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Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!

The Joy of Housing.

Rick Steves gets a hug.

Ricks Steves, author, and well known television travel guru, has his own idea of investing, and that investment hasn’t just grown over the years, it’s helped a tremendous amount of people.

Travel guide guru Rick Steves just gave a $4 million apartment complex to homeless women and kids who need housing.

Steves realized, early on, the importance of affordable housing, during his travel adventures (how else?) as a young man in Europe.

[…]

Twenty years ago, he devised a scheme where he could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments that could house struggling neighbors.

“I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated,” Steves explained on his travel blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my “income” would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to “invest” while retaining my long-term security.”

The 24-unit apartment complex became began housing single moms who were recovering from drug addiction and were now ready to get custody of their children back.

“Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track.”

There’s a nice little glow. Steves has now given the complex over to the Y.

Via Raw Story.

Flight Pattern.

A ballet about the plight of refugees, commissioned for the Royal Opera House, has been showered with five star reviews and described with words like potent and sombre. It’s the work of the Canadian Crystal Pite who has built a reputation as one of the most respected choreographers of her generation – and who is the first woman to have created a new work for the Royal Ballet in almost two decades. It’s titled ‘Flight Pattern’ and Kirsty Wark went to speak to her about using dance to engage in a difficult harrowing subject.

Beautiful and so very poignant. I wish I could see this in person.

Elvis Gospel Albums, Catheters, Aaaaaaand…

Wow, that will bring in the dollars, won’t it? These are the replacements for all those national brands who fled Bill O’Reilly’s no longer erect ship. It’s sounding more and more likely that Bill’s vacation is going to be permanent, and all I have to say about that is Good Riddance.

Sherman also reports that James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, wants O’Reilly gone. Murdoch forced out longtime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last summer over allegations of sexual misconduct.

O’Reilly has not addressed the new allegations of sexual harassment on his show. Fox News, with the exception of a lukewarm statement to the New York Times, has also largely remained silent. Silence, however, has not stemmed the controversy.

So far, at least 77 advertisers have publicly announced they will no longer air commercials during O’Reilly’s show. The number of ads on the show has dramatically declined and large national brands have been replaced with ads for Elvis gospel albums and catheters.

Think Progress has the full run down.

Moving on to a remarkable bit of language twisting by none other than Oscar Munoz, who should perhaps hand over the public speaking to someone with more than pieces of silver in their brain:

“We’re not going to put a law enforcement official… to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger,” United Continental Holdings Inc Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz told ABC News on Wednesday morning. “We can’t do that.”

You did do that.

Munoz said the problem resulted from a “system failure” that prevented employees from using “common sense” in the situation and that Dr. David Dao, whom security officers dragged by his hands, on his back, from the cabin before takeoff, was not at fault.

A system failure that prevented employees from using common sense. Right. Perhaps if your corporateness would allow employees to think and problem solve, this little public relations nightmare of yours wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I think everyone knows where to place the blame, Mr. Munoz, and it appears that the only “system” which failed is you.

Via Raw Story.

New York: Tuition Free 4 Year College!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says in New York we have rejected the politics of division.

New York will be the first state in the country to cover four-year college tuition for residents after the program was included in the budget package approved Sunday night.

The state’s Excelsior Scholarship program will be rolled out in tiers over the next three years, starting with full coverage of four-year college tuition this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000.

The income cap will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

“With this budget, New York has the nation’s first accessible college program. It’s a different model,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday in a statement. “Today, college is what high school was—it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it.”

This is amazing and wonderful news. NYS has become a great model in these dark times, and it would be fantastic to see other states pick up this model as well, as our current regime would never do anything so positive and *gasp* socialist.

Via NBC and NY Daily News.

Cool Stuff Friday.

spirited

Spirited Away. Chihiro eats an onigiri.

If you’ve never been to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, out in the Western suburbs of Tokyo, now would be a good time to plan your trip. The museum is planning an upcoming, year-long special exhibition that will focus on the many food-related scenes from all of Studio Ghibli films.

Meals and food play an incredibly important role in almost every Studio Ghibli film. In Laputa, Pazu splits his egg on bread in half and shares it with Sheeta. By doing so, the two become closer. In Spirited Away, Chihiro eats an onigiri and gains the courage to face her uphill struggle. In Howl’s Moving Castle, the characters become like family when they surround a dinner table over a meal of eggs and bacon.

