Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

Love this guy!



Steph Curry voices his support for Colin Kaepernick: "He definitely should be in the NFL"

Steph Curry is a Carolina Panthers fan, but before he watched the 49ers struggle against Carolina on Sunday, the Warriors star voiced support for Colin Kaepernick.

Curry posted an Instagram story during the game with the caption, "#FreeKaep.

Kaepernick remains without a team after his national anthem protests of the 2016 season. Kaepernick's replacement in San Francisco, Brian Hoyer, threw for just 105 yards and an interception as the 49ers trailed 23-0 late in the third quarter.

Before the game, Curry spoke to the Charlotte Observer about Kaepernick, offering a vocal support for the NFL quarterback:

"He definitely should be in the NFL. If you've been around the NFL, the top 64 quarterbacks, and he's not one of them? Then I don't know what game I'm watching.

"Obviously his stance and his peaceful protest when he was playing here kind of shook up the world, and I think for the better. But hopefully he gets back in the league – because he deserves to be here and he deserves an opportunity to play. He's in his prime and can make a team better."







Prison Radio UPDATE:

Please sign this petition:

Release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case!


A ruling to implement Judge Leon Tucker's recent order to release Mumia's court documents could be made as soon as May 30, 2017. Please call or e-mail the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office now to pressure them to follow the court's order to release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case.

Phone: 215-686-8000

Judge Orders DA to Produce Complete File for Mumia's Case

Dear Friend,

This just in! Judge Leon Tucker of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia has ordered the District Attorney of Philadelphia to produce the entire case file for Cook v. the Commonwealth- the case file in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal conviction, by September 21st.

The DA's office has to produce the entire file for "in camera" review in Judge Tucker's chambers. This mean Judge Tucker thinks that a thorough review of all the relevant files is in order! Or in other words, what has been produced under court order from the DA'a office has been woefully deficient.

Judge Tucker worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the late 90's, so he knows what is in -and not in- files. Cook v. the Commonwealth comprises at least 31 boxes of material held by the DA. Will they turn over "all information and the complete file" for Mumia's case, as Judge Tucker has ordered?

This in camera review by Judge Tucker himself means that an independent jurist will personally inspect the documents the DA produces. See the order here.  Stay tuned for more information following September 21. This is just one step in a long walk to freedom. It is a step that has never been taken before.

OPEN the files. Justice Now!



Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? (City Lights Open Media)

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

A Book Review by Robert Fantina

With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed Black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against Blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. He points out the obvious: The passage of Civil Rights legislation hasn't changed much; it simply changed the way racism operates.

The ways in which the white establishment has worked to oppress Blacks is astounding. After the Civil War, when slavery was no longer legal, "whites realized that the combination of trumped-up legal charges and forced labor as punishment created both a desirable business proposition and an incredibly effective tool for intimidating rank-and-file emancipated African Americans and doing away with their most effective leaders."

Abu-Jamal states that, today, "where once whites killed and terrorized from beneath a KKK hood, now they now did so openly from behind a little badge." He details the killing of Black men and women in the U.S. with almost complete impunity.

There are two related issues Abu-Jamal discusses. The first is the rampant racism that enables the police to kill unarmed Blacks, as young as 12 years old, for no reason, and the second is the "justice" system that allows them to get away with it.

One shocking crime, amid countless others, occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012; a police officer was acquitted in the deaths of two, unarmed Blacks, after leaping onto the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds from his semi-automatic rifle into the car's occupants. That is 137 shots, at point blank range, into the bodies of two unarmed people.

If this were an anomaly, it would be barbaric, but it is not: it is common practice for the police to kill unarmed Blacks, and, on the rare occasions that they are charged with a crime, for the judges and juries to acquit them.

In the U.S., Black citizens are disproportionally imprisoned. With for-profit prisons on the rise, this injustice will only increase.

Abu-Jamal relates story after story with the same plot, and only the names are different. An unarmed Black man is stopped by the police for any of a variety of reasons ranging from trivial (broken tail light), to more significant (suspect in a robbery). But too often, the outcome is the same: the Black man is dead and the police officer who killed him, more often than not white, is either not charged, or acquitted after being charged.

The Black Lives Matter movement formed to combat this blatant injustice, but it will be an uphill battle. As Abu-Jamal says, "Police serve the ownership and wealth classes of their societies, not the middling or impoverished people. For the latter, it is quite the reverse." As a result, people of color suffer disproportionately, too often winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

What is to be done? Abu-Jamal refers to the writings of Dr. Huey P. Newton, who calls not for community policing, but for community control of the police. Abu-Jamal argues forcefully for a new movement, "driven by commitment, ethics, intelligence, solidarity, and passions; for without passion, the embers may dim and die."

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day.

Robert Fantina is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. His articles on foreign policy, most frequently concerning Israel and Palestine, have appeared in such venues as Counterpunch and WarIsaCrime.org.

New York Journal of Books, July 2017











Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:














No to War Call to Action

October 6 marks the 16th anniversary of the longest foreign war in U.S. history.  Instead of ending it, Trump has announced an escalation of the war on Afganistan. Join us in protest during the week of October 2 - 8.  See the call by leading U.S. antiwar activists: http://notowar.net/no-to-war-call-to-action/

Endorse the Week of action:http://notowar.net/endorse-no- to-war-2017/

Add Your Action to the List of Actions:

http://notowar.net/post-your- action/

For more information:


No to endless war & occupation!
No to white supremacy!
Hands off N. Korea, Iran and Venezuela!
Stop attacks on Immigrants and Muslims!
Bring all the troops home now and close the bases!

October 6, 2017, marks the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan – the longest foreign war in U.S. history.

The Afghan war, which has been a thoroughly bipartisan effort, was originally railed against by Donald Trump when he was running for president. He claimed to be against U.S. troop involvement in Afghanistan. Now he is moving forward with a "secret" plan of escalation that will also include Pakistan.  He says the secrecy is to keep the "enemy" from knowing his plans, but it also keeps the U.S. people from knowing what he is doing in our name and from judging the human costs for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States

What we do know is that military escalation has repeatedly failed to bring peace in Afghanistan. It has caused more destruction and more deaths of civilians and soldiers alike and has cost trillions of dollars that could be spent on meeting basic needs here at home while repairing the destruction we have carried out abroad.

Trump also emboldens the war machine here in the US against Black and Brown people and immigrants by fanning white supremacy and xenophobia and continuing the militarization of the police and ICE to incite racially-motivated violence and justify repression, including mass incarceration and mass deportations. US wars of aggression and militarism abroad go hand-in-hand with increased state repression and militarization of the police state here at home.

Trump's new escalation comes at a time when there is no end in sight to the continuous wars, including drone and mercenary warfare, throughout the region and when he is threatening military action against Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran and other countries.

Therefore, we the undersigned antiwar leaders in the U.S. are calling for non-violent protests in cities across the country during the week of the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. We appeal to all antiwar organizations in the United States and around the world to join us.

  • John Amidon, Kateri Peace Conference, VFP
  • Jessica Antonio, BAYAN USA
  • Bahman Azad & Alfred Marder, US Peace Council
  • Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace
  • Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
  • Toby Blome, Code Pink, Bay Area
  • Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition
  • Reece Chanault, US Labor Against the War
  • Bernadette Ellorin – International League for People's Struggle
  • Sara Flounders, International Action Center
  • Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Nuclear Power & Weapons in Space
  • Larry Hamm, People's Organization for Progress
  • Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report
  • Ed Kinane, Upstate Drone Action
  • Matthew Hoh – Veterans for Peace
  • Joe Lombardo & Marilyn Levin, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
  • Judith Bello, Upstate Drone Action
  • Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Maggie Martin, About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly IVAW)
  • Ray McGovern, Former CIA Analyst and Presidential Advisor
  • Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace
  • Nick Mottern, Knowdrones.com
  • Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition
  • Elsa Rassbach, Code Pink & UNAC, Germany
  • Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community
  • David Swanson, World Beyond War
  • Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait
  • Ann Wright, Code Pink & Veterans For Peace
  • Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
  • Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

(organizations are listed for identification purposes only)



U.S. Out Now! 

AFGHANISTAN - Longest War in U.S. History

U.S. Hands Off!

Syria • Palestine • Korea, • Venezuela • Haiti

Saturday, October 7

7- 9:30 pm

Niebyl Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave. Oakland (at 65th Street) 


Cindy Sheehan, Peace and social justice activist and producer/host of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox

Walter Riley, Haiti Action Committee; Haiti Emergency Relief Fund

Jeff Mackler, UNAC Nat'l Admin. Comm.; author, "Syria: Anatomy of Another U.S. Imperialist War;" Socialist Action

Judy Greenspan, Workers World Party and International Action Center: speaking on Korea

Alan Benjamin, Editor/National Organizer, Socialist Organizer: speaking on Venezuela/Latin Amderica 

Sponsor: United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

Co-sponsors: Initial list/co-sponsors welcome: Haiti Action Committee • Socialist Organizer • Socialist Action • Workers World Party • Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal • Hands Off Syria Coalition • International Action Center  

Donation requested: No one turned away for lack of funds For information call 510-268-9429






Week of:  7 October 2017

It's time to resist!  TOGETHER!


For decades, determined activists around the world have been resisting occupation, militarism, and foreign bases on their lands.  Their struggles have been courageous and persistant.  Uniting our resistance into a global action for peace and justice will make our voices louder, our power stronger and more radiant. 

This fall, during the first week of October, we invite your organization to plan an anti-militarism action in your community as part of the first annual Global Action Against Military Bases. As we resist together to abolish war and stop the desecration of Mother Earth, we create a world where every human life has equal value and a safe environment in which to live. This is the beginning of an annual effort that will better unite our work and strengthen our connections with each other. Will you join us in this united effort to resist war?


