So many things wrong here

Layleen Polanco is a 27-year-old Afro-Latina transgender woman who was found dead last Friday in the notorious Rikers Island jail in New York. The cause of her death has not been identified and released but what is horrifying is that she was in prison because she could not pay the $500 bail for her misdemeanor charge. What is even worse is that she was in solitary confinement at the time, a form of punishment that creates such severe psychological trauma that it has been deemed to be torture.
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The cricket World Cup has become a waterlogged mess

After getting off to a good start for the first ten matches, the rains have come with a vengeance in the UK and four of the last eight games, including the one today between New Zealand and India, have been called off. Since these two were the last remaining unbeaten teams, there had been considerable interest in this game, making its cancellation particularly disappointing for fans everywhere. Tomorrow West Indies are scheduled to play England and the forecast calls for a ‘few showers’, not a good sign, but mostly in the morning so we may get (or at least hope for) a delayed but complete game.
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Ignore the polls and the pundits

Matt Taibbi warns us that campaign conventional wisdom is dead but that no matter how wrong the pundits have been in the past, they always come back with renewed confidence and certainty that this time they have got it right, though often they never even acknowledge that they were ever wrong. This is because their function is not to analyze dispassionately what the candidates’ polices are and compare them, which would be a genuinely useful service, but to promote the establishment candidates and disparage all the rest. They are particularly vicious towards any candidate that challenges the pro-war, pro-business agenda of the two main parties, immediately declaring them to be unelectable or too extreme.
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Local governments never seem to learn that flag burning is protected speech

It has long been established by the US Supreme Court that burning of the American flag is constitutionally protected speech. And yet, that act seems to arouse such anger that the people who do so are often arrested and charged. Then when they sue the city, the city is forced to pay them damages. In Cleveland, this pattern was repeated when police arrested Joey Johnson for burning the flag during protests at the 2016 Republican convention. He sued and today the city has agreed to settle the suit and pay him $225,000.

As is often the case, the authorities cook up some reason other than flag burning to justify their arrest.

A rush of people descended on a circle formed by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party after Johnson, a member, set the flag on fire.

An officer doused the blaze with a small fire extinguisher.

Police Chief Calvin Williams said at the time that officers intervened because Johnson lit himself on fire. Johnson and his attorneys, however, said that statement was false, and posted video footage they said contradict the city’s statement.

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Jury refuses to convict man who gave food and water to migrants

I wrote recently about how the US Customs and Border Protection agency had been destroying water stations left by humanitarian groups in the desert to prevent migrants dying from dehydration. After one of those groups No More Deaths had publicized these horrendous actions by the CBP, the US government arrested one of its volunteers Scott Warren because he had provided migrants with water, food, clean clothes, and beds in a barn. He faced up to 20 years in prison.
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What’s happening in Sudan

There has been a lot of violence in that country. After public protests resulted in the dictator Omar al Bashir being deposed on April 11 after 30 years in power, the military took over under what they call the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and have started brutally suppressing the pro-democracy groups who had organized a civil disobedience campaign to demand civilian rule.

In his latest episode of Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj provides the background to what is going on there. He says that the military junta in Sudan is getting support from the despotic leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE and that what is happening is similar to what happened in Egypt where the overthrow of a dictator ushered in a brief period of democracy before the military took over again.

The other scandal of the Central Park Five

The case of the Central Park Five has become famous as a miscarriage of justice. After a 28-year old white female jogger was brutally raped in Central Park in 1989, so badly that she was traumatized and could not even remember what happened, five black youths, four of them under 16 and one was just 16, were arrested, tried, and convicted for the crime, largely based on confessions they made during interrogations without their parents or lawyers being present.
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The impact of Plessy v. Ferguson

Brown vs Board of Education is a landmark 1954 case in the US civil rights movement because it deemed the practice of ‘separate but equal’ to be unconstitutional. That policy had held that it was acceptable to have separate schools for black and white students as long as the schools were ‘equal’. Of course, in practice they were not. But it interesting to go back to the earlier 1896 case Plessy vs Ferguson that had challenged the constitutionality of segregation laws. The US Supreme Court held that the laws were constitutional, thus putting a seal of approval on practices that had already existed for 60 sixty years in all parts of the country and led to their further expansion.
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