Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










UNACpeace@gmail.com           518-227-6947              www.UNACpeace.org

Join UNAC at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, DC, September 23 - 25, 2015

For more information:  http://worldbeyondwar.org/NoWar2016/

Save the Date.
The next UNAC conference will be held in Richmond, VA from April 21 - 23, 2017

Also, UNAC is a co-sponsor of the Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference, which will be held in Mississippi from December 9 - 12.  UNAC has been making important inroads in the South for the movement against the wars at home and abroad.  This will be an important conference for the movement as a whole and UNAC will also contribute financially to make it a success.  If you can help with this effort by making a contribution for the conference, please contribute here:https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html and the money will be used for the SHROC.

UNAC has added a page on political prisoners in the U.S. to our web site.  Please see:https://www.unacpeace.org/political-prisoners.html

UNAC will also be adding a blog to our web site with articles, video and more from our members and friends.  More information will follow soon.

* All reports and articals represent the ideas of the author and not necessarily of UNAC or any of its affiliated groups.

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html



Don't forget to save dates for Ali Abunimah speaking in Berkeley on Oct. 18, Chivvis Moore's book event on Sept. 27 in Oakland -- and Noura Erakat in Oakland Nov. 17!

Tickets for Ali's event will be available very soon, more info on all these events below.


Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist Chivvis Moore
Tuesday, September 27 in Oakland

Please Join Us!

Book Reading with Bay Area Author/Activist CHIVVIS MOORE

& her new memoir:

First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God: 

An American Feminist in the Arab World

Tuesday, September 27, 7pm

360 42nd Street, Oakland

FREE -- and we hope you'll buy Chivvis' book, which benefits MECA!

What begins as a trip to meet Hassan Fathy – Egyptian author of the influential Architecture for the Poor – becomes a 16-year odyssey, one that stretches from a year working in a master carpenter's shop in Egypt to 11 years teaching English in Palestine. Offering a portrait of a land and a people not found in headlines or sound bytes, Chivvis' book humanizes the misunderstandings and tragedies that arise when we fail to appreciate the humanity at the core of us all.

"I have been reading your beautiful, sad, and deeply moving story, learning a lot of disturbing history about something I thought I knew about but never saw in such depth. This is an important memoir that…evokes tears and also some laughter, with a great sense of compassion and empathy."

–Alan Rinzler, former editor, Simon & Schuster

"I cried all the way through reading First Tie Your Camel. The tone, the genuine and honest description of reactions and feelings about the experiences, enabled me to truly understand for the first time why, as a Palestinian living in the West Bank, I always feel so upset and physically ill."

– Muna Giacaman, Instructor, Bir Zeit University, West Bank

"Chivvis takes us on a journey that is fascinating, eye-opening, and ultimately heart-breaking – initially as a fresh-eyed newcomer working in a 1970's community in Cairo that most Americans have never seen – to life in occupied Palestine, before and after the 2nd intifada…She leads from the heart, earning hard-won respect from Palestinian neighbors, students, colleagues. Honest, unassuming and vulnerable, she asks the hard questions."

– Penny Rosenwasser, MECA staffer & author, Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears

Chivvis Moore lived 16 years in the Arab world, including 11 years in the West Bank. She has earned her living as a journalist, carpenter/general building contractor, editor and teacher.

Wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by Joining Hands, Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director Ali Abunimah
Tuesday, October 18 in Berkeley

Electronic Intifada co-founder/director ALI ABUNIMAH!

Tuesday, October 18, 7pm

First Congregational Church of Berkeley

2345 Channing Way (@ Dana)

Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian-American journalist and author of "The Battle for Justice in Palestine" -- which won the 2014 Palestine Book Award -- and "One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse." He received the 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship and has been an activist on these issues for over 20 years.

Alice Walker calls him "a special voice to champion us, one that is… fierce, wise -- a warrior for justice and peace -- someone whose large heart, one senses, beyond his calm, is constantly on fire."

Tickets available soon!

Benefit for MECA, wheelchair accessible

Cosponsored by KPFA, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Jewish Voice for Peace/Bay Area

COMING UP NOVEMBER 17 IN OAKLAND: Palestinian Activist/Scholar/Human Rights Attorney 

NOURA ERAKAT, Back in the Bay!


Rumi's Caravan: Recitation of World Poetry -- benefiting MECA

Saturday, September 10 in Oakland

Copyright (C) 2016 Middle East Children's Alliance All rights reserved.

Middle East Children's Alliance

1101 8th Street

Berkeley CA 94710 United States



Chelsea Manning Support Network

Chelsea faces charges related to suicice attempt

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Chelsea Manning threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for suicide attempt

Yesterday, (July 28) Chelsea Manning found out she is yet again being threatened with the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement.

In a jarringly callous move, Army officials are charging Chelsea with "offenses" related to her suicide attempt earlier this month.

If convicted, her punishment could be indefinite solitary confinement,reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. Her chance of parole may be negated.

Read the charge sheet here, dictated over the phone by Chelsea to a Support Network volunteer.

"It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life. The government has long been aware of Chelsea's distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary," said ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio. 

"Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain. It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover." Read more here

Chelsea has already faced indefinite solitary confinement threats last year, for innocuous institutional offenses, such as having an expired tube of toothpaste.

Sign the petition

Our friends at Fight for the Future have created a petition where you can sign on to a letter condemning the US Army's attack on Chelsea.

Write the Secretary of the Army

Pressure the Secretary of the Army to take a personal interest and dismiss these cruel and absurd charges against Chelsea.



WASHINGTON, DC 20310-010

Help us pay for Chelsea's legal representation

This May, Chelsea's appellate team filed a brief beginning her appeal process. Your support is critical, not just to continue fighting these ongoing threats from prison officials, but to help challenge Chelsea's draconian 35-year prison sentence and her unjust Espionage Act conviction.

Thank you to those who have already contributed, and to everyone who continues to support Chelsea during this long and strenuous process.

Chelsea can continue to be a powerful voice for reform, but we need your help to make that happen. Help us support Chelsea in prison, maximize her voice in the media, continue public education, fund her legal appeals team, and build a powerful movement for presidential pardon.

Please donate today!










Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022


On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.

The prosecutor, with the judge's approval, repeatedly told the jury "you don't need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney." And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE 'ALTERED' PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.

This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.

With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney's appeal.

Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney.  Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.

For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search "Pinkney").

We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,

Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,

Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney

Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,

Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<

Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,

David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice

Sara Flounders – International Action Center


I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."

Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney

Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.

No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an "Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers' Association of America]" demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.

Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.

The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!

To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick

Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284                                             

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







    This message from:

    Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

    PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

    06 January 2016

    Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




    Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved

    Some two weeks ago Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona.  His mailing address is:  USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734  (BOP number 99974555)

    Sign the Petition:

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia

    We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.

    ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project

    P.O. Box 373

    Four Oaks, NC 27524


    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq




    Major Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

      Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



        Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

        Sign the Petition:


        Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

        "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

        Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

        In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

        Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

        Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

        Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

        Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

        Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

        In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

        In solidarity,

        James Clark
        Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
        Amnesty International USA

          Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

          Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

          Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

          There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

            The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

            The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

            Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

            These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

            The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

          Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

          The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

          The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

               This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015




          Sign the Petition:


          Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

          Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

          I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

          American Federation of Teachers

          Campaign for America's Future

          Courage Campaign

          Daily Kos

          Democracy for America


          Project Springboard

          RH Reality Check


          Student Debt Crisis

          The Nation

          Working Families



          Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

          Dear Supporters and Friends,

          Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

          Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

          My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

          Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

          This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

          Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

          When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

          Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                    Lorenzo's wife,

                                     Tazza Salvatto

          Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

          Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


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                      DF 1036

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          1)  Reeling From Effects of Climate Change, Alaskan Village Votes to Relocate

          AUG. 19, 2016




          Residents of a small Alaskan village voted this week to relocate their entire community from a barrier island that has been steadily disappearing because of erosion and flooding attributed to climate change.

          In the unofficial results of an election on Tuesday in the village, Shishmaref, residents voted 89 to 78 to leave. The plan would move the village, which is 120 miles north of Nome, to one of two sites on the mainland about five miles away, officials said. But the village needs an estimated $180 million from a patchwork of sources to complete the move, according to a 2004 estimate.

          Shishmaref is an Inupiat Eskimo community of about 600 people on Sarichef, an island north of the Bering Strait that is about one-quarter mile wide and two and a half miles long. It has been grappling for decades with the loss of buildings and infrastructure caused by storm surges, and it has shrunk over the past 40 years — more than 200 feet of the shore has been eaten away since 1969, according to a relocation study published in February.

          Efforts to move the town in 1973 and 2002 were derailed by several issues, including attachment to a school built in 1977 and concerns about the long-term viability of alternate sites. Officials spent more than $27 million from 2005 to 2009 on coastal protection measures that had a life expectancy of 15 years, according to the relocation study.

          Shishmaref is not alone in facing a move because of the effects of climate change. In January, the federal government allocated $48 million to relocate Isle de Jean Charles, La., an island that is sinking into the sea. The effort earned the residents the title of the United States' first "climate refugees."

          As many as 200 million people could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change, according to a study for the British government. In Alaska, 31 villages face "imminent threat of destruction" from erosion and flooding, according to the Arctic Institute, a nonprofit group in Washington that studies issues affecting the Arctic.

          Many of those villages have 10 to 20 years before their streets, schools and homes become uninhabitable, and at least 12 have decided to relocate at least in part, the institute said.

          One of them, Newtok, has already started moving its 300 residents and is in the "pioneering stage," with just a few homes and roads built at the new location, said Sally Russell Cox, an Alaska state planner. The new site, about 12 miles away in southwest Alaska, will not have working power, water treatment or a sewage lagoon for years, according to Alaska Public Media.

          Ms. Cox said communities voting to relocate must balance how to take care of residents at their current site with "incrementally strategizing to make this relocation become a reality."

          In Shishmaref, the close vote to relocate reflected a division among residents.

          Percy Nayokpuk, 63, the owner of the Nayokpuk General Store, was not convinced that the relocation would happen.

          "I'm going to have to wait to see how all of this shakes down," he said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "There's a number of questions to be answered before we can make a very serious attempt at moving."