Taberu wo kaku (which roughly translates to Drawing Eating) begins May 27, 2017 and will be on view through May 2018 so you’ll have plenty of time to see it. The exhibition will be largely separated into 2 sections – one on eating and one on cooking – and will detail the many ways Studio Ghibli animators brought their foods to life.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

Designer Mark Noad.

Designer Mark Noad.

The triggering of Article 50 last week means that Brexit is a certainty – and that the UK will need a new passport. Luckily last week also saw the judging for our unofficial Brexit passport design competition… here is a look at the nine proposals shortlisted by our judges.

We received over 200 entries from 34 different countries. The youngest entrant was 12 years old and the oldest was 83. Most submissions were from architects and designers but there were also entries from non-designers, students, retired people and unemployed people. Below are the nine designs that most impressed our judges ahead of the announcement of the winner on 11 April: [Click on over to see all the finalists, or watch the video below.]

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Images are by Achilleas Souras and Alessandro Paderni.

Artist Achilleas Souras used hundreds of discarded life jackets to assemble an igloo for Moroso’s SOS Save Our Souls installation at Milan design week.

The 16-year-old, who has already shown a similar igloo at the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, used jackets collected from the shores of Lesbos – the Greek island that has become a regular landing place for refugees entering Europe.

While his first igloo used 52 jackets, his SOS Save Our Souls structure is made from 1,000 abandoned garments. Souras cut and folded the jackets to resemble blocks of ice before assembling them together.

The resulting waterproof structure is intended as both a shelter and a welcome point for arriving migrants.

“The refugee crisis was simply a set of numbers on the news,” said the artist, who was born in London and now resides in Barcelona.

“But when I picked a jacket up, it stopped being just material. When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realise that every jacket represents a human life.”

“The refugees, the homeless, and the less privileged cannot be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ anymore,” added Souras, who hopes his igloos could eventually be used in rescue operations.

“These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone’s sake.”

You can see much more here.

Homicidal Cop, Good. Whistleblower, Bad.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

A short while back, I posted about the history of the cop who murdered Eric Garner. It was an ugly history, one which was ignored in keeping Daniel Pantaleo employed. That employment continues, but the  person who disclosed that hidden history? No, they are no longer employed.

The release of previously secret disciplinary records of the NYPD officer that killed Eric Garner is stirring controversy in New York City, reinvigorating a heated debate among activists and city officials over transparency and police accountability.

On Tuesday, ThinkProgress published the disciplinary records of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who used a prohibited chokehold against Garner in 2014. The records — which were previously hidden from the public — originated from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent city agency that fields complaints about officer misconduct. They were leaked to ThinkProgress from an anonymous source who was discovered by the agency and forced to resign.

The news also forced the CCRB to formally confirm that the documents are real.

The CCRB’s actions triggered indignation from Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society’s Special Litigation Unit. The group is currently involved in lawsuits to obtain disciplinary records from both the CCRB and the NYPD.

“When there is more political will to fire a whistleblower than an officer who killed an unarmed man, it sends a message about the Mayor’s capacity to act quickly and therefore simultaneously sends a message about his lack of political will to hold police like Pantaleo…accountable for misconduct,” she said, referring to the fact that Pantaleo remains employed by the NYPD, and received a raise last year.

I could not possibly agree more. This is shocking behaviour. Well, it should be shocking. I’m afraid we have all become much too inured, and given the increasingly open shite supremacist feeling in uStates, there tends to be little more than an ennui laden shrug over such heinous actions.

Civil rights groups and several city officials were also outraged by the content of the documents, which showed that Pantaleo had 7 complaints and 4 substantiated allegations years before his encounter with Garner—far more than the overwhelming majority of his fellow NYPD officers, according to CCRB data. The revelations also raised questions about whether Pantaleo was properly disciplined, as the documents showed that the NYPD repeatedly enacted lesser penalties than those recommended by the CCRB.

Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that earlier review of the records could have saved her son’s life.

“Someone should have taken a look at his record a long time ago,” Carr told the New York Daily News. “If they had done that maybe my son would still be alive.”

That’s assuming that anyone looking at Pantaleo’s record would have actually done something about it, which is more than questionable. Cop shops all over the country simply don’t have a problem with bigoted, homicidal cops, nor do they seem to be overly concerned about dead brown people. It seems the only time they do care is if they end up in the public spotlight, and even then, the result is rarely justice.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Hidden History of A Homicidal Cop.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

The cop who murdered Eric Garner is still employed. As of last year, his salary was $119,996 , a 14% increase over what he was making when he murdered Garner. A person could get ideas about that. I certainly have number of ideas, none of them painting cops in a good light. Think Progress has gotten an exclusive look at hidden documents which highlight Pantaleo’s past behaviour as a cop, and it’s not a good record in any way. The article is long and in-depth, so head on over for a read.

