Mixed Media

NYPD Officer Allegedly Caught on Video Throwing Pregnant Woman to the Ground

| Wed Sep. 24, 2014 11:01 AM EDT

Yet another video has surfaced capturing what appears to be a violent arrest conducted by an officer of the New York Police Department.

In the video caught by a bystander over the weekend, a visibly pregnant Sandra Amezquita and her husband, Ronel Lemos, say they were attempting to intervene while officers arrested Amezquita's son, seen sitting on the ground.

 
 

The arresting officer suddenly slams Amezquita to the ground, right before he forcefully shoves another woman out of the way.

"What we saw in that gruesome video is a woman who's trying to protect her son, who is being stopped and frisked by police, and she herself became a victim, slammed onto the floor," said Dennis Flores, from local blog El Grito de Sunset Park, the site that first posted the video.

"The first thing I thought was they killed by baby and they're going to kill my wife," Lemos said.

Amezquita says she suffered vaginal bleeding and bruises to her stomach. She was given a summons for disorderly conduct; Lemos was arrested for hitting an officer.

The disturbing incident comes just less than a week after another officer, from the same Brooklyn precinct, was suspended after being caught on video kicking a street vendor in the head.

 
 

The NYPD is reportedly investigating the latest video.

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Emma Watson Explains Why Feminism Has Nothing to Do With "Man-Hating"

| Mon Sep. 22, 2014 4:41 PM EDT

 

Speaking at the United Nations headquarters this past weekend, actress Emma Watson delivered a moving speech on the importance of gender equality, explaining why feminism is a crucial issue for everyone, not just the ladies.

"The more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating," Watson said. "If there's one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women have equal rights and opportunities."

The 24-year-old Watson, who was appointed a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador six months ago, was speaking on behalf of the "HeForShe" campaign, which urges both men and boys to join the fight for women's rights.

In the deeply personal speech, Watson revealed she began questioning gender-based assumptions early on in her life, most notably after she began being sexualized by the media at the age of 14 and watching girlfriends quit sports because they didn't want to appear "bulky."

Watch the inspiring speech above.

 

Listen to Some of Liberia's Top Artists Sing about Ebola

| Mon Sep. 22, 2014 1:03 PM EDT

Since it started in March, West Africa's Ebola outbreak has spread to five countries in the region. But its toll on the Liberian people—who account for more than half of the 5,700 cases—has been especially devastating. To instill a sense of unity amid the crisis, several Liberian organizations brought together some of the country's top artists to make a song about the crisis. The result, called "Save Liberia," debuted last week. You can listen to it below:

"It's like 'We Are the World' for Liberia," says Lawrence Yealue, Liberia's country director for Accountability Lab, an anti-corruption NGO that helped organize the project. "We Are the World" was a 1985 collaboration between more than 40 artists—from Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan—to raise money for famine relief in the Horn of Africa. This song, Yeaule says, will help spread a message about Ebola's seriousness to "every village and town" in Liberia.

Watch John Oliver Explain Just How Mind-Bogglingly Ridiculous Beauty Pageants Are

| Mon Sep. 22, 2014 8:57 AM EDT

Beauty pageants are a pretty insane and demeaning thing for us to still be doing as a society in 2014. I mean, yes, Miss Congeniality was an OK film, but the sequel was awful. Also, the whole thing—beauty pageants, not the Miss Congeniality franchise—sort of stinks of sexism and mores best left to rot in the '50s.

Here's John Oliver taking the Miss America pageant (and its somehow more mockable competitor Miss USA) to task.

Also read: "Are Disney Princesses Evil?"

Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier Delivers a Captivating New Solo Album

| Mon Sep. 22, 2014 5:00 AM EDT

Laetitia Sadier
Something Shines
Drag City

 

Best known as the singer for the long-running British-French band Stereolab—now on an indefinite hiatus—Laetitia Sadier has always been able to address pointedly political and deeply personal concerns with equal eloquence. The debut of Sadier's side project, Monade, was titled Socialisme ou Barbarie, while her first solo outing, The Trip, was her attempt to come to grips with her sister's suicide. On this captivating third solo album, she continues to range far and wide, mixing acoustic sounds with the retro-futurism that made Stereolab's electro-pop so inviting. Whether asking tersely, "Do the rich need the poor to be rich?" on "Oscuridad," or accentuating the positive on the soaring, Beach Boys-inspired "Life Is Winning," her serene, lovely voice is a remarkable oasis of calm that's sure to make you feel better about things to come.