          Mr. Nayokpuk said that those who voted against relocating were not opposed to moving but were unhappy with two potential sites on the mainland for the village's future home. He said those sites — Old Pond and West Tin Creek Hills — lacked access for barges, which serve a vital role in delivering fuel and other supplies.

          "I'm a businessman, and I have to stock up on fuel and building materials, and without good barge access around, that village will not survive," said Mr. Nayokpuk, whose father opened the general store in 1960.

          Another resident, Esau Innok, 18, supported relocating but conceded in a phone interview on Thursday that it might be long in coming. He said some locals were resistant to uprooting their history and heritage from a place that has been inhabited for 400 years. He said he would prefer to have residents move collectively to a new home rather than be dispersed to a number of mainland communities.

          "To me, I think some people are just putting this relocation to the side," Mr. Innok said. "They think Shishmaref will always be there."

          After so many years of debate and study, the question of moving remained an emotional topic, Mr. Innok added.

          "It's been really hard for me and my family to really discuss this because Shishmaref is our home; it's where our heart is," he said. "It's where I want to be buried."



          2)  Poor Sanitation Persisted at U.N. Missions Long After Haiti Cholera Crisis

          AUG. 19, 2016


          Years after medical studies linked the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to infected United Nations peacekeepers, the organization's auditors found that poor sanitation practices remained unaddressed not only in its Haitian mission but also in at least six others in Africa and the Middle East, a review of their findings shows.

          The findings, in audits conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services in 2014 and 2015, appear to reflect the organization's intent to avoid another public health crisis like cholera.

          But the findings also provide some insight into how peacekeepers and their supervisors may have been either unaware of or lax about the need to enforce rigorous protocols for wastewater, sewage and hazardous waste disposal at United Nations missions — despite the known risks and the lessons learned from Haiti, where at least 10,000 people have died from cholera and hundreds of thousands have been sickened.

          The United Nations acknowledged for the first time this week that it bore some responsibility for the Haiti disaster, after having repeatedly presented a public face of ignoring the incriminating evidence and invoking its diplomatic immunity from legal action. The acknowledgment came after one of organization's special advisers on human rights issues, Philip Alston, in a confidential report about the cholera epidemic seen by The New York Times, called such a position "morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating."

          The audits may illustrate a more systemic weakness of United Nations peacekeepers, the blue-helmeted soldiers who are supposed to protect the vulnerable and uphold high moral standards in the 16 missions they operate. They are not supposed to be public health risks.

          The peacekeeping missions that were audited — in Haiti, the Darfur region of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Liberia and South Sudan — all practiced varying degrees of "unsatisfactory" waste management.

          "The results are egregious and show that this is a massive problem across U.N. missions around the world," said Beatrice Lindstrom, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based advocacy group that has been pressuring the United Nations for accountability in the cholera crisis.

          The audits, Ms. Lindstrom said, showed a pattern of unsanitary practices "that continued to be a problem, not only in Haiti."

          In Liberia, for example, auditors of peacekeeping facilities found untreated sewage in rainwater drains, inadequate plumbing, cracked septic tanks and inadequately contained "gray water," or waste from sinks, bathtubs and washing machines. In Lebanon, they found failures to maintain septic tanks and remove sludge, and the unacceptable mixing of hazardous and organic wastes.

          In the Democratic Republic of Congo, they found insufficient septic tanks and "soak pits," which are porous chambers that allow wastewater to slowly leach into the ground. In Darfur, they found partly treated wastewater had been discharged into open fields and farms. In one location, the Darfur audit said, "kitchen organic waste was dumped into open pits exposing them to rodents and bugs and the growth of microbial pathogens."

          Perhaps most troubling were the findings in Haiti, which showed that more than three years after the cholera outbreak, peacekeepers were pouring inadequately treated sewage into public canals, ignoring laboratory warnings about fecal contamination, failing to inspect water treatment plants and septic tanks, and leaving some camps laden with garbage and overflowing toilets.

          Several studies have traced the cholera outbreak to a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers in the Haitian mission whose fecal waste had leaked into a river adjacent to their base. The bacterial strain of cholera in Haiti, where the disease had not been seen for a century, was similar to the strain in Nepal, where a cholera outbreak was underway.

          The audits have not been publicized by the United Nations, although they are accessible on the Office of Internal Oversight Services' website by searching for "waste" on the Internal Audit Reports page. The audit of the Haiti mission, however, was not accessible for months after it had been completed, for reasons that remain unclear.

          Ms. Lindstrom and other lawyers for Haitian victims of the cholera epidemic, who have been trying to sue the United Nations for compensation, first learned of the Haiti mission audit this month when Fox News reported it was on the oversight office's website. But it took a broader search of the website to find the audits of the other United Nations missions.

          It is unclear from the audits, which are generally available online 30 days after they are completed, whether the sanitation problems they enumerate have been addressed.

          In an emailed response on Thursday to requests for comment, the office of the United Nations Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, which is responsible for the missions, said that all 13 of the auditors' "critical recommendations" had been met, as had 14 of their 19 "important recommendations." It did not specify which problems remained.

          The office also said that all of the waste management audits in the missions had been undertaken after the Haiti cholera crisis began.

          Similar audits are planned this year and next for the missions in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia.

          Waste management specialists who reviewed the audits said they found them troubling but were not necessarily surprised. They acknowledged the challenges of minimizing public health risks from poor sanitary practices in some of the world's most unstable places.

          Daniele Lantagne, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Tufts University who specializes in water treatment, said the audits showed that in some places like Haiti, peacekeeping missions installed on-site sanitation facilities but failed to maintain them, contributing to "breaks in the system that could lead to transmission of disease."

          Dr. Lantagne, who was a member of a panel of experts commissioned by the United Nations to study the cholera outbreak, also tempered her criticism.

          "On-site sanitation is hard. It requires a good system and ongoing maintenance," she said. "What you see in these reports is that in some places they try to do something better, and in some places it's not a simple problem to solve."



          3)  Chilling Tale in Duterte's Drug War: Father and Son Killed in Police Custody

          AUG. 19, 2016


          MANILA — Even amid the slaughter of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, the killings of Renato and Jaypee Bertes stand out.

          The Bertes men, father and son, shared a tiny, concrete room with six other people in a metropolitan Manila slum, working odd jobs when they could find them. Both smoked shabu, a cheap form of methamphetamine that has become a scourge in the Philippines. Sometimes Jaypee Bertes sold it in small amounts, relatives said.

          So it was unsurprising when the police raided their room last month.

          They were arrested and taken to a police station where, investigators say, they were severely beaten, then shot to death.

          The police said the two had tried to escape by seizing an officer's gun. But a forensic examination found that the men had been incapacitated by the beatings before they were shot; Jaypee Bertes had a broken right arm.

          "There is no justification at all," said Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, a member of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, an independent government body that investigated the case. "How can you shoot someone who is already in your custody?"

          The two men are among more than 800 people who have been killed by police officers and vigilantes since the May election of Mr. Duterte, who has repeatedly called for killing drug dealers and users. Most have been killed by police officers, in encounters the police characterize as confrontations or self-defense. More than 200 have been attributed tovigilantes, who often leave cardboard signs declaring their victims to be drug pushers.

          The Bertes case is one of the rare killings to prompt legal action. Two of the officers involved have been suspended, and the police said they would be charged with murder.

          Mr. Duterte has not commented on the case, which has been widely reported in the local news media. In a speech on Wednesday, he said that the police should not use excessive force, but he showed no sign of backing down from his call to kill drug suspects.

          "The fight against drugs will continue unrelenting until we have destroyed the apparatus operating in the entire country," he said.

          Senator Leila de Lima, the former Philippine secretary of justice, called the killing a "summary execution" and said the evidence was so clear-cut that the authorities had "no choice" but to bring charges.

          The case is one of several expected to be the focus of potentially explosive hearings next week before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which Ms. de Lima oversees.

          Mr. Duterte lashed out at Ms. de Lima in his speech on Wednesday, accusing her, without providing evidence, of having an affair with her married driver, who he said collected drug payoffs for her.

          Ms. de Lima called the accusation "foul" and added, "If this is his way of stopping the Senate's investigation on the extrajudicial killings, he can try," but she insisted that she would not call off the hearings.

          Although the killings have dispensed with what Mr. Duterte has called "the rigmarole" of due process, his drug war has proved wildly popular in a country plagued by crime.

          The blunt-spoken Mr. Duterte made his name as the mayor of Davao City, where vigilante killings starting in the 1980s are credited with helping reduce crime and making it one of the country's safest places.

          Since Mr. Duterte has taken his campaign nationwide, more than 600,000 drug dealers and users have turned themselves in to avoid being killed, the authorities say. The result, they say, has been a visible reduction in drug use and petty crime.

          Renato Bertes, 49, and Jaypee Bertes, 28, lived with their families in a dark warren of alleyways in Pasay City, a part of greater Manila near Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The eight of them shared a small room and a kitchen area with buckets in place of a sink.

          According to the police, the officers chanced upon the Bertes men, out in the neighborhood gambling, on the evening of July 6. They arrested them, found small amounts of shabu in their possession and took them to the police station.

          The police declined to discuss the case or release their investigative report, but that document was summarized in a report by the Commission on Human Rights, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

          According to the commission report, members of the Bertes family and a neighbor told a different story. They said that the police "barged into" their apartment at 11:30 while they were in bed. The officers demanded to know where Jaypee Bertes was keeping drugs and began roughing him up.

          This was not the family's first run-in with the police. Ms. Pimentel-Gana said that according to family members, the police had extracted payments of hundreds of dollars from Jaypee twice before.

          One officer picked up Jaypee's 2-year-old daughter, Angel, and strip-searched her, according to Harra Kazuo, 26, the girl's mother and Jaypee's wife.

          "Harra begged them to stop and not to kill her husband in front of her," the commission report said. "She then ran outside with her daughter."

          Renato Bertes tried to intervene and told the police his son would surrender, the report said. The officers arrested the men and took them to the police station, in Pasay City.

          According to the summary of the police report, once inside a jail cell, Renato Bertes tried to grab an officer's gun. The officer "managed to hold onto his firearm and fired successive shots at Renato," the report said.

