The NYPD has a "stop and frisk" program that allows them to grab black people off the street, slam them up against walls, and beat the bejesus out of them. They claim that this keeps crime down in the city, and deny allegations of racial profiling.
"Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin lifted the order [halting the stop and frisk program] Tuesday after she agreed with city lawyers who said the immediate halt of some "Clean Halls" trespass stops would impose an undue burden on the NYPD, requiring some form of "notification to and/or training of" thousands of NYPD officers and their supervisors."
I never considered the undue burden of "notification" before (Facepalm). I think I'll pose this dilemma to a group of people that I email with and see if they have any ideas for a solution to this problem. But first I've got to finish copying and faxing these documents. Oops, another text message first. Busy, busy...
Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, the documentary film "The House I Live In" is a must see, and is available "On Demand" beginning January 15th, and on PBS in April.
Filmed in more than 20 states, from the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, "The House I Live In" is a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.
"As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans. Over forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories from individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s longest war, offering a definitive portrait and revealing its profound human rights implications."
"While recognizing the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, the film investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have meant it is more often treated as a matter for law enforcement, creating a vast machine that feeds largely on America’s poor, and especially on minority communities. Beyond simple misguided policy, The House I Live In examines how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for forty years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures."
While no one film can cover all aspects of the drug war, this one is an excellent starting point for raising some of the key issues involved.
If the drug war interests you, I also recently posted video of the film "Breaking the Taboo," from Sundog Pictures that calls for an end to the failed war on drugs, and offers a petition to support that call on its' website.
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Indiana can’t cut off funding for Planned Parenthood just because the organization provides abortion, contrary to a 2011 law signed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. That law was the first time a state denied Planned Parenthood Medicaid funds for general health services, including cancer screenings.
Indiana stepped between women and their physicians when it enacted a law that blocked Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood just because the organization provides abortions, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago effectively upheld decisions by a district judge and a Medicaid review panel that found the 2011 law denied patients the right to choose their own health care provider.
"This is not about an abortion case. This is a case about Medicaid services - non-abortion-related services - and the attempt by the state of Indiana to punish Planned Parenthood and its clients from receiving non-abortion health services merely because Planned Parenthood, without any sort of state or federal money or any Medicaid funds, also provides abortions," Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said at a news conference in Indianapolis following Tuesday's decision. The ACLU argued the case on behalf of Planned Parenthood.
A federal judge in Phoenix last week blocked Arizona from applying a similar law to Planned Parenthood. A similar law in Texas also is the focus of a court fight.
A federal judge has refused to throw out a request from James O’Keefe, who infamously and secretly filmed an ACORN worker while supposedly pretending to be a pimp. The selectively-edited video, typical of O’Keefe’s punk hackery, ultimately led to the defunding of ACORN by Congress and its subsequent bankruptcy.
The video above, from The Rachel Maddow Show that originally aired on April 6, 2010, is part one of that show that details the unedited version of O'Keefe's video which was initially used to depict the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) as assisting a pimp and his accompanying prostitute in human trafficking to show that... wasn't... quite... how it happened.
This portion of the video details everything, including how the defunding of ACORN by Congress was later ruled unconstitutional, and the GAO's 38-page report that surveyed over 31 federal agencies, probing how ACORN used federal funds and whether adequate controls on spending existed. The report found no evidence of fraud, lax oversight or misuse of federal funds. All this came too late for the not-for-profit group, unfortunately. Part two of the show can be viewed here.
Yet even with the release of the original videos before they were edited, and being completely cleared of any wrongdoing by Congress, disparaging reports continue to pop up in the conservative media. Conveniently, they "forget" to mention that fake scandalmonger O'Keefe is a convicted criminal, or that ACORN was cleared by Congress.
Juan Carlos Vera sued O’Keefe, and his associate Hanna Giles in Federal Court on privacy claims, related to O’Keefe secretly filming Vera at an ACORN office in National City in 2009.
"ACORN is in the business of providing counseling and support for the community on various matters," Lorenz wrote. "By its very nature, the organization handles personal matters with individual clients. Defendants walked into ACORN and asked for plaintiff's help with tax forms. ... Specifically, they solicited his help with setting up an illegal prostitution business with underaged girls. ... Plaintiff, as a worker for an organization like ACORN, reasonably believed that the content of the conversation was sensitive enough that it would remain private."
O'Keefe duped Vera by asking if the conversation would remain confidential, before he launched into details of the nonexistent scheme, Lorenz wrote.
Over the course of a 40-minute conversation, Lorenz noted, the three "abruptly paused their conversation" after Vera's supervisor, David Lagstein, entered the office, and continued talking after the supervisor left.
"Based on the surrounding circumstances, plaintiff reasonably believed that the conversation was private because it was held in his office with no one else present, and he believed that no one else was listening in on his conversation," Lorenz wrote.
Because of this "genuine dispute," Lorenz denied O'Keefe's motion for summary judgment.
Pretrial hearings are set for October 15, 2012.
I happen to know a few former ACORNS, all wonderful, kind-hearted people who -- not surprisingly -- again work helping those in need. (Yes, Fox News, former ACORNS have new jobs...is that okay with you?)
If having a day in court with James O'Keefe brings them any solace or would bring some sense of justice, after all the years of great service they provided while with ACORN, and enduring this right-wing witch-hunt, let the ACORN lawsuits commence.
After being captured on tape by an "Occupy" videographer, one Oakland police officer has been suspended, and his supervisor demoted for covering his name badge with black tape during a raid on Occupy Oakland protesters in November.
An Oakland police officer has been suspended and his supervisor demoted after the officer covered up his name badge with black tape during a November 2nd Occupy Oakland protest.
Officer John Hargraves was hit with a 30-day suspension. His supervisor, Lt. Clifford Wong, was demoted for failing to properly report the incident that was caught on a video that was posted online.
In the video, a man can be heard posing a question to one of the officers, asking whether or not it’s against policy for officers to hide their name badges.
Attorney Jim Channon has asked a federal judge to slap additional sanctions on the officers, saying obscuring the name badge not only violates state law, but various reforms agreed to after the notorious “Riders” case.
Without the excellent video coverage being provided by various livestreamers within the occupy movement, as well as individuals with their ever-ready cell phone cameras, these steps likely would never have happened. Keep those cameras rolling.