Driving while black: rough takedown triggers heart attack

Lester Jacob, science teacherThis was reported last October and has been languishing in my drafts ever since.

Lately we’ve been seeing news reports that bad marriages can damage women’s health through increased stress levels. What’s it like to be considered potentially a dangerous criminal everywhere you go?

A science teacher, minding his own business, was subjected to a “high-risk takedown” by police in Brooklyn.

This has kind of thing has also happened to a lawyer, a singer, a diplomat, and a prominent TV announcer, that I know of.


A mild-mannered Brooklyn high school teacher says he was nearly scared to death by NYPD cops who mistook him for a perp.

When the violent encounter was over, Lester Jacob, 50, suffered a heart attack and was left on his own in the street by cops, who accused him of “acting.”

In July he underwent open-heart surgery.

Jacob had the misfortune to be driving home through Brownsville, Brooklyn, on June 22 around the same time cops were on the lookout for a hit-and-run driver. Jacob, an earth science teacher at James Madison High School in Midwood, heard a siren, looked in his rear-view mirror and dutifully pulled over for the radio car behind him.

He wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Two officers rushed up to Jacob’s vehicle and pointed their guns at his head, according to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Cursing at him, they ordered Jacobs out of the car and roughly cuffed him.

“One officer crushed his knee into Mr. Jacob’s back,” the complaint states. “They then repeatedly slammed his head onto the car and then pressed his head against the car for some time.”

Additional officers arrived on the scene with a witness to the earlier accident. The witness told them Jacob was the wrong guy.

“‘I told you it was a white Maxima,'” the witness reportedly said, according to the complaint. Jacob drives a white Infiniti.

Jacob told the cops he was experiencing chest pains and began coughing uncontrollably.

A female cop said, “Nice acting,” according to Jacob, and then drove off. Jacob said he struggled to drive home, stopping to vomit on the side of the road.

His wife rushed him to the hospital, where doctors determined he had suffered a heart attack.

“I was scared to death,” Jacob said of his brush with the NYPD. “I was feeling terror.”

His attorney John Lambros said there was no reason for the cops to handcuff or use excessive force against the 150-pound teacher while they were waiting for the witness to show up.

The cops were not identified, but their radio car number has been turned over to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said the complaint is being reviewed.

I can find nothing on the Internet about the results of the complaint or a decision by the review board.

Here’s a contrasting example within the same person’s body: Driving as a black woman, then as a black man.


Same-sex marriage sheds light on gender roles

The New York Times has an article about how gay marriage highlights the elements of different-sex marriage that stem from our notions of gender. Briefly put, sharing of household duties and fighting fairly is more equal in same-sex marriages.

Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships.

The findings offer hope that some of the most vexing problems are not necessarily entrenched in deep-rooted biological differences between men and women. And that, in turn, offers hope that the problems can be solved….

After Vermont legalized same-sex civil unions in 2000, researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 couples, including same-sex couples and their heterosexual married siblings. The focus was on how the relationships were affected by common causes of marital strife like housework, sex and money.

Notably, same-sex relationships, whether between men or women, were far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones. In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship. With same-sex couples, of course, none of these dichotomies were possible, and the partners tended to share the burdens far more equally.

While the gay and lesbian couples had about the same rate of conflict as the heterosexual ones, they appeared to have more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality of opposite-sex relationships can take a toll.

“Heterosexual married women live with a lot of anger about having to do the tasks not only in the house but in the relationship,” said Esther D. Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University. “That’s very different than what same-sex couples and heterosexual men live with.”

Other studies show that what couples argue about is far less important than how they argue. The egalitarian nature of same-sex relationships appears to spill over into how those couples resolve conflict….

[T]wo 2003 articles in The Journal of Homosexuality showed that when same-sex couples argued, they tended to fight more fairly than heterosexual couples, making fewer verbal attacks and more of an effort to defuse the confrontation.

Controlling and hostile emotional tactics, like belligerence and domineering, were less common among gay couples….

“When they got into these really negative interactions, gay and lesbian couples were able to do things like use humor and affection that enabled them to step back from the ledge and continue to talk about the problem instead of just exploding,” said Robert W. Levenson, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

…[H]eterosexuals who can relate to their partner’s concerns and who are skilled at defusing arguments also have stronger relationships.

One of the most common stereotypes in heterosexual marriages is the “demand-withdraw” interaction, in which the woman tends to be unhappy and to make demands for change, while the man reacts by withdrawing from the conflict. But some surprising new research shows that same-sex couples also exhibit the pattern, contradicting the notion that the behavior is rooted in gender, according to an abstract presented at the 2006 meeting of the Association for Psychological Science by Sarah R. Holley, a psychology researcher at Berkeley.

Dr. Levenson says this is good news for all couples.

“Like everybody else, I thought this was male behavior and female behavior, but it’s not,” he said. “That means there is a lot more hope that you can do something about it.”

Regime change in Heaven

Robert Ritchie of the Guardian has written a lovely column explaining why we had to invade Heaven.

God with Adam & Eve

I can has minions


more cat pictures

Incidentally, there are apartment buildings in town that would suit Ming the Merciless or some other futuristic bad guy, and his minions of course:

Ming’s apartments, close-up:

future home of Ming the Merciless

Corporate headquarters of Ming the Merciless:

Head Office of Ming the Merciless

Fortress of Ming the Merciless:

Fortress of Ming the Merciless

The grandest of all Ming’s buildings is the National Art Gallery in Ottawa.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

It has been designated Ming’s Imperial Palace.

National Gallery of Canada from Parliament Hill

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

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