This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred," Sharpton said, referring to promises made by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton to improve the relationship between officers and the city’s minority communities. "We are the only ones in the social setup that has to deal with fear of cops and robbers."
Another rally was held Saturday afternoon on Staten Island, near where Garner died. A funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
In the video of the arrest, Garner, who has been arrested for selling illegal cigarettes numerous times in recent years, says he hasn’t done anything wrong.
"Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today," Garner shouts. "I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone."
As four officers bring him down, Garner is heard gasping, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” The video shows one officer using his hands to push Garner’s face into the sidewalk.
Prosecutors and internal affairs detectives are investigating the death of the father of six and grandfather of two; authorities believe he suffered a heart attack. De Blasio has called the circumstances of his death “very troubling.”
More tests are needed to determine the exact cause and manner of Garner’s death, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said.
The mayor’s commissioner for community affairs attended the rally and stressed the administration’s commitment to strengthening police and community relations.
"We’ve said from the beginning: Police work best when they have the respect from the community," Marco Carrion said, adding that it’s an ongoing process to try to improve the relationship between the NYPD and various communities.
Garner’s death evoked memories of a similar incident 20 years ago that likewise sparked outrage.
Police officer Francis Livoti was dismissed from the NYPD and convicted by a federal jury of violating the civil rights of a Bronx man who died after Livoti apparently used a chokehold on him in 1994. Livoti has denied he used a chokehold, insisting Anthony Baez died from an asthma attack. The case remains one of the most high-profile allegations of police brutality in city history.
“I’ll tell you the most believable thing about [Orange Is The New Black] is the idea that Piper only got 15 months for running dope money…I’m a white blonde girl who went out and willfully fucked up and committed armed robbery, and I got five years. There were tons of black girls in my prison who were holding onto a bag of dope for a couple of days, and they always seemed to get, like, 10 years. If you ever find yourself in prison and wonder why there’s tension between white and black, shit like that is probably one of the reasons.”—Critics That ‘Orange is the New Black’ Can’t Win Over? The Formerly Incarcerated (via letterstomycountry)
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday by a surface-to-air missile, American officials have confirmed. The plane was traveling at about 30,000 feet, according to tracking information from a military spy satellite. The satellite was unable to detect where exactly the missile was fired.
Military and intelligence analysts are using mathematical formulas, high-speed computers and other sensors to try to pin down the missile’s point of origin. Other analysts will work with the Ukrainian authorities to recover and analyze pieces of the missile and the aircraft to help determine what kind of missile was fired, the officials said.
The plane — Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — crashed and burned in an eastern Ukraine wheat field near the Russian border, in an area roiled by fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. There were no known survivors. Ukrainian officials immediately called the crash an act of terrorism.
The furiously unfolding investigation centered on Ukrainian separatists or Russian troops as the missile operators. The Ukrainian authorities said they had intercepted communications that indicated separatist involvement. But the reason for the attack — whether it was a deliberate strike or a tragic accident — was unknown.
“What we still don’t know is what were they thinking,” one official said.
“This is truly a grave situation,” said Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. of the United States, speaking in Detroit. “It’s important we get to the bottom of this sooner than later because of the possible repercussions that can flow beyond from this, beyond the tragic loss of life.”
Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, called for an immediate investigation and asked the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, to send experts to assist. “I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act,” Mr. Poroshenko said.
Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, said, “If it transpires that the plane was, indeed, shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Princess Olga of Kiev had a husband, Igor, who was murdered by the Drevlyans, an Eastern Slavic tribe. Olga took over the Kievan Rus as regent for their three-year-old son. The Drevlyans wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus, but Olga was determined to remain in…