Weekend reading

photo via The Atlantic
photo via The Atlantic

Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that criminal justice and the death penalty are inseparable from white supremacy.

TLDR holds an interesting conversation about sexual assault in virtual online communities.

Five reasons why Jill Abramson’s firing from the New York Times matters.

Why we need to keep talking about body image and weight issues.

The NYPD will stop the boneheaded policy of seizing unused condoms as evidence of prostitution, but NY and other cities and states are still criminalizing condom use.

Another thing too many cities and states are criminalizing: feeding the homeless.

Women writers and comedians on the choice to not have children.

Weekend reading


A satirical comic takes on the “not all men” argument against feminism with a character who is the “defender of the defended” and “voice for the voiceful.”

The horrifying botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma was sadly predictable.

Kiera Butler writes an open letter to her sexist dentist.

The White House recruits Daniel Craig, Steve Carrell and more celebrities in a PSA on sexual assault and promoting bystander intervention.

The air is racist.

A Wisconsin judge struck down a voter ID law, saying “no rational person” would be worried about voter fraud.

Jelani Cobb and Jay Smooth on Donald Sterling and racist words prompting more attention and accountability than racist actions.


A win in the fight against private prisons

photo from veteransnewsnow.com

If you’re paying attention to criminal justice policy in the US, you’ve been bombarded with daunting statistics. One in one hundred adult Americans is behind bars. The US has the largest prison population per capita in the world (12 times Japan’s, 17 times Iceland’s). While there are signs that politicians are coming to terms with some aspects of this problem, there is still a paralyzing fear of being portrayed as “soft on crime” that makes ambitious policy change challenging.

Layered on top of that is a disturbing new development: injecting a profit motive into the prison industry. Powerful corporations are lobbying to keep more people in prison longer, and even “liberal” politicians are throwing money at them.

These challenges make a new victory in taking on the private prison industry even more exciting. Continue reading “A win in the fight against private prisons”

Weekend reading

VlogBrothers take on mass incarceration in the US.

How prosecutors are using rap (and not other traditionally white genres of music) as evidence to convict people of crimes.

Everything women could buy if they made as much money as men.

Why there’s not a strong rationale that undocumented immigrants should obey the laws that prohibit them from entering the US.

A project called “Not a Bug Splat” shows drone operators whom they’re killing.


4 fundamental rights that are hard to come by if you’re poor

photo via thinkprogress.org
photo via thinkprogress.org

Americans like to think of our country as a land of opportunity where every man, woman and child has a shot at success. With hard work and dedication, anyone can make it.

The growing income gap belies the idealistic rhetoric. There are many straightforward ways in which low-income people struggle–if you aren’t making enough money, feeding and housing your family can be difficult to impossible. But beyond meeting these basic needs, there are also fundamental rights we as Americans like to think are income blind. The reality is quite different.

Continue reading “4 fundamental rights that are hard to come by if you’re poor”

Justice for Jordan Davis


In another sad chapter in a long story of white men escaping punishment for the killing of black youth, the jury in the Jordan Davis case could not come to an agreement on a murder charge. For those who haven’t been following the case, Steven Hsieh at The Nation gives an overview:

In November 2012, Dunn, who is white, opened fire at an SUV carrying four black teenagers, including Davis. He continued to fire at the vehicle as it fled the scene. Three of ten bullets hit Davis, puncturing his diaphragm, liver, lungs and aorta, according to a medical examiner who testified in court this week. The teen was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Dunn drove back to his hotel with his fiancée, where he ordered pizza, fixed a couple rum and cokes and walked his dog. He did not call the police. The next day, he was arrested at his home in Jacksonville.

Dunn’s fiancee reported that Dunn said he “hates that thug music” during the incident. If that’s too ambiguous for you, his letters from jail should clear up any question about the racist underpinnings of his actions:

“This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs.… This may sound a bit radical, but if more people would arm themselves and kill these fucking idiots when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.”

Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and shooting a firearm. The case has received national attention partly because Dunn’s lawyers invoked the problematic Stand Your Ground defense:

Dunn’s lawyer Cory Strolla cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in his closing argument, “His honor will further tell you that If Michael Dunn was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” As in the George Zimmerman trial, the Stand Your Ground law was included in the jury instructions.

Continue reading “Justice for Jordan Davis”

Weekend reading

A sports anchor invokes Audre Lorde in a statement supporting Michael Sam. The Daily Show made some similar points with its typical biting sarcasm. Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why the NFL will never be “ready” for an openly gay player.

There was a hung jury on the murder charge against Michael Dunn for the killing of unarmed black teenager Jordan Davis. Sadly, this list from Mother Jones of 21 things you can’t do while black is reinforced.

A tech writer engages in an experiment of only retweeting women for a year.

More on why marriage isn’t the solution to poverty.