Now, documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress indicate that Pantaleo, who is still employed by the NPYD, had a history of breaking the rules. These records are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the city refuses to release them.

Before he put Garner in the chokehold, the records show, he had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

Neither Pantaleo nor the NYPD responded to Think Progress requests for comment.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner.

How Not To Advocate.

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

A medical marijuana advocate in Kentucky has been permanently banned from the third floor of the Capitol Annex. That strikes me as oddly specific, but what do I know? Anyroad, it seems that Seum Jr. was in the lobby of the Capitol Annex, talking to a group of people, when he quoted the former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then said he was ‘showing’ people this quote. Hmm, should be one or the other, right?

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

“I was showing them how appalling this quotation was and how I’m fighting the unfair marijuana arrests for the African-American community,” Seum said. He said he and Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana frequently cite the quotation, but that the offended legislative staffers must not have understood the context.

[…]

A letter sent to Seum recently by David Byerman, director of the Legislative Research Commission, said that while in the lobby, Seum “proceeded to engage in a racially-charged monologue.”

Byerman said in the letter, “Some of the offensive statements attributed to you include commenting that whites were afraid that ‘coloreds’ would have sex with white women, referring to African Americans and Latinos as ‘coloreds,’ and stating that white people were ‘scared of negroes.’ ”

An African-American employee of the legislature “within a few feet of you” was so offended that “she left her work station in distress,” Byerman wrote, and a second legislative staffer also reported being offended.

I’ll admit, I haven’t scoured the ‘net for every thing Harry Anslinger ever said, but there is a wiki page on him, which includes these two quotes:

In the 1930s Anslinger’s articles often contained racial themes in his anti-marijuana campaign:

Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.

Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.

I can’t say that’s an unusual sentiment at all, and it’s very true that current and past drug laws have been used to provide fodder for the industrial-prison complex. I just wrote about that! That said, I find it odd that Seum would need to expound on this using the language of the past; it’s more than sufficient to discuss Anslinger with preferred, non-racist terms. Yes, people of colour have often been used to illustrate the evils of drug use, and in the context of deep racism, that still happens today. If anything, I’d say it actually happens more now than it did, given how much people have accepted the overwhelming amount of people of colour who are locked up every single day, buying into very old roots of racism, that “those” people are prone to such behaviour. It’s the same old othering, different terms.

When it comes to discussing the former FBoN, and Anslinger in particular, I would have gone a completely different direction, as far as discussion. In the early 1930s, Anslinger dismissed the use weed entirely, he said it never did anyone any harm whatsoever, and was not, in any way, connected to crime. At the time, Anslinger was rather devastated over the repeal of prohibition, and was rather intent on bringing about another prohibition. When that didn’t work, he finally turned his eyes to weed, and became a fervent anti-weed campaigner:

By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…

That’s quite the turnaround. Remarkable, really. It starkly highlights the utter hypocrisy of drug laws and drug ‘wars’ in this country. Okay, back to Seum Jr., who says the whole thing is a dreadful misunderstanding:

But Seum says the matter is a “terrible misunderstanding” that occurred when legislative staffers overheard him quoting a racist comment that he said he strongly disagrees with, but that he often cites to illustrate a history of discrimination against African Americans.

[…]

Seum said in a phone interview Wednesday, “I’m an advocate for the African American. I’ve been advocating because of the disparaging numbers of African-American arrests in marijuana.”

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

This is not how you advocate for people, Mr. Seum. “I’m an advocate for the African American” Oh my. Not even “I’m an advocate for African American People.” Black people are not monolith. I imagine there are some unexamined biases there, we all have them. It’s perfectly fine to use past history as an example, and as a way to explain things to people, but simply picking deeply racist quotations, and quoting them out loud, using highly offensive language is probably not the best way to do that. I don’t think a permanent ban was called for, but I expect that was a handy expedient for certain politicians.

Full story here.

Oh, White People…

@beeredblackman via Instagram.

@beeredblackman via Instagram.

Really? FFS. I’ll let Michael Harriot at The Root do the talking.