          At that point, Jaypee Bertes grabbed the gun, the report said, but before he could fire, the second officer "came to his rescue and shot Jaypee."

          The commission report, however, said it was "not possible" for either suspect to attack the officers or to try to take their weapons. Both men had been tortured, the report said.

          A forensic examination concluded that they had been repeatedly struck with a blunt object before their deaths.

          "With Jaypee's broken arm and both he and his father Renato's badly bruised bodies, the victims can no longer be threats to the life and security" of the officers, the report said.

          Each suspect was shot at least three times, and other shots struck the walls of the police station. One shot hit Renato Bertes in the top of the head, suggesting that his head was bowed at the time, Ms. Pimentel-Gana said.

          "What they did was plain wrong," Ms. Kazuo said in an interview. "There are laws in the country that they need to follow, especially since they are policemen. You cannot just kill anyone."

          She acknowledged that her husband and his father were involved with drugs but said that did not mean they deserved to die. They were not big-time pushers, she said, or part of a syndicate.

          "Some people are just pushed to extremes to survive," she said.

          Ms. Pimentel-Gana said it was common in such shootings for the police to claim that the victim tried to grab an officer's weapon.

          Last week, an official in Pasay City was shot and killed by the police, who said he tried to grab an officer's gun while handcuffed, according to the local news media. The official had gone to the authorities in an effort to clear his name of drug charges, family members said.

          Although the two officers accused in the Bertes killings have been suspended from duty, family members say the officers still frequent the neighborhood and remain armed.

          In his speech on Wednesday, Mr. Duterte said his government was willing to submit to an investigation of the killings and that he took "full and sole responsibility" for the campaign against drugs.

          He did not, however, renounce his call to kill drug suspects, adding that many addicts were "no longer viable as human beings on this planet."

          Ms. Kazuo, Jaypee's widow, begged Mr. Duterte to have some compassion.

          "This is what I can tell the president," she said. "Not all addicts can change overnight, but no one has the right to take somebody's life. If God gives people chances to change, how can we not?"



          4)  Condemnation of Charter Schools Exposes a Rift Over Black Students

          AUG. 20, 2016




          With charter schools educating as many as half the students in some American cities, they have been championed as a lifeline for poor black children stuck in failing traditional public schools.

          But now the nation's oldest and newest black civil rights organizations are calling for a moratorium on charter schools.

          Their demands, and the outcry that has ensued, expose a divide among blacks that goes well beyond the now-familiar complaints about charters' diverting money and attention from traditional public schools.

          In separate conventions over the past month, the N.A.A.C.P. and the Movement for Black Lives, a group of 50 organizations assembled by Black Lives Matter, passed resolutions declaring that charter schools have exacerbated segregation, especially in the way they select and discipline students.

          They portray charters as the pet project of foundations financed by white billionaires, and argue that the closing of traditional schools as students migrate to charters has disproportionately disrupted black communities.

          Black leaders of groups that support charter schools have denounced the resolutions, saying they contradict both the N.A.A.C.P.'s mission of expanding opportunity and polls showing support for charters among black parents. The desire for integration, the charter school proponents say, cannot outweigh the urgent need to give some of the country's poorest students a way out of underperforming schools.

          "You've got thousands and thousands of poor black parents whose children are so much better off because these schools exist," said Howard Fuller, a longtime civil rights activist and the founding president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, which encourages support among blacks for charters.

          The debate about race and charters is long simmering. Black residents of cities like New Orleans, which has converted nearly all of its public schools to charters in the decade since Hurricane Katrina, have complained that the people who come in presenting themselves as education reformers tend to be white outsiders. Charter school leaders themselves have begun to acknowledge that they do not have enough blacks in their ranks or in front of their classrooms.

          But to some black parents, those concerns seem academic.

          Chris Stewart recalled feeling "like a complete loser" when his son was entering middle school in Minneapolis. A specialty public school had no room; other parents were warning him away from two nearby traditional public schools; and he could not afford a reduced tuition of $12,000 — what he called "the poor people's discount" — for a private school.

          "It really challenged my sense of manhood because I felt like I was watching other people do for their kids what I wanted to do for mine, but I didn't have the resources," said Mr. Stewart, who became a school board member in Minneapolis and now writes a blog on education.

          He found a charter school where black students were thriving and classrooms seemed orderly. "It wasn't perfect, it wasn't horrible, it just was better," he said. "It set my mind at ease and let me go to work every day with a sense that I had done the best that I could."

          But Cornell William Brooks, the president of the N.A.A.C.P., noted that not all charter schools are high performers. "This is very much a mixed bag," he said, noting that he had given a commencement address at North Star Academy, a well-regarded charter in Newark. "This whole notion that charter schools are uniformly excellent, and therefore that people don't even get to raise the question, is simply not the case."

          Studies have shown that charters — which are financed by taxpayers but privately run — have improved on traditional public schools in cities like Newark, Boston and Washington. But they have made little improvement in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, where a large proportion of students attend charters.

          Although charters are supposed to admit students by lottery, some effectively skim the best students from the pool, with enrollment procedures that discourage all but the most motivated parents to apply. Some charters have been known to nudge out their most troubled students.

          That, the groups supporting a moratorium say, concentrates the poorest students in public schools that are struggling for resources.

          Charter schools "are allowed to get away with a lot more," said Hiram Rivera, an author of the Black Lives platform and the executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union.

          Charters are slightly more likely to suspend students than traditional public schools, according to an analysis of federal data this year. And black students in charter schools are four times as likely to be suspended as their white peers, according to the data analysis, putting them in what Mr. Brooks calls the "preschool to prison pipeline."

          Another platform author, Jonathan Stith, the national coordinator for the Alliance for Educational Justice, chose a charter school in Washington for one of his children because it promised an Afrocentric curriculum. But he began to see the school driving out students. It was difficult, he said, for parents to push back against the private boards that run the schools.

          "Where you see the charters providing an avenue of escape for some, it hasn't been for the majority," he said.

          Mr. Stith came to think the money would be better spent on fixing the traditional public school system.

          But Mr. Stewart said a moratorium on charters would effectively make black parents "wards of the state."

          "That's just stupid," he said. "Can you imagine us saying that with police forces? 'They're good institutions. All we need to do is double down on supporting them.'"

          Dr. Fuller, who is also a professor of education at Marquette University, argues that the criticism of charters ignores the patterns of racism in the United States and the many ways traditional school districts have perpetuated it.

          "You look at traditional districts, housing policies, all the things that have created this problem, and a charter school comes into these environments and tries to create a great school," he said. "For you to criticize based on segregation is beyond the pale. I don't understand it. I literally don't understand it."

          Charter supporters say the debate reflects class more than race.

          "It's a divide between families who are served by charters and see the tangible effects that high-quality charters are having, and some who don't live in the inner-city communities, where it becomes more of an ideological question versus an urgent life-and-death issue for their kids," said Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform and a former president of the advisory school board in Newark, where his children attend a charter school.

          "Any advocate for black and brown people in cities knows that for generations, traditional public schools have failed these students," Mr. Jeffries said. "That's not even in question."

          Supporters of charters also say that the civil rights groups are allied with teachers' unions that see charters, which generally are not unionized, as a threat to their existence.

          Mr. Brooks disputed that, saying that the N.A.A.C.P. resolution had been approved by 2,000 delegates and that "we don't have 2,000 teachers' union lobbyists among our delegates."

          The resolution would not become official until the national board votes on it in October. In the meantime, Mr. Brooks urged less "hyperventilating" and more focus on addressing problems that critics of the charter schools have cited.

          "If the point of some is for parents and citizens to be grateful and silent, that's not a particularly democratic response," he said. "People can be grateful for good schools but also critical in terms of what can be done better."



          5)  Nearly 1,800 Killed in Philippine Drug War, Top Police Official Tells Senators

          AUG. 22, 2016


          MANILA — Killings by the police and vigilantes in the Philippines' war on drugs have soared to nearly 1,800 in the seven weeks since President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office, the nation's top police official told a Senate hearing on Monday.

          Under Mr. Duterte, who campaigned on a pledge to rid the country of drug dealers, 712 suspects have been killed in police operations, National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa said. Vigilante killings have totaled 1,067 during the same period, he said, although it was unclear how many were directly related to the illegal drug trade.

          The numbers represent a huge increase over those cited by the police last week, when they put the total at more than 800 since Mr. Duterte's election on May 9. The new figures do not include killings that occurred between the election and his inauguration on June 30.

          The police did not explain the sudden increase. Senators are expected to question them about the tally on Tuesday during a second day of joint hearings by the chamber's committee on justice and human rights and the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

          Mr. Duterte is said to have incited the wave of killings with his vow to eradicate crime. He has said the police should "shoot to kill" when they encounter members of organized crime or suspects who violently resist arrest.

          Human rights advocates have been horrified by the killings, but Mr. Duterte's popularity has soared among a large segment of Filipinos weary of crime and enthusiastic about his pledge to rid the country of drug dealers.

          Senator Leila de Lima, a longtime Duterte opponent who led the hearing on Monday, called on the government to end the killings.

          "I strongly believe extrajudicial or extralegal killings, whether perpetrated by the state or by nonstate actors, must stop," she said. "Blatant disregard for human life has to stop."

          Richard Javad Heydarian, who teaches political science at De La Salle University in Manila, said many members of the public were giving Mr. Duterte wide leeway to deliver on his promise to suppress the drug scourge within three to six months. Mr. Duterte's "shock and awe" approach reflects not only his commitment to eradicating drugs, Mr. Heydarian said, but also extremely high public expectations.

          "The more fundamental question at this point is, why the seemingly unprecedented support for the new president despite global criticism of his uncompromising approach?" he said. "I think it largely has to do with dissipated public trust in existing judicial institutions, a sense that the normal democratic processes are not coping with the magnitude of the crisis."

          In recent days, the president has lashed out at critics. On Sunday, he threatened to withdraw from the United Nations after two human rights experts from the world body urged the country to stop the killings. Mr. Duterte's foreign minister later said the Philippines would not take that step.