Guy Buys First New iPhone, Immediately Drops It On National TV

| Fri Sep. 19, 2014 11:22 AM EDT

It's new iPhone day! All around the globe thousands of hungry ducks are lining up to be one of the first few to get their hands on Cupertino's fresh new phones. In Perth, "a boy called Jack" got the very first one. Naturally, he was swarmed by media, which led to this:

Thankfully, the iPhone was not hurt.

Mother Jones Senior Australian James West was not immediately available for comment.

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Book Review: The Marshmallow Test

| Fri Sep. 19, 2014 5:35 AM EDT
the marshmallow test

The Marshmallow Test

By Walter Mischel

LITTLE, BROWN

Much ado has been made of the titular psych test, in which kids able to wait 20 minutes to earn two marshmallows instead of settling for one right away were shown, decades later, to rate better on everything from educational level to their risk of becoming a drug addict. In this book, Walter Mischel, who designed the original experiment, dispels the notion that the ability to delay gratification is a have-or-not-have trait. The patient kids, he writes, used strategies anyone can learn. ("I think, therefore I can change what I am.") And if you're just not motivated, don't fret. After all, Mischel notes, what fun is life without a little indulgence?

This review originally appeared in our September/October issue of Mother Jones. 

Declassified Documents Reveal the CIA's Sense of Humor (and Literary Aspirations)

| Fri Sep. 19, 2014 5:00 AM EDT
From the "Get Smart" episode "Spy, Spy Birdie."

Within a trove of freshly declassified articles from Studies in Intelligence, the CIA's in-house journal, we found a number of humor pieces based on the agency's internal employee evaluations. Here is one such piece in its entirety, from the Spring 1984 issue. The author's name was, naturally, redacted.

****

PAR-Faits (AND OTHER Faits)

What follow are quotations from Performance Appraisal Reports that Mr. [redacted] compiled over the years, and for which he composed introductory comments. The quotations are rendered faithfully, with typographical and other errors intact, for they contribute to the fun. The subjects, supervisors, and reviewing officials mentioned and quoted in this compilation are to remain forever, and mercifully, anonymous.

The Golden Rule-Redux: "I believe that the readers of this PAR, as well as the previous one written by the Rating Officer, should know that the Rating Officer and I have had and continue to have many strong personal and professional differences of opinion. He believes, for example, that I have reached my level of competency, and I believe that he has exceeded his."

Mastering the surprise ending: "It should be recognized that by employing the proper technique, very comfortable shoes can be made from a sow's ear but making [redacted] silk purse requires an entirely different raw material."

Making no bones about it-in the vernacular: "Subject is also responsible for all Headquarters support of a complex covert action operation aimed at maintaining the political stability of a regime headed up by a weirdo who goes around saying things like 'dat get me shame'."

When faint praise is called for: "Operationally, Subject was not loafing."

For one who skates well on thin ice: "Subject is quick to spot thin stuff and do something about it—particularly when it comes to good operational tradecraft."

For one who can bench press human dynamics while reciting from Rabindranath Tagore: "His ability in oral expression and human dynamics was strongly demonstrated... "

Growth Potential: "As the period drew to a close, Subjects apparatus had begun taking shape... "

Being hugely successful: "He largely recruited a high level source."

What to do to protect colleagues from being hit by large and fast moving desks: "Mr. [redacted] continued to be the Elmer's glue of the large and fast-moving [redacted] Desk.

Almost flawless—so to speak: "His English is flawless, if not close to it."

When in doubt clutter things up; its good for cover: "He characteristically complicates simple things."

