Census Could Look ‘Manipulated’ If Cut Short by Trump Officials, Bureau Warned (Dana)
From NPR: “Weeks before the Trump administration announced it was cutting the 2020 census schedule short, career officials at the Census Bureau attempted to send signal flares about how that last-minute decision would lead to ‘fatal’ data problems with the national head count and the perception of ‘politically-manipulated results.’ Internal emails and memos, which were released … show career officials trying to hold the integrity of the once-a-decade count together in the last weeks of July amid mounting pressure from the administration to abandon the extended timeline it had previously approved in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
‘We Have Not Defunded Anything’: Big Cities Boost Police Budgets (Dan)
The authors write, “It seemed like a turning point. In May, a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, sparking protests against racism across the country and an unrelenting demand from protesters in city after city: Defund the police. But after months of demonstrations, that rallying cry hasn’t translated into reality. While a few major cities like New York and Los Angeles have made large, high profile cuts, more than half actually increased spending or kept it unchanged as a percentage of their discretionary spending, based on a Bloomberg CityLab analysis of 34 of the largest 50 U.S. cities that have finalized 2021 budgets. As a group, the difference between police spending as a share of the general funds fell less than 1% from last year.”
Why Obeying Orders Can Make Us Do Terrible Things (Mili)
The author writes, “War atrocities are sometimes committed by ‘normal’ people obeying orders. Researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience measured brain activity while participants inflicted pain and found that obeying orders reduced empathy and guilt related brain activity for the inflicted pain. This may explain why people are able to commit immoral acts under coercion.”
The Southwest Is Facing an ‘Unprecedented’ Migratory Bird Die-Off (Peg)
From the National Audubon Society: “A dozen dead Barn and Violet-green Swallows huddled together on the dusty desert floor of southern New Mexico. Numerous Western Bluebirds packed into a crevice in southern Colorado as if they panicked. Sparrows, lined up almost wing-to-wing, lying limply along the banks of the Rio Grande. These are just a few of the grisly discoveries recently made in what is likely a mass death event for migratory birds occurring across the Southwest. At the moment, there is no clear explanation.”
Rare Books Stolen in London Heist Found Under Floor in Romania (Dana)
The author writes, “Rare books worth more than £2.5m that were stolen from a warehouse in west London in a daring Mission Impossible-style heist have been found buried under the floor of a house in rural Romania. The recovery of the 200 books, which include first editions of significant works by Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton, is the culmination of a three-year police operation that involved raids on 45 addresses across three countries and led to charges against 13 people.”
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