          Last week, Mr. Duterte sharply criticized Ms. de Lima, calling her immoral and accusing her of receiving money from drug dealers, a charge she emphatically denies.

          On Monday, the senators heard from two women whose family members had been killed by the police.

          Mary Rose Aquino, who testified wearing a bandanna, sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt so she could not be recognized, said her parents were found dead on June 20. Her father had been an informant for corrupt police officers who would raid dealers and take the drugs for themselves, she said. Sometimes the officers would smoke methamphetamine at their home, she said.

          "I know who they are," she told the senators. "I can recognize their faces, others by their names. My father was a police asset who informed police what houses to raid. They would then resell the drug."

          She said her parents had planned to get out of the drug trade, and she blamed the police for their deaths. She and her siblings have been hiding from the police since their parents died, she said, sobbing.

          The senators also heard from Harra Kazuo, whose husband, Jaypee Bertes, and his father, Renato Bertes, were killed by the officers inside the Pasay City police station after they were arrested.

          She told the committee that the police had been extorting money from her husband, a small-time drug peddler. She said he had been preparing to surrender to the police because he was afraid he would be killed. About 600,000 people suspected of being drug dealers or users have turned themselves in to escape being killed since the antidrug campaign began, the authorities have said.

          Wearing large sunglasses and partly covering her face with a shawl, Ms. Kazuo told the senators that the police had beaten her husband and threatened to shoot him if he did not hand over his drugs, but that he had nothing to give them. The police strip-searched their 2-year-old daughter looking for drugs, she said. Renato Bertes arrived in the middle of the commotion, and the police beat him for insisting they show him a warrant, she said.

          "If you want, we can shoot you all here," Ms. Kazuo said one officer told them.

          At the station, the police severely beat the two men, breaking her husband's arm, according to a forensic report. The police said the two had tried to grab their guns and escape. Each man was shot three times.

          Ms. Kazuo, who is seven months pregnant, said she had visited them at the station before their deaths and had seen that her husband was in poor condition. He asked for a doctor.

          "He was leaning on the bars and had a hard time standing," she said. "He had a difficult time speaking. That was the last time I saw them alive."

          After the hearing, Chief dela Rosa said he was surprised by the women's testimony, which he said contradicted official reports. The Bertes case was rare, he said, because the two were killed inside a jail cell.

          He said he would investigate Ms. Aquino's account of police behavior.

          "I will not tolerate this," Chief dela Rosa said. "I myself will find these policemen." But he said the campaign against drugs would not stop, because the police had orders from the president to eliminate drugs.

          "The police now have the momentum," he said.



          6)  As Homeless Find Refuge in Forests, 'Anger Is Palpable' in Nearby Towns

          AUG. 21, 2016




          NEDERLAND, Colo. — Gerald Babbitt lives in these woods, in a pop-up trailer on cinder blocks that he bought for $250. His toilet is a bucket, and when he and his wife need to refill their water jugs, they drive their creaky green Jeep a mile down the mountain and into town. Most people are kind, but the other day someone called them "homeless vagrant beggars," Mr. Babbitt said.

          "Yes, we're homeless," he said, sitting in the shade of his camper here in the Arapaho National Forest. "No, we're not vagrants. No, we're not beggars. We just barely are making it. What you see is by the grace of God."

          To millions of adventurers and campers, America's national forests are a boundless backyard for hiking trips, rafting, hunting and mountain biking. But for thousands of homeless people and hard-up wanderers, they have become a retreat of last resort.

          Forest law enforcement officers say they are seeing more dislocated people living off the land, often driven there by drug and alcohol addiction, mental health problems, lost jobs or scarce housing in costly mountain towns. And as officers deal with more emergency calls, drug overdoses, illegal fires and trash piles deep in the woods, tensions are boiling in places like Nederland that lie on the fringes of the United States' forests and loosely patrolled public lands.

          "The anger is palpable," said Hansen Wendlandt, the pastor at the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church.

          Some residents have begun taking photographs of hitchhikers or videotaping confrontations with homeless people camping in the woods and posting them online, including on a private Facebook page created recently called Peak to Peak Forest Watch. Some say the campers have cursed at them for driving past without picking them up, or yelled at them while they were cycling or hiking. They say they no longer feel comfortable in some parts of the woods.

          But as a homeless man named Julian, 30, hiked down from the hills and into Nederland one rainy afternoon, guitar and knapsack slung on his back, he said a passing driver yelled at him to get out of town. He said he, too, felt uncomfortable and was heading toward Estes Park, Colo., then on to Oregon. He did not give his last name because he said he did not want friends and family reading that he was homeless.

          Mr. Wendlandt serves lunch and hands out socks to needy campers every Thursday. But he has stopped provisioning people with blankets and sleeping bags, worried that what seemed like compassion could be exacerbating a problem.

          A wildfire in July was a tipping point. Two men from Alabama pitched camp without permission on a privately owned hillside near Nederland, lit a campfire and read their Bibles, they told the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. The men told officials they put some rocks on the fire to put it out, and though they discussed whether they should do more to smother it, they decided not to.

          One smoldering cigarette or lightning strike can ignite an entire hillside in the parched, fuel-filled forests across the West, and officials say the campfire galloped away and burned 600 acres of canyons and forests around Nederland. It destroyed eight homes, including that of a fire captain.

          The two men who started the campfire, Jimmy Suggs and Zackary Kuykendall, were arrested and charged with fourth-degree arson. The day before their arrest on July 10, the two men and a female companion — who was not criminally charged — happened across a reporter for The Boulder Daily Camera who was interviewing evacuees from the still-burning fire.

          "We were pretty close," Mr. Suggs told the newspaper. "It looked like the whole mountain range was on fire."

          Citing the fire danger, some residents have asked the Forest Service to do what many cities have done in cracking down on the homeless: impose tighter rules on camping, or ban it in parts of the woods that have attracted the most people.

          The Forest Service says it is working with thin law enforcement resources. One officer is assigned to Boulder County, which encompasses Nederland and the Roosevelt and Arapaho National Forests, which dominate the western part of the county. The service is spending more and more of its budget fighting wildfires, and has pared back on filling some law enforcement posts, said Chris Boehm, the agency's acting deputy director for law enforcement and investigations.

          "There may be some regions where we have one officer assigned to an entire forest or area," he said. "That's not what we want, but fires are expensive."

          The Nederland fire was one of a handful across the West in recent years that officials have blamed on transient campers. In Anchorage this May, officials said a two-acre brush fire appeared to start in a homeless camp. In Northern Arizona, where a homeless man was sentenced to a year in prison in 2010 for accidentally igniting a 280-acre wildfire, officials stepped up patrols this summer to look for illegal fires set by people living in the woods.

          For years, people searching for solitude or without better options have retreated to live in the woods, in buses, vans, tents or other improvised shelters, their numbers swelling every summer and dwindling when the snow comes. But officials say public lands researchers are just beginning to study who lives there, and why.

          A 2015 survey of 290 law enforcement officers for the Forest Service found that officers in the Rocky Mountain West and Southwest encountered long-term campers most often. About half of the officers said the number of these long-term campers was on the rise, and only 2 percent said it had declined. (The rest said the number had either largely held steady or fluctuated.)

          Lee Cerveny, one of the researchers who conducted the survey, said it was unclear how many people might be living on public lands at any given time.

          "What is happening, and why are we seeing more people living in the forests?" she said. "We don't know yet."

          National parks place strict limits on camping, but in national forests and open spaces managed by the Bureau of Land Management, people can pitch tents just about anywhere camping is not prohibited. Many forests allow camping for only two weeks at a time. In 2015, the Forest Service handled 1,014 episodes related to violations of those rules.

          Around Nederland, crime reports, medical emergencies, unattended fires and other calls for help and extra patrols have soared at three Forest Service areas popular with homeless campers. The Boulder County Sheriff's Office was called there 388 times last year, up from 213 in 2013, and officials attribute some of the rise to Colorado's reputation as a mecca for legal marijuana, and Nederland's embrace of retail marijuana dispensaries.

          Rick Dirr, the Nederland fire chief, said his largely volunteer firefighters no longer answer nighttime calls in the woods without a marshal or sheriff's officer as backup. He said he has faced down one camper who carried a butcher knife, and searched the woods for another man who had attacked his girlfriend. There was the boy who swallowed a heroin baggie, he recalled, and a man who was hit in the head with a shovel.

          Others just do not understand how the forest works, he said. He responded to a report of an illegal fire to find a teenage boy and his 8-year-old sister alone at their campsite, bags of garbage everywhere. They and their parents had been living out of their car, and the father asked Chief Dirr when someone would come by for garbage pickup.

          "We still don't have a solution," he said. "These are the things going on unseen in the woods."



          7)  How #BlackLivesMatter Came to Define a Movement

          AUG. 22, 2016





          It had existed as a phrase for some time, but it wasn't until two black men died in the summer of 2014 that Black Lives Matter began to flicker to life as a Twitter hashtag.

          The roots of the phrase are commonly traced to a July 2013 Facebook post by Alicia Garza, a California-based activist, but it appeared in the Twitter-friendly form #BlackLivesMatter only in fits and starts over the course of the following year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis on race and social media released this month.

          The hashtag had a small, but sustained increase in use in the summer of 2014, when Michael Brown and Eric Garner died in encounters with the police, focusing a national discussion on race and policing and elevating a phrase that would define a movement.

          "This is a very powerful example of how a hashtag now is attached to a movement, and a movement, in some ways, has grown around a hashtag — and a series of really painful and really powerful conversations are taking place in a brand-new space," said Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research at Pew.

          The label appears to have lasting power, simmering like a low-grade fever on the social-media radar and roaring to life with every new police killing of a black citizen, every racial protest that makes the news and informs the long-running national debate.

          But it has also spurred fierce opposition under banners like All Lives Matter, White Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter (proffered by the supporters of police officers). On Sunday in Houston, for example, a White Lives Matter rally drew 20 people clutching Confederate flags and white supremacist symbols outside the N.A.A.C.P.'s headquartersto denounce attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.

          In the report on race and social media, issued last week, Mr. Rainie and his colleagues, led by Monica Anderson and Paul Hitlin, retraced the rise of #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter over a nearly thousand-day period from July 12, 2013, to March 31, 2016.