The smiling, freely offered thumb in the eye: "One thing not noted previously is his calm and pleasant demeanor which tends gratuitously to mask his toughness as a case officer."

The clairvoyant case officer: "...His operational reporting is often on time, often ahead of time."

Then there's this little QP drummer: "He marches to the beat of his own drummer."

Although not a hot-head: "This officer has a warm mind."

His eyes are clear but his prose is measured and smoke-watered: "With the perspective of twenty months of overview of his long march, rather than with the smoke-watered eyes of those who peer too closely into his campfire, I conclude that his pace has been measured."

Big jokes from little mischiefs grow? "...his personal eagerness tends sometimes to lead him into small mischiefs."

Although an off-quay visionary he can trumpet, and drum, and stomp his foot all at the same time: "He has been like a one-man band trying to cover the waterfront on a far frontier."

The Good Humor Man endures: "He has endured rapid personnel changes with good humor."

The hyperactive dog of a case officer: "...He is a man of constant motion—some of it unnecessary...he bloodhounds even the longest odds and opportunities."

Although some may wonder: "All said and done, Mr. S. is human."

When tippling leads to being Freud, and the naked truth must be revealed: "At the right psychological moment he unfrocked himself in [redacted] cafe."

The crawl-on-your-belly-and-hiss approach: "...a target of opportunity whom he approached in his own inimical style."

Dignity in catastrophe: "Subject handles flaps with aplomb."

Standing tall in the Lilliput of Liaison: "Due to his height this man should probably be directed along liaison lines or staff work."

The runaway case officer: "He is not only a self-starter but a self-goer—at times tending to go too fast."

Unless one speaks quietly and carries a big stick: "The operational carrot is easily lost sight of and is difficult to catch."

The Case of the Abandoned Suitcase: "He began to pursue ops leads as soon as his suitcase hit the ground."

The cape-and-dagger jock: "He involves himself athletically in Base and local activities."

The strong tryer: "I would rate his effort to do the job as strong."

When finishing working hard on his syntax... "He at least secured his own housing on which he has been working hard to fix up."

The monosyllabic hot dog: "His performance has been-WOW"

The musty Middle East: "This officer has been associated long enough with Arab affairs. He now needs fresh air."

After making good strides in the wrong direction... "He has made good strides in the right direction."

The gritty performer: "This officers performance has been outsanding."

The forward leaning, vine swinging Case officer: "Mr. K. moved in sure-handed fashion."

The Compleat hard target Case officer: "He is a hard-nosed supervisor and a hard-headed officer."

Besieged, bothered and bewildered: "He has reached a standoff with the bureaucracy around him."

The operational arsonist: "Subject has kept the target fires burning."

When aptitude isn't apt: "His apptitude for spelling is poor."

When he's not plodding he Lies down, humps his back and makes himself small: "He is steady and defendable."

Because his compass came in his air freight... "It took the officer less than one week after his arrival here to get his bearings.

Just give him a tune-up, but don't touch the cheerful plugs: "He tries hard in a situation that has him more stymied than most of us, and he plugs along cheerfully."

The lean and meaningness officer: "He has brought new energy and meaningness to the program."

While shunning the unusual infinitude of every day chores... "He handles the usual infinitude of occasional case officer tasks."

To be some kind of mixed up butterfly... "He needs to get the operational chrysallis out of the political coccoon it is in."

He trembles at dullness, but— "He confidently attends all sorts of events of interest."

The wary grunter: "He gives a negative first impression, primarily because he is inarticulate."

When the anatomy of an Advance Work Plan is necessarily obscure: "Mr. S. has had supervisory responsibility for parts of two I.A.'s..."

Not risking over confidence: "He can look back at this job as 'pretty well done'."

The little engine with the retarded spark: "During the reviewing period this officer has made good use of the limited intelligence resources available to him."

Somewhere down there is gold; it just doesn't pan out: "Subject probably has much good in him. Somehow, though, it has not come through."

The tribal wit: " ... he is a happy headhunter."

In addition to avoiding prickly confrontations... "Subject is not one to sit on his laurels."