On October 7, 2001, in response to the events on September 11, the United States and Great Britain launched the "Enduring Freedom" mission against Afghanistan. These military forces began their assault on a country already battered by the Soviet invasion and years of a devastating civil war. Following 9/11, a new doctrine of Permanent Global Warfare was established, and its destabilizing impacts have drastically worsened since that fateful day.

We live in an increasingly more volatile world with ever- expanding global wars. Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan are just some of the hot spots. War has become a strategy for global domination. This perpetual state of war is having a devastating impact on our planet, impoverishing communities and forcing massive movements of people fleeing from war and environmental degradation.  

Today, in the Trump era, global warfare is intensifying rapidly. The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreements accompanies a destructive energy policy that ignores science and eliminates environmental protections, with consequences that will fall heavily on the future of the planet and all who live on it. 

The use of such weapons as the MOAB, "the mother of all bombs," clearly shows the ever more brutal course of the White House. In this framework, the richest and most powerful country, which possesses 95% of the world's foreign military bases, regularly threatens military intervention against other major powers.  This pushes Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other countries to grotesquely expand their own militaries, leading to worsening global tensions and instability.

It is time to unify all those around the world who oppose war. We must build a network of resistance to US bases, in solidarity with the many years of active resistance movements in Okinawa, South Korea, Italy, the Philippines, Guam, Germany, England, and elsewhere.

On October 7, 2001, the world's richest country began its perpetual military assault and occupation of Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest nations. We propose the week of October 7, 2017 as the first annual GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST MILITARY BASES. We invite all communities to organize solidarity actions and events sometime during the first or second week of October. Each community can independently organize a resistance that meets their own community's needs. We encourage community organizing meetings, debates, public speaking events, vigils, prayer groups, signature gathering, and direct actions. Each community can choose its own methods and locations of resistance: at military bases, embassies, government buildings, schools, libraries, public squares, etc. To make this possible, we need to work together as a united front, giving strength and visibility to every initiative. Together we ARE more powerful.

As Albert Einstein said: "War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished." Will you join us?  Let's make this possible, together.

With the deepest respect,

First signatories

NoDalMolin (Vicenza – Italy)

NoMuos (Niscemi – Sicily – Italy)

SF Bay Area CODEPINK (S. Francisco – USA)

World Beyond War (USA)


Hambastagi (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan)

STOP the War Coalition (Phiilippines)

Environmentalists against War (USA)



CODEPINK Fall Action at Creech:  

Oct. 5 to Oct. 12    (All welcome!)

(Oct. 7 is the 16th Anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan)

SHUT DOWN CREECH: Spring 2018: Apr. 8-14.  (National Mass Mobilization to Resist Killer Drones)

(Thanks to Sandy Turner, from Ukiah, CA, for sharing this link!)

The Pentagon and CIA now have Brett Velicovich, their own drone veteran and CEO of an "online drone retail store" (Dronepire, Inc. and Expert Drones) , to glorify drone killing. Shameful that NPR couldn't ask the very difficult and important questions.  Lots of public education is needed to help people separate fact from fiction!

Would love for someone to do research on this guy!

Please listen to this interview (filled with misinformation), and consider joining us at Creech in the fall and/or spring to be a voice against the slaughter.  

(Dates below).

Life As A 'Drone Warrior'

NPR interview "with Brett Velicovich about his memoir, Drone Warrior, which details his time hunting and killing alleged terrorists using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places."


PS:  We should have a massive letter writing and phone calling to NPR for this totally biased and dangerous misrepresentation!



The Fight to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

A fight Against Racist U.S. Capitalism

Having finally been properly treated for his Hepatitis-C, Mumia is now trying to show that his case was compromised by a prosecutor (Castille) who later sat in judgement over the appeals of his conviction, after being elected to a judgeship on the PA Supreme Court. Mumia has won "discovery" of documents that should show this prosecutor's role in framing Mumia. If proven, this could overturn Mumia's negative appeals rulings, and open the case to new examination. 

But will the court allow this evidence to be brought forth? This is now in question!

Will you help?  Get the latest update:

Mumia Is Innocent and Framed!

Free Mumia Now!

Join Us In a Public Meeting:


7 pm, Friday 27 October

 Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library

6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

(near Oakland/Berkeley border on Telegraph)

Featured Speaker: Rachel Wolkenstein

Lawyer for Mumia from the beginning of his case. 

Other speakers, and solidarity with anti-fascist fighters.

Sponsor: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal






4 likeSolidarity Statement from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners




Labor Studies and Radical History

4444 Geary Blvd., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94118




(call 415.387.5700 to be sure the library is open for the hours you are interested in. We close the library sometimes to go on errands or have close early) suggested)

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on all major holidays and May Day 

We can arrange, by request, to keep the library open longer during the day or open it on weekends. Just ask.


  • Reference Librarian On-site
  • Email and Telephone Reference
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Online Public Access Catalog 
  • Microfilm Reader/Printer
  • DVD and VCR players
  • Photocopier
  • Quiet well-lighted place for study and research 

For an appointment or further information, please email: david [at] holtlaborlibrary.org 





Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director




To give by check: 

PO Box 411074

San Francisco, CA


Stock or legacy gifts:

Noelle Hanrahan

(415) 706 - 5222



MEDIA ADVISORYMedia contact: Morgan McLeod, (202) 628-0871




Washington, D.C.— Despite recent political support for criminal justice reform in most states, the number of people serving life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984. 

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds a record number of people serving life with parole, life without parole, and virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, equaling one of every seven people behind bars. 

Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 

The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   

Press Conference Details

WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 


  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983

The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.




When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.


Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore; WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.


Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.


Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 


Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.


Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   


Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.


Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.


Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.


Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 





My Heartfelt "Thank You!"

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago I received a message from both of our lawyers, Bob Boyle and Bret Grote, informing me that the latest lab tests came in from the Discovery Requests.  

And they told me that the Hepatitis C infection level is at zero and as of today I'm Hepatitis C free. 

This is in part due to some fine lawyering by Bret and Bob who—remember—filed the suit while I was in the throes of a diabetic coma, unconscious and thus unable to file for myself.  

But it's also due to you, the people.  Brothers and sisters who supported our efforts, who contributed to this fight with money, time, protests and cramming court rooms on our behalf, who sent cards, who prayed, who loved deeply.  

I can't thank you all individually but if you hear my voice or read my words know that I am thanking you, all of you. And I'm thanking you for showing once again the Power of the People. 

This battle ain't over, for the State's cruelest gift is my recent diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver. With your love we shall prevail again.  I thank you all. Our noble Dr.'s Corey Weinstein, who told us what to look for, and Joseph Harris who gave me my first diagnosis and who became the star of the courtroom by making the mysteries of Hep C understandable to all.  An internist working up in Harlem, Dr. Harris found few thrills better than telling his many Hep C patients that they're cured.  

This struggle ain't just for me y'all. 

Because of your efforts thousands of Pennsylvania prisoners now have hope of healing from the ravages of Hepatitis C. [singing] "Let us march on 'til victory is won." So goes the old Negro Spiritual, "The Black National Anthem." 

We are making it a reality. I love you all.

From Prison Nation,

This is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Prison Radio, May 27, 2017


Court order to disclose DA files in Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case [video]

This 9-minute video gives background on new revelations about conflict of interest -- an appeals judge who had previously been part of the prosecution team -- in upholding the 1982 conviction of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on charges of killing a police officer:


A ruling to implement a judge's recent order for "discovery" could be made on May 30.

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.

The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

This date of this order is April 28, but it was docketed today, May 1, 2017.

This is a critical and essential step forward!


Dear Friend,

For the first time- a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia's appeal.   In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney's office is finally being held to account.  Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the DA to produce all of the documents relevant to former PA Supreme Court Justice's role in the case. Castille was first a supervisory ADA during Mumia's trial, then District Attorney, and finally as a judge he sat on Mumia's appeals to the PA Supreme Court. 

This broad discovery order follows just days after the arguments in court by Christina Swarns, Esq. of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter, Esq. of Widner Univ.

During that hearing, Swarns made it clear that the District Attorney's practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castile's conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence.  Evidence the office hid for years.  This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia's quest for justice.  

In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.  

"The Commonwealth  must  produce  any  and  all  documents  or  records  in  the  possession  or  control  of  the Philadelphia  District  Attorney's  Office   showing   former   District   Attorney   Ronald   Castille's   personal   involvement   in the  above-captioned  case  ... and public statements during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia."

It is important to note that the history of the District Attorney's office in delaying and appealing to prevent exposure of prosecutorial misconduct and the resulting justice.  At every turn, there will be attempts to limit Mumia's access to the courts and release.   it is past time for justice in this case.  

Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

Prison Radio is a 501c3 project of the Redwood Justice Fund. We record and broadcast the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression. If you support our work, please join us.

www.prisonradio.org   |   info@prisonradio.org   |   415-706-5222

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Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Packed Off to Florida!

Rashid: I'm off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054

by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson


Packed off to Florida

Following Texas prison officials planting a weapon in my cell on March 26, 2017, then stealing most of my personal property on April 6, 2017, in an ongoing pattern of retaliation for and attempts to repress my writing and involvement in litigation exposing and challenging abuses in Texas prisons, including their killing prisoners, I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017.

This transfer came as outside protests mounted against the abuses, and Texas officials became more and more entangled in a growing web of their own lies invented in their efforts to cover up and deny their reprisals against me, and also while a contempt investigation was imminent upon a motion I filed in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of one of the prisoners they'd killed – a killing I'd witnessed and publicized.

Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas's slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.

