Where Is the Outrage Over James Foley’s Beheading?

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There have been two weeks of outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of the shooting are still fuzzy, but the anger is crystal clear and exposes a still deep and ugly divide in America.

In sharp contrast, the beheading of James Foley by Islamic State extremists did not prompt the same outrage or protests. The details of the beheading are on video for anyone with the stomach to watch (WARNING: GRAPHIC). The international divide it exposes is equally ugly and far more dangerous. It should unite us as Americans, as the Islamic State on the other side of the divide wants to kill us all, regardless of color or class.

And yet the growing threat of the Islamic State is a secondary story to Ferguson. It speaks more to our national media than the greater population. Ferguson is easier and much less expensive to cover. The growing threat of ISIS — the greatest threat to America and the civilized world in recent history — is more dangerous and more expensive to cover.

And besides, stories that divide us rather than unite us make for better TV. Two sides yelling at each other is the formula for cable news success. The importance of a story and journalistic responsibility lost in the battle for ratings and revenue long ago.

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Jersey Lawmakers Support Increased Safety for Rail Cars Carrying Oil

Perhaps spurred by memories of last year’s oil car derailment over the Schuylkill — or maybe a scarier 2012 incident in Jersey’s own Mantua Creek near the Philadelphia airport — some New Jersey lawmakers are urging federal officials to adopt tougher safety standards for rail cars that carry oil.

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Enough Is Enough: Ferguson, Authority, and America’s Never-Healing Race Wound

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I know this is going to devastate a bunch of whiny privileged white people and politicians who would just love to say that we’re “post-racial” because we have a mixed-race president, but here we go:

America has a serious problem with police. And, it’s not a problem with police and everyone else. It’s a problem specifically between police (or people who fetishize authority) and people of color.

On August 9th, 2014, the 18-year-old Michael Brown was stopped by authorities in Ferguson, Missouri. Whatever happened during that stop is unclear. What is clear, however, is that Brown, a young African American man with seemingly no weapon on his person, was shot to death by police.

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Did Philly’s Former Police Commissioner Develop Ferguson’s Crackdown Techniques?

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TimoneyPhoto1One bit of irony regarding the massive police crackdown on protesters (and journalists) in Ferguson, Mo. this week: Democracy advocates in the Middle East began tweeting advice to their American compatriots on how to deal with tear gas attacks and similar police techniques. Make of that what you will.

The New York Times reports, though, that some observers see perhaps a stronger connection between the two regions: The heavy-handed techniques used by Ferguson’s police, they say, bear a striking resemblance to those developed by former Philly Police Commissioner John Timoney. 

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3 Great Moments in PC Hysteria

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It’s been a busy week here in the P.C. States of America, with everybody defending everybody else’s right to be offended, with the usual head-spinning results. Let’s start at Ohio State University, which just fired the director of its world-renowned marching band for allowing hazing and sexual harassment to go on amidst its ranks. (You may have seen the band’s halftime tribute to Michael Jackson on YouTube last year.) One practice decried in a university report was the assignment of nicknames to new band members — nicknames that the university deemed degrading, such as “Jizzy” and “Twinkle Dick,” according to the august Chronicle of Higher Ed. Among the objectionable monikers the report cited was “Jwoobs,” given to a female Jewish student with large breasts. Read more »

It Happened: A Good Guy With a Gun Stopped a Bad Guy With a Gun

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

Everytime a gun massacre occurs, gun enthusiasts have suggested that what the world needs is … more guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” they say. The problem? Good guys with guns so rarely seem to make the scene — and bad guys with guns end up doing quite a bit of damage.

Until Thursday at least. A “gun-toting doctor” at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby shot and injured his assailant, effectively ending the attack — and there’s a good chance as a result this story is going to get some front-and-center attention in the national gun debate. 

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PHOTOS: Gaza Protests at LOVE Park

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As the conflict in Gaza intensifies, on Wednesday afternoon around 1,500 protesters gathered at LOVE Park to show support for their side.

On one side of the block pro-Israel protesters chanted and demonstrated, while on the other side of the street pro-Palestine activists gathered to counter-protest. The demonstrations were mostly civil, though at one point there was a fight in which a pro-Palestine activist was briefly detained, but not charged.

More photos from the protests after the jump »

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