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stop this country, I want to get off April 13, 2017

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Everything this week is horrible and heartbreaking, and I hate it. Trying to make it stop feels like trying to hold back a runaway train with a rope.

This weekend is the Tax March. Find one near you.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Muslim woman to serve as a US judge, found dead in a river. Whoever did this should be strung up by the thumbs.

Trump can’t remember whether he just bombed Iraq or Syria. To everyone who ~*couldn’t trust Hillary*~ to run our military responsibly, I wish I could personally slap all of you in the face.

Democrats are consistent in how much we approve of missile strikes. Republicans swing from 22% in favor of a Democrat doing it, to 86% in favor of a Republican. That comes out to 64% of Republicans who have no principles whatsoever, just slavish loyalty to anyone who puts an R after their name.

Trump’s policies are hurting poor majority-black Democratic-voting communities as hard as any poor white Trump-voting district. The only difference is that they saw it coming.

Tom Price acted to help kill a rule that would hurt drug company profits shortly after his broker bought him up to $90,000 worth of pharmaceutical stock.” And now he’s running the Department of Health and Human Services.

Chechnya is rounding up gay men in what Amnesty International calls “secret detention sites.” Reports are coming out about horrific physical abuses. Straight people of Chechnya, what is wrong with you?

(Amnesty International could use your donations, and so could RUSA LGBT, a group that supports LGBTQ Russian-speakers — including asylum-seekers.)

A bridge collapses in Atlanta, causing millions of dollars in damage. You could blame the companies that stored flammable materials there, or you could pin the whole thing on a homeless black guy who slept there. Guess which one the city is doing.

Chicago detective Reynaldo Guevara: “accused by at least 51 people of framing them for murders from the 1980s through the early 2000s in the rough-and-tumble Humboldt Park section of Chicago. His alleged misdeeds led 48 men and one woman to be sentenced to a total of more than 2,300 years in prison. Three were acquitted. Five received life sentences. Three were sentenced to death but spared when in 2003 Gov. George Ryan, disturbed by a rash of wrongful convictions, commuted all death sentences to life or less. Two men died behind bars, including Daniel Peña, an illiterate man who testified Guevara beat him into signing a confession he couldn’t read.” Lock this guy up. Also, strive to be George Ryan.

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Some thoughtful personal identity reads. October 10, 2016

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Because after that debate I think we’re all thirsty for some substance.

“If you can distinctly recall the excitement of walking into your weekly computer lab session and seeing a room full of Apple 2Es displaying the start screen of Oregon Trail, you’re a member of this nameless generation, my friend.” (Calling myself a millennial is usually not a bad fit, but yeah, this is my subcategory.)

“Five months in, I can’t remember the last time a stranger read me as a woman, and my mask of manliness is melding into my being, becoming part of me. It’s becoming comfortable. I don’t have the same sudden clarity that came with top surgery, but every new difference – smaller hips, bigger shoulders, a thicker neck – removes another layer of noise. Changing my physical self and my social self didn’t have to change my identity, but I think it might have. I still call myself genderless, but I also lump myself in with trans guys without thinking. ”

“At first, I didn’t believe I had anything wrong with me. But after meeting my current therapist, Dr. Samoon Ahmad, I began to understand and accept my diagnosis — I was bipolar, and my nude jaunt was part of a manic episode. It wasn’t until I got out of Bellevue three weeks later that I saw the front page of The Post with the headline ‘Ball Drop in Times Square.'”

“I am dark enough to not live within the tent of whiteness, but I am light enough that many people experience significant confusion when trying to class what level of ‘not-white, maybe heading toward-Black, deficient’ I am. Depending on the year and location, I am a ‘dirty Arab/Muslim,’ a fellow Latina, a Mulatto, a Mizrahi Jew, a half-white person who suspiciously may not be down with Black folks.”

“I didn’t want some American sales clerk knowing I couldn’t understand simple, elementary-school English. We’d look for that Ziploc bag in another store. I wasn’t about to let anyone think we were Middle Eastern immigrants coming here to steal jobs from honest Americans. I would not be responsible for a surge in Islamophobia over a Ziploc bag.

Stories about people who clashed with police and survived (somehow, never with the police’s help) July 24, 2016

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People killed by police, 2016. 648 and counting.

The list of young people burdened by these tumultuous times includes Tamir Rice’s teenage sister, who lost 50 pounds after watching the police shoot him in 2014; the daughter of Oscar Grant III, killed by a transit officer while lying down on a California train platform in 2009, who as a 5-year-old would ask playmates to duck when she saw the police; and the 9-year-old nephew of Sandra Bland, who began sleeping in his mother’s room after Ms. Bland’s death last year in a jail cell.”

“He smiles and says that a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, ‘Really? I was just reading a book.’

