Filling a gap in racial slurs

Racial slurs are horrible things (as are gender and sexual ones) and cover a wide range of people. But Michael Mark Cohen, a professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of California Berkeley and who describes himself as white and middle-class, noticed that there is one group of people who do not suffer from having one assigned to them.
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When the US had universal childcare

The US is rightly criticized for being one of the most backward countries in the developed world when it comes to providing health care and social benefits. So I was surprised to read that at one time, it actually provided universal child care through what is known as the Lanham Act. The law was designed to fund war-related infrastructure projects but got reinterpreted when a new need arose in 1943.
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Film review: Kill the Messenger and the Contra-cocaine-CIA scandal

I saw this yesterday and it was excellent. The filmmakers wisely decided to make the entire film cover the two year period 1996-1997 which saw Gary Webb break the series of stories titled Dark Alliance for the San Jose Mercury News that exposed the shady links between the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua, the CIA, and the drug dealers who were ravaging the black communities in the inner cities of the US by flooding them with crack cocaine. (See my earlier posts on this story and film here and here.)
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The cost of not facing history

Jon Stewart has an excellent interview with New York University professor of law and director of that university’s equal justice initiative Bryan Stevenson about his new book Just Mercythat looks at how the failure of the US to face up honestly to its past has resulted in the atrocious penal system that we now have where even children are sentenced to draconian prison terms and where black people are highly likely to end up in prison even if they are innocent.
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US gets delay of release of force-feeding videos

The US government continues to try to prevent the public from seeing videos of the way that it is force-feeding prisoners at Guantanamo. They have appealed to the US district judge who had ordered that they would be shown at a trial of one of the people subjected to it to suspend her order for 30 days and she has granted that request.

It is likely that the Most Transparent Administration in History will appeal to a higher court that the order to release the tapes be overturned. Of course, they will say that releasing the tapes will harm the war on terror, the standard excuse for brutality and secrecy.

Texas’s restrictive voter ID law to remain in effect

In a ruling issued early this morning, the US Supreme Court upheld the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Texas voter ID law SB 14, one of the most restrictive in the nation, should stay in place through the current election, thus likely disenfranchising many poor and minority and student voters, the ones most likely to vote for the Democratic party.
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