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January 30th, 2014
thesmithian

An internal survey of Oakland police officers reveals a deep disconnect between…cops and the city they serve. Many officers said they do not trust the city’s elected leaders and think they are too “liberal.” A majority of city cops…complain that Oakland residents don’t appreciate them. And officers think that department brass and city leadership are too focused on eradicating police misconduct and implementing court-mandated reforms…the survey reveals a stark division within the department between an old guard that is resistant to change and new officers who want OPD to become a modern, progressive police force. The survey…also paints a portrait of a police force…plagued by low morale, distrust at all levels, and a lack of basic equipment and staff.

more.

January 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

A foreign national living in the United States on a work visa is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs, while drag racing in a residential area. Given the climate of hostility toward immigrants in many parts of the country, and the Obama administration’s love affair with deportation, you’d half expect him to be sitting in a holding cell awaiting a one-way trip out of the country. At least you would expect that if he were poor, obscure and, say, Hispanic. But what if the malfeasant were wealthy, famous and, say, Justin Bieber?

more.

A foreign national living in the United States on a work visa is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs, while drag racing in a residential area. Given the climate of hostility toward immigrants in many parts of the country, and the Obama administration’s love affair with deportation, you’d half expect him to be sitting in a holding cell awaiting a one-way trip out of the country. At least you would expect that if he were poor, obscure and, say, Hispanic. But what if the malfeasant were wealthy, famous and, say, Justin Bieber?

more.

January 9th, 2014
thesmithian
…women who are harassed online are expected to either get over ourselves or feel flattered in response to the threats made against us…But no matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of gendered harassment—and the sheer volume of it—has severe implications for women’s status on the Internet. Threats of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time, and cost us money through legal fees, online protection services, and missed wages. I’ve spent countless hours over the past four years logging the online activity of one particularly committed cyberstalker, just in case. And as the Internet becomes increasingly central to the human experience, the ability of women to live and work freely online will be shaped, and too often limited, by the technology companies that host these threats, the constellation of local and federal law enforcement officers who investigate them, and the popular commentators who dismiss them—all arenas that remain dominated by men, many of whom have little personal understanding of what women face online every day.
January 4th, 2014
thesmithian

'Jamaicans were among the top 10 groups of nationals deported in 2013…the top 10 groups deported hailed from Latin America and the Caribbean…1119 Jamaicans were deported in the 2013 fiscal year, while 2462 nationals from the Dominican Republic were also deported. Those numbers are vastly smaller, however than the number of Mexicans deported…Mexico continues to be the leading country of origin for those who are removed from the United States, followed by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.'

more.

December 29th, 2013
thesmithian

'After an analysis of a random sample of hip hop songs released on platinum-selling albums between 2000 and 2010 [it was] concluded that the main law enforcement-related themes in hip-hop are not pleasure and pride in aggressive and criminal acts, but the unfairness of the criminal justice system and the powerlessness felt by those targeted by it. Lyrics about law enforcement…frequently portrayed cops as predators exercising an illegitimate power. Imprisonment, likewise, was blamed for weakening familial and community relationships and described a modern method of oppression.'

more.

December 15th, 2013
thesmithian

…a portrait…that does a better job of capturing the human complexity of life in drug-war-wounded Mexico than nearly anything else…

more.

December 15th, 2013
thesmithian

…a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy food, and…while the rest of America was ranting about debt ceilings and Obamacares, Camden quietly got pushed off the map. That was three years ago, when new governor and presumptive future presidential candidate Chris Christie abruptly cut back on the state subsidies that kept Camden on life support. The move left the city almost completely ungoverned—a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don’t generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it “put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,” says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson.

more.



December 10th, 2013
thesmithian

As “Let the Fire Burn” makes clear, whereas MOVE members were imprisoned and killed for their misdeeds over the years, no one who ordered or condoned the bombing in 1985 was ever held to account.

more.

December 5th, 2013
thesmithian

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

November 23rd, 2013
thesmithian

'…Florida Congressman Trey Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to one year of probation after buying 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover agent in D.C.'s Dupont Circle neighborhood. To put that in perspective, when former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for smoking a “little speck” of crack cocaine that was not in his personal possession back in 1990, he was sentenced to six months in a federal prison. That about sums up the racial disparity crisis between cocaine and crack possession sentencing in our nation, which despite recent reforms, still allows white men leniency in the courts compared to African-Americans.'

more.

November 6th, 2013
thesmithian

[NYC Mayor Elect] De Blasio owes his..tailwind to campaigning on issues considered…too polarizing for winning politics. One is De Blasio’s promise to redress the “tale of two cities" inequalities among New Yorkers, an issue forced into mainstream discourse by the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement—not by New York Democrats aligned with Wall Street. The other is De Blasio’s pledge to sharply curb police stop-and-frisk policies directed against young people of color—aggressive tactics favored by a majority of white voters and overwhelmingly criticized by African Americans, Latinos and Asian-American voters.

more.

[NYC Mayor Elect] De Blasio owes his..tailwind to campaigning on issues considered…too polarizing for winning politics. One is De Blasio’s promise to redress the “tale of two cities" inequalities among New Yorkers, an issue forced into mainstream discourse by the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement—not by New York Democrats aligned with Wall Street. The other is De Blasio’s pledge to sharply curb police stop-and-frisk policies directed against young people of color—aggressive tactics favored by a majority of white voters and overwhelmingly criticized by African Americans, Latinos and Asian-American voters.

more.

October 30th, 2013
thesmithian

Guilty or innocent, [former Mayor Ray] Nagin’s fate will bring closure to a city that arguably suffered as much after the storm as during it…

more.

October 26th, 2013
thesmithian

thirstingaintdead:

odinsblog:

#basically. this should help dispel lingering myths about respectability politics. #CantWin

BUT THEY DON’T HEAR YOU THOUGH!

[look of the hour]

October 26th, 2013
thesmithian

…positions musicians against militant activists—applause alongside protest chants. Celia Cruz on stage at Madison Square Garden. Alleged robbers in police cars after a blackout. Drug-dealing in public space. A re-creation of daily life on the Lower East Side for a film, a pig roasting in the foreground.

more about the work of photojournalist Bolivar Arellano, here.

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