In the latest case of tone-deaf whiteness, a craft-beer lover in Birmingham, Ala., posted the above picture to Instagram.

Really?

Some people believe (and by “some people” I mean me) that most white people—and people in general—have tasteless jokes and stereotypes that they are comfortable enough to perpetuate in private or around their friends. But someone went out and brewed a beer, had labels printed up and bottled a beer whose name appropriates a movement meant to save lives. Even worse, some brave retailer looked at all of this and said, “Yeah, I’ll sell it for you.”

Regardless of one’s position on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is indicative of the reality of toxic privilege that we live in a world where people are comfortable enough to do this unchecked. Ralph Marion is the guy who shared the pic to Instagram on Feb. 15, and to his credit, he thought the name was uncalled for. He explained to Mic:

“They made a parody of a very serious issue,” Marion said, explaining that there are a lot of beers that “sometimes toe the line of being insensitive but are still funny.” …

“I just find this being clueless of the times that we are living in right now and how it could make people feel,” Marion said of the #Black Stouts Matter beer name.

[…]

OK, my beloved Caucasians, I will explain it one more time. This time, I’ll say it slowly:

You. Don’t. Get. To. Have. Everything.

I know the conquering, pillaging spirit embedded in many of you won’t allow you to hear this, but there are some things in the world that are off-limits, and this is one of them. There are dead sons and daughters in your jovial little joke. There are 400 years of tears entangled in your cute pun. If you call it anything else, it will taste the same, and if it’s good, people will still buy it. Aren’t those the “free market” principles you so proudly declare?

Or maybe you can just call it white tears, which is what you’d cry if a black person did anything equally offensive.

I’ll add that this is a callous attempt to make money off off other peoples’ grief and misery, while appealing to evil bigots. That does not make you clever, and it certainly doesn’t make you smart. Some white people (you know who you are) are a complete and utter embarrassment. Stop that shit.

Via The Root and MIC.

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.

[…]

Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

It’s What People Do.

A large crowd marches through New York City in 1937 to demand workers’ rights. Photograph: Bettmann Archive.

A large crowd marches through New York City in 1937 to demand workers’ rights. Photograph: Bettmann Archive.

Given the ongoing effort to quash all public dissent, and prevent people from protesting, it’s a good reminder to take a glimpse into the past, to see what people do when governments are wrong and out of control. They protest.

The Jarrow marchers pass through the village of Lavendon, near Bedford, in October 1936. Two hundred men walked the 291 miles from Tyneside to London to deliver a petition for jobs to the government. Photograph: Getty Images.

The Jarrow marchers pass through the village of Lavendon, near Bedford, in October 1936. Two hundred men walked the 291 miles from Tyneside to London to deliver a petition for jobs to the government. Photograph: Getty Images.

Protesters march on the White House in 1933 to demand a fair trial for the ‘Scottsboro Boys’. This case – in which a group of black teenagers was convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman, then sentenced to death – is considered a grave miscarriage of justice Photograph: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.

Protesters march on the White House in 1933 to demand a fair trial for the ‘Scottsboro Boys’. This case – in which a group of black teenagers was convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman, then sentenced to death – is considered a grave miscarriage of justice. Photograph: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.

You can see more here.

You Can’t Kill Light.

You Can’t Kill Light.

This is what we need! More please. And sign the letter, too.

Out of a place of darkness I began to think of all the amazing individuals, known and unknown who have risen up and created movements that change history. This is in honor of the people who truly do make America great.

We built a fire
The fire burns bright
You can blow hard
But you can’t kill light

We come together
Sometimes we fight
You can knock us down
But you can’t kill light

You Can’t Kill Light
No you can’t kill light

We built a railroad
Out of the past
We nailed down every tie
And we won’t go back

High in your tower
Of steel & glass
You can sign the order
But we won’t go back

No we won’t go back,
we won’t go back

We built this house
That we could share
Now you want it for yourself
But we’re still here

You think we’re different
It makes you scared
So you raise a wall around you
But we’re still here

We’re still here,
we’re still here

We lay the table
We shared our cup
Now you tell us we’re not welcome
But we don’t give up

We outlast hate
We rise above
You can knock us down
But you can’t kill love

You can’t kill love,
no you can’t kill love

We built a fire
The fire burns bright
You can blow hard
But you can’t kill light

We come together
We come to fight
You can knock us down
But you can’t kill light

You can’t kill light
No, you can’t kill light

Monica Pasqual

Via Plus.

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