i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Venus Williams will not be charged in fatal accident in Florida

tennis legend venus williams is not going to face criminal charges for her role in a fatal car accident this past june 9. the driver of the car which struck williams' suv in an intersection was also not charged.

palm beach gardens police determined neither individual violated the right-of-way. initially, police said williams should be reprimanded for not yielding the right-of-way. but in july, video surfaced vindicating williams entered the intersection lawfully. 

the video showed a car not involved in the collision forced williams to stop in the intersection. the traffic light changed, and a sedan which struck williams' van had a green light. jerome barson, 78, the passenger in a sedan colliding with williams' car died june 22. his wife, linda barson, drove that sedan.

the barson family has filed a wrongful death suit against williams.    

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jay-Z threatened by George Zimmerman over upcoming Trayvon Martin Documentary

jay-z was threatened by george zimmerman last weekend for his role in the upcoming documentary of trayvon martin. zimmerman, a self-proclaimed "neighborhood watchman" shot and killed martin - an unarmed black male teen - february 26, 2012 in florida, and was acquitted of manslaughter charges the following year.

entertainment website blast reports zimmerman claims his family was mistreated by the camera and production crew. zimmerman said they made unannounced visits to the homes of his parents, and an uncle in florida. he said jay-z and executive producer michael gesparro "harassed" his family.

on saturday, zimmerman said, "i know how to handle people who f--- with me. i have since february 2012." zimmerman benefited from the controversial "stand your ground" laws in florida, and his trial polarized americans with the verdict. he holds jay-z and gesparro responsible, and "anyone who ----s with my parents will be fed to an alligator." 

zimmerman, 34, complained over money he clams has been paid to his ex-wife for her participation in the documentary. he also said his family members and parents have not been paid by producers for their cooperation in the documentary.

the six-part docuseries titled "rest in power: the trayvon martin story," is based on the book, "suspicion nation," by attorney lisa bloom. the series will chronicle the life of martin, who was on his way home after stopping at a local store to get a bag of skittles.

jay-z didn't comment, but snoop dogg immediately defended him on instagram. "if one hair on jay's hair is touched that's when the revolution will b televised. we one, and to thank the system, let the b---- *ss mutha----- get away with murder try it again. trayvon martin gone but not forgotten."


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Five NFL players and one executive named in sexual harassment lawsuit by former colleague

espn has suspended eric davis and donovan mcnabb after a lawsuit filed monday night by a female colleague alleging sexual harassment while working for nfl network. davis and mcnabb will not appear on espn or espn radio airwaves while the network investigates the claims.

nfl network on monday suspended heath evans, marshall faulk and ike taylor, while the ringer announced president eric weinberger had been placed on leave. davis, evans, faulk, mcnabb, taylor and weinberger are named in the lawsuit filed by a former colleague.

jami cantor worked as a wardrobe stylist for nfl network. cantor filed a wrongful termination suit in october against nfl enterprises in los angeles superior court. she described incidents of harassment by evans, faulk and taylor, as well as weinberger, a former network executive producer and current president of the bill simmons media group.

in the suit, cantor alleges faulk groped her breasts and ass, and asked "deeply personal and invasive questions" about her sex life. cantor said taylor and weinberger sent inappropriate pictures - taylor sent her a video of him masturbating in the shower.

cantor alleges weinberger said she was "put on earth to pleasure me," and pressed his crotch against her, asking her to touch it. she alleges mcnabb sent explicit text messages to her. mcnabb is a former nfl network analyst who currently appears on espn.     

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of slain Philandro Castile, reaches $800K settlement with St. Anthony, Minnesota

diamond reynolds live-streamed the police shooting of her boyfriend, philandro castile, july 6, 2016. their four year-old daughter was in the car when her father was killed. tuesday night, officials in st. anthony, minnesota announced she would receive an $800,000 settlement.

the settlement, which still must be approved by a judge, is a likely final legal development in a polarizing case for black and brown community members, law enforcement, political representatives and state officials. jerry faust, st, anthony mayor, said the agreement "opens the door to continued healing within our community."

the $800,000 settlement includes $675,000 from st. anthony as well as $125,000 from the nearby city of roseville, and an insurance fund. reynolds, who claimed emotional distress and false arrest, said the settlement confirmed what she experienced that night as "wrong." 

reynolds said, "while no amount of money can change what happened, bring philandro back, or erase the pain that me and my daughter continue to suffer, i do hope that closing this chapter will allow us to get our lives back and move forward."

castile, a young black male, was pulled over near the state fairgrounds by officer jeronimo yanez of the st. anthony police. yanez said his car had a broken brake light - and he matched the description of a robbery suspect. reynolds was in the passenger seat.

the routine exchange led to yanez shouting at castile not to reach for his gun. reynolds said her boyfriend meant no harm and complied with yanez, who fired several shots into the car, fatally striking castile. reynolds' video showed yanez cursing and pointing his gun through the window.

officer yanez was later charged with second-degree manslaughter, but was acquitted at a trial in june. he told jurors he feared for his life when castile reached for his gun. "i was scared to death. i thought i was going to die," said yanez. reynolds testified for the prosecution, saying, "i felt broken, hurt, confused, lost." 

this summer, st. anthony agreed to pay a separate, nearly $3 million settlement to castile's estate. the city also reached a separation agreement with officer yanez and said he would not return to work there. st. anthony officials said some of the money paid to reynolds would be placed in a trust fund for her daughter's education.  


Friday, December 01, 2017

Demographic Differences in Sentencing: An Update to the 2012 Booker Report

in 2010, the united states sentencing commission published an analysis of federal sentencing data which examined whether the length of sentences imposed on federal offenders was correlated with demographic characteristics of those offenders.

in 2012, the commission updated this analysis by examining cases in which the offender was sentenced after the release of the 2010 report. the commission examined factors which include changes in sentence length for offenders of particular race, drug trafficking, firearms, fraud, gender pairings and the type of offense committed.

recently, the commission examined cases from october 1, 2011 to september 30, 2016. this new time period is referred to as the "post-report period." the commission also included data regarding violence in an offender's criminal history - which might help explain some of the differences in sentencing noted in their work. 

some of the key findings are listed below:

black male offenders received sentences 19.1% longer than white male offenders in similar situations. 

black male offenders were 21.2% less likely than white male offenders to receive a non-government sponsored downward departure or variance during the post-report period. when black male offenders received a non-government sponsored departure or variance, their sentences were 16.8% longer than white male offenders in similar situations. 

black male offenders received sentences on average 20.4% higher than white male offenders in similar situations, accounting for violence in an offender's past in fiscal year 2016, the only year such data is available. this figure is almost the same as the 20.7% difference without accounting for past violence, which doesn't appear to account for demographic sentencing differences.

female offenders of all races received shorter sentences than white male offenders during the post-report period, as they had for the previous four years. the differences in sentence length decreased slightly during the five-year period after the 2012 booker report for most offenders.          