The Welcoming Committee

Following a four-hour flight from Texas to Florida, I was driven in a sweltering prison van from an airport just outside Jacksonville, Florida, to the FDC's Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler, Florida. I was forced to leave most all my personal property behind in Texas.

Upon reaching RMC, I was brought from the van, manacled hand and foot into an enclosed vehicle port, where I was met by a mob of white guards of all ranks. I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me.

I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me. "This is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" said the spokesman.

Their "chosen" spokesman, a tall goofy guard, R. Knight, stepped forward and launched into a speech consisting of threats and insults. He emphasized that I was "not in Virginia or wherever else" I'd been. That "this is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" He assured my "Black ass" that my tendency to protest "won't be tolerated here."

He went on and on, like an overseer explaining the plantation's code of decorum and the "place" to a newly arrived Black slave. The analogy is apt. "You will answer us only as 'no sir' and 'yes sir,' 'no ma'am' and 'yes ma'am.' You forget this and we'll kick your fucking teeth out," he barked.

I was then taken through the various stages of being "processed" in: fingerprinted, examined and questioned by medical staff etc. Knight took possession of my property and stole a number of documents and all my writing supplies (five writing tablets, four ink pens, 19 envelopes, stamps), all my hygiene supplies (deodorant, shampoo, two bars of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers) and so on.

All these items that I brought with me from Texas were inventoried and logged by Texas officials. Knight logged and inventoried me as receiving from him only my watch, some legal papers, 15 envelopes and my eyeglasses.

Next, I was taken into an office and sat before a Sgt. L. Colon, RMC's "gang (or STG, Security Threat Group) investigator." He proceeded in the same hostile terms. He explained that he knew all about me and his displeasure with my published articles about prison abuses, and he assured that FDC would put an end to it. He admitted his purpose was to put an STG profile on me, refer it to FDC's central office in Tallahassee to be upheld, and I would then be put on STG file, which in turn would be used to stop my writings.

He proceeded to ask about me being a "Black Panther leader" and, using a thoroughly amateur interrogation method, attempted to have me characterize myself and my party as a gang. When his efforts failed, he charged me with being a "bullshitter." I told him only that I am a member of a constitutionally protected, non-violent communist party and whatever false stigma he wanted to try and invent against me and us was typical of fascist governments and we'd address it publicly and in court. Our "interview" was terminated.

Another nurse did my medical history check, remarking that my blood pressure reading was extremely high, 145/103. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Upon arriving in Florida, I had not received my hypertension medications since the prior morning. The sweltering heat was aggravating my condition. During the intake process a routine blood pressure check was done and my reading was around 145/103. The nurse who did the reading passed me on to another nurse who did my medical history check, remarking that my reading was extremely high. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Barbaric housing

Following completing the intake process, I was walked a substantial distance across the prison yard carrying my bag of property in handcuffs and the sweltering midday heat, dizzy from my elevated blood pressure.

I was led to K-building, the solitary confinement unit, where I was put into a cell, K-3-102, which had no bunk in it and had a commode that had to be flushed by guards from outside the cell – often they would not flush it when it needed to be and I asked them to. The commode had otherwise been obviously left unflushed for long periods, because inside the bowl was and is a thick, yellowed layer of calcium and waste residue and it reeked of fermented urine and feces.

Just before I entered the cell, it was wet-mopped, not to sanitize it, but to cover the entire floor with water that would not, and did not, dry for over a day afterward due to the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation in the cells. There is no air conditioning in the cell blocks and, unlike in Texas, FDC prisoners may not have in-cell fans.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them and I believe also roaches that frequently crawled into the cell. At night, in the pitch black cells – and even when the lights were on – mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them. At night, even when the lights were on, mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

The K-building lieutenant, Jason Livingston, posted a special note outside my cell door stating I was on a heightened security status, that I and the cell were to be specially searched any time I exited or entered the cell, that I was to be specially restrained and the ranking guards had to accompany me to and from any destination outside the cell. The pretense was that I was an extreme physical threat.

I was denied my hypertension medications until I briefly fell unconscious on the evening of June 24, 2017.

Following sending word out to an attorney and others about my conditions and experiences, who apparently raised complaints on my behalf, I was moved to a "regular" cell, K-1-204, on June 30, 2017, with a bunk and a commode I can flush. I was repeatedly confronted by various guards who've commented that I'm no dangerous person and they don't understand why I've been profiled or treated as though I am.

A week later FDC officials would come clean, exposing on the record their actual motives for my mistreatment, and "special" security status.

Solitary confinement for publicizing abuses

My readers and others will recall when, in January 2017, I was given a disciplinary infraction by Texas officials for a statement I wrote about suffering their abuses that was published online. When confronted about such retaliatory acts by a PBS reporter, Ms. Kamala Kelkar, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark initially lied, denying that I received any such infractions, until Ms. Kelkar emailed him a copy of the charge I'd received. He then suddenly changed his story, lying yet again to claim the infraction had been overturned, then declined to answer any further questions.[i]

Clark knew enough to deny and try to cover up such acts of retaliation against a prisoner exercising his right to freedom of speech. Florida officials, however, have come right out admitting and exposing such actions.[ii]

On July 6, 2017, I was confronted by RMC classification officer Jeremy Brown, who notified me that I am to be formally reviewed for placement on Close Management I status, which is the FDC's name for solitary confinement. The reason he gave for this review was the exact STG pretext Sgt. L. Colon told me on my first day was going to be created to justify suppressing my writings about prison abuses.

Brown served me written notification stating my CMI review was based upon my alleged "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group that is certified by the Threat Assessment Review Committee in Central Office." Remember, this is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

My assignment to solitary confinement is for "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group" … This is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

But FDC officials went much further in supporting "comments" to state their true motives for devising to put me in solitary and for my mistreatment up to that point.

As Colon had threatened, an STG label was invented against the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a party about which Colon admitted he and the FDC had no prior knowledge. The reason the party was designated an STG and gang was because (get this!) I'd written articles while in Oregon and Texas prison systems that were published online about abuses in the prisons which generated concern and perfectly legal protests from the public, which was characterized as my gang following that "caused disruption in the orderly operations" of the prisons.

The notice went on to admit, as I've long contended in my writings, that these writings are the actual reason I've been transferred from state to state – illegal retaliatory transfers – which was characterized as STG activities.

Passing mention was made that I'd received disciplinary infractions while in Oregon and Texas, but no attempt was made to show those infractions bore any connection to my party affiliation. In fact, those who have followed my writings and the series of official reprisals – which is now being admitted by FDC officials – know those infractions were fabricated retaliations, many of which I was prevented from contesting.

So, according to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations – or in other words throwing a monkey wrench in their business-as-usual abuses.

According to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations.

For this I am to be thrown into solitary, which means any future posting and publishing of writings by me about prison abuses will be characterized as my continuing to engage in STG or gang activities, and any legal public protests as my gang members threatening prison security.

I didn't make this up, it's all in writing; read it HERE (scroll down to "SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS"). This is where taxpayers' monies are going in financing these ubiquitous gang busting units. And should you protest, you will be labelled a gangster yourself. I won't belabor the point.

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

[i] Kamala Kelkar, "Resistence Builds Against Social Media Ban in Texas Prisons," PBS NewsHour Weekend, Jan. 29, 2017, 5:23 p.m. EST

Send our brother some love and light – and share this urgent story widely. The more people who write to him now, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, 7765 S. Cr. 231, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054.











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)



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










        1)  The President Demands Silence From Colin Kaepernick





        1)  The President Demands Silence From Colin Kaepernick

        President Trump showed an awkward sense of timing in denouncing Colin Kaepernick, the former Super Bowl quarterback who last season began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police injustice against minorities. He tweeted on Saturday:

        If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....

        His demand for Mr. Kaepernick's silence came two days after The New York Times reported on another form of silence that comes with the privilege of dedicating your life, breaking your body and soul, to be in the N.F.L. Doctors, it said, had found a severe level of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., in Aaron Hernandez, the 27-year-old former New England Patriot who committed suicide in April while imprisoned on a murder sentence. His brain showed the kind of damage usually seen in players in their 60s.

        C.T.E.'s toll on players' health – a recent survey found C.T.E. in the brains of 110 of 111 former N.F.L. players examined — was of no concern to Mr. Trump. At a political rally in Alabama on Friday, the president complained about referees penalizing teams for excessive violence. Demonstrating with his fists colliding, he referred to a "beautiful tackle" that earned a 15-yard penalty. "They're ruining the game," he said.

        He dismissed a fear that has led thousands of parents to keep their children from playing football, as casually as he disregarded the fears of Mr. Kaepernick for the safety and dignity of young black and Hispanic men off the field.

        "Wouldn't you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired,' " he said at Friday's rally.

        Mr. Kaepernick has essentially gotten that message already from the Trump-loving owners of N.F.L. teams, none of whom have even offered him a backup position despite a striking level of mediocrity among even many starting quarterbacks.

        But the president was not just speaking to Mr. Kaepernick. His message was to anyone who would protest racial injustice or inequity. Shut up. Stop complaining. That's his message of privilege.

        Mr. Trump also took on Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors after Mr. Curry let it be known that he would probably skip his team's visit to the White House to celebrate their N.B.A. championship. A miffed president used Twitter to disinvite Mr. Curry.

        In reacting to this presidential snub, Cleveland's head of state, King James, provided the best response to all this.

        "U bum," LeBron James of the Cavaliers told Mr. Trump on Twitter, "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"



        2)  Playing Tackle Football Before 12 Is Tied to Brain Problems Later

        "(A separate study published by researchers at Boston University in July found that 110 out of 111 brains of deceased former N.F.L. players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.)"