          The #AllLivesMatter hashtag generally tracked the ups and downs of its counterpart, but at a small fraction of the intensity, as shown in the chart below, based on the Pew data obtained using the social analytics software Crimson Hexagon.

          The data show that the deaths of Mr. Garner on July 17, 2014, and Mr. Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, marked an early and small turning point for #BlackLivesMatter, but the hashtag didn't enter orbit until later that year.

          On Nov. 25, 2014 — three days after a Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice and one day after a grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot Mr. Brown — daily mentions of #BlackLivesMatter spiked drastically to 172,772, according to Pew.

          Mentions of the hashtag soared even higher days later. On Dec. 4, one day after a grand jury declined to indict the police officer whose chokehold led to Mr. Garner's death, #BlackLivesMatter appeared 189,210 times on Twitter. It was mentioned 160,810 times the following day, too.

          Those events coincided with a lasting spike in the mentions of #BlackLivesMatter. In the three months leading up to Nov. 25, 2014, the hashtag averaged fewer than 1,500 daily mentions. In the three months after, it averaged more than 30,000.

          The hashtag enjoyed subsequent spikes, too. It was mentioned more than 120,000 times on the first anniversary of Mr. Brown's shooting and more than 127,000 times on Oct. 14, 2015, one day after Senator Bernie Sanders, then a Democratic presidential contender, defended the movement during a campaign debate.

          The Pew study cut off at the end of March of this year, but the team behind the report later conducted a supplemental analysis covering two weeks in July when two black men were separately killed by police and eight police officers were killed in a pair of targeted attacks.

          What they found was a tremendous surge in the mentions of #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter.

          On the day that Alton B. Sterling was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, La. — July 5 — #BlackLivesMatter was mentioned just under 10,000 times on Twitter. The next day, Philando Castile was fatally shotduring a traffic stop in Minnesota and the hashtag spiked to more than 250,000 times. On July 7 — the day that Micah Johnson opened an attack on Dallas law enforcement officers, killing five — #BlackLivesMatter appeared more than 850,000 times on Twitter.

          By July 8, the hashtag soared to more than 1.1 million mentions. On that same day, #AllLivesMatter appeared 189,000 times on Twitter — matching the record for #BlackLivesMatter during the entire earlier thousand-day study period.

          The number of mentions for both hashtags remained high in the days leading up to July 17, when three more officers were fatally shot in Baton Rouge.

          The July flurry of activity is notable not only for the level of discussion around the hashtag, but also for how the tone of the conversation changed, according to Pew.

          Over the course of the 1,000-day study period, 38 percent of #BlackLivesMatter mentions were positive, compared with 11 percent negative, according to a Pew sentiment analysis. The hashtag was used neutrally 12 percent of the time. (The remaining references fell into an "other" category.)

          And in the days leading up to the Dallas shooting, the tone was even more supportive: 87 percent of posts mentioning #BlackLivesMatter did so in a positive light, with just 11 percent of mentions appearing negative from July 5 to July 7.

          But that quickly and drastically shifted, with support falling to 28 percent and opposition rising to 39 percent in the 10 days after the Dallas shooting.

          "We really saw that shift overnight," Ms. Anderson said. "It really shows you where current events can drive the conversation on social media and also change the tenor of conversation there, as well."



          8)  Egyptians Take to the Streets Again, Now in Workout Gear

          AUG. 23, 2016


          CAIRO — Egypt's young people have once again taken to the streets. This time, though, they are in spandex and on bicycles, in kayaks and sculls on the Nile, doing street workouts in the slums of Giza or CrossFitexercises in makeshift rooftop gyms.

          More than five years after overwhelming numbers filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, deposing President Hosni Mubarak, and three years since the military crackdown that ousted the elected Muslim Brotherhood president and jailed protesters by the thousands, a fitness craze has taken hold. It is a stark departure for a nation that is the 17th most obese in the world, where fast-food joints proliferate and smoking is still the norm in restaurants — and everywhere else. 

          Egyptian squash players are among the best in the world, and privileged families have long pushed their children to take up sports, but the new focus on fitness is drawing in people from all classes, with substantial numbers of women, too, and is more about exercise for exercise than about games or competition. Many Egyptians see it as a direct outgrowth of the withering of the political revolution under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

          "Why now, and where does this come from? Clearly, it's connected with the withdrawal from public life by young people," said Ezzedine C. Fishere, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo who has seen the trend take hold in his family. Mr. Fishere said he goes to the gym regularly, his daughter wears a Fitbit and his ex-wife works out, too.

          After the military crackdown, he said, "everyone who had participated in 2011 started to move to the private sphere, some took refuge in depression, some in nihilistic activities and many in fitness — not just fitness, but taking care of oneself."

          Ramy A. Saleh, who pioneered CrossFit in Egypt, opening the first franchise right after the revolution, said simply, "The young people can't go out demonstrating, but they can go out to run."

          It did not take the military-dominated government long to take notice — approvingly. Soon after assuming office in 2014, Mr. Sisi, the former commanding general of Egypt's military, led cadets from the military academy on a well-publicized bicycle ride around Cairo.

          "President Sisi wanted to give a couple messages to the youth, that he's supporting them," said Ibrahim Nofal, a co-founder of the Egypt Sports Network, which promotes sports development. "He was telling them, 'We are aware, we're trying to take care of this.' It was a smart move."

          In 2014, Mr. Sisi and the military unveiled an ambitious makeover of the Gezira Youth Center, which had been little more than a huge, weedy public lot next to the upscale Gezira Sporting Club in Zamalek, the island in the Nile that is home to many embassies and villas.

          President Gamal Abdel Nasser seized the center from the Gezira Club in the 1960s to give Egypt's young people something comparable to the country's opulent private country clubs, but it had long been neglected. Even two years ago, a jogger could barely find the running path — a horse track dating from colonial times.

          Now that track has been repaved with spongy asphalt and expanded to be wide enough for six runners, and it circles a complex with facilities for beach volleyball, tennis, swimming, basketball, wrestling and gymnastics — all open to the public for a little more than $1 and often overcrowded.

          The demand for workout space is so high that dozens of young people join impromptu calisthenics classes in the evenings on a dusty building site adjoining the center.

          Traditionally, Mr. Fishere noted, authoritarian governments have been interested in promoting sports and physical culture. And in this case, it was a relief valve on the pressure cooker that is the Arab street.

          "This is a safe area for both, an area the regime is willing to support," Mr. Fishere said. "And for the youth, it's a good outlet for their energies."

          That is particularly important in a society where 62 percent of the population is 29 or younger, according to government statistics.

          Back in 2014, a jogger along the Nile River would have had the broken sidewalks and potholed roads to himself; these days they are often crowded by 7 a.m. Cairo Runners, founded soon after the revolution in 2011, fields thousands of joggers every Friday, and thousands more join bicycle rides on the weekends — despite the city's notoriously dangerous traffic and even in the searing August heat.

          When Nirvana Zaher, an Egyptian fitness trainer and consultant, ran a Gold's Gym franchise in Cairo in 2008, it was practically the only scene in town for fitness fanatics. The revolution changed that, she said, and not just because young people gave up and turned from politics to sports.

          "A lot of Egyptians didn't realize their true nature before the revolution, didn't realize we could do things we'd never imagine," Ms. Zaher said. "The revolution was just a catalyst. Even as the political revolution has ended, internally the revolution has never ended."

          Not everyone agrees that the failure of the political revolution spawned the one in fitness.

          The Egyptian Rowing Club, one of many with boathouses on the Nile, is so busy that there is often a waiting list for the club's sculls and kayaks. Even so, Abeer Aly, a board member, says she thinks the increased popularity is just a sign of the times worldwide. "I can't see the correlation between youth revolution and fitness events," she said. "I just see a trend of people practicing and enjoying rowing, cycling and other things a lot more."

          But Ibrahim Safwat, 31, who founded Cairo Runners in 2012, said the uprisings gave people permission to occupy public space in a new way, whether it was for politics or to have fun. "After the revolution people felt the streets are ours, we can do whatever we want on the streets," he said. "This gives us hope, and people feel they have a little power."

          Cairo Runners is one example that has made the authorities nervous. Each Friday, as many as 8,000 runners pour into the streets, and often the organization has trouble getting permits for its runs. But crowds come anyway, and there are so many people that no one dares to stop them. Mr. Safwat has no trouble summoning up hundreds of volunteer marshals to control the crowds — many of them veterans of the 2011 protests, in which they had similar roles.

          In a working-class neighborhood of Giza, Omar Khalid el-Gabaly, 21, took up street workouts with a group of friends, building bars and poles in an abandoned building and inventing moves that sometimes look like a cross between gymnastics and jumping jacks. The sport is now affiliated with an international calisthenics federation, and his club is called the Bar Pharoahs; other street workout clubs have opened in 14 provinces across Egypt.

          "After the revolution, everyone had a power in them, they saw that," Mr. Gabaly said. "They had to hang that up, but if politics is out, young people aren't happy about it and they need something else."



          9)  Irish Woman Live-Tweets Trip to Get Abortion in England

          AUG. 23, 2016



          Two Irish women who live-tweeted a trip to England so that one of them could get an abortion set off a debate over the weekend, highlighting the restrictions placed on the procedure in their home country and renewing pressure on the government to respond to calls for change.

          Abortion is banned in Ireland unless a woman faces an immediate risk of death, a high bar that leads thousands to leave the country each year to have the procedure. The woman who live-tweeted her abortion journey from the account @TwoWomenTravel was one of them.

          Accompanied by a close friend, she awoke before dawn on Saturday and made her way to Dublin Airport for a 6:30 a.m. flight to Manchester, England.

          "We were on the go from early on, and pretty much the whole day," said the woman's companion, who spoke to The New York Times by phone only on the condition of anonymity. "It was an even mix of being tired in transport and being tired in waiting rooms."

          The woman who said she got the abortion declined to be interviewed. Their account of the trip could not be independently confirmed.