Sunday, November 12, 2017

New York signs a bill to give PTSD patients access to medical marijuana

a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) as a qualifying condition for new york's medical marijuana program was signed into law by governor andrew cuomo during veteran's day weekend.

the senate passed s 5629 in june (50 to 13), and the assembly version, a 7006, received overwhelming approval in may (131 to 8). new york is now the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat ptsd.

the bill was sponsored by assemblyman richard gottfried and senator diane savino. also, mike avella, vince marrone, the new york state council of veterans organizations, the marijuana policy project foundation lobbyists and others led this advocacy effort.

"governor cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of new york veterans find relief with medical marijuana...ptsd is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering," said bob becker, legislative director fore the new york state council of veterans organizations.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

David Stern wants the NBA to remove marijuana from their banned substance list

former nba commissioner david stern believes marijuana, particularly medical marijuana, should be removed from the league's banned substance list. stern recently appeared on a documentary hosted by former nba player al harrington titled, "the concept of cannabis.' 

stern said, "i don't think there's been a proper spokesperson for this subject. i think that if medical marijuana is available, then it's up to the individual team doctor. you tell me it worked for you and it worked for others that you knew, then we should find a way to get that defined and made official, and then proceed to educating team docs."

"i think we've got to change the collective bargaining agreement, then, and let you do what's legal in your state. if marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, i would think you should be allowed to do what's legal in your state. so now it's up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going, and maybe lead the way. i think it's a very interesting subject, and i think it's a place where the leagues have an opportunity to do something, led by their players unions and the league offices."

stern presided over the nba at the time of drastic changes to the collective bargaining agreement. in 1999, under pressure from the league's owners, a "stiffening" of the player conduct policy was instituted to ban marijuana outright. additionally, the nba implemented a mandatory annual test of players for marijuana use.

adam silver, the current nba commissioner, spoke briefly about the provocative subject in august. his progressive views are similar to stern. both men view the issue from a health perspective, not a moral judgment. silver said he's "very interested in the science" of medical marijuana.

Monday, October 23, 2017

12 South Africans detained in Tanzania for promoting homosexuality

12 south africans were arrested in tanzania last week for what their country's government calls "promoting homosexuality." south africa's high commissioner thami mseleku said they have been kept in custody without charge.

dar es salaam police head lazaro mambosasa said, "we arrested the criminals at (the hotel) peacock; they were promoting homosexuality. two are south africans, one ugandan, and nine tanzanians. tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex."

the group of 12 people were arrested while preparing for a provocative case. the case challenges the tanzanian government's recent decision to ban drop-in centres who serve people at risk for contracting the hiv virus.   

mseleku said, "they have not been charged with anything...and have not been told what the police are investigating. the matter that you saw in the media at the briefing by the chief of police here - saying that the people are arrested for promoting homosexuality - that is something police have said in public. but to the people they have not said that this is what we are investigating."

according to government officials, the reason the group was kept detained without charge on friday was because the matter was being investigated at a higher level. apparently, there were concerns the detainees might interfere with the investigation.

memory sosibo, public secretary for the national association of democratic lawyers (nadel) said the actions by the tanzanian law-enforcement agencies were a clear attempt to instill fear among those who wished to legally challenge the actions of the tanzanian government.

sosibo said, "members of the public should feel free to consult with a legal professional in seeking legal recourse when they feel that any of their rights are violated. it would be a sad day for justice should lawyers be unable to defend their clients. we condemn in the strongest possible form the actions of the tanzanian law enforcement in this matter."

nadel wants the tanzanian government to allow the foreign nationals whose passports have been seized to leave the country. richard lupembe, counselor to the tanzanian high commission to south afirca, said, "the high commission does not have any information of an ongoing crackdown against gays in tanzania. what we heard is they will send them to court."   

Friday, October 13, 2017

Latino and Native Youth Incarceration Disparities Persist

indigneous youth are 300% more likely than white youth to be detained or committed to youth facilities. latino youth are 65% more likely than white youth to be detained or committed to youth facilities.

for latino youth the disparity has declined a little since 2001. for indigenous youth, the disparities have grown. differential treatment of youth of color - not differences in behavior - has driven the scale of the disparities.

in 37 states, latino youth are more likely to be in custody than white youth. from 2001 to 2015, latino youth to white youth disparities grew in 20 states. these comparisons are often complicated by the small number of indigenous youth in several states.

in almost all states except new mexico, where indigenous youth are a scant proportion of all youth, they're likelier than white youth to be incarcerated. in four states, minnesota, south dakota, north dakota and washington, indigenous youth are at least four times likelier to be incarcerated.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Most Indigenous Tribes reject the death penalty for their community

most of the indigenous tribes have chosen not to use the death penalty to punish citizens who've committed federal crimes on their land. a tribe's decision to opt out of the death penalty is not made on a case-by-case basis; it's an overarching policy.

"congress expanded the list of death penalty eligible crimes in the mid-1990's, allowing tribes to decide if they wanted their citizens subject to the death penalty," said russell contreras and felicia fonseca, reporters for the associate press.

since 1994, only one tribe, the sac and fox nation of oklahoma, uses the death penalty. tribes have opted out for cultural and religious views, lack of fairness in the justice system and past treatment of indigenous people. tribal council speaker lorenzo bates says, "navajos see life as precious, good or bad, and so we don't pick or choose...all life is precious." 

16 tribal folks have been executed since 1976 for crimes committed off tribal land, or in states where the federal government does not have jurisdiction over major crimes committed on reservations. also, tribes cannot opt out of the death penalty for some federal crimes, including carjacking, kidnapping resulting in death, or killing a federal officer on reservation land.  

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Minnesota Lynx Win 2017 WNBA Championship

the minnesota lynx beat the los angeles sparks in a game five thriller 85-76 to win the 2017 wnba championship. lynx all-star center and league mvp sylvia fowles was named finals mvp. fowles led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points and 20 rebounds - breaking the finals record of 18 she set earlier in the series.

the lynx are now tied with the houston comets as the only wnba franchises to win four titles. this is their fourth crown in seven years, winning in 2011, 2013, and 2015. additionally, minnesota has been to the finals six times in the last seven years, and many pundits are calling them a dynasty.

fowles said, "last year in game five within the last two minutes we lost two rebounds, and that hurt me for a long, long time. we came in at the beginning of the season and were like, look, we lost off rebounds so that was at the top of our mindset going into game five. i said to myself if you don't do anything else, you have to rebound."

the lynx have a winning percentage over .700 since 2011. they've placed four of their members (fowles, seimone augustus, maya moore and lindsey whalen) on the u.s. olympic squad. forward rebekkah brunson, 35, the leading rebounder in wnba finals history, became the first wnba player to win five championships.

but their magnanimous accomplishments go largely unnoticed by the larger media. last year, lynx head coach cheryl reeve said, "it's a microcosm of society and where we place women's sport. this group deserves to be celebrated for its sustained excellence."   

minnesota has succeeded consistently year in and year out, despite having four starters over 31. in fact, the lynx have four of the five oldest players in the league - all current or former all-stars. their window might be closing soon, but moore says, "i think it will be hard to find another group as talented, as deep but as selfless as this group."  