         SEPT. 19, 2017


        Athletes who began playing tackle football before the age of 12 had more behavioral and cognitive problems later in life than those who started playing after they turned 12, a new study released on Tuesday showed.

        The findings, from a long-term study conducted by researchers at Boston University, are likely to add to the debate over when, or even if, children should be allowed to begin playing tackle football.

        The results of the study by researchers at Boston University, published in the journal Nature's Translational Psychiatry, was based on a sample of 214 former players, with an average age of 51. Of those, 43 played through high school, 103 played through college and the remaining 68 played in the N.F.L.

        In phone interviews and online surveys, the researchers found that players in all three groups who participated in youth football before the age of 12 had a twofold "risk of problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive function" and a threefold risk of "clinically elevated depression scores."

        "The brain is going through this incredible time of growth between the years of 10 and 12, and if you subject that developing brain to repetitive head impacts, it may cause problems later in life," Robert Stern, one of the authors of the study, said of the findings.

        The study is consistent with earlier findings by Stern and others that looked specifically at N.F.L. retirees. That research found that retirees who started playing before 12 years old had diminished mental flexibility compared to those who began playing tackle football at 12 or older.

        A growing number of scientists argue that because the human brain develops rapidly at young ages, especially between 10 and 12, children should not play tackle football until their teenage years.

        Last year, doctors at Wake Forest School of Medicine used advanced magnetic resonance imaging technology to find that boys between the ages of 8 and 13 who played just one season of tackle football had diminished brain function in parts of their brains.

        The N.F.L., which long denied that there was any link between the game and brain damage, has in recent years been promoting what it considers safer tackling techniques aimed at reducing head-to-head collisions.

        More recently, the league has been promoting flag football as an even safer alternative, an implicit acknowledgment that parents are worried about the dangers of the sport and turning away from it.

        Participation in tackle football by boys ages 6 to 12 has fallen by nearly 20 percent since 2009, though it rose 1.2 percent, to 1.23 million, in 2015, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

        Schools across the country have shut their tackle football programs because of safety concerns and a shortage of players. Large numbers of children have shifted to other sports like flag football, soccer, baseball and lacrosse.

        The new Boston University study looked only at behavioral changes, based on the phone and online surveys.

        There was no examination of physical changes in the brain. (A separate study published by researchers at Boston University in July found that 110 out of 111 brains of deceased former N.F.L. players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.)

        Still, the findings are yet more evidence that have contributed to an existential crisis for the game, from youth leagues to the N.F.L. Pop Warner, the most established youth football organization in the country, has reduced the amount of contact in practice – where the majority of head hits occur – and changed game rules, including banning kickoffs, one of the most dangerous plays in the game.

        Jon Butler, the executive director of Pop Warner, said in a statement that the sport has changed significantly for the better since the players in the Boston University study participated decades ago. He said the organization's medical advisory committee will review the study and "compare it against the number of recent studies that contradict these findings."

        Pop Warner is facing a class-action lawsuit asserting that it knowingly put players in danger by ignoring the risks of head trauma.

        Last year, the Ivy League decided to eliminate tackling at practicesduring the regular season. The Canadian Football League made a similar announcement last week.

        USA Football, the governing body for the sport, is introducing a 7-on-7 version of football that includes measures, like players starting in a two-point stance, designed to reduce the risk of head hits.

        Other groups, like Practice Like the Pros, suggest that only flag football be played through the sixth grade and a limited version of tackle football in 7th and 8th grades.

        "The curiosity about head injuries and the correct age to play full contact is peaking," said Terry O'Neil, the group's founder. "Tackling is the culprit. Everybody associated with the game is worried about the participation numbers."



        3)   Actor Michael Rapaport Takes A Knee, Unloads On 'Dumb Motherf—ker' Donald Trump

        In a fiery video posted to social media, the "Boston Public" actor spoke in support of football player Colin Kaepernick and the NBA's Stephen Curry.

        By Dominique Mosbergen


        Taking a knee in solidarity with football player Colin Kaepernick and speaking up in support of Golden State Warriors' superstar Stephen Curry, actor Michael Rapaport used social media on Saturday to deliver an expletive-filled takedown of President Donald Trump, calling him a "dumb motherfucker" and a "son of a bitch."

        "You took away his invitation ... to meet you? Motherfucker, no one from the NBA is fucking with you," Rapaport, 47, said in an clip posted to Twitter and Instagram, referring to Trump's decision to rescind a White House invitation to Curry.

        "[Kevin Durant], Lebron [James], Steve Kerr, Greg Popovich, Yao Ming, Larry Bird, nobody is coming to fuck with you, man. No one wants to meet your ass," Rapaport continued, listing an array of current and former NBA stars and, in Kerr and Popovich, two of the league's most prominent coaches.

        Trump was lampooned and lambasted by NBA players and fans after he said in a Saturday tweet that he was withdrawing a White House invitation to Curry and possibly the entire Warriors team, winners of the NBA championship last June.

        Curry had previously expressed reluctance to accept such an invitation, saying on Friday that the Warriors could "send a statement" by refusing to visit the White House. "

        "By not going, hopefully it will inspire some change for what we tolerate in this country and what we stand for, what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye toward," Curry told reporters during the Warriors' media day. 

        Trump took aim at more than just the NBA and the Warriors this weekend.

        On Friday, during a speech in Alabama, the president called for athletes who protest during sporting events to be fired. He also implicitly referred to Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested racial injustice by symbolically taking a knee while the national anthem played, as a "son of a bitch."

        Joining a chorus of team owners, coaches, athletes and other celebrities who have expressed support of Kaepernick, Rapaport skewered Trump over his comments and filmed himself taking a knee in solidarity with the NFL player.

        "You were talking shit about Kaepernick saying 'get that son of a bitch off the field,' No, you fat motherfucker, get that son of bitch out of the motherfucking White House," the actor said.

        On Saturday, Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem. Singer Stevie Wonder took not just one, but "both knees … for America" during a performance in New York City.

        People on social media have also expressed support for Kaepernick and other protesting athletes.

        The term #TakeTheKnee was trending on Twitter on Saturday and early Sunday. Some used the hashtag to criticize the silent protests as unpatriotic. Many others, however, championed athletes' first amendment rights and lauded their use of celebrity status to advocate for important social causes.



        4)  Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee

         SEPT. 25, 2017




        In early 2016, I began paying attention to reports about the incredible number of unarmed black people being killed by the police. The posts on social media deeply disturbed me, but one in particular brought me to tears: the killing of Alton Sterling in my hometown Baton Rouge, La. This could have happened to any of my family members who still live in the area. I felt furious, hurt and hopeless. I wanted to do something, but didn't know what or how to do it.

        A few weeks later, during preseason, my teammate Colin Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench during the national anthem to protest police brutality. To be honest, I didn't notice at the time, and neither did the news media. It wasn't until after our third preseason game on Aug. 26, 2016, that his protest gained national attention, and the backlash against him began.

        That's when my faith moved me to take action. I looked to James 2:17, which states, "Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." I knew I needed to stand up for what is right.

        I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.

        After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it's a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.

        It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it's exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.

        It should go without saying that I love my country and I'm proud to be an American. But, to quote James Baldwin, "exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

        I can't find words that appropriately express how heartbroken I am to see the constant smears against Colin, a person who helped start the movement with only the very best of intentions. We are talking about a man who helped to orchestrate a commercial planeful of food and supplies for famine-stricken Somalia. A man who has invested his time and money into needy communities here at home. A man I am proud to call my brother, who should be celebrated for his courage to seek change on important issues. Instead, to this day, he is unemployed and portrayed as a radical un-American who wants to divide our country.

        Anybody who has a basic knowledge of football knows that his unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field. It's a shame that the league has turned its back on a man who has done only good. I am aware that my involvement in this movement means that my career may face the same outcome as Colin's. But to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "A time comes when silence is betrayal." And I choose not to betray those who are being oppressed.

        I have too often seen our efforts belittled with statements like "He should have listened to the officer," after watching an unarmed black person get shot, or "There is no such thing as white privilege" and "Racism ended years ago." We know that racism and white privilege are both very much alive today.

        And it's disheartening and infuriating that President Trump has referred to us with slurs but the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., as "very fine people." His remarks are a clear attempt to deepen the rift that we've tried so hard to mend.

        I am nevertheless encouraged to see my colleagues and other public figures respond to the president's remarks with solidarity with us. It is paramount that we take control of the story behind our movement, which is that we seek equality for all Americans, no matter their race or gender.

        What we need now is numbers. Some people acknowledge the issues we face yet remain silent bystanders. Not only do we need more of our fellow black and brown Americans to stand with us, but also people of other races.

        I refuse to be one of those people who watches injustices yet does nothing. I want to be a man my children and children's children can be proud of, someone who faced adversity and tried to make a positive impact on the world, a person who, 50 years from now, is remembered for standing for what was right, even though it was not the popular or easy choice.



        5)  Pharrell Williams 'Takes a Knee' as Artists Join Anthem Protest

         SEPT. 25, 2017




        The singer and producer Pharrell Williams is the latest entertainer to show solidarity with N.F.L. players protesting President Trump's call to fire players who refuse to stand during the national anthem.

        At a charity show on Sunday in Charlottesville, Va., where violent demonstrations took place in August, Mr. Williams said, "I'm in Virginia right now, I'm home. Can't nobody tell me what to do if I want to get on my knees right now." He then dropped onto both knees.

        Mr. Williams's display follows a wave of demonstrations across the country on Sunday as N.F.L. players knelt or locked arms during the national anthem in defiance of Mr. Trump. The "Take a Knee" protest has now grown beyond the sporting world, and entertainers and performers are joining in.