          The pair began tweeting on their way to the airport. Their first tweet — like many that followed — was aimed at Ireland's prime minister, Enda Kenny, who has declined to back calls for a referendum on expanding abortion access.

          "Good morning all. Thanks for all of the messages of solidarity and support," they wrote. "Thanks to @EndaKennyTD we're about to hit the road."

          Mr. Kenny has not publicly responded to the women's Twitter campaign, and his office did not respond to an email seeking comment. Ireland's health minister, Simon Harris, however, thanked the two women in his own Twitter post and said they had raised awareness of a "reality which faces many."

          The women's Twitter account has gotten over 26,000 followers since their first tweet was sent on Friday night. But not everyone was supportive. Cora Sherlock, the spokeswoman for Pro Life Campaign Ireland, said on Twitter that she found the women's social media activity "deeply disturbing."

          The Eighth Amendment to Ireland's Constitution says a woman and a fetus have an equal right to life. The measure was passed in a referendum in 1983, when the majority-Catholic country was a far more conservative place.

          As a result, the path from Irish airports to British abortion providers is a well-traveled one. At least 3,451 women traveled from Ireland to England or Wales to get an abortion in 2015, according to the British Department of Health. It said at least 833 more went to Britain from Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom that also restricts abortion access.

          The Irish Family Planning Association said at least 166,951 women traveled from Ireland to another country for an abortion from 1980 through 2015. At least 165,438 of those went to Britain, it said.

          The live-tweeters were not the only Irish women who went to England to get abortions over the weekend. They said they went to two clinics on Saturday, one in Manchester and another an hour away in Liverpool, because the first one was too busy to accommodate them. They said they met several other Irish women at both clinics.

          "We were talking to them at the end of the day because we were all waiting for our taxis back," the companion said. "If you see a woman on her own in an abortion clinic, the chances are that lonely woman keeping to herself is Irish."

          Ireland has changed significantly in recent years. It became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015, and the Roman Catholic Church has lost its once-dominant role, in part because of a series of sexual abuse scandals.

          "A lot of the Irish people, and especially Irish women, have shed the church," the companion said. "The church is losing its grip, but the government hasn't caught up to the idea that women need to be freed."

          The government has been under pressure in recent months to relax its abortion laws, which Amnesty International has called among "the world's most discriminatory and punitive."

          In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, 31, a dentist who lived near Galway, died after she was reportedly denied a potentially lifesaving abortion, spurring at least two investigations and reviving the debate over Ireland's ban on most abortions.

          In June, Ireland was criticized by a United Nations panel that said its policies amounted to cruel, degrading and discriminatory treatment of women. That same month, it agreed to hold a "citizens' assembly" to study the issue by October, but critics said the proposal was not enough.

          "The Irish state is failing women and the tweets from @twowomentravel highlight this," Louise O'Reilly, an opposition politician, said in an email. "The issue of a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment needs to be addressed head on."

          The woman had the abortion on Saturday, and on Sunday the pair live-tweeted their return journey to Ireland. It began with a lightly bloodstained sheet in a Manchester hotel room.

          The woman's companion said on Sunday that they were relieved to have the trip behind them, but that they thought it was wrong they had to make the journey in the first place.

          "Abortion is a very difficult thing for any woman to have to go through and to say that traveling to another country doesn't make it any easier would be a gross understatement, to say the least," she said.



          10)  Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline

          AUG. 23, 2016




          NEAR CANNON BALL, N.D. — Horseback riders, their faces streaked in yellow and black paint, led the procession out of their tepee-dotted camp. Two hundred people followed, making their daily walk a mile up a rural highway to a patch of prairie grass and excavated dirt that has become a new kind of battlefield, between a pipeline and American Indians who say it will threaten water supplies and sacred lands.

          The Texas-based company building the Dakota Access pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, calls the project a major step toward the United States' weaning itself off foreign oil. The company says the nearly 1,170-mile buried pipeline will infuse millions of dollars into local economies and is safer than trucks and train cars that can topple and spill and crash and burn.

          But the people who stood at the gates of a construction site where crews had been building an access road toward the pipeline viewed the project as a wounding intrusion onto lands where generations of their ancestors hunted bison, gathered water and were born and buried, long before treaties and fences stamped a different order onto the Plains.

          People have been gathering since April, but as hundreds more poured in over the past two weeks, confrontations began rising among protesters, sheriff's officers and construction workers with the pipeline company. Local officials are struggling to handle hundreds of demonstrators filling the roads to protest and camp out in once-empty grassland about an hour south of Bismarck, the state capital.

          More than 20 people have been arrested on charges including disorderly conduct and trespassing onto the construction site. The pipeline company says it was forced to shut down construction this month after protesters threatened its workers and threw bottles and rocks at contractors' vehicles.

          Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County, who has led the law enforcement response, said at a news conference that he had received reports of weapons and gunshots around the demonstration, and that protesters were getting ready to throw pipe bombs at a line of officers standing between a rally and the construction site.

          Leaders from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies just south of the pipeline's path, say the protests are peaceful. Weapons, drugs and alcohol are prohibited from the protest camp. Children march in the daily demonstrations. The leaders believed the reports of pipe bombs were a misinterpretation of their calls for demonstrators to get out their wooden chanupa pipes — which have deep spiritual importance — and pass them through the crowd.

          The conflict may reach a crucial moment on Wednesday in a federal court hearing. The tribe has sued to block the pipeline and plans to ask a judge in Washington to effectively halt construction.

          The pipeline runs overwhelmingly along private land, but where it crosses bodies of water, federal rules come into play and federal approvals are required.

          The tribe says the pipeline's route under the Missouri River near here could threaten its water supplies if the pipeline leaks or breaks, and it says the United States Army Corps of Engineers failed to do proper cultural and historical reviews before granting federal approvals for the pipeline.

          "This is our homeland," said Phyllis Young, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. "We are Dakota. Dakota means friend or ally. Dakota Access has taken our name."

          In legal filings, the corps rejects those claims. It says it consulted extensively with tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux, and it says that tribe has failed to describe specific cultural sites that would be damaged by the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners says it has the necessary state and federal permits and hopes to finish construction by the end of the year. The pipeline's route starts in the Bakken oil fields of western North Dakota and ends in Illinois.

          With the fate of the land here and this $3.7 billion project in the air, people here have decided to take action. They are occupying the prairie.

          Echoing protests against the now-scuttled Keystone XL pipeline, environmental activists and other tribes from the Dakotas, the rest of the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest have been arriving to camp in the open fields and protest near the parcel where the pipeline company has secured an agreement with the landowner to build.

          The protesters sleep in tents and tepees, cook food in open-air kitchens and share stories and strategies around evening campfires. There is even a day care. At morning meetings, speakers warn parents to keep their children away from the Missouri River at sunset, and remind one another they are camped out in prayer.

          "It's a major movement in Indian country," said CJ Clifford, a member of the Oglala Lakota, who drove up from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He saw the protests as part of a historical continuum reaching to Little Bighorn. This battle, he said, was being waged peacefully.

          For many, the effort was about reclaiming a stake in ancestral lands that had been whittled down since the 1800s, treaty by broken treaty.

          "Lands were constantly getting reduced, shaken up," said Dave Archambault II, the tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux. "I could give you a list of every wrongdoing this government did to our people. All of that is frustration pent up, and it's being recognized."

          He added, "It's a tipping point for our nations."

          This month, a line of sheriff's officers retreated in the face of riders on horseback circling and yipping through the grass. (Tribal members said that the display was a Lakota gesture of introduction, and that they have no quarrel with law enforcement.)

          There have been no moves so far to disband the camp or keep people from demonstrating. But Sheriff Kirchmeier told reporters that the demonstration had become an "unlawful protest," and Gov. Jack Dalrymple, citing "public safety risks," declared a state of emergency on Friday.

          Local law enforcement officers set up a barricade on the main road leading to the pipeline site, and officials here in Morton County called a special meeting on Monday to talk about the traffic and how to handle a hundreds-strong protest that could linger for weeks or months.

          At the sprawling campsite down the road from the protest site, there had been portable toilets, 500-gallon tanks of drinking water and an air-conditioned trailer with medical supplies provided by the state. But late Monday night, people at the camp said the medical trailer and water tanks had been removed, leaving them to scramble for a new water source for hundreds of people.

          After a prayer ceremony at the construction site one recent afternoon, a few young men on horseback opened the gate and rode onto the land. A few days earlier they might have been arrested and accused of trespassing, but that day there were no officers to stop them.

          The pipeline company said that it temporarily stopped work here this month while "law enforcement works to contain the unlawful protests," but that construction was continuing elsewhere.

          Energy Transfer Partners has sued Mr. Archambault and six other people over the protests. In a federal lawsuit filed last week, the company accused them and other protesters of blocking access to the construction site, threatening workers and trespassing onto private land.

          Jon Eagle Sr., the historic preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux, watched from the side of the road as the young men rode into the grassy field, toward a construction floodlight and heaps of excavated dirt. He did not want the pipeline to breach this land. But he did not seem to approve of this either.

          "They need to stay out," he said. "They don't know where the burials are. They don't know where the sacred sites are. I'm trying my best to keep the peace."




          11)  Supreme Court to Consider Legal Standard Drawn From 'Of Mice and Men'

          WASHINGTON — In 2002, the Supreme Court barred the execution of the intellectually disabled. But it gave states a lot of leeway to decide just who was, in the language of the day, "mentally retarded."

          Texas took a creative approach, adopting what one judge there later called "the Lennie standard." That sounds like a reference to an august precedent, but it is not. The Lennie in question is Lennie Small, the dim, hulking farmhand in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."

          The Lennie in question is fictional.

          Still, Judge Cathy Cochran of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals wrote in 2004 that Lennie should be a legal touchstone.

          "Most Texas citizens might agree that Steinbeck's Lennie should, by virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and adaptive skills, be exempt" from the death penalty, she wrote. "But, does a consensus of Texas citizens agree that all persons who might legitimately qualify for assistance under the social services definition of mental retardation be exempt from an otherwise constitutional penalty?"

          Judge Cochran, who later said she had reread "all of Steinbeck" in the 1960s while living above Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif., listed seven factors that could spare someone like Lennie, whose rash killing of a young woman was seemingly accidental.