Sunday, October 01, 2017

2017 WNBA All-Star Team

the players listed below were acknowledged on september 29 as members of the 2017 wnba all-star first place and second place teams:

first team                                                            
center - sylvia fowles, minnesota lynx
forward - tina charles, new york liberty
forward - candace parker, los angeles sparks
guard - skylar diggins-smith, dallas wings
guard - maya moore, minnesota lynx

second team                                                       
center - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
forward - jonquel jones, connecticut sun
forward - nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
guard - chelsea gray, los angeles sparks
guard - diana taurasi, phoenix mercury

fowles, the league mvp, earned 39 of 40 first team votes from a national panel of broadcasters and sportswriters. fowles led all players with 195 votes. charles had 166 votes, diggins-smith had 151 votes, parker had 137 votes and moore had 127 votes, among first-team members. 

each player on the first team receives $10,000 and each player on the second team receives $5,000.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump withdraws traditional White House Visit to NBA Champion Golden State Warriors

president donald trump, in a tweet on saturday morning, withdrew an invitation to the white house for the 2017 nba champion golden state warriors. traditionally, championship professional sports teams visit for various annual ceremonies.

trump tweeted, "going to the white house is considered a great honor for a championship team. stephen curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn."

curry and nba finals most valuable player kevin durant publicly admitted they wouldn't go to the white house. durant said he "has no respect for the man in office right now." warriors coach steve kerr has also expressed his disdain with the current administration's polices in the media.

the warriors today released a statement, "while we intended to meet as a team at the first opportunity we had this morning to collaboratively discuss a potential visit to the white house, we accept that president trump has made it clear that we are not invited. we believe there is nothing more american than our citizens having the right to express themselves freely on matters important to them."

the statement says, "we're disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt we would be important to raise. in lieu of a visit to the white house, we have decided that we'll constructively use our trip to the nation's capital in february to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion - the values we embrace as an organization."       

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration 2015

according to data collected from the department of justice in october 2015, black youth were more than five times as likely to be committed or detained compared to white youth. racial disparities have long plagued juvenile justice systems nationwide, and the new data shows the problem is worse.

in october 2015 about 1,800 residential treatment centers, detention centers, training schools, and juvenile jails and prisons held 48,043 youth. 44% were black - yet blacks comprise 16% of all youth in america. black youth are likelier to be in custody than white youth in every state but hawaii.

nationally, the youth rate of incarceration was 152 per 100,000. black youth placement rate was 433 per 100,000 and white youth placement rate was 86 per 100,000. overall, the racial disparity between black and white youth in custody increased 22% since 2001. racial disparities grew in 37 states and decreased in 13 states.  

black youth are at least 10 times as likely to be held in placement as white youth in six states: connecticut, delaware, minnesota, montana, new jersey and wisconsin. racial disparities in five states doubled: connecticut, delaware, maryland, montana and wisconsin. three states decreased their racial disparities by at least half: new hampshire, vermont and west virginia.

2017 WNBA Season Awards

listed below are the winners of the 2017 season awards for the wbba:

peak performer, scoring - britney griner, phoenix mercury
peak performer, rebounding - jonquel jones, connecticut sun
peak performer, assists - courtney vandersloot, chicago sky

sixth woman of the year - sugar rodgers, new york liberty
most improved player - jonquel jones, connecticut sun

coach of the year - curt miller, connecticut sun
executive of the year - curt miller, connecticut sun  

dawn staley community leadership - ivory latta, washington mystics

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Charles Oakley Sues Knicks Owner James Dolan, Madison Square Garden and MSG Networks

former new york knicks all-star forward charles oakley filed a legal civil suit on tuesday in the u.s. district court southern district of new york. oakley is responding to his highly-publicized altercation with madison square garden security guards in february 2017. 

the suit names embattled knicks owner james dolan, madison square garden and msg networks as defendants. the suit also identifies dolan as "one person who could not abide by mr. oakley's refusal to meekly submit to people in positions of power."

additionally, oakley accuses dolan of "a history of mistreating former employees." but his lawsuit does acknowledge dolan "inherited" control of the team from his father after oakley's time playing with the knicks. 

oakley was physically removed from the garden during a knicks game with the los angeles clippers, arrested and subsequently banned from the world's most famous arena. dolan, himself a recovering alcoholic, publicly suggested oakley had an alcohol problem and anger management issues.

the suit also says, "as if their public mistreatment of mr. oakley was not embarrassing and shameful enough, over the ensuing days defendants dolan and msg launched a coordinated and defamatory public relations campaign." oakley seeks "all monetary and/or economic damages incurred as a result of defendants' unlawful actions in the lawsuit."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal Win 2017 US Open Singles Titles

american sloane stephens dominated american madison keys 6-3, 6-0 on saturday to win the 2017 u.s. open singles championship in new york. stephens collected $3.7 million for capturing her first major singles title in her first major singles final.  

stephens, 24, warmly embraced her compatriot and close friend keys at the net after match point. about the hefty paycheck, she later joked, "i should just retire now. i told maddie i'm never going to be able to top this. i mean, talk about a comeback." she missed 11 months due to foot surgery.

the 83rd ranked stephens is only the second unseeded women to win the tournament since the open era began in 1968. she beat five seeded players along the way. her 2017 record since losing first round matches at wimbledon and washington is 15-2, and her ranking, which plummeted to #943 last year, will be #17 on monday. 

this was only the second time in the open era two women made their grand slam final debuts against each other in new york. the first two women to achieve that feat were serena and venus williams in 2002. all four women are black - a powerful cultural dynamic in a historically lily-white sport.

rafael nadal of spain defeated kevin anderson of south africa 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on sunday to win the 2017 u.s. open singles championship in new york. nadal collected $3.7 million in capturing his third career u.s. open title and 16th major singles crown.

the world #1 struggled in 2015 and 2016 with knee and wrist injuries, but played in three grand slam finals this year. nadal lost the australian open to roger federer, dominated stan wawrinka for a record 10th french open and beat anderson, 31, the lowest-ranked (#28) u.s. open finalist since 1973.

"i always accepted all the challenges that my career present to me. the good news and the negative news, i accepted in the same way, in a very natural way. i am a person that i don't have much ups and downs. when i am in a negative moment, i don't go very down. when i am in a positive moment, probably like now, i don't believe that i am that good," nadal said.

not since pete sampras at wimbledon in 2000 had a man won a grand slam title without facing any opponent ranked in the top 20. five top 10 players withdrew due to injuries; as such, nadal, 31, did not have to face past defending champions andy murray, novak djokovic and stan wawrinka. federer lost to juan martin del potro in the quarterfinals, and nadal beat him in the semifinals.       

Monday, August 28, 2017

Private Prisons in the United States

twenty eight states and the federal government use private prisons to incarcerate 126,272 people in america. in 2000, private prisons incarcerated 45% less people. today's figure represents eight percent of the total u.s. prison population. 

states vary significantly in their use of private prisons. montana and new mexico have over 40% of their prisoners in private facilities. illinois and new york are two of 19 states in the united states with no private prisons.

the federal prison system leads the nation with the largest number of people, 34,934, incarcerated in private prisons. this number is expected to increase. despite former president obama's plan to phase out prison contracts, attorney general jeff sessions decided to renew the (current) department of justice's commitment to private facilities.