“After two previous mistrials, a federal judge has acquitted former police officer Eric Parker, who was charged with violating a Indian citizen’s civil rights after throwing him to the ground and partially paralyzing him during a sidewalk stop last year.” Sureshbhai Patel was a 57-year-old grandfather who spoke almost no English, and had just moved in to help care for his new grandchild.

“When [Danny] Sanchez saw the incident, and the SWAT team converge, he began recording from his garage. He assumed there wouldn’t be any problem, since he was so far away from the incident, on his own property and even out on the edge of the garage.”

After firing 107 bullets at the innocent women, the LAPD cops ordered them out of the vehicle and immediately realized their mistake. Instead of a 33-year-old black man, two Hispanic women exited the pickup truck and demanded to know, ‘Why did you shoot at us?'” Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez.

“He was crying. He kept saying, ‘Mom! Mom!,’ trying to tell me what happened. ‘Shoot, shoot. Police, police. Blood.’” Arnaldo Eliud Rios Soto, the autistic man whose caregiver Charles Kinsey was shot while lying on his back with his hands up.

“In fact, in reviewing nearly every publicly available video of a police shooting over the past year or so, it is close to impossible to find footage of an officer aiding the person who has been shot.

I’d bite too. June 21, 2015

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People killed by police, 2015. 530 and counting.

Sure, there are some looters during anti-racism protest, but you have to remember not to judge an entire group for the actions of a few bad-apple police officers.

“Just how large of a threat do New York City’s cops pose to its citizens—especially those who live in public housing? Large enough that the city’s housing authority ordered its employees to wear bright orange vests on the job, just in case an NYPD officer in a dark project stairwell mistakes a worker for a resident and shoots him dead. ” (No clue how actual residents are supposed to protect themselves.)

“The deputy has [a 13-year-old child] on the ground in a choke hold and tases him as he screams out in agony. Since shocking him once wasn’t enough for the deputy, he tased him again for good measure, according to Johnny Daza, 18, who posted the video to Facebook.” Later, we see this guy complaining about how the kid bit him. If I was being pinned, choked, and electrocuted by an adult man, I’d bite too.

“Right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center.”

And that was from an editorial released June 16. Kudos to the NYT for giving attention to this situation as a general rule, not just in response to the June 17 terrorist attack in Charleston.

…till killer cops are in cell blocks April 25, 2015

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People killed by police, 2015. 373 and counting.

“African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young. […] Perhaps the starkest description of the situation is this: More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life.”

“One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica’s analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.” (Follow-up responses.)

Ervin Edwards was tasered to death in a jail cell back on November 26, 2013. It’s back in the news because now there’s video. I can’t pick an article to link to because all of them seem to be illustrated with screenshots of the man’s dead body. For heaven’s sake, news, have some respect for the dead.

“The interesting part that really gets to me is, where you guys edited it and stopped — like, how could that be a mistake?

your medical license please?

Alabama Man Shot, Killed by Police While Turning in Stray Cat.” Sometimes I end a post like this with an on-point satirical headline from The Onion. This is not one of those times.

“Your friend doesn’t even seem concerned that police are ‘accidentally’ killing people on a regular basis.” December 30, 2014

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“The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.

“It’s almost like you have no emotion with it, that they attach the bodies to it, they’re going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway; nothing is going to happen to them anyway.”

An NYPD cop whose wife called 911 for help against a gang of thugs says he was brutally beaten by baton-wielding fellow officers who stormed his Queens home.”

We hear every prominent black man in America who has a son and who decides to talk about this publicly—football players and actors and others—say exactly the same thing. We’ve heard it hundreds of times.”

One image showed Asheem and friends at an older girl’s Sweet Sixteen party — their arms draped over one another’s shoulders. Alethia says the picture was used as evidence to show participation in a criminal conspiracy. His mother had been at the party as a chaperone. “I didn’t see gangsters,” she says, “I just saw some kids.”

Even if most of these people were killed by accident, the fact that your friend doesn’t even seem concerned that police are “accidentally” killing people on a regular basis is very alarming.”

How we cover the story when the person who shoots two cops is white, and talked a lot about the evils of gun control, how Cliven Bundy is totally oppressed, how Obama needs to be overthrown, and, you know, positions that are generally impossible to characterize as “liberal.”

And that’s not even getting into what happens when a dead police officer is black, and was shot by a white police officer.

“Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too.”

“It’s concerning to me how people might react…” December 14, 2014

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Good news first: “A federal judge ruled Thursday that police can no longer use tear gas on protesters without declaring an illegal assembly, giving them fair warning and time to vacate the area.”

IndieGoGo campaing for a Black Lives Matter billboard. Five days left, and they’re almost two-thirds of the way there.

“[Sheriff] Demings said that ‘because of the backdrop of everything happening in the country at this time… It’s concerning to me’ how people might react to this shooting of an unarmed African American with his hands literally up in the air when he was shot.” You know, there’s a simple solution to this! It involves not shooting unarmed black people. (According to the article, he’s at least not dead. Just “critically wounded”.)

