Wandering Eye: BPD's prolific use of 'Stingrays,' O's humiliated by Twins, and more

We already know Baltimore Police prolifically use "Stingrays"—cellphone-tower-spoofing devices that can track a phone to a single room—and we know they don't disclose it to defense attorneys in court if they can possibly help it, thanks to Justin Fenton at The Sun. Now USA Today tells us that the devices are in some cases used to solve comparatively minor crimes, and prosecutors, too, are in the dark: "When our prosecutors are made aware that a detective used a cell-site stimulator, it is disclosed; however we rely upon the Police Department to provide us with that information," said Tammy Brown, a spokesperson for Baltimore's state's attorney. "We are currently working with the Police Department to improve upon the process to better obtain this information in order to comply with the law." Federal officials have said the Stingray helps them find killers, kidnappers, missing children, and pedophiles. "In Baltimore, at least, it's how the police tracked the man they suspected stole a phone from the back seat of a car parked outside the city's central booking facility in 2009," USA Today reports. "Still, barely half of the cases USA TODAY identified ended in a conviction. Prosecutors dismissed about a third of the cases outright, even when suspects had stolen phones with them when they were arrested. What's less clear is whether those outcomes were the result of the secret surveillance or merely reflected the normal ebb and flow of Baltimore's clogged criminal justice system." That's Baltimore, baby! (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Art news and criticism blog Artfcity posted a two-part essay by Senior Editor Corinna Kirsch on gender disparity and sexism in art journalism and criticism. Female critics and journalists were surveyed on their experiences of workplace misogyny and how they believe it might be combated. To no surprise, the responses indicated that, like the majority of all career fields, art journalism and criticism see less gender diversity at senior-level positions. "We can look at the stats, or look around us, to see that women are very much a part of the art and journalism field," Kirsch writes. "But numbers alone do not take into account who receives or has the freedom to take on choice assignments, negotiate favorable freelance and salary payment rates, or pursue outside-of-work speaking engagements and panel assignments." With fewer women working in senior editorial positions, it's also no surprise that pieces are often assigned with a sexist bias. "Female readers are often assumed to be stupid or superficial, I think," wrote one anonymous art writer, "and female writers are assigned to write for a dumbed-down audience." Specifically, Kirsch pointed out, female writers are more often assigned social media coverage, while males take on op-ed criticism. And then, of course, there's the inevitably male-dominated content in arts writing. Kathy O'Dell, writer and associate professor of visual arts at UMBC, noted, "[S]ince much art criticism/journalism focuses on exhibitions, it doesn't take a numbers-cruncher to figure out that far fewer women are going to be the focus of reviews." Some surveyed writers suggested that in order to prevent these biases, editors and writers—both male and female—should be fully aware of misogynistic language that can potentially pass through publishing, intentionally or not. At the same time, women should avoid self-effacing language and behavior in the office and on panels. (Maura Callahan)

 

Over the weekend the Orioles got swept in a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins, jamming a big old knife into the heart of their playoff hopes. After a humiliating 15-2 loss on Thursday, the birds dropped three straight one-run games in a row. As The Sun's Peter Schmuck wrote in his column yesterday, the Orioles are "not far from the abyss." And it's not about to get any easier with a four-game series on the road in Kansas City followed by a three-game set in Arlington, Texas. The team's vocal leader, center fielder Adam Jones, is not mincing his words about the rest of the season. "These last 40 games, they're going to be a reality check," he said. "If we want to be in the playoffs, it'll show. If we don't, it'll show also. I think we can climb the mountain. It's just a matter of doing it. Me saying it doesn't mean nothing. We have to go on the field, between the lines, 25-man strong and do it." (Brandon Weigel)

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