"the prison population decline in recent years provides an opportunity for new thinking about advancing justice and ensuring safety. streamlining this country's prison infrastructure, including terminating wasteful private prison contracts, should be an important part of this new strategy," said nicole porter, director of advocacy for the sentencing project in washington, dc. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Trump Pardons Former Arizona Sheriff and Convicted Criminal Joe Arpaio

president donald trump on friday pardoned joe arpaio, the notorious former arizona sheriff. arpaio wilfully violated a federal judge's order by unlawfully detaining individuals his officers claimed might be in the country illegally.

arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for violating 2011 order barring him and his office from detaining people solely based on his suspicions about their legal status. he proclaimed himself, "america's toughest sheriff." arpaio, 85, was scheduled to be sentenced october 5.

"throughout his time as sheriff, arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. sheriff joe arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, is worthy of a presidential pardon," said the white house in a statement.

arpaio's officers called latinos, "fucking mexicans," "mexican bitches," "stupid mexicans," and "wetbacks." a report by the u.s. department of justice's civil rights division in 2011 concluded arpaio and his officers engaged in racial profiling and unlawful policing. they also found latino drivers were four to nine times as likely to be stopped by his officers than non-latino drivers.

"with his pardon of arpaio, trump has chosen lawlessness over justice, division over unity, hurt over healing. once again, the president has acted in support of illegal, failed immigration enforcement practices that target people of color and have been struck down by the courts. his pardon of arpaio is a presidential endorsement of racism," said cecilia wang, deputy legal director of the american civil liberties union.

normally, it can take a few years before a pardon is granted. the process is controlled by the justice department's office of the pardon attorney. background checks are conducted, character affidavits get notarized, federal prosecutors are consulted, letters are solicited and petitions are prepared as part of the arduous process.

but trump defiantly ignored the protocol. vanita gupta, the former chief of the justice department's civil rights division said, "if president trump uses his power to pardon a discredited law enforcement official who persistently engaged in illegal racial profiling of the latino community, it will not be a dog whistle to the so-called 'alt-right' and white supremacists, but a bull horn."   


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Public comments are welcome on proposed Medical Marijuana regulatory changes in NY

starting wednesday august 23, and for the next 30 days, the public can make comments on the draft rules to make significant improvements to new york's medical marijuana program. the department of health wants to hear the voices of the community before they implement their initiatives.

some of the proposed changes would include:

allow more cannabis preparations, including chewable preparations, ground, whole plant (flower) cannabis and topical treatments.

reduce the burden on doctors by halving the length of the medical marijuana course from four hours to two.

revising unnecessarily onerous security requirements that drive up prices.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Michael Bennett and other NFL players are protesting the national anthem this season

seattle seahawks all-pro defensive end michael bennett has decided to sit during the national anthem for the upcoming football season. bennett, on sunday, during the team's preseason opener against the san diego chargers, sat alone to protest racial and social injustice.

bennett said he'd been considering protesting the national anthem for awhile. but the recent events in charlottesville, virginia - where a man drove his car, killed a woman and injured counterprotesters at a "unite the right" rally - fueled his decision to act with courage, faith and passion.

bennett said, "first of all, i want people to understand i love the military. my father was in the military. i love hot dogs like any other american. i love football, like any other american, but i don't love segregation. i don't love riots. i don't love oppression. i don't love gender slander."

"i just want to see people have the equality they deserve, and i want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that, you know, and keep journeying out and keep finding out how unselfish we can be as a society," bennett said.

former san francisco 49ers quarterback colin kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem last season to raise awareness for mass incarceration, police oppression and racial inequality towards people of african descent. bennett's former teammate marshawn lynch sat during the national anthem of the los angeles raiders' preseason game sunday, but didn't say why.

rams defensive end robert quinn and eagles safety malcom jenkins raised a fist during anthems this week in protest of police brutality and police oppression. seahawks head coach pete carroll said he "plans to support bennett in anyway possible, " but also said, "we should all be standing for the national anthem." 

seahawks wide receiver doug baldwin said he "absolutely considered" joining bennett and supporting his cause. baldwin also said he plans to sit during the national anthem throughout the entire regular football season. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Serena Williams Tops Highest Paid Female Athletes in 2017

tennis player serena williams (of the united states) is the highest paid female professional athlete in 2017. her total earnings of $27 million includes $19 million in endorsements and $8 million in prize money. listed below are the female athletes who comprise the top 10 this year:

#2 - angelique kerber, tennis player, germany: $12.6 million in total earnings; $7.6 in salary and winnings; $5 million in endorsements.

#3 - daniica patrick, race car driver, united states: $12.2 million in total earnings: $7.2 million in salary and winnings; $5 million in endorsements.

#4 - ronda rousey, ucf fighter, united states: $11 million in total earnings; $8 million in salary and winnings; $3 million in endorsements.

#5 - venus williams, tennis player, united states: $10.5 million in total earnings; $3.5 million in salary and winnings; $7 million in endorsements.

#6 - garbine muguruza, tennis player, spain: $7.7 million in total earnings; $4.2 million in salary and winnings; $3.5 million in endorsements.

#7 - caroline wozniacki, tennis player, denmark: $7.5 million in total earnings; $2.5 million in salary and winnings; $5 million in endorsements.

#8 - agnieszka radwanska, tennis player, poland: $7.3 million in total earnings; $3.3 million in salary and winnings; $4 million in endorsements.

#9 - eugenie bouchard, tennis player, canada: $7.1 million in total earnings; $0.6 million in salary and winnings; $6.5 million in endorsements.

#10 - simona halep, tennis player, romania: $6.2 million in total earnings; $4.7 million in salary and winnings; $1.5 million in endorsements.   

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cook County Jail in Chicago allows in-person voting

in march, for the first time in almost 10 years, eligible voters incarcerated in cook county jail were allowed to vote in-person, rather than by mail. iillinois amended a state law banning people in jail from voting in 2005.

the ability to vote depends on having supportive jail administrators and election officials to help facilitate voter education drives. some election officials work closely with their county jails; others expect incarcerated men and women to alert election officials and staff they want to register or vote.

cook county clerk david orr said, "i believe everybody entitled to vote should be able to vote. it's a matter of human dignity and how society chooses to treat those in jail." orr is responsible for overseeing county elections.

the chicago reporter stated the cook county jail is one of just a few in the country to allow in-person voter registration and voting. the sargent shriver national center on poverty law during this past year sent volunteers to the jail every weekend to provide voter education and registration for people awaiting trial.

1,200 ballots came from cook county jail, which has a population of about 7,000 people and is 74% black. mbekeani-wiley of the shriver center said, "people that are currently detained are impacted by those same very policies that are elected officials are making critical decisions on. they should be part of that process."

in 2015, about 700,000 people were held in jails across the country. 63% of those individuals were being held pretrial - and were therefore eligible to vote. there isn't a current system to accurately track whether are not eligible voters in jail are being denied voting rights. but advocacy groups like the sentencing project suggest more attention should be focused on expanding voter access in jails.     