        The symbolic action began in August 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, then the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, knelt to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Mr. Trump stirred up the issue anew by saying said in a speech on Friday and then in a series of tweets over the weekend that players who do not stand during the anthem should be fired.

        In Charlottesville, Mr. Williams paused between songs to say: "For the people of my city, for the people of my state, that's what that flag is for. When I think about the potential of this country and the potential of this state, potential of these people, potential of this amazing university, there is only one word that I feel on the inside." The artist then began singing his Grammy Award-winning hit "Happy."

        Other performers have joined the "Take a Knee" demonstration. At the Global Citizen Festival in New York on Saturday, Stevie Wonder knelt on stage and said, "Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America. But not just one knee. I'm taking both knees."

        Mr. Wonder made the gesture again the following night, at the same Charlottesville show where Mr. Williams was performing. Mr. Wonder was on stage with Dave Matthews Band when he took to two knees, and Dave Matthews joined him in the stance.

        The rapper known as Posdnuos, from the hip-hop group De La Soul, took to one knee at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. The actor and singer John Legend posted a picture on Instagram of him performing the gesture during a show in Hamburg, Germany. In Tennessee, the Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder got one on knee at the Pilgrimage Festival.

        Eight principal cast members of the Broadway show "1984," a theatrical adaptation of the George Orwell novel, got down on one knee at the curtain call of Sunday's matinee.

        At football games on Sunday, two singers knelt during their performances of the national anthem. In Nashville, "The Voice" runner-up Meghan Linsey and her accompanying guitarist took to one knee after she finished singing the anthem. In Detroit, the singer Rico Lavelle got one on one knee at the word "brave."

        The hip-hop artist J. Cole said on Twitter on Sunday that fans should be boycotting the N.F.L. "God bless every player that finds courage to kneel today," he wrote, adding: "But the real power comes from you deciding to not watch."



        6)  In Battered Puerto Rico, Governor Warns of a Humanitarian Crisis

         SEPT. 25, 2017



        SAN JUAN, P.R. — Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a "humanitarian crisis" nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster.

        Stressing that Puerto Rico, a United States commonwealth, deserved the same treatment as hurricane-ravaged states, the governor urged Republican leaders and the federal government to move swiftly to send more money, supplies and relief workers. It was a plea echoed by Puerto Rico's allies in Congress, who are pushing for quick movement on a new relief bill and a loosening of financial debt obligations for the island, which is still reeling from a corrosive economic crisis.

        "Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, can turn into a humanitarian crisis," Governor Rosselló said. "To avoid that, recognize that we Puerto Ricans are American citizens; when we speak of a catastrophe, everyone must be treated equally."

        And Mr. Rosselló did not mince words about the potential impact on the mainland, where Puerto Ricans are expected to arrive in droves to escape the post-Maria hardships they will face on the island, including a shortage of already hard-to-find jobs.

        "If we want to prevent, for example, a mass exodus, we have to take action. Congress, take note: Take action, permit Puerto Rico to have the necessary resources," Mr. Rosselló said.

        Residents face obstacles in navigating almost every step toward a normal life, with little hope of dramatic progress anytime soon.

        At Petroamerica Pagán de Colón, an independent living apartment building in San Juan for people over 62, residents have made do with limited water and 14 floors of stairs to climb for crucial goods. Those who are disabled or too sick to climb depend on neighbors to get them food and water. Some have not been able to bathe.

        "People were abandoned for seven days," said Alejandro Melendez, a resident. "There were sick people on the floor, thrown there."

        In the coastal city of Arecibo, where water remains in short supply, residents gather around spouts to collect rain as they peer anxiously down streets for water deliveries. "They are not giving us anything, not even hope," said Cannabis Angel Nebot, 43. "At least, come around and give us hope, even if it's a lie."

        Mr. Nebot and his girlfriend, Ixia Milly Rivera, spent the weekend driving around their neighborhood trying to find water to clean off the residue of seven feet of mud Hurricane Maria left in its wake. They could not find any at City Hall. They did not fare any better at the emergency operations center, which is reserving its water for people in shelters or with special needs.

        "I have one water truck; I need 10," said David Latorre, Arecibo's emergency management director. "It was an odyssey to find food. We had to break down doors to get it. The food system collapsed."

        But Mr. Latorre was still optimistic. "I know FEMA will come," he said.

        Republicans in Washington pushed back forcefully on Monday at any suggestion that the relief effort for Puerto Rico was less aggressive than it had been for Florida and Texas.

        After facing criticism for a lack of public support for Puerto Rico, President Trump on Monday posted a series of tweets that tied the natural disaster to the island's already fragile economic situation. He said that while Florida and Texas were coping well with hurricane damage, "Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble."

        "Its old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated," he continued. "Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities — and doing well."

        The White House rejected criticism of its response.

        "The federal response has been anything but slow," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. "In fact, there has been an unprecedented push through of billions of dollars in federal assistance."

        In a visit to the island on Monday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida made assurances that Congress understood the gravity of the situation. "Our commitment is to make sure that Puerto Rico will recover stronger than ever," he said.

        Congressional leaders said on Monday that they are now awaiting assessments of the damage in Puerto Rico, as well as a formal disaster request from the Trump administration, before they can act. A request is not expected until early- to mid-October, according to senior congressional aides.

        But Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said on Monday that Puerto Ricans on the island "are entitled to equal treatment under the law."

        The Federal Emergency Management Agency is drawing from the same $15.3 billion pot of money that was approved this month by lawmakers in response to Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas, and Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida and damaged Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

        The director of the agency, Brock Long, and Thomas P. Bossert, President Trump's Homeland Security adviser, were both in Puerto Rico on Monday to assess the damage and Mr. Rosselló's priorities.

        Mr. Long said that the federal government had 10,000 people "working around the clock" to help Puerto Rico. Money is not the issue at the moment, he said. More pressing, federal officials say, are the obstacles to smoothly delivering water, food and other essentials to a devastated island.

        San Juan airport's airfield is damaged. And while six ports have opened, most are operating on a limited basis. Many roads remain cluttered with debris, and bridges must be checked. Getting around and finding housing for federal workers remains a challenge. And supplies and workers can't just roll in on convoys from the next state over. The nearest state to Puerto Rico is more than 1,000 miles away by sea.

        Still, Mr. Long said, ships and planes are streaming in with crucial goods.

        "We've got a lot of work to do," Mr. Long said at the news conference Monday. "We realize that Maria was 1 mile-per-hour from being a Category 5 storm, but it's the worst Puerto Rico has seen. It's been very complex for us to respond, from a logistical nature of the island."

        Reinforcements were arriving every day, officials said, including fuel, military personnel and law enforcement agents. The Puerto Rico Ports Authority said shipping companies were also sending 1,000 shipping containers with water, medicine, generators and other supplies.

        Puerto Ricans can now file damage claims with FEMA, which has sent teams to 10 municipalities to go house to house to collect information and pass it on, the governor said. More roads are also being cleared to bring food.

        With 60 percent of the island without water, and all of it without electricity, Puerto Rico's frustration is palpable across the island.

        Elí Díaz Atienza, the executive president of Puerto Rico's water authority, said the agency is running water with generators it had in stock. All of the island's waste water and water treatment plants lack electricity. "We still haven't received the ones that FEMA is going to give me, but they are working with us," he said. "We need 2,500 generators for the entire system to be running on generator power. Obviously we are not going to find that."

        Progress is being made, slowly. And congressional Democrats have teamed up with some Republicans to push hard for faster relief.

        "The situation is desperate," said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, on the Senate floor. "Puerto Rico has taken a serious punch to the gut. They need our help. They need it now."

        Some Democrats want Congress to quickly approve a relief bill but also to temporarily forgive Puerto Rico's loan repayments and remove a requirement that Puerto Rico make a contribution into the federal emergency pot, a cost-sharing arrangement that is typical for disaster-affected states.

        But Puerto Rico has little clout in the Capitol. As a commonwealth, it does not have a voting member of Congress, only a resident commissioner, something that has long shackled the island financially and politically.

        "This is what makes Puerto Rico a beggar," said Edwin Meléndez, the director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. "Our citizenship is second class. We don't have the same rights as other Americans. If we move to the states, we have those rights. In Puerto Rico, we don't."

        With the top floor sheared off Mr. Nebot's house and a swollen river a block away, he and his girlfriend say they may move to the mainland. Everything they own is doused in brown sludge.

        "Do you know what people are referring to this town as? You know 'The Walking Dead'?" Ms. Rivera said, noting that crime was sure to rise as people grew increasingly desperate. "We are afraid for our lives."

        Correction: September 26, 2017 

        An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He is Rodney Frelinghuysen, not Frelinghusyen.



        7)  Guggenheim, Bowing to Animal-Rights Activists, Pulls Works From Show

         SEPT. 25, 2017




        Facing an avalanche of criticism, the Guggenheim surrendered late Monday and said it would remove three major works from a highly anticipated exhibition of art by Chinese conceptual artists, including the signature piece of the show, which opens next month.

        The museum, in Manhattan, made the decision after it had come under unrelenting pressure from animal-rights supporters and critics over works in the exhibition, "Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World." Protesters marched outside the museum over the weekend, and an online petition demanding "cruelty-free exhibits" at the Guggenheim had been signed by more than half a million people as of Monday night.

        The three works, which all involve animals, are "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other," "Theater of the World" and "A Case Study of Transference." The pieces were among about 150 works selected for the show, mostly experimental art and many of them shocking, intended to challenge authority and use animals, in video, to call attention to the violence of humankind.

        The museum planned to show a video of "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other," in which four pairs of dogs try to fight one another but struggle to touch because they are on nonmotorized treadmills, and a video of "A Case Study of Transference," which shows two pigs having sex before an audience. But "Theater of the World" was the signature work of the show and was going to feature hundreds of live insects and reptiles milling under an overhead lamp.

