We're still getting used to bringing you thisNew York Times roundup on Sundays, so bear with us. It's a nice break from "Sundays With the Christianists" (which will be back at some point -- there's no shortage of material), but we're still adjusting to writing about reality, as brought to you mostly by "reporters" instead of the fanciful Goddiddit tropes of our previous Sunday reading. Happily, for the fantasy element, we still have the columnists.


On the news side, the Grey Lady brings us a timeline of the 4 1/2 hours that Michael Brown's body lay in the August heat after he was shot, with reporting from both Ferguson, Missouri, and also from places that have competent police and emergency services. You will not be terribly surprised to find points like this:

Experts in policing said there was no standard for how long a body should remain at a scene, but they expressed surprise at how Mr. Brown’s body had been allowed to remain in public view.

You will also not be surprised, but will slap your forehead nonetheless, at this typical spin from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who explained that leaving Brown's body in road for four hours allowed detectives to do the meticulous investigating that Brown, and Justice Itself, deserved: “Michael Brown had one more voice after that shooting, and his voice was the detectives’ being able to do a comprehensive job,” said the guy who made sure that reporters were given a detailed report on a convenience store robbery a full week before the department released a bare-bones copy of the "report" on Brown's shooting. And your non-astonishment will reach new levels at the note that "The St. Louis County police declined to give details about what evidence investigators had been gathering while Mr. Brown’s body was in the street." Even with all that derp on the Ferguson side of things, it's worth a read, especially if you're into the Mary Roach style "how they do stuff" side of police investigations. It's good to know that a lot of police departments actually are competent, as long as you're not in St. Louis County, Missouri.

There's also a piece on the Obama administration's just-announced review of the policy of arming police departments as if they were Seal Team Six, on the off chance that the West Podunk PD may need to deal with IEDs. Here's your "Yeah, maybe that wasn't such a great idea" pull quote:

In Washington, the only debates were whether the George W. Bush administration was providing equipment fast enough, and whether departments were getting their fair shares.

Nevertheless, the article also notes that "any effort to significantly cut police funding would be met with sharp opposition from local and state officials and many in Congress" -- the money and the toys are really, REALLY popular among the departments that love having the chance to crank up "Ride of the Valkyries" as they go out to serve drug warrants and shoot somebody's dog.

If we had a Pick of the Day (hey, should we have a Pick of the Day?), it would be this surprisingly uplifting story about nurses and volunteers fighting Ebola in Africa, focusing mostly on Josephine Finda Sellu, the head nurse in the Ebola ward at a government hospital in Sierra Leone. It's heartbreaking -- she's lost 15 of her nurses to the disease -- but also a genuinely affecting portrait of some seriously brave people who kept doing their jobs even as they struggled in an already inadequate medical system against a disease that was killing their co-workers. So far, at least 129 health workers have died in the epidemic; the good news is that as international aid has started coming in, containment measures have improved and the number of new patients seems, at least to Ms. Sellu, to be declining. Also featured in the story is a group of young men who have come forward -- often working without pay at first, but now getting a whopping $6 a day -- to take on the dangerous job of recovering and burying the dead. The call themselves the "burial boys":

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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