Migratory fixation: "I am looking forward to the next reviewing period when the birds will come home to roost." (next FR) "They have, and they have settled on the highest branches."

Seen through a glass darkly: "Insofar as I am able to comprehend it, I have no quarrel with the substance of the rating officer's comments."

Click here to view the original document—and "More PAR Bloopers," courtesy of your favorite spy agency.

Here Are the 10 Best Songs for Scotland's Historic Vote for Independence

| Thu Sep. 18, 2014 11:24 AM EDT

Scotland is heading to the polls right now to decide on whether or not to become an independent country. A "Yes" vote would be the biggest constitutional change for the United Kingdom in over three centuries, splintering a long-held relationship that has seen the good times and the bad, and weathered plenty of mutual disagreements up until now. And like any pending break-up, we find that music helps soothe or heighten the experience, and connects us to the universal themes of love and loss. So, Scottish chums, whatever side you're on, here's a playlist for you, on this almighty day-of-days.

1. Queen: I Want to Break Free

Obviously. One for the "Yes" camp. (Worth it in my opinion just for Freddy with a mustache in drag vacuuming the carpet.) "I want to break free from your lies/You're so self-satisfied I don't need you/I've got to break free!" Sing it Freddy. Sing it Scotland.

2. Natalie Imbruglia: Torn

If Scotland votes "Yes" and leaves the union bereft and sobbing, this Aussie songtress might be blaring from a few stereos across the Isles tomorrow: "Nothing's fine, I'm torn." Sing it England! Sing it Wales!

3. ​​Björk: Declare Independence

This is a song that famously landed the Icelandic singer in hot water with the Chinese authorities after a 2008 concert in Shanghai in which she called for Tibetan independence. Brave. She faced a ban from future performances on the mainland after that. It's easy to see why China's famously censorial authorities were not impressed: "Start your own currency!/Make your own stamp/Protect your language/Declare independence/Don't let them do that to you!"

4. Oasis: Don’t Look Back In Anger

No matter what happens, some good advice for both sides. "My soul slides away, but don't look back in anger."

5. Alicia Keys: Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart

Here's one for an emotional Prime Minister David Cameron, potentially presiding over a messy, painful divorce. "I'm going to find a way to make it without you/Tonight, I'm going to find a way to make it, without you." Ouch. Let it out.

6. ​Thelma Houston: Don't Leave Me This Way

That beat speaks for itself.

7. Beyonce: Irreplaceable

"Don't ever get to thinking you're irreplaceable," sings Queen Bey. This is the anthem for pretending everything will be fine post-breakup, that it's not a big deal, that you can find another, just as easily, and that it wasn't that good anyway, so don't go thinking you meant anything to me... Get lost.

(I love you, come back).

8. Boyz II Men: End of the Road

"Although we've come to the end of the road/Still I can't let you go/It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you."

9. Mariah Carey: We Belong Together

Who could miss this song in any breakup playlist? It's worth watching to the part of the video where Mariah is losing her shit in the apartment, writhing in the short tunic-shirt thing, near the end of this narratively nonsensical clip.

10. Alice Deejay: Better Off Alone

Mm. And lastly, any break-up is incomplete without some sweet late-90s Top 40.

Book Review: The Underground Girls of Kabul

| Wed Sep. 17, 2014 4:30 AM EDT
underground gils of kabul

The Underground Girls of Kabul

By Jenny Nordberg

CROWN PUBLISHING

It sucks to be female in Afghanistan. No surprise there. Journalist Jenny Nordberg's revelation—to Western eyes, anyway—is that more than a few Afghan families raise their girls as boys. The practice, bacha posh, accepted when done discreetly, serves as a roundabout way for girls to attend school and earn money, and for couples who lack sons to avoid public humiliation. The real tension comes with puberty, when the bacha posh is expected to give up her ambitions, respectful treatment, male playmates, and even her freedom to leave the home. Nordberg's intimate exploration leaves us rooting for her brave subjects, if deeply pessimistic about the prospects of women in this maddeningly repressive culture.

This review originally appeared in our September/October issue of Mother Jones.