        The museum said the works were being removed "out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors and participating artists."

        "Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary," it said in a statement posted on its website. "As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art. Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim."

        Criticism of the show grew quickly online, on social media and on animal-rights websites, with the initial focus on "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other." The museum tried to quell the backlash last Thursday, releasing a statement acknowledging that the work was difficult to view but encouraging patrons to consider what the piece "may be saying about the social conditions of globalization and the complex nature of the world we share."

        A spokeswoman for the museum said Thursday that "it was not a question that it would stay in the exhibition."

        But the criticism only grew over the weekend. On Monday, the president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that only "sick individuals" could enjoy watching "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other," and the American Kennel Club said that dogfighting "should not be displayed in any manner and certainly not as art."

        Two works removed by the Guggenheim have come under previous criticism.

        Huang Yong Ping, who created "Theater of the World," withdrew it from a show in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2007 rather than comply with a request from an animal rights group to remove scorpions and tarantulas from it.

        Mr. Huang said by telephone from Paris that he had no comment on the Guggenheim's action. He said the museum had not informed him about the decision to withdraw his piece.

        I am hearing about this for the first time," he said.

        Peng Yu, who created "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other" with her husband, Sun Yuan, denied her art was animal cruelty.

        "These dogs are naturally pugnacious," Ms. Peng said in an interview last year.

        Reached in Beijing on Tuesday, Ms. Peng blamed the controversy on a recent article about the exhibition. "I don't want to talk about this anymore," she said, adding that the dogs were examined by veterinarians before and after they were used in the performance.

        The Guggenheim originally agreed to include the third piece, "A Case Study of Transference," but only as a video of a Beijing performance. The boar and sow are stamped with gibberish composed of nonsensical English words and invented Chinese characters — intended to make patrons consider the relationship between the West and China.



        8)  'The Flag Is Drenched With Our Blood'

        "Michelle Alexander, author of 'The New Jim Crow,' has put it more starkly: 'More African-American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.'"

          SEPT. 28, 2017




        Yes, Donald Trump has once again used racial hostility to rouse his base and is reveling in the achievement.

        According to The New York Times, when Trump's advisers appeared lukewarm about the uproar he created by chastising, in the coarsest of terms, N.F.L. players who chose to quietly kneel to protest racial inequality and police violence, "Mr. Trump responded by telling people that it was a huge hit with his base, making it clear that he did not mind alienating his critics if it meant solidifying his core support."

        Every way he is manipulating his majority-white base to oppose a majority-black group of private citizens is disgusting. Trump is disgusting.

        But I am also infuriated by his framing: that this has nothing to do with race (whenever you hear that, know that the subject at hand must have everything to do with race) and that this is just about patriotism, honoring national ritual, celebrating soldiers, particularly the fallen, and venerating "our flag."

        What this misses is that patriotism is particularly fraught for black people in this country because the history of the country's treatment of them is fraught. It's not that black people aren't patriotic; it's just that patriotism can be a paradox.

        Many black people see themselves simultaneously as part of America and separate from it, under attack by it, and it has always been thus.

        W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago about this sensation:

        "It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."

        It is through that haze of hurt that black people see the flag, because the blood memory of the black man is long in this country.

        Let's start this story from its ghastly beginning.

        Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., citing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Database, writes that an estimated 10.7 million people survived the voyage — called the Middle Passage — from their homelands to North America, the Caribbean and South America, between 1525 and 1866. Of those, about 390,000 made it to North American soil. This was about 3 percent of the total who survived.

        PolitiFact wrote: "Historian Herbert Klein of Columbia and Stanford Universities, who worked on the database, said that the data suggest about 85,000 people destined for North America did not survive the trip across the Atlantic."

        The overall slave trade in North and South America caused about 1.8 million deaths. There was so much human flesh being tossed over the sides of those boats — or jumping— that sharks learned to trail the boats to feast on it.

        As Haaretz wrote in 2014 in an interview with Marcus Rediker, the author of "The Slave Ship: A Human History":

        "There are descriptions of coerced cannibalism, the hanging of innocent individuals by their toes, the amputation of limbs, feeding by means of the 'speculum oris, the long, thin mechanical contraption used to force open unwilling throats to receive gruel and hence sustenance,' branding with white-hot metal rods, starvation to death, shackling with handcuffs or by chains to other captives, and rape." And this was just onboard the ships.

        And while the percentage of slaves brought to the United States was relatively small, American owners bred slaves like cattle.

        As the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History put it, "Well over 90 percent of enslaved Africans were imported into the Caribbean and South America." Only a small fraction of African captives were sent directly to British North America, and "yet by 1825, the U.S. had a quarter of blacks in the New World."

        Furthermore, "While the death rate of U.S. slaves was about the same as that of Jamaican slaves, the fertility rate was more than 80 percent higher in the United States."

        Those children faced a harsh and uncertain future, including a strikingly high mortality rate. As Rebecca Tannenbaum's book "Health and Wellness in Colonial America" points out:

        "While good data is hard to come by, estimations of infant mortality (deaths among infants up to a year old) among African-Americans during the 18 century ranges from 28 to 50 percent. Child mortality (children from one year to 10 years old) was also high — 40 to 50 percent."

        This says nothing of the untold number of older children and adults who died during captivity in America due to cruelty, starvation, exposure, assault, and lynching and other forms of murder.

        We often hear about the 620,000 people who died during America's Civil War (in recent years, scholars have estimated the number was actually higher), trying either to eradicate slavery or save it, but what we hear less often is that black people were included in that number.

        According to the National Archives:

        "By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war — 30,000 of infection or disease."

        After the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, the terror continued. According to the N.A.A.C.P.:

        "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched, 3,446 were black. The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched."

        Then, there are America's heinous and racially biased state-sponsored executions. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been 1,460 executions since 1976, when the Supreme Court effectively lifted a moratorium on the death penalty. Almost 35 percent of those executed were black, although the proportion of black people in the country hovers around 13 percent.

        In fact, the the youngest person executed in America in the 20th century was a 14-year-old black boy named George Stinney. He was convicted in a rushed miscarriage of justice in which the jury was selected (all white), the trial was conducted (it lasted only a few hours, and his appointed lawyer didn't ask a single question) and the verdict was rendered (after only 10 minutes of deliberation) all in the span of single day.

        The 5-foot-1, 95-pound Stinney was so small in the electric chair that they had to use a book as a booster seat. Some say it was a phone book; others say it was the Bible.

        This is to say nothing of the disastrous effects of mass incarceration and the chaos unleashed by sucking so many young people, particularly young men, out of communities.

        As the Pew Research Center put it in 2013, "The incarceration rate of black men is more than six times higher than that of white men, slightly larger than the gap in 1960."

        Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow," has put it more starkly: "More African-American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began."

        And then come police shootings. According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, there have been 730 police shootings so far this year, putting 2017 on track to match or surpass the number of shootings in 2015 and 2016. But here again there is a racial imbalance: black people represent nearly a quarter of those shot but only about an eighth of the general population. When you look at unarmed victims, blacks make up nearly a third of that cohort.

        Throughout most of this pain and bloodshed, some version of the flag has waved.

        So how dare anyone suggest that people simply rise and conform to custom when they feel the urgent need to protest. How dare America say so cavalierly, "Forgive us our sins and grant us our laurels," when forgiveness has never been sufficiently requested — nor the sins sufficiently acknowledged — and the laurels are tainted and stained by the stubbornness of historical fact. How dare we even pretend that the offenses have been isolated and anomalous and not orchestrated and executed by the nation?

        So those football players should take a knee if they so choose. If America demands your respect it must grant you respect and the first order of that respect is equality and eradicating the ominous threat of state violence.

        People upset with those who kneel seem to be more angry about black "disrespect" than black death. (Here, I need to applaud the non-black players who demonstrated their solidarity in the cause of free speech and equality.)

        We have to accept that different Americans see pride and principle differently, but that makes none of them less American.

        Indeed, we Americans see the flag itself differently. As the civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer once said, "The flag is drenched with ourblood."



        9)  A Boondoggle Masquerading as Tax Reform

        "It would help millionaires, with the 400 richest households saving an average of $5.5 million, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities."

         SEPT. 27, 2017




        After months of secret negotiations, the Trump administration and congressional leaders have come up with a tax plan — sort of. What they have really come up with is a wish list of tax cuts for the wealthy, with lots of "we'll get back to you on that" promises where the details are supposed to be.

        This much is clear: The tax "framework" published by Republican leaders on Wednesday would greatly increase the federal deficit, would not turbocharge economic growth and could leave many middle-class families worse off by ending deductions they rely on. It would do little or nothing to improve the lot of the working class, a group President Trump says he is fighting for. It would instead provide a windfall to hedge fund managers, corporate executives, real estate developers and other members of the 1 percent. And can it be just a happy coincidence that Mr. Trump and his family would benefit "bigly" from this plan?

        On income taxes, the framework calls for reducing the top tax bracket to 35 percent, from 39.6 percent, which would benefit people earning $418,400 a year or more. It would also raise the rate for people in the lowest bracket to 12 percent, from 10 percent. Republicans say they will offset that particular burden by roughly doubling the standard deduction to $24,000 for a couple ($12,000 for a single person). In addition, the proposal would eliminate most itemized deductions except mortgage interest and charitable donations. This could greatly hurt middle-class families in New York, California and other states with high local and state taxes that the families will no longer be allowed to deduct from federal taxes.