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2017 NBA Awards

the first ever nba awards ceremony were aired live in new york city on tnt june 25. the traditional season-ending awards - plus six new categories - were determined by fan voting. listed below are the distinguished honorees:

most valuable player - russell westbrook, oklahoma city thunder
rookie of the year - malcolm brogdon, milwaukee bucks
defensive player of the year - draymond green, golden state warriors
sixth man award - eric gordon, houston rockets
most improved player - giannis antetokounmpo, milwaukee bucks

coach of the year - mike d'antoni, houston rockets
executive of the year - bob myers, golden state warriors

nba sportsmanship award - kemba walker, charlotte hornets
nba cares community assist award - isaiah thomas, boston celtics
sager strong award - monty williams, san antonio spurs

best playoff moment - kevin durant (golden state warriors) hits pull-up three-pointer late in game three of the nba finals

performance of the year - klay thompson (golden state warriors) scores 60 points in three quarters against the indiana pacers

game-winner of the year - russell westbrook vs. the denver nuggets

hustle award - patrick beverley, houston rockets

dunk of the year - victor oladipo (thunder) vs. the atlanta hawks

block of the year - kawhi leonard (spurs) vs. the houston rockets

assist of the year - golden state's green to stephen curry to durant 

twyman-stokes teammate of the year award - dirk nowitzki, dallas mavericks

best style - russell westrbrook


Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 NBA All-Defensive and NBA All-Rookie Team

listed below are the many talented players awarded on monday with all-defensive team and all-rookie team honors for the 2016-2017 nba season:

all-defensive first team
forward - draymond green, golden state warriors
forward - kawhi leonard, san antonio spurs
center - rudy gobert, utah jazz
guard - chris paul, los angeles clippers
guard - patrick beverley, houston rockets

all-defensive second team
forward - giannis antetokounmpo, milwaukee bucks
forward - andre robertson, oklahoma city thunder
center - anthony davis, new orleans pelicans
guard - tony allen, memphis grizzlies
guard - danny green, san antonio spurs

all-rookie first team
joel embiid, philadelphia 76ers
malcolm brogdon, milwaukee bucks
dario saric, philadelphia 76ers
buddy hield. new orleans pelicans
willu hernangomez, new york knicks

all-rookie second team
jamal murray, denver nuggets
brandon ingram, los angeles lakers
jaylen brown, boston celtics
marquese chriss, phoenix suns
yogi ferell, dallas mavericks 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New York State Senate passes medical marijuana bill S.5629

the new york state senate on tuesday passed s.5629, a bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) as a qualifying condition for new york's medical marijuana program.

patients and advocates have been calling on the state to add ptsd as a qualifying condition since july 2014, when governor andrew cuomo signed the compassionate care act into law with the help of the state legislature.

adding ptsd as a qualifying condition will benefit thousands of new yorkers who suffer from this condition, most notably veterans. the new york state assembly passed their companion legislation in may. but some believe this is not enough.

kassandra frederique, new york state director of the drug policy alliance (dpa), urges new yorkers to call the governor and demand he sign the bill. among other initiatives, the dpa appreciates the efforts of the state legislature and department of health to improve new york's medical marijuana program. 

the drug policy alliance is well aware of the affordability challenges and geographic barriers and wants to end marijuana arrests in the state. the dpa is the nation's leading organization promoting drug polices which are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame

the 2017 songwriters hall of fame 48th annual induction and awards dinner took place june 16 in new york city. the following artists were honored: 

shawn carter (jay-z)
kenneth "babyface" edmonds
berry gordy
jimmy jam & terry lewis
robert lamm
max martin 
james pankow

special awards were given to:

caroline bienstock
alan menken
ed sheeran

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Warriors beat Cavaliers to win 2017 NBA Championship

the golden state warriors defeated the cleveland cavaliers 129-120 at oracle arena in oakland monday night to win the 2017 nba championship. the dubs won the highly anticipated series four games to one. it was the first time in nba history two teams played each other three consecutive years.

the warriors became the fourth team in history to win five titles for their franchise, joining boston, chicago and los angeles. all-star forward kevin durant was named finals mvp. durant scored a team-high 39 points on 14 of 20 shooting, with seven rebounds and five assists. he averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the series.

durant joined wilt chamberlain and michael jordan as the only players in nba history to win an nba title, and scoring title: four or more times. durant played eight seasons for the oklahoma city thunder, before signing with golden state during the 2016 off-season. okc lost the 2012 nba finals to the miami heat - the only year durant played for a championship.

"i work hard, i believe in myself, i believe in the game, i respect the game, i love the game, and i knew at some point in my life that it will come around for me," said durant. "i had a letdown last year. if kd was the consolation prize to lose, thanks for the loss, and we're champs this year," said draymond green. "i'm happy for him. you've got to call kevin durant a champ now," said stephen curry.

golden state coach steve kerr is the fourth coach in nba history to win two titles in his first three seasons with a team. all-star point guard and two-time mvp curry finished game five with 34 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals. all-star forward green had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. 2015 nba finals mvp andre iguodala had 20 points off the bench. 

the warriors' talented roster had seven players in their first ever nba finals. matt barnes, charles davis, james looney, patrick mccaw, javale mcgee, zaza pachulia and david west all helped the dubs beat the defending champion cavaliers, led by all-star forward lebron james, who became the first player in history to average a triple double in the nba finals.

golden state ended the 2017 post-season with a 16-1 record and .947 winning percentage: best all-time in the nba finals. their margin of victory coming into the nba finals was (also) an nba record 18.5 points. they won 67 games during the regular season, and over the last three years, the warriors' 202 regular season wins is the most in nba history.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Rafael Nadal and Jelena Ostapenko win 2017 French Open Singles Titles

rafael nadal of spain defeated stan wawrinka of switzerland 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on sunday to win the 2017 french open singles championship at roland garros. the match lasted just over two hours.

nadal claimed 'la decima' after becoming the first player in history to win a major 10 times. nadal, 31, now has 15 major singles crowns - three away from roger federer. the king of clay will move into the #2 spot in the world rankings on monday.  

"it's really incredible. to win la decima is very, very special. i am very emotional. the feeling i have is impossible to describe," nadal said during his victory presentation. nadal dominated from start-to-finish, losing just 35 games in total and never dropping a set.

jelena ostapenko of latvia defeated simona halep of romania 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win the 2017 french open singles championship at roland garros on saturday. ostapenko emerged victorious after two hours to win the first major singles title of her young career.

ostapenko, 20, was ranked #47 two weeks ago. she became the first unseeded french open women's champion since 1933. she is also the first woman in nearly four decades to make a major singles title her first career tour-level victory. ostapenko is the first latvian to win a major.

