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Want to see police reform? Don't expect too much from the feds

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theconversation.com

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Thu, Nov 25, 2021 08:01 PM

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Counterintuitive – and revealing – stories to be thankful for US Edition - Today's top sto

Counterintuitive – and revealing – stories to be thankful for US Edition - Today's top story: Congress can't do much about fixing local police – but it can tie strings to federal grants [View in browser]( US Edition | 25 November 2021 [The Conversation]( When I worked as an investigative reporter covering government in Maine, my favorite stories took conventional wisdom and turned it on its head. Granting tax breaks to big businesses creates jobs, right? That’s what politicians in my state said as they pushed legislation to provide those breaks. But it turned out that the premise had never been independently verified; the breaks were simply based on statements by the companies that they needed them. I was thinking about counterintuitive stories like that today. That’s because, this Thanksgiving week, I am selecting the stories we did on the politics desk in 2021 that I am especially thankful for. Among my favorites: a story that fits right into this category by Rutgers law professor Alexis Karteron, written in the midst of calls nationwide for Congress to reform policing in the U.S. after the high-profile killings of Black men by white police. The problem with those calls, wrote Karteron, is that they were targeting the wrong lawmakers. “[The federal government has almost no control over state and local police departments](.” The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, passed by the House of Representatives, offered the possibility of significant policing reforms, Karteron wrote. “But for those looking to the federal government to solve what’s wrong with policing in America, the legislation can’t ensure that every police department will make meaningful changes.” Below is my very-partial list of stories I’ve loved this year. It’s like picking your favorite children – can’t be done. And here’s a recipe for [baked cranberry cardamom preserves](, which I’ve made for family and friends for the last 30 years. Don’t cut back on the sugar, as this recipe suggests – we need more sweetness in our lives. Naomi Schalit Senior Editor, Politics + Society Legislation pending in Congress would contribute to reforming how police conduct themselves – but there’s a limit to what federal legislation can do. Seth Herald / AFP/Getty Images [Congress can’t do much about fixing local police – but it can tie strings to federal grants]( Alexis Karteron, Rutgers University - Newark While many in America are looking to Congress to pass police reform legislation, the federal government has almost no control over state and local police departments. The three branches of U.S. government often find themselves in tension. White House, Eric Kiser; Capitol, John Xavier; Supreme Court, Architect of the Capitol [Why disputes between Congress and the White House so often end up in court]( Sarah Burns, Rochester Institute of Technology When presidents have tried to address pressing issues through executive action, members of Congress are quick to ask the courts to step in. An early 20th-century NAACP map showing lynchings between 1909 and 1918. The maps were sent to politicians and newspapers in an effort to spur legislation protecting Black Americans. Library of Congress [How Black cartographers put racism on the map of America]( Derek H. Alderman, University of Tennessee; Joshua F.J. Inwood, Penn State Mapping is one way African Americans fight for equality and help each other navigate a racially hostile landscape. - [Debunking the myth of legislative gridlock as laws and policy are made in the nation’s capital]( Jeb Barnes, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences The idea that Washington, D.C., is paralyzed by gridlock rests on half-truths about the legislative process and a basic misunderstanding of how contemporary policymaking works. - [There’s a surprising ending to all the 2020 election conflicts over absentee ballot deadlines]( Richard Pildes, New York University The fight over absentee ballot deadlines in the November 2020 election was bitter and prolonged. Now, an election law scholar looks at how those ballots affected the presidential race. - [At impeachment hearing, lawmakers will deliberate over a deadly weapon used in the attack on Capitol Hill – President Trump’s words]( Kurt Braddock, American University School of Communication Words have consequences. And decades of research supports the contention that Donald Trump’s words could in fact incite people to mount an insurrection at the US Capitol. [The Conversation]( You’re receiving this newsletter from [The Conversation]( 303 Wyman Street, Suite 300 Waltham, MA 02451 [Forward to a friend]( • [Unsubscribe](

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