        Under the guise of helping small businesses thrive and thereby creating jobs, the Republicans propose to lower the tax rates paid by people who earn money through private equity firms, partnerships, limited liability companies and other businesses — the very entities that Mr. Trump earns much of his income from. The framework would tax such so-called pass-through income at 25 percent, rather than at ordinary income tax rates. But here's a depressing truth: The administration's claims to the contrary, the plan would not help most small businesses, since they already pay less than 25 percent because their incomes put them in lower tax brackets. It would help millionaires, with the 400 richest households saving an average of $5.5 million, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

        Republicans want to eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which is primarily paid by upper-income families with lots of deductions. This tax accounted for a vast majority of the income tax Mr. Trump paid in 2005, according to a leaked copy of his return. And the framework would do away with the estate tax, which applies to estates larger than $5.49 million for an individual. Just 0.2 percent of the people who die every year owe the tax, and eliminating it would cost the government $269 billion over a decade.

        On corporate taxes, Republican leaders want to lower the rate to 20 percent, from 35 percent. Corporations already pay a much lower effective tax rate. The leaders say they will close unspecified tax breaks, leaving Congress to fill in the blanks in the coming months. The framework would impose a reduced rate on profits that American businesses earn overseas, but does not say what that rate would be. This could create a strong incentive for companies to move more income to foreign subsidiaries to game the tax system.

        In addition, companies that have been keeping foreign profits overseas in anticipation of a tax cut would be allowed to bring that money home at a special discounted tax rate, which — surprise, surprise — the plan does not specify. Going by the precedent of a similar tax holiday in 2004, most of the profits that companies repatriate would benefit shareholders, not workers, according to analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

        It's hard to predict the economic impact of these skeletal proposals. But most experts agree that they could raise the federal budget deficit by trillions of dollars. As they have so many times in the past, Republicans will surely argue that the cuts would spur growth, and, in some measure, pay for themselves. This is the old supply-side hooey. In fact, over time the increased borrowing for unproductive tax cuts could depress growth by driving up interest rates.

        There are important public purposes that could justify increasing the deficit — repairing the country's dilapidated infrastructure, for instance, or paying for hurricane recovery efforts. Making the rich richer is not one of them.



        10)  Washington Set Puerto Rico Up for Disaster

        "By 2015, 46.1 percent of the population was living under the poverty line, including about 60 percent of the island's children."

         SEPT. 28, 2017




        It's been more than a week since I've had any word in New York from my 93-year-old father in Puerto Rico. He lives in Coamo, a town in the path of the worst storm to hit the island since 1928. My experience has been shared by millions of Puerto Ricans in the diaspora since Hurricane Maria wreaked its havoc on Sept. 20.

        The so-called natural disaster wiped out the deteriorating infrastructure of the entire commonwealth, destroying homes and roads, and leaving Puerto Rico without electricity. Estimates are that it will take months to make the grid fully functional again. The loss of communications has meant no news at all from the more remote communities like Coamo, which is also my hometown.

        This wasn't just nature's work. Another type of storm had been pounding the island long before last week. With no real representation in Washington, Puerto Rico has always been subject to the whims of stateside politicians unaccountable to the island's people. More than half a century ago, tax breaks lured industry from the mainland to Puerto Rico, but in recent decades those advantages were yanked back. That set the stage for vulture hedge funds to swoop into the vacuum, but left hospitals, schools, electrical and communications grids too underfunded and fragile to weather a Category 4 hurricane.

        The immediate cause of the humanitarian crisis we're witnessing now was a one-two punch by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. But the seeds for it were sown by a public debt crisis that has made life harder and harder for Puerto Ricans in recent years. The island tried to meet draconian debt payments by making disastrous cuts to public services. Those measures pushed Puerto Ricans out of work and into poverty. By 2015, 46.1 percent of the population was living under the poverty line, including about 60 percent of the island's children. The governor at the time, Alejandro García Padilla, declared the debt unpayable and began defaulting on debt payments.

        The cruelly named Promesa law ("promesa" means "promise" in Spanish) passed by Congress last year was supposed to resolve the debt crisis and right Puerto Rico's economy. But any meaningful recovery for Puerto Rican families remains a distant hope. The commonwealth's tight budget has made life on the island impossible for hundreds of thousands of families. They migrated to the mainland; in Central Florida, they were arriving daily by the hundreds before hurricane season.

        Then came Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Immediate needs on the island include search and rescue, getting communications back up and clearing roads to get goods and help to people who need it. Beyond that, though, Puerto Rico needs Congress to help it recover from the devastation wrought by economic strategies that have failed the island for decades.

        Congress and the Trump administration cannot hide behind the Financial Oversight Board created by Promesa — a semi-colonial entity that in effect controls Puerto Rico's future. To undo the damage done by years of neglect and abuse by corporations that strip-mined profits out of Puerto Rico with federal blessing, Congress must act to create conditions for a sustainable economy.

        That plan must begin with the collapsing health system. Puerto Rico is in urgent need of the $295 million in Medicaid funding that Congress approved in the spring, and additional funds to rebuild a system that is putting some of the country's sickest, poorest and most vulnerable citizens at risk. Congress must also make an exception to the Jones Act for this and future emergencies, so that ships with supplies can go directly to the island instead of being forced to make port in the mainland United States first. And whatever emergency assistance the Federal Emergency Management Agency sends must come with no strings attached.

        It's time we faced facts about Puerto Rico's debt: as former Governor Padilla said, it's unpayable. The only thing Promesa has done for the people of Puerto Rico is put a temporary stay on claims from bondholders and other creditors. Even as he acknowledged the disaster, President Trump reminded people on Monday that the island, "which was already suffering from broken infrastructure and massive debt, is in deep trouble."

        It would be immoral to insist that before Puerto Ricans can rebuild their homes, hospitals, schools and roads, they must pay back this onerous debt. Instead, repayment must be postponed, maybe even eliminated. The banks that have benefited from the debt must take their own losses and let people come first.

        Already, the vultures have been circling. Even as Maria hit Puerto Rico, hedge fund creditors were filing motions in court to further their claims to be repaid — sparing no thought for need for rescue, recovery and rebuilding in the coming months.

        A good model for recovery and moving forward is the Marshall Plan, which Washington passed into law after World War II to help rebuild the economies of Western Europe, restoring confidence and prosperity for generations.

        In the past few years, Puerto Ricans like me across the United States have come together to support our families still on the island, and to demand an end to the cuts that have made life harder and harder for our parents, our brothers and sisters. We will send help to them and our communities, but we must also defend them in the States, by resisting any measures from Washington that will make matters worse.

        As the president of a union that represents thousands of Puerto Ricans along the East Coast — from Boston to New York to Florida — I will push our congressional representatives to extend the moratorium on the debt service and create a comprehensive plan to get the island back on its feet.

        In the past, terrible storms like the one in 1928 set Puerto Rico back. I hope we can use this opportunity to make changes that will leave the island more resilient.

        As I await news from my family, I think about the long road back to normality ahead of us. And I hope our fellow Americans will stand in solidarity with us and demand lasting relief from the crisis we face today.

        All we really need, like the tropical forests crippled by the storm, is an opportunity to grow again, in a sustainable and more equitable way.



        11)  Marijuana Arrests Continue

        More arrests for marijuana than for violent crime last year

        By Phillip Smith


        Despite spreading marijuana legalization and a growing desire for new directions in drug policy, the war on drugs continues unabated. According to the FBI's latest Uniform Crime Report, released Monday, overall drug arrests actually increased last year to 1.57 million, a jump of 5.63 percent over 2015. The increase includes marijuana arrests, which jumped by more than 75,000 last year compared to 2015, an increase of 12 percent.

        That comes out to three drug arrests every minute, day in and day out, throughout 2016. It's also more than three times the number of people arrested for violent crimes. Drug offenses are the single largest category of crimes for which people were arrested last year, more than burglaries, DUIs or any other criminal offense. 

        Unlike previous years, this year's Uniform Crime Report did not immediately make available data on specific offenses, such as drug possession or drug sales, nor did it break arrests down by type of drug, but the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) obtained marijuana arrest data by contacting the FBI. It reported some 653,000 people arrested on marijuana charges last year, although the FBI did not provide data on how many were simple possession charges. 

        While that figure marks a decline from historic highs a decade ago—pot arrests peaked at nearly 800,000 in 2007—the sharp jump in pot arrests last year demands explanation, especially as it comes after a decade of near continuous declining numbers.

        "Arresting and citing nearly half-a-million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty," said MPP communications director Morgan Fox. "Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested."

        Despite the lack of specific offense data, 2016 is unlikely to turn out markedly different from previous years when it comes to the mix of drug arrests. Past years typically had simple drug possession offenses accounting for 85-90 percent of all drug arrests and small-time marijuana possession arrests accounting for around 40 percent. 

        That means of the more than 1.5 million drug arrests last year, probably 1.3 million or so of them were not drug kingpins, major dealers, gangbangers, or cartel operatives. Instead, they were people who got caught with small amounts of drugs for personal use. 

        "Criminalizing drug use has devastated families across the U.S., particularly in communities of color, and for no good reason," said Maria McFarland Sánchez Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Far from helping people who are struggling with addiction, the threat of arrest often keeps them from accessing health services and increases the risk of overdose or other harms." 

        Perpetuating the war on drugs leads not only to the criminalization of millions, but also perpetuates racially biased outcomes and heightens racial tensions in the U.S. Black people make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population and use drugs at similar rates to other ethnic groups, but they constitute 29 percent of all drug arrests and 35 percent of state drug war prisoners. 

        And it has a huge negative impact on immigrants, fueling mass detentions and deportations. Non-citizens, including legal permanent residents—some of whom have been here for decades and have U.S. citizen family members—face deportation for even possessing any drug (except first-time possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.) Between 2007 and 2012, more than a quarter million people were deported for drug offenses, including more than 100,000 deported for simple drug possession. 