“The mother of an 8-year-old Native American girl is suing police who maintain that they were justified in using a taser on the child.” A 70-pound 8-year-old.

Any time you see someone arguing that [cop] obviously had no choice but to use lethal force, because [unarmed black person] was threatening/disrespectful/dangerous…point them to these videos, involving a drunk, belligerent white guy carrying what appears to be an AK-47. This is it. This is the other choice. You know, the one in which nobody dies.

Moms who have lost kids to police violence at the Congressional walkout.

Missouri Attorney General confirms the prosecutor of Darren Wilson gave the jury misleading information designed to make him look better.

“My fellow officers and I took plenty of classes on racial sensitivity and on limiting the use of force. The problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police.”

No justice, no peace December 5, 2014

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“At a fancy restaurant [black minister Jesse Routté] asked the staff what would happen if a ‘Negro gentleman comes in here and sits down to eat.’ The reply: ‘No negro would dare to come in here to eat.'”

“She told him she would rather pick him up from the police station than identify his body at a morgue.

“Later that year, maybe 30 yards to the left of Main Building, security routinely entered my office asking for my ID despite my name on the door and pictures of me, my Mama, and them all over my desk. In that same building, one floor lower, after I got my first book deal, I was told by another senior white member of my department that it was ‘all right’ if I spoke to him ‘in ebonics.'”

“A Kentucky fire chief is being criticized for racist comments after he refused to help a family of stranded motorists because they were black, and then suggested that an Asian-American television reporter did not understand English.”

“In the last four years, blacks have held community protests against violence in Chicago; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh; Saginaw, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana. Indeed, there’s a whole catalog of movies, albums, and sermons from a generation of directors, musicians, and religious leaders, each urging peace and order. You may not have noticed black protests against crime and violence, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened.”

Post-protest looking-back. November 27, 2014

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Was at the Black Lives Matter: Boston protest march last night. @BLM_Boston has lots of photos & video. (Donation info.)

This long compilation video has a good cross-section of what was happening, up through police blockade #1. (From around around 2:43 to 2:59 you can see a big white banner with an upside-down American flag taped to it — I was a little to the right of them.)

Here’s a rough outline of the route:

protest

All the protestors were peaceful in Boston. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case everywhere, as you can see by these photos of fires being started and cars getting flipped over oh wait those are photos of white people rioting after sporting events.

(I’m not going to sit here and say all white people are intrinsically violent. I’m just saying, there is a history of meaningless violence in white culture, and it’s troubling. Doesn’t help that 83% of the murders of white people in the US are committed by white people, and there don’t seem to be any leaders in the community willing to speak out about this epidemic of white-on-white violence.)

Donation links for Ferguson itself:

Smartphone app from the ACLU of NJ will upload video from your device to the ACLU server, to keep police from confiscating it and deleting evidence.

Masterpost of “how to counter various racist arguments” posts, articles, and video.

Gonna finish this off with the quote everyone is sharing (or should be) in response to the “what would MLK say?” argument.

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
–Martin Luther King Jr., “The Other America“, March 14, 1968

#BlackLivesMatter – some links. November 25, 2014

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A white man can take a gun and deliberately attack state troopers and be taken into custody alive, but somehow the police can’t manage to apprehend a black 12-year-old playing with a toy without resorting to deadly force.

“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door,'” said DeShawn. “I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.‘ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?'”

“Dallas police said that Donald Maiden Jr., who had just celebrated his 8th birthday on Sunday, was playing tag outside his apartment complex on Tuesday. According to his grandmother, Maiden ran inside to get some toys and was shot as came back outside. ”

‘Why would they do that — to me?’ he whispered breathlessly into the phone. ‘Dad, they don’t know me. And they weren’t acting drunk. It’s just 3:30 in the afternoon. They could see me, and I could see them!'”

“Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.

“In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members. Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse.”

“There’s a lot we don’t know about how many people have actually been killed at police hands in the United States, thanks to woefully inadequate transparency and federal record-keeping. But there’s one thing we do now know: Among those we do know were shot by police, black teens were 21 times more likely to be shot dead than their white counterparts.”

“The notion that violence within the black community is “background noise” is not supported by the historical record—or by Google. I have said this before. It’s almost as if Stop The Violence never happened, or The Interruptors never happened, or Kendrick Lamar never happened. The call issued by Erica Ford at the end of this Do The Right Thing retrospective is so common as to be ritual. It is not “black on black crime” that is background noise in America, but the pleas of black people.” Ta-Nehisi Coates lays down links and analysis.

And you’ll notice that nobody ever concern-trolls about white-on-white crime. Even though FBI statistics show more than 8 white people were murdered every day in 2011 — 83% of them by fellow white people. Where is the outrage from the white community? Where are the calls for white leaders to speak out?