"i felt a little bit nervous. but then i felt i have nothing to lose, so i'm just going to enjoy the match and do my best," ostapenko said later. she was the aggressor the whole time, finishing with 54 winners and 56 unforced errors. last year, she lost in the first round, this year she is a champion.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights holds hearing on collateral consequences

the u.s. commission on civil rights held a hearing recently to address the significant hurdles people with felony convictions face when they re-enter society. the hearing explored a wide range of issues.

some of the issues are barriers to voting and jury participation; barriers to employment, public benefits and public housing; basic needs after incarceration; long-lasting effects of incarceration; racial disparities and recidivism.

in his testimony, marc mauer of the sentencing project described the troubling impact felony disenfranchisement policies have on individuals with felony convictions and our democracy as a whole.

mauer said, "felony disenfranchisement policies run counter to public safety objectives by creating a group of second-class citizens. in order for people to successfully transition home from prison they need to establish or renew connections with the world of work, family, peer groups, and the broader community."

"participation in the electoral process is one means by which citizens can affirm their connection to the broader community and play a constructive role in public policy debates," mauer said.      

Monday, June 05, 2017

Bubba Wallace first Black driver in NASCAR Cup Series in over a decade

darrell "bubba" wallace, this weekend at pocono raceway, becomes the first black driver to compete in a nascar cup series in over a decade. in 2006, bill lester was the last black driver to participate in a nascar cup series.

wallace, 23, is subbing for aric almirola, who broke his back in a fiery crash at kansas speedway on may 13. wallace is a fellow ford driver with roush fenway racing, which will suspend its team operations for the number 6 xfinity team after this weekend.

richard petty motorsports had put regan smith in the number 43 car for the all-star race, coca cola 600 and last sunday's race at dover. the squad hopes for better results from wallace, slated to remain almirola's replacement until he return from his injuries.

roush fenway racing president steve newmark said, "we are very proud of bubba and his development at roush fenway racing. we believe that bubba has tremendous potential and will continue to excel in nascar's top series. he has been a great representative of our organization both on and off the track and we've enjoyed being part of his growth as a driver."

breaking nascar barriers is not new for wallace. in 2013, he became the first black driver since hall of famer wendell scott to win a race in one of nascar's three national series: he won at martinsville in the truck series. wallace has six top-five finishes in 83 starts in the xfinity series. he has five wins in the truck series.

newmark also said, "our entire team is excited to see him take the next step in his career and make his monster energy nascar cup series debut in the number 43."     

Friday, April 28, 2017

Nebraska lawmakers pass bill to restore felony voting rights

felons would no longer have to wait two years after serving their sentences to exercise their right to vote under a bill passed in the nebraska legislature on monday. nebraska governor pete ricketts has not said if he will allow legislative bill 75 to become law or not.

the priority bill of state senator justin wayne of omaha would need 30 votes to override a veto. the bill received 27 'yes' votes on monday. wayne said, "i hope the governor signs it and we stop disenfranchising who need to integrate back into the community."

the current law requiring a two-year waiting period was adopted in 2005 after the legislature overrode the veto of (then) governor dave heineman. previously, a felon had to receive a state pardon before his right to vote was restored.

38 other states allow felons to vote after they complete their sentences. iowa is one of three states who permanently ban voting rights of felons. enslaved africans were legally denied voting rights, and well into the 19th century these racist laws were used to maintain white power and privilege.    


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Racial Impact Legislation Clears New Jersey Assembly

the new jersey assembly has passed legislation (s-677, a-3677) to require racial impact statements for proposed criminal justice policies. upon concurrence from the senate, the measures will then require governor chris christie's signature.

new jersey has the nation's highest rate of racial disparity among imprisoned people. blacks are imprisoned at 12 times the rate of whites. although new jersey has reduced its prison population by as much as 28% since 2000 the culturally-biased disparities need to be resolved.

racial impact statements are used to proactively address how proposed sentencing legislation impacts cultural disparities in america's bigoted criminal justice system. s-677 would require analysis on the biased impacts of parole policies, pretrial detention, probation and sentencing. 

a coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, faith-based and legal organizations worked to build momentum in support of this progressive legislation. if new jersey passes s-677, they will join connecticut, iowa and oregon as the only states to adopt racial impact statement legislation.   

Friday, April 07, 2017

Protect Addiction Treatment with Medicaid Coverage

with healthcare changes under consideration by congress, the value of medicaid coverage is paramount for poor addicts in america. medicaid expansion currently provides coverage for 1.29 million low-income folks with substance use disorders.

in the u.s., about 22 million individuals need drug treatment, but only 10% actually receive it. studies reveal 29% of people who get their health insurance through medicaid expansion have either a mental disorder or substance use issue - or both.

medicaid pays between 35-50% of all medication assisted treatment (mat) nationwide. also, the states greatly impacted by the opiod epidemic would be most at risk for coverage reductions if medicaid expansion is repealed.

Monday, April 03, 2017

2017 Hall of Fame Basketball Class

the naismith basketball hall of fame announced their inductees for 2017 on saturday. listed below are the acclaimed players, coaches and executives:

tracy mcgrady: seven-time all-star; two-time scoring champion.

rebecca lobo: 1995 ncaa champion (uconn); 1996 olympic gold medalist.

george mcginnis: two-time aba champion (pacers); six-time all-star.

mannie jackson: harlem globetrotters (1960-1966); ceo, globetrotters (1993-2007).

nikos galis: eight championships in greece; 12 scoring titles in greece.

zack clayton: two-time world professional champion (all-black teams, 1939 and 1953).

bill self: 2008 ncaa champion (kansas); naismith coach of the year (2012).

muffett mcgraw: 2001 ncaa champion (notre dame); coach of the year (2001, 2013, 2014).

robert hughes: high school texas coach for 47 years; 1,333 wins; five state titles.

jerry krause: six-time nba champion (bulls); executive of the year (1988, 1996).

tom jernstedt: ncaa administrator for 38 years; usa basketball president and vice president. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Howard University Students demand resignation of White professor for holding mock auction

earlier this month, a white male professor at howard university delivered a lecture on the hardships of slavery. his lecture was based on the various writings of the abolitionist, critical thinker, educator, freedom fighter and historian frederick douglass. 

the professor asked one of the two black men to stand while his classmates observe his physical features. upon acknowledging his healthy build, the professor said, "he was the type of slave buyers would look for." many angry students demanded he stop immediately, but he continued.

the student was then asked to turn to the class and watch them examine his teeth and his weight. the professor noticed the shock on the faces of the students and said, "it's ok. i'm uncomfortable, too, i'm white."

the professor then asked him to turn around so the class could observe his buttocks, which led to widespread rage. the student said, "i wanted to hit him. i was being racially and sexually harassed in front of my peers and the only think i could think to defend myself was by punching him."

the disturbing incident became a provocative topic in the classroom. as such, it forced howard university students to open an official investigation regarding this matter. students are now calling for the immediate resignation of this professor.     

