Quickies: Ferguson Link Roundup, HBO’s Scientology Movie, and Canned Food Drive Advice

  • Merck Partners With NewLink To Speed Up Work On Ebola Vaccine – “The NewLink vaccine is a based on a harmless virus that has been genetically engineered to incorporate bits of the Ebola virus. The Canadian government developed the vaccine and then licensed it to this small biotech company. The U.S. Defense Department has provided development funding to NewLink.”
  • It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did – “A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict. Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.”
  • Killer Mike on Ferguson: “It Is Us Against the Motherfucking Machine” – “At a show last night in St. Louis, Mo., rapper Killer Mike, who is on tour with El-P to promote their second Run the Jewels mixtape, took to the microphone to speak openly and heartbreakingly about the Ferguson verdict from last night.” From Courtney.
  • How sexual abusers hide in plain sight: What Rolling Stone’s blockbuster UVA rape exposé really tells us – “Sure, the conversation on consent has evolved in recent years. But we still can’t stop euphemizing rape”
  • HBO Hired 160 Lawyers for a Lawrence Wright Scientology Movie – “Here we go: HBO is readying a film adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s deep-dive on the Church of Scientology, Going Clear, for a 2015 debut. Per the Hollywood Reporter, famed documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is attached to direct.”
  • 5 Not-So-Credible Events in Darren Wilson’s Testimony – “During his testimony, Wilson received no tough questioning. And because the Ferguson police conveniently failed to take photographs of the crime scene or record measurements of distances regarding where Brown and Wilson were when Brown was shot, what we’re left with are photos from bystanders from Aug. 9, the testimony of Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson and Wilson’s grand jury appearance.”
  • For The Next Food Drive, Go For The Canned Tuna, Not The Saltines – “When you donate to a food drive, do you ponder the nutritional labels of the can in your hand? Or do you grab a packet of ramen or a bag of marshmallows from the dark corners of your pantry and hope it hasn’t expired? Healthfulness isn’t typically a well-intended food donor’s top concern, says hunger advocate Ruth Solari. The ramen and marshmallows, along with a container of Crisco and a few other items, were basically the entire contents of a food box delivered to one of her volunteer’s grandmothers who received food aid, Solari says.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. If Wilson’s story is true, my question would be, Why didn’t he use a Taser?
    I suppose the answer is that you can’t use a Taser at 40 feet.
    Wait, what??

    1. Wilson didn’t have a taser because, apparently, they are optional for the Ferguson PD. I’ve even seen a suggestion that it would be a bad idea to use one under these circumstances where the officer is on his own, although I have no idea what best practices really would be.

      But I do think to the extent we can learn something from this, one move is to push harder for cameras on police officers. It would protect them better, and helps reduce the claims of excessive force (presumably, by reducing the police officer’s willingness to push reasonable limits or worse). Also, finding ways to make the use of tasers and other non-deadly alternatives more universal, and less optional.

  2. As a prosecutor, you’re supposed to act like you want a conviction.
    With a grand jury, this means presenting all the witnesses that support a conviction and none of the others. (That will be the defense’s job in the full trial).
    If you don’t want a conviction, just present all possible evidence and witnesses in a totally random, confused jumble with no connecting narrative.
    Guess what they did for Officer Wilson?

    1. I was wondering about that. Why was Wilson even deposed?

      Since he was the subject of the grand jury inquiry, why would the prosecution want his input at all? You would think that it could only weaken the prosecution’s case to have the possible defendant’s side of things.

      The grand jury is not where the defendant gets to defend himself, that should be reserved the actual trial. Between that and the prosecutor’s obvious conflicts of interest, it strongly point to misconduct on Robert McCulloch’s part.

      He needs to be seriously investigated. I’ll be over here holding my breath.

  3. Grand juries really aren’t about conviction, they’re about if we should send this to trial. So everything about the Ferguson jury was highly unorthodox.

    1. Sharon Hill is a geologist.
      Faye Flam has a degree in geophysics.

      While I appreciate their journalistic credentials, some how journalists that were on the ground in Ferguson have more credibility in my mind then armchair journalists who were not there.

      That the Forbes article dismissed all eye-witness evidence as tainted but accepted Darren Wilson’s account (which is, after all, an eye-witness account) speaks to bias. Imagine that?

      And for Sharon Hill to jump on a highly speculative article meant to dismiss a miscarriage of justice to excuse the more than credible case against a rapist who has seen no consequences makes my stomach turn. No wonder they have the comments turned off, I’m sure she was getting an earful.

    2. To be fair, we don’t know from the evidence that it is Michael Shermer she is covering for. It could be Ben Radford or Brian Dunning or someone else (or all of them.)

      1. Well, we know she is a Dunning apologist, but I don’t think she’s ever outright denied that he did anything wrong. I think Radford’s case is pretty cut a dried as well and I didn’t see many defending him at the time.

        But your right, she could have been hinting to others; but then so might I have been since I didn’t use names. ;)

        1. I was actually replying to Lindalk, who did mention Shermer explicitly, so I have deniability as well :-) The scary part is there are other possibilities, probably many other possibilities.

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