          For instance: "Has the person formulated plans and carried them through, or is his conduct impulsive?"

          And: "Can the person hide facts or lie effectively?"

          This fall, in Moore v. Texas, No. 15-797, the United States Supreme Court will consider whether the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' highest court for criminal matters, went astray last year in upholding the death sentence of Bobby J. Moore based in part on outdated medical criteria and in part on the Lennie standard.

          Mr. Moore killed James McCarble, a 70-year-old grocery clerk, during a robbery in 1980 in Houston.

          No one disputes that Mr. Moore is at least mentally challenged or, as a psychologist testifying for the prosecution put it at a 2014 hearing, that he most likely "suffers from borderline intellectual functioning."

          Mr. Moore reached his teenage years without understanding how to tell time, the days of the week or the relationship between subtraction and addition. His I.Q. has been measured as high as 78 and as low as 57, averaging around 70. On the other hand, the psychologist testified, the young Bobby Moore had shown skill at mowing lawns and playing pool.

          The state judge who heard this evidence, relying on current medical standards on intellectual disability, concluded that executing Mr. Moore would violate the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

          But the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the ruling, saying the judge had made a mistake in "employing the definition of intellectual disability presently used."

          Under medical standards from 1992, endorsed in Judge Cochran's 2004 opinion, Mr. Moore was not intellectually disabled, the appeals court said. The court added that the seven factors listed in the 2004 opinion weighed heavily against Mr. Moore. He had, for instance, worn a wig during the robbery and tried to hide his shotgun in two plastic bags, which prosecutors said was evidence of forethought and planning.

          In dissent, Judge Elsa Alcala said the 1992 medical standards used by the majority were "outdated and erroneous." As for the seven factors, she wrote, "The Lennie standard does not meet the requirements of the federal Constitution."

          "I would set forth a standard," Judge Alcala wrote, "that does not include any reference to a fictional character."

          In a brief, Ken Paxton, the state's attorney general, defended the seven factors, though without mentioning Lennie. He also urged the Supreme Court to let judges and juries, rather than medical professionals, decide who should be spared the death penalty.

          That echoed a 2014 dissent from Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who said it was a bad idea to rely on the shifting views of medical experts to decide who must be spared execution based on intellectual disability. The majority in that case, Hall v. Florida, struck down Florida's I.Q. score cutoff of 70 as too rigid.

          In doing so, Justice Alito wrote, the majority had effectively overruled the part of its 2002 Atkins v. Virginia decision that allowed states to use their own definitions of intellectual disability, and instead imposed "the evolving standards of professional societies, most notably the American Psychiatric Association."

          An article last year in the Yale Law Journal presented an intriguing alternative to the evolving standards that bothered Justice Alito. Drawing on historical materials, Michael Clemente, then a law student at Yale and now a law clerk for a federal judge, demonstrated that the original understanding of the Eighth Amendment, based on English common law, barred the execution of people whose mental abilities were below those of an ordinary child of 14.

          Such a standard, steeped in originalism, a mode of constitutional interpretation embraced by Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, would seem to spare both Mr. Moore and Lennie. On the other hand, it is not clear that Lennie himself would have escaped execution under Texas' Lennie standard. He did, for instance, try to conceal his crime, hiding his victim's body.

          In a 1937 interview with The New York Times, John Steinbeck said he had based Lennie on a man who had killed a ranch foreman but was shown leniency. "Lennie was a real person," Mr. Steinbeck said. "He's in an insane asylum in California right now."

          Seventy-five years later, Mr. Steinbeck's son Thomas heard about Texas' Lennie standard.

          "The character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability," Thomas Steinbeck, who died this month, said in a 2012 statement. "I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous and profoundly tragic."

          "I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way," he said. "And the last thing you ever wanted to do was to make John Steinbeck angry."



          12)  North Dakota Oil Pipeline

          Battle: Who's Fighting and Why

          AUG. 26, 2016





          This week, an impassioned fight over a 1,170-mile oil pipeline moved from the prairies of North Dakota to a federal courtroom in Washington. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies just south of the pipeline's charted path across ranches and under the Missouri River, has asked a judge to halt construction. The American Indian tribe argues that a leak or spill could be ruinous.

          It may take until Sept. 9 for a federal judge to decide whether to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to move ahead, or grant an injunction that would press the pause button on construction.

          Here is a look at how the battle over the pipeline has become an environmental and cultural flash point, stirring passion across the Plains and drawing hundreds of protesters to camp out in rural North Dakota.

          What Is Happening in North Dakota?

          American Indians have been gathering since April outside Cannon Ball, a town in south central North Dakota near the South Dakota border, to protest the Dakota Access pipeline as construction commences. Starting with members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the protest has since grown to several hundred people — estimates vary — most of them from tribes across the country.

          The protesters have encamped in a field belonging to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Each day, they march a mile up a highway to a construction site where preparatory work is being done for the pipeline. While the protesters say they are peaceful, there have been reports of heated confrontations with law enforcement officers and construction workers, and 20 people have been arrested. Construction on a road to the pipeline has stopped for the moment. The pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, has sued several protesters, claiming they have threatened and intimidated contractors and were blocking work at the site.

          What Does Each Side Want?

          The Dakota Access pipeline is a $3.7 billion project that would carry 470,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil fields of western North Dakota to Illinois, where it would be linked with other pipelines. Energy Transfer says the pipeline will pump millions of dollars into local economies and create 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs — though far fewer permanent jobs to maintain and monitor the pipeline.

          Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe see the pipeline as a major environmental and cultural threat. They say its route traverses ancestral lands — which are not part of the reservation — where their forebears hunted, fished and were buried. They say historical and cultural reviews of the land where the pipeline will be buried were inadequate. They also worry about catastrophic environmental damage if the pipeline were to break near where it crosses under the Missouri River.

          What About Protests in North Dakota?

          For the moment, the mood there is calm, but anxious. North Dakota's governor has declared a state of emergency there, and law enforcement has barricaded the main highway leading to the protest site and the campers.

          Hundreds of people are camped out about a mile down the road from the construction site. They say they are there to pray and protest peacefully, but some people are worried that the situation could turn volatile if work resumes at the site or the government tries to disband the camp.

          Are Others Fighting the Pipeline?

          Yes. State and federal agencies have approved the pipeline, and some farmers and ranchers have welcomed the thousands of dollars in payments that came with signing agreements to allow it to across their land. But others oppose the pipeline.

          In Iowa, one of the four states that the pipeline would traverse, some farmers have gone to court to keep it off their land. They say that Iowa regulators were wrong to grant the pipeline company the power of eminent domain to force its way through their farms. Most landowners in the 346-mile path of the pipeline through Iowa, however, have signed easements allowing it to be built across their land.

          How Many Pipelines Cross the United States?

          The United States has a web of 2.5 million miles of pipelines that carry products like oil and natural gas, pumping them to processing and treatment plants, power plants, homes and businesses. Most of the lines are buried, but some run above ground.

          While a natural gas line to a newly built subdivision is not likely to generate national controversy, proposed major pipelines like the Keystone XL, the Dakota Access or the Sandpiper in northern Minnesota have generated huge opposition from environmental groups and people living in their paths.

          How Safe Are Pipelines?

          Energy companies and their federal overseer, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrationpromote the safety record of pipelines. Pipeline companies say it is far safer to move oil and natural gas in an underground pipe than in rail cars or trucks, which can crash and create huge fires.

          But pipeline spills and ruptures occur regularly, sometimes in small leaks and sometimes in catastrophic gushers. In 2013, a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in North Dakota broke open and spilled 865,000 gallons of oil onto a farm. In 2010, an Enbridge Energy pipeline dumped more than 843,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, resulting in a cleanup that lasted years and cost more than a billion dollars, according to Inside Climate News.

          In a 2012 examination of pipeline safety, ProPublica reported that more than half of the country's pipelines were at least 50 years old. Critics cited aging pipelines and scant federal oversight as factors that put public health and the environment at risk.



          13)  From Bikinis to Burkinis, Regulating What Women Wear

          AUG. 27, 2016


          PARIS — The policeman in the photo is nattily attired and appears to have a slight smirk as he writes out a ticket for the woman standing before him awkwardly in her offending swimwear; perhaps he enjoys making her feel uncomfortable.

          No, she is not wearing a burkini.

          The photo dates from 1957. The woman is wearing a bikini on the beach at Rimini on Italy's Adriatic coast. At the time, Italy prohibited the revealing bathing suit; it was too immodest to be worn in public.

          In the midst of France's fight over banning the burkini, the bikini is celebrating its 70th anniversary, and photographs chronicling its debut and early history in the 1940s, '50s and '60s are on display in one of Paris's chic galleries, prompting parallels to the uproar over the burkini today.

          What is it about women's swimwear and more generally women's attire that over and over in history has attracted controversy and impelled societies to legislate or regulate women's choices?

          Historians, sociologists and anthropologists have argued about it for decades, but the seemingly simplistic statement that women's bodies are a battleground has some truth to it. Formally or informally, men (primarily) have been making rules about women's attire for a very long time.

          "Can't we decide what we want to wear in 2016?" wondered Sarah Fekih, 23, from Lyon, France, in a comment she wrote to The New York Times. "If one wishes to dress skimpily or to be almost nude or to be covered from head to toe, isn't that a personal choice that can not be dictated by law?"

          Of course, the burkini debate is not only about feminism. It is foremost a debate about the visibility and presence of Islam in France, and it comes in the context of the most recent act of terror to traumatize the country, this one in Nice, on the Mediterranean coast.

          On July 14, a man drove a cargo truck into crowds of people there, killing 86 and wounding 300. The Islamic State later called him one of its "soldiers."

          Less than a month later, the first of at least 30 bans on "inappropriate" clothing on beaches — meant to target Muslim attire — was enacted in Cannes, about 20 miles from Nice.

          Although France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, struck down one town's burkini ban on Friday — and clearly would do the same for other towns if lawsuits were brought — the fight is far from over.

          The Parliament could enact a ban, and some of France's 2017 presidential candidates on the right and far right have pledged to enact measures that run from banning the Muslim veil in universities and businesses to banning almost all religious attire in public.