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bail Reform in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois

new jersey's new bail system, which drastically reduces the use of cash bail, went into effect this past january. approved by voters in 2014, the new system involves a judicial assessment of defendants' flight risk and threat to public safety in deciding whether to detain them before trial.

judges set bail only three times in the 3,382 cases processed statewide. additionally, 283 defendants were held without bail due to their risk level. in contrast, a 2013 study found 39% of the jail population was in custody solely because of their inability to post bail.

according to judicial officials, "the overhaul was driven by a desire to address one of the ways in which the nation's criminal justice system tends to fall hardest on poor and minority defendants." the state's bail bond agents resist this reform by highlighting the release of individuals they perceive as dangerous.

maryland's court of appeals recently issued a new rule. the court's initiative moves away from cash bail by instructing judges and court commissioners to look for alternative ways to insure people will show up for trial. 

last november, the maryland office of the public defender released a report revealing money bail disproportionately impacts low-income black defendants. in october, attorney general brian forsh warned courts by stating excessively high bail was likely unconstitutional.

cherise fanno burdeen of the pretrial justice institute said, "it's now up to the state legislature to pursue comprehensive reforms of the state's pretrial system and move away from money bail towards (what) we know works: evidence-backed pretrial risk assessment and supervision." 

illinois lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to abolish cash bail by allowing individuals' charged with nonviolent crimes to be released until their court dates. this initiative would also give judges discretion to choose detention or electronic monitoring for those accused of violent crimes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Federal judges ruled some Congressional districts were gerrymandered by Republicans

a ruling late friday by a three-judge panel in san antonio said republicans gerrymandered some congressional districts. the judges' two-to-one decision could be appealed by texas to the u.s. supreme court.

republicans hold two of three congressional districts ruled newly invalid. they were found to have been partly drawn with discriminatory intent against black and brown people. the gop-controlled texas legislature approved the maps in 2011 - the same year then, governor rick perry signed voter id laws.

judges noted the "strong racial tension and heated debate about latinos, spanish-speaking people, undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities" which served as the backdrop in the legislature of texas upon adopting the maps and voter id laws.

u.s. district judges orlando garcia and xavier rodriguez wrote in their opinion, "the record indicates not just a hostility toward democrat districts, but a hostility toward minority districts, and a willingness to use race for partisan advantage."

njna perales, vice president of litigation for the mexican american legal defense and educational fund, and legal counsel on the case, welcomed the ruling. perales said, "the court's decision exposes the texas legislature's illegal effort to dilute the vote of texas latinos. moving forward, the ruling will help protect latinos from manipulation of district lines in order to reduce their political clout."     

hispanics fueled texas' dramatic growth in the 2010 census - the year before the maps were drawn - by accounting for 67% of its new residents. texas was forced ahead of the november election to weaken its voter id laws, which allow concealed handgun licenses, but not college student ids, after a federal appeals court found the requirements to be discriminatory.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Florida House Bill would restore voting rights automatically in three years

a new resolution in the joint house of florida would allow felons the right to vote three years after their sentence is up. sponsored by rep. al jacquet of west palm beach, the resolution, would, if passed on the next general election (or a special election specifically for this) ballot, amend the statutes on voting to extend the right to felons.

in 2016, a previous resolution failed to make it on the ballot due to not getting the required number of signatures. florida rights coalition president desmond meade spearheaded the movement. the statutes say no person convicted of a felony or deemed mentally incompetent shall be allowed to vote or hold office until those rights are restored.

the new, added portion says, "however, a person convicted of a felony shall be automatically qualified to vote three years after the person completes his or her sentence." florida is one of three states, along with iowa and kentucky, which don't allow felons voting rights. florida has 1.7 million felons - more than 25% of the nation's felony population - who can't vote.

a proposed amendment by the floridians for a fair democracy group expands the resolution by rep. jacquet. their group proposes felons, except for murderers and sex offenders, will have their voting rights immediately restored after they complete prison and probation. this month, the florida supreme court will hear arguments to legalize this initiative.  



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trump's deportation plans will likely benefit private prison companies

president donald trump promised to deport upwards of two million immigrants upon taking office. last week, a series of high-profile crackdowns put the country on alert. but when trump issued two major executive orders regarding immigration, the pending arrests and deportations struck fear into brown families.

in the same executive order calling for construction of a southern border wall, trump instructed immigration and custom enforcement (ice) to build out its sprawling network of immigration detention centers.

trump's executive order said starting "immediately," ice should construct new facilities, lease space for immigrants alongside inmates in existing local jails, and sign new contracts. these contacts are most likely to go to private prison companies.

in late january, a memo to top homeland security officials called for raising the number of immigrants ice incarcerates daily to 80,000 people. the number of detainees held daily - between 31,000 and 34,000 - reached a historic high of 41,000 last fall. ice detained over 352,000 people last year.

carl takei, staff attorney for the aclu's national prison project, said doubling the daily capacity to 80,000 "would require ice to sprint to add more capacity than the agency has ever added in its entire history."  and, takei warned, "we don't know if 80,00 if where he'll stop." detention experts have estimated it would take an extra $2 billion in government funding annually.

the private prison giant corecivic (formerly known as the corrections corporation of america) sees the expansion as a business opportunity. corcecivic president and ceo damon hininger said, "when coupled with the above average rate of crossings along the southwest border, these executive orders appear likely to significantly increase the need for safe, humane and appropriate detention bed capacity that we have available."   

another private prison company, management & training corporation, reportedly wants a contract with ice to reopen the willacy county correctional institution. this facility, known as a 'troubled detention camp,' held up to 2,000 ice detainees in kevlar tents between 2006 and 2011.

margo schlanger, a former obama administration official who served as homeland security's top authority on civil rights, opposes trump's bigoted initiatives. schlanger is deeply concerned about the improper oversight and potential overuse of inadequate safety measures, insufficient medical care, poor nutrition and solitary confinement.

schlanger said, "there are a lot of bad things that happen if the number of beds is ramped up fast, without appropriate controls, monitoring, supervision and care...that means detainees could die... you're vulnerable to the government saying to you, look, we'll let you out from detention, but you have to give up your immigration case."




Sunday, February 05, 2017

Serena Williams and Roger Federer win 2017 Australian Open Singles Titles

serena williams defeated her older sister and fellow american venus 6-4, 6-4 to win the 2017 australian open singles championship in melbourne park. williams now has 23 major singles titles, one more than steffi graf of germany. the all-time leader is margaret court of australia with 24.

during the awards ceremony, williams said, "i really would like to take this moment to congratulate venus. there's no way i'd be at 23 titles, or i'd be at one. she's my inspiration. she's my world. thank you venus for inspiring me to be the best player i could be." 

williams, 35, regained her number one ranking from angelique kerber of germany. kerber beat williams in the 2016 australian open, and became number one after winning the u.s. open last year. serena improved her career record against venus to 17-11, including 7-2 in major finals.

roger federer of switzerland defeated rafael nadal of spain 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to win the 2017 australian open singles championship in melbourne park. federer now has 18 major singles titles, which is the most all-time among men. federer improved his world ranking to #10 with his victory.

federer, 35, said afterwards, "against rafa it's always epic. this one means a lot to me because he's caused me problems over the years. federer beat four top 10 players - tomas berdych, kei nishikori, stan wawrinka and nadal - which is extraordinary; he missed six months last year due to injuries.

