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TIMOTHY TYRONE FOSTER, a black man, sits on Georgia’s death row for killing an elderly white woman in 1986. When jurors were being vetted to hear Mr Foster’s case, prosecutors struck all five African Americans from the jury pool. Four of those strikes came via “peremptory challenges”, tools by which lawyers can nix potential jurors without having to cite a reason. In his closing argument, the prosecutor told the all-white jury that sentencing Mr Foster to die would “deter other people out there in the projects”—public housing blocks populated mainly by African-Americans.
Overt racism in jury selection has been illegal in America since the Strauder v West Virginia ruling in 1880. But lawyers continue to strike blacks from juries at suspiciously high rates, as an amicus brief in Foster v Chatman—a Continue reading
A 65-slide PowerPoint is attached. It is derived from six fairly recent—and thoroughly researched—books on six key management/organization effectiveness areas where myth typically triumphs over reality. The myths: 1. Star CEOs drive big enterprise performance differences. 2. CEOs must maximize shareholder value. 3. Stars are stars and maintain their stellar performance in new settings. 4. […]
THE MOST revolting scene in Monty's Python's "The Meaning of Life" depicts a man succumbing to a putatively voluntary liver donation. Arriving at his front door, the authorities point to the liver donor’s card in his wallet. “Need we say more?”, they ask, before separating the man from the “glandular organ in [his] abdomen” over his screams and protestations. Nothing quite this grotesque or absurd is going on at a courthouse in Alabama, but coerced bodily invasions do not seem to be out of the question for Judge Marvin Wiggins. In fact, they are this jurist’s favoured means of getting indigent defendants to pay their dues to society.
According to recent reports, Judge Wiggins has turned to blood donation as an alternative for people who are behind on their court debts. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” he told dozens of people in his...Continue reading
A DISAGREEMENT about the treatment of transgender students is pitting the largest high-school district in Illinois against federal authorities. The bone of contention is the access to changing rooms for a transgender high-school student in one of the five high schools and two alternative schools of Township High School District 211 in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago. The student, who was born male but identifies as female, lived for several years as a girl and plays on the girls' sports team, demands that she is given full access to the girls' locker room.
Daniel Cates, the superintendent of district 211, denies her full access to that and instead offers her a separate room or the male locker room to change in. He argues that he has to balance the privacy rights of 12,500 students and the rights of a group with particular needs. In his view, the privacy of that vast majority of students is infringed if transgender students are allowed to change in the same locker room as the students of the gender they identify with.
The controversy began in 2014 when the student’s family, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed a complaint with the...Continue reading
THE third televised Republican primary debate, held in Boulder, Colorado, on October 28th, was supposed to be about the economy. Yet it featured hardly any discussion of America’s big economic problems, its shortages of skills, poor education standards or rotten infrastructure; nor, for that matter, of its economic strengths. It was a ragged, ill-focused affair, in which the ten participants traded mostly incredible tax-cutting pledges, bickered with one another, and griped about the moderators, who were representing the organiser, CNBC, and excruciatingly disorganised. Messy stuff, from which most of the candidates emerged more or less where they had started out—with a few important exceptions.
Two match-ups had dominated the run-up to the debate. First, that between the two front-runners, Donald Trump, a real estate tycoon and braggart, and Ben Carson, a soft-spoken neurosurgeon who holds some eye-wateringly right-wing views (he recently suggested the Holocaust would not have happened had Nazi Germany had looser gun laws). This duel probably ended in a draw. Mr Trump provided a couple of the debate’s more comical moments: including a flamboyant dismissal of John...Continue reading
ON OCTOBER 28th, the ten leading Republican presidential candidates will gather for their third primary debate in Boulder, Colorado. While current front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson will probably garner much of the attention, it is Carly Fiorina, one of the best debaters of the candidates, who has the most to gain.
Ms Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has polled in the single digits for most of the campaign. But after strong performances in each of the last two debates, her popularity spiked. Data from Google Trends show that during the weeks of the first and second debate, search interest in Ms. Fiorina increased 20- and 50-fold, respectively (see chart).
Ms Fiorina’s debating skills have also attracted the attention of Republican donors. In the two weeks following the first Republican debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Ms Fiorina saw her itemised campaign contributions—those over $200—grow from $1.2 million to $2.2 million, a 72%...Continue reading
WHEN THE Republican Party’s presidential candidates assemble for their third debate on October 28th in Boulder, Colorado, Donald Trump will again be standing, braced for a fight, centre-stage. But the poll ratings that determine the candidates’ lecturn order no longer look quite as rosy as they did for the billionaire reality-television star.
On October 27th, the day before the debate, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, overtook Mr Trump in a national poll, albeit by a squeak. In a survey by CBS/New York Times of Republican primary voters, Mr Carson was on 26% of the vote and Mr Trump on 22%. The two are way ahead of their closest rivals. Marco Rubio, a Florida senator, was on 8%; Jeb Bush, a former two-term governor of Florida, was on 7% (as was Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett Packard). The others—Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich—each won 4%.
The poll reinforces the extent to which most Republicans want a candidate with no political experience. A recent study by Pew of Republicans who will probably vote in the primaries found that 65% want a candidate who offers “new ideas and a different approach”; the figure was...Continue reading
ON OCTOBER 24th voters in Louisiana will send two men to a run-off that will determine the state’s next governor. That vote will take place in November, but it is the first election—known as an open or “jungle” primary—that really counts. This year, anyway.
In a jungle primary, candidates compete in a scrum, regardless of party, and the top two move on. The effect of such a system can be unpredictable, varying with the size of the field and the politics of each candidate. Sometimes, it can boost those at the fringes. In 1991, much to Louisiana’s embarrassment, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke and a flamboyantly corrupt governor, Edwin Edwards, managed to capture so many of the votes at the margins that the two of them met in a run-off, spawning a raft of rueful bumper stickers. (Among them: “Vote For the Lizard, Not the Wizard.”) The unfortunate centrist squeezed out that year was the incumbent governor, Buddy Roemer, who had become increasingly unpopular—but whom most Louisianians still probably wished they could have picked when it came to it.
This year, the fringes are not so extreme, but there is a similar dynamic at play, to the...Continue reading
SHORTLY before 10pm on September 11th, 2012, around 150 Islamic militants swarmed into the lightly defended American consulate in Benghazi. After blasting a way inside, with grenades and vehicle-mounted machine-guns, they poured diesel onto the compound and set fire to it, unleashing a cloud of noxious smoke into the safe-room where Chris Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and Sean Smith, a junior colleague, were hiding. Both died of asphyxiation. Later that night the militants launched a second attack, on a nearby CIA compound, where they killed two Americans agents with mortar rounds.
The ten-hour grilling Hillary Clinton was subjected to in Congress on October 22nd was, said her Republican interrogators, necessary to uncover the truth of how and why those four Americans died. But this was nonsense. The Benghazi select committee, launched by the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, has spent 17 months and, by a conservative reckoning, $4.5m shining little more light on those questions than seven previous enquiries. And indeed, the truth of the matter does not seem terribly elusive.
By the night of the attack, the US-backed effort to...Continue reading
I'm labeling what follows a "précis" of my current concerns. It originated with a client request for projected "takeaways" associated with a forthcoming speech. I responded, as requested, with a single page. Then, more or less for the hell of it, I expanded the outline/précis to a 2,000* word short essay (PDF also). Herewith FYI: […]
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Imperative #1 for the Crazy World of 2015/2015* appeared first on Tom Peters.