          As the debate continues, much that is important will be said about France and racism and Islam, but it is worth pondering that it is women's clothes that are at issue.

          Throughout history, a combination of legislation, local regulation and social pressure has influenced the way women have dressed — corsets and décolleté, hoop skirts and bustles, the controversial advent of pants. France is now a society demanding that women undress, but in many ways this debate is part of the same narrative.

          In the case of both the bikini and the burkini, "people in positions of power say, 'We're putting these rules in place for the woman's good,'" said Deirdre Clemente, a history professor at the University of Nevada who has studied dress codes for women. "The implication is that women are unable to regulate their appearance themselves."

          As recently as the 1980s, a number of large American corporations had extensive dress codes for women. "There would be four pages on what a woman could wear to work, and four sentences for men," Professor Clemente said.

          When it came to the bikini, not only was it forbidden in some countries, with women forced to pay fines and leave many beaches if they wore one. It was also seen as subversive and a sign of moral weakness.

          Italy, Spain and some beaches on the Atlantic coast of France prohibited wearing the swimsuit in the first few years after it went on the market, said Ghislaine Rayer, a co-author of "Bikini: La Légende," a history of the mini-swimsuit.

          That prohibition resonates in today's burkini debate, said Hanane Karimi, a graduate student of sociology at the University of Strasbourg. She is the leader of a feminist Muslim collective that wants mosques in France to make more space for women at prayers and to be more respectful of their involvement in religious affairs.

          "In some countries that had strong religiosity, like Italy, controlling women's bodies was a part of the country's religious morality; today in France there is a civil religion of secularity," she said. "And it has the exact same logic in respect to the control of women's bodies: Those women who adhere to that secular morality are undressed on the beaches; nothing is hidden."

          Today the French seem to believe as strongly that such undress is mandatory as Italy, under the Vatican's influence, felt it was necessary to hide women's bodies, she added.

          It was not always that way. When the designer of the first bikini, Louis Réard, coined the name (a play on the tiny atoll of Bikini, where the United States had just tested the atomic bomb) and showed his new swimsuit at the Molitor Pool in Paris on July 5, 1946, he could not find models willing to wear it.

          So he hired dancer-strippers from the Paris Casino. "It was avant-garde; it was ahead of its time," said Ms. Rayer, the co-author of the book on the bikini's history. "In that epoch, we were still puritan."

          Although the bikini quickly became popular in movies, it took more than 15 years, and longer in many places, to enter the fashion mainstream. France embraced it ahead of several other countries and eventually even allowed women to sunbathe or swim topless.

          Joan Wallach Scott, a social scientist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, sees France's approbation of revealing swimwear, as well as the current burkini bans, as products of ideas going back to the French Revolution of 1789.

          "What you have in French republicanism is a conflict between a commitment to equality and the notion that sexual difference is a natural difference which explains why there can't be equality between women and men," she said.

          The French believe it is necessary to show the difference between men and women physically even while proclaiming their equality, Ms. Scott said.

          The painter Eugène Delacroix depicted "Liberty" as a bare-breasted woman leading the righteous French. Sculptures and reliefs of a bare-breasted or semi-bare-breasted Marianne, a French symbol of the revolution and liberty, can still be found on government documents, buildings and postal stamps. The very depiction of women reflects how the sexes differ.

          "Then on the other side you have Muslim society saying that sex and sexual difference is a problem, and women, whether submitting or not, are covered. So in a sense they are exposing the contradiction in French society, and that's intolerable," Ms. Scott said. "It becomes a commentary on the French need to have women uncovered."

          Indeed, the deputy mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who is a political power broker on the Côte d'Azur, has repeatedly referred to the covering of women on the beach — whether in a burkini or a large T-shirt, pants and hijab — as a "provocation," suggesting a challenge to the French order.

          Such language mystifies one of the burkini's designers, who sells her pieces in France. Vanessa Lourenço, the designer, said she had started creating them to give Muslim women a chance to participate in the same activities as the rest of the community.

          She loves to swim herself, she said, so seeing religious Muslims or other people not go swimming "struck me as unacceptable."

          Ms. Lourenço, whose internet business sells swimwear in 120 countries, is not Muslim, and people often ask her why she designs for Muslim women.

          "My answer is simple: At the end of the day women are women, whether Muslim or not, and we all want to be comfortable, look beautiful and feel feminine," she said.

          "Most of our clients message us saying it is the first time that they were confident enough to be at a public beach enjoying themselves with their family."



          14)  Why Black Men Quit Teaching

          "Black male teachers are not just expected to teach and be role models; they are also tasked with the work of disciplinarians. The stereotype is that they are best at dispensing "tough love" to difficult students. Black male educators I work with have described their primary job as keeping black students passive and quiet, and suspending them when they commit infractions. In this model, they are robbed of the opportunity to teach, while black male students are robbed of opportunities to learn."

          AUG. 27, 2016





          How can we help black boys succeed in school? One popular answer is that we need more black male teachers.

          The logic appears simple: Black boys are not faring well, and the presence of black men as teachers and role models will fix this problem. The former secretary of education, Arne Duncan, brought this theory to national attention with a number of speeches at historically black colleges and universities. His successor, John King Jr., has taken up the argument, often repeating the statistic that only 2 percent of our nation's teachers are African-American men.

          The argument may be well intentioned, but it is a cop-out. Schools are failing black male students, and it's not because of the race of their teachers. These students are often struggling with the adverse effects of poverty, the inequitable distribution of resources across communities and the criminalization of black men inside and outside of schools. Black male teachers can serve as powerful role models, but they cannot fix the problems minority students face simply by being black and male.

          Black male teachers are not just expected to teach and be role models; they are also tasked with the work of disciplinarians. The stereotype is that they are best at dispensing "tough love" to difficult students. Black male educators I work with have described their primary job as keeping black students passive and quiet, and suspending them when they commit infractions. In this model, they are robbed of the opportunity to teach, while black male students are robbed of opportunities to learn.

          Teachers hear the phrase "tough love" all the time; it is used to justify hurtful practices such as not giving black students the second chances that others receive to complete assignments, suspending students for breaking minor rules that others are not punished for, or yelling at students for being playful or asking too many questions.

          Many black male teachers at first believe in the need for "tough love." When they realize it is code for doing damage to black students, they are filled with remorse and often leave the field of teaching. About a year ago, a teacher named Joseph Mathews came rushing into my office saying: "I can't look those black boys in the face and make them feel like I felt in school anymore. I have to quit." This is a pervasive yet under-researched phenomenon that seriously affects teacher retention.

          To his credit, Mr. King has recognized what he calls "the invisible tax"on minority educators. This tax is paid in the extra disciplinary and relationship-building work that black teachers do beyond teaching. Unfortunately, acknowledging the tax does little to alleviate it or its consequences.

          Instead of fixating on black male teachers, we need to examine how teachers are trained, their beliefs about young minority men, and how they engage their students. They should be prepared to teach to each student's unique needs, and to recognize that no student learns best under conditions that make him feel uncared for. If the notion that we must hire black male teachers in order to have positive role models for black youth makes sense, how can we not recognize that untrained and unprepared black male teachers can cause more harm than good?

          I vividly remember, as a boy, having a black male teacher who didn't see any value in me as a person, and who didn't seem to enjoy teaching black and brown boys. Our school was diverse, with students from many ethnic and racial backgrounds, and this teacher clearly treated black male students differently, raising his voice and enforcing rules more strictly. He was allowed to teach the way he did because he was dealing with black male students who were perceived to need "tough love." But I felt targeted by the very teacher who (because he was black) was supposed to be the person I connected to.

          This cycle of dysfunction is repeated in schools across the country when black men, unprepared and burdened with expectations that inhibit them from being effective, are placed in front of students and told to teach. A better solution is to train all teachers, black and white, to acknowledge the biases they hold about their students based on their race, class, gender, sexual orientation and physical ability. Then they can learn strategies for being effective with these students despite their differences.

          The new crop of black male teachers being herded into schools this fall as saviors of the same black children that schools have failed need to be told that teachers are not heroes; they do not need to save children, they just need to educate them.

          This is not a call for more white teachers or a statement about some inherent inability of black male teachers. It is a call for a more thoughtful approach to teacher recruitment and retention, and a renewed focus on teacher preparation. Have we not seen the effects of programs that recruit mostly white, middle-class college graduates to "tough schools" only to see high teacher turnover, ineffective teaching and increasing achievement gaps? Why are we embracing a black male version of the same broken model, instead of working to fix the problem?



          15)  Why Colin Kaepernick Didn't Stand for the National Anthem

          AUG. 27, 2016




          When the national anthem played before the start of the preseason game with the Green Bay Packers on Friday night, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a stand by not standing.

          Explaining the gesture, Kaepernick said that he had decided to remain seated as a statement against racial oppression.

          "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he told NFL Media in an interview published on Saturday.

          "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way," he said.

          On his Twitter feed, Kaepernick curates a timeline of events that have found a place in the national discourse about race, politics and police behavior, including a protest by white supremacists in front of an N.A.A.C.P. headquarters in Houston, an article about how Arizona teenagers were forced by their school to change out of their Black Lives Matters shirts, and the fatal police shooting of an armed black man in Milwaukee.

          "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," he said.

          Kaepernick, who is biracial and was adopted by white parents, said he had discussed his feelings with his family and, after months of witnessing recent civil unrest, he decided to be more active, according to the NFL Media report.

          He said he had not informed the team of his intentions.

          "This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," he said. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed."

          He continued, "If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."

          In a statement, the 49ers said the pregame presentation of the national anthem was an opportunity to honor the country and the liberties afforded to its citizens.

          "In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem," the team said.

          And the league said in a statement, "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

          Kaepernick was not asked about his decision in the news conference after the game, which Green Bay won 21-10, The San Jose Mercury News reported in a blog post. It noted that Kaepernick sat in front of the water coolers on the sideline while his teammates stood during the national anthem.

          Kaepernick did not play in the first two exhibitions because of a sore throwing shoulder. An NFL Network reporter said, however, that Kaepernick had also remained seated during the anthem before those games.































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