federer had not won a major since 2012 at wimbledon. his career record against nadal is now 23-12. federer said, "i'd like to congratulate rafa on an amazing comeback, too. i don't think either one of us thought we would be in the final at the australian open this year. i am happy for you. i would've been happy to lose to you tonight, too, really." 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Life Parolees are serving substantially longer prison terms

the sentencing project on tuesday released its latest report entitled, delaying a second chance: the declining prospects for parole on life sentences by nazgol ghandnoosh, phd. the report found tens of thousands of people serving life sentences eligible for release are now serving longer prison terms than their counterparts.

over the past three decades many governors, legislatures and parole boards have toughened lifer parole policies and practices - effectively increasing prison terms for over 110,000 individuals serving parole-eligible life sentences.

in eight jurisdictions for which data is available since the 1980s, average time served by paroled lifers with murder convictions doubled from 11.6 years for those paroled in the 1980s to 23.2 years for those paroled between 2000 and 2013. the report studied data in arkansas, california, florida, montana, nebraska, south carolina, washington and wisconsin.

the growth in time served among people with parole-eligible life sentences is prevalent at a time of increasing bipartisan support for criminal justice reform. furthermore, given the criminological evidence which shows as people in prison age, their risk of recidivism greatly diminishes.

the report's findings draw on a national survey in which 31 states and the federal government provided data for available years since 1980. a supplement document provides overviews of lifer parole policies and outcomes in each of these jurisdictions.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

NBA All-Star Team 2017

listed below are the starters and reserves in each conference for the 2017 nba all-star game.

Eastern Conference Starters
Gianis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Eastern Conference Reserves
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
John Wall, Washington Wizards

Western Conference Starters
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Western Conference Reserves
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thuinder

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Criminal Justice Policy Contributes to the Educational Racial Achievement Gap

leila morsay and richard rothstein of the economic policy institute recently published some provocative findings in their report, mass incarceration and children's outcomes: criminal justice policy is education policy.

the authors write, "the discriminatory incarceration of black parents is an important cause of their children's lowered performance." they conclude parental incarceration has cognitive and non-cognitive impacts known to affect children's school performance.

the report asserts children of incarceration parents are more likely to disengage from, and drop out of school, develop learning disabilities, and have physical and mental health problems. additionally, such children are more likely to experience poverty, which adds more stress in their lives.

consequently, morsay and rothstein both state in their progressive report, "criminal justice reform should be a policy priority for educators who are committed to improving the achievement of african-american children."

Friday, January 20, 2017

U.S. Funding for the Green Climate Fund

the u.s. state department on thursday announced it made an additional $500 million grant to support the green climate fund (gcf). consistent with last year's grant, this funding is provided from the fiscal year 2016 economic support fund (esf) appropriation.

u.s. funding for the gcf continues u.s. government support by the obama administration, and prior administrations for climate change programs through multilateral funds. the gcf is the world's largest multilateral finance institution dedicated to advancing climate-resilient, low-emission development. 

the gcf was created to help protect vulnerable populations and drive clean energy deployment, all with a special focus on engaging the private sector and mobilizing private capital. over 180 countries have set forth their plans to cut emissions; many of them are making important policy and regulatory reforms to promote private sector investment in energy efficient and low-emission technologies.

the gcf supports developing nations in their efforts to achieve those objectives and become more resilient to climate change. the gcf seeks to reduce the global and national security risks associated with inadequate adaptation to and preparedness for extreme weather events and other climate related impacts.

even with limited resources, the gcf also directly engages the private sector in new and innovative ways to mobilize greater private investment, sending an unmistakable signal to global markets the low-emission transition is moving forward. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Elected into 2017 MLB Hall of Fame

jeff bagwell, tim raines and ivan rodriguez were elected to major league baseball's 2017 hall of fame on wednesday. both vladimir guerrero and trevor hoffman fell just short of the necessary 75% votes for induction.

bagwell played 2,150 games in 15 years for the houston astros. bagwell was a four-time all-star with a career .297 batting average, .408 on-base percentage, 401 homers and 1,401 runs batted in. among 220 hall of famers, he becomes the 50th player to finish his career with one club.

raines, the 1986 national league batting champion, compiled a .294 career average, .385 on-base percentage, was fifth in career stolen bases and a seven-time all-star. raines played 13 of his 23 seasons with the montreal expos, who left canada to become the washington nationals in 2005.

rodriguez, affectionally known as pudge, was a 14-time all-star in 21 seasons with six different teams. rodriguez hit .296 with a .334 on-base percentage, 311 home runs, 1,332 runs batted in and 2,844 hits. he was universally regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in history.   

bagwell said about his induction, "anxiety was very, very high. it's a weird thing to be a hall of famer. i wrote it on a ball tonight. it was kind of crazy, so it was cool." 

raines said, "i think social media played a big role. there are some things that i did that a lot of the guys that's already in the hall of famer didn't actually do. so i think it kind of made them look at me a lot closer and they looked a lot deeper, and i think the more they looked, i think the better it turned out for me."

rodriguez stated, "i've been having trouble sleeping for three days. johnny bench was my favorite player growing up. rodriguez, at age 45, is the youngest current hall member. he displaced pedro martinez as the youngest of the record 74 living hall of fame members. 

President Obama pardons MLB Hall of Famer Willie McCovey for tax evasion

president obama issued a pardon to san francisco giants legend willie mccovey. mccovey was among the 273 commutations and pardons given by the outgoing commander-in-chief on tuesday. obama forgave the hall of famer's 1995 conviction on tax evasion charges.

mccovey, along with los angeles dodgers slugger duke snider, admitted to knowingly failing to report $70,000. the money was earned by signing autographs and participating in memorabilia shows between 1988 and 1990. he was sentenced in 1996 to two years of probation, and fined $5,000.

the personable left-hander's illustrious career began in 1959 - the second year the giants played in san francisco. he spent 18 years with the giants, and hit 521 home runs over a 22-year period. mccovey was selected into the hall of fame in 1986.

mccovey celebrated his 79th birthday on january 10. mccovey has endured a serious of health issues in recent years related to orthopedic procedures. in 2014, he was hospitalized in order to treat a serious infection. 


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 people convicted of minor drug offenses

virginia govenor peter shumlin on tuesday pardoned 192 people convicted of minor drug offenses on his final days in office. last month, shumlin invited people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana (before the state decriminalized it in 2013) to apply for pardons.

"a minor marijuana possession charge should be not an anchor that holds back an individual from getting a good job or going about their life. while attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it," shumlin remarked.

shumlin added, "my hope was to help as many individuals as i could  overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it. vermont should follow the many states that are legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana and put to an end the incredible failure that is the war on drugs."    

additionally, shumlin issued 10 pardons om saturday for people convicted of various felonies and misdemeanors, including the son of former vice presidential nominee geraldine ferraro, and the son of former u.s. representative richard mallary.

since the christmas day deadline to apply for marijuana pardons, shumlin's staff has been doing background checks on those who applied. but anyone with a violent criminal history will not be eligible to receive a pardon. during his six years in office, shumlin issued 208 pardons - more than any other governor in vermont history.