        In 2016, the Obama administration set the tone on drug policy and criminal justice matters, yet the number of arrests still went up. Now, with the "tough on crime" Trump administration, these disappointing numbers may be as good as it gets for the next few years. 

        Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.



        12)  After the Tsunami, Japan's Sea Creatures Crossed an Ocean

        "this mass migration was the result of not just the huge natural disaster, but changes in human behavior. Such large numbers of marine animals were able to cross the Pacific because they rode on debris — made of materials like plastic and fiberglass — that proved durable enough to drift thousands of miles."

        SEPT. 28, 2017




        John Chapman inspected a derelict vessel from Japan that had washed ashore on Long Beach, Wash. Hundreds of species from Japanese coastal waters were carried across the Pacific on floating debris generated by the 2011 tsunami. CreditRuss Lewis

        TOKYO — The towering tsunami that devastated Japan six years ago also unleashed a very different sort of threat onto the distant coastline of North America: a massive invasion of marine life from across the Pacific Ocean.

        Hundreds of species from the coastal waters of Japan — mostly invertebrates like mussels, sea anemones and crabs — were carried across the Pacific on huge amounts of floating debris generated by the disaster, according to a study published Thursday in Science. Less than a year and a half after the enormous earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, left more than 18,000 dead or missing in Japan, the first pieces of wreckage began washing up on the shores of Canada and the United States.

        To the surprise of scientists, the debris was covered with sea creatures that had survived crossings that in some cases had taken years.

        The study's authors say it is too early to tell how many of these tiny invaders have gained a foothold in North American waters, where they could challenge or even displace native species. While such "rafting" of animals across oceans happened in the past, the authors say the Japanese tsunami is unprecedented because of the sheer number of organisms that it sent across the world's largest ocean.

        And this points to one of the main findings of the study: that this mass migration was the result of not just the huge natural disaster, but changes in human behavior. Such large numbers of marine animals were able to cross the Pacific because they rode on debris — made of materials like plastic and fiberglass — that proved durable enough to drift thousands of miles.

        These synthetics, the use of which has taken off around the world, can stay afloat for years or even decades. The debris that was dragged out to sea by the 2011 tsunami formed an unsinkable flotilla capable of transporting a large population of organisms across the world's largest ocean.

        "We have created a new ecological process, the process of mega-rafting," said Steven L. Chown, a professor of biology at Monash University in Australia, who was not involved in the report, but wrote a commentary that also appeared in Science. "The development of materials that can float for ages, and the rising levels of seas due to climate change, make the possibility of these events larger and larger."

        This flotsam ranged in size from coolers and motorcycle helmets to entire fishing boats and even larger objects, teeming with living sea animals that were native to the coastal waters of Japan, but foreign to North America.

        The larger the object, the more animals it carried. One of the first pieces of tsunami debris that appeared was a 180-ton floating dock that washed ashore in Oregon in June 2012. It was carrying a diverse mini-ecosystem of more than 120 different species.

        This was our first heads up, that this was the vanguard of what might be coming from Japan," said one of the report's co-authors, James T. Carlton, a professor emeritus of marine sciences at Williams College. "After that, we got a steady stream of reports of boats, buoys and other debris, all with Japanese markings, and all carrying an amazing cross section of Japanese sea life."

        Dr. Carlton called it remarkable that such a wide range of species — which also included barnacles, worms and tiny filter-feeders called bryozoans — could survive the journey across the northern Pacific. In many cases, these passages took years, longer than the life spans of the individual organisms. The authors concluded that not only did these creatures adapt to an open ocean where food was scarcer than in rich coastal waters, they were also able to reproduce, in some cases for at least three generations, before reaching the North American coast.

        "We found that hundreds of species could survive for multiple generations at sea," said Dr. Carlton, who is a former director of William's Maritime Studies Program in Mystic Seaport, Conn. "They could do this so long as their rafts did not dissolve or sink."

        To conduct the study, the authors relied on more than 200 volunteers, including state park rangers and beachcombers, to find and examine some 634 pieces of debris that washed ashore from 2012 to earlier this year. While there was concern in the early days that some debris might have been contaminated from the nuclear accident at Fukushima that was caused by the tsunami, Dr. Carlton said such worries quickly eased after tests showed no traces of radioactive contamination.

        The washed up objects were found to carry 289 invasive species from the western Pacific. While most were invertebrates, a few vertebrates survived the journey, including a small number of emaciated fish that were trapped inside the water-filled hulls of half-sunken fishing boats.

        All told, thousands of pieces of debris from Japan washed up on North American coasts from Sitka, Alaska, to Monterey, Calif., and as far afield as Hawaii. Since the authors and volunteers were only able to inspect a fraction of these objects, Dr. Carlton said he believes hundreds more species likely made the crossing.

        It is unclear how many of these will actually gain a foothold in North America. It takes years for an invasive species to establish a viable population, and these may be hard to spot on so long a stretch of coastline. Most of the newcomers will simply vanish in a Darwinian process of selection that Dr. Carlton likened to "a game of ecological roulette."

        Species that do prosper can cause enormous environmental and economic damage, especially if they supplant native species upon which coastal communities depend for livelihoods. The study concluded that such disruptions will become more frequent as the use of plastics and other synthetics proliferates. Nor does it take an event as rare as a giant tsunami to launch the next invasion fleet. Dr. Carlton pointed to Hurricane Irma, which blew large amounts of plastic debris from devastated Caribbean islands onto Florida's beaches.

        "We have loaded the coastal zones of the world with massive amounts of plastic and materials that are not biodegradable," he said. "All it takes is something to push this into the ocean for the next invasion of species to happen."



        13)  Two Confessions and Claims of Misconduct in Murder Case

        The Staten Island district attorney convicted a man of murder 23 years ago. A lawyer who has investigated the case for five years says he wasn't the killer.

        SEPT. 29, 2017




        In the rainy early morning of July 4, 1992, two armed men pushed their way into a drug stash house in a third-floor apartment of a Staten Island housing project, not far from the ferry terminal. It was a robbery: hardly the first in the crime-ridden neighborhood of New Brighton in those crime-ridden times.

        Within minutes of the break-in, a gunfight erupted and a young drug dealer, Cynthia Browning, was dead with a bullet in her head. Her boss, Alton Staley, was shot in the neck by the robbers, but remarkably survived.

        Months went by without a solid break in the case. But detectives eventually arrested a local man named Foster Thompson, who was 28 at the time and had a history of robbery and gun charges. Over the next two years, Mr. Thompson was tried twice for killing Ms. Browning and shooting Mr. Staley. The first attempt resulted in a mistrial, but he was convicted on the second and sentenced to a maximum of life in prison.

        But now, after more than two decades, a lawyer who has spent the last five years investigating Mr. Thompson's case is claiming he was wrongfully convicted and is trying to persuade the Staten Island district attorney's office to reopen the matter. The lawyer, Abe George, has presented prosecutors with a dossier of videotapes, witness statements and a disputed police report — all of which has been reviewed by The New York Times.

        The striking amount of evidence Mr. George has amassed suggests his efforts are more than just a case of a lone lawyer on a quixotic quest. His dossier includes suggestions that evidence may have been withheld at Mr. Thompson's trial and that the former prosecutor who won the conviction had a questionable relationship with a witness after entering private practice. Mr. George has even managed to get confessions from two people who said that they took part in the fatal armed robbery, not Mr. Thompson.

        "From the inception of the case," Mr. George said in an interview this month. "I knew that there was something wrong here."

        In a recent statement, the Staten Island district attorney's office said that it had spent a year conducting "a thorough investigation of the allegations" , but added that there was "insufficient evidence" to set aside the jury's verdict. The statement said that prosecutors would "look at any additional facts if they are brought to light."

        Unlike the Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn district attorneys' offices, the Staten Island office has no unit devoted to identifying wrongful convictions. Questionable cases are usually considered first by the district attorney's executive team and then assigned for investigation to a prosecutor.

        At Mr. Thompson's second trial, the lead prosecutor, Mark Macron, obtained a guilty verdict largely by relying on the testimony of two main witnesses. One was the injured Mr. Staley who had his own legal problems at the time. On the night he was shot, Mr. Staley was found in the stash house with a gun and drugs. But after he testified against Mr. Thompson, he was never charged with a crime.

        Prosecutors claim they never struck a deal with Mr. Staley, but long after the trial had ended, Mr. George tried to interview him to see if that indeed was true. By that point, however, something unusual had happened: Mr. Macron had left his job in the district attorney's office and started representing Mr. Staley as a private lawyer.

        In October 2015, Mr. George wrote an email to the prosecutor's office, saying that Mr. Macron had denied him "permission to interview his former witness and present client" — a decision he referred to in a follow-up note as "egregious" and "unacceptable." The prosecutors responded, saying in their own email, that they would "not be seeking any judicial intervention based upon a purported conflict of interest."

        In an interview this month, Mr. Macron said he was simply following his client's wishes in denying a request to talk about the case. "I talked to Staley about it," Mr. Macron said. "He didn't want to speak with Abe George.

        Mr. Macron added that Mr. Staley needed no encouragement to testify against Mr. Thompson who, he said, had shot him the neck.

        The other main witness against Mr. Thompson was a drug addict named Denise Concepcion. When she was first interviewed by the police, Ms. Concepcion was unable to identify him as the killer. But that changed after prosecutors called her to testify against him, on the threat of arrest, with a material witness warrant. Mr. Macron said the warrant was needed because Ms. Concepcion was terrified of the defendant.

        And so, at trial, Ms. Concepcion told the jury that as she was walking up to visit Ms. Browning in the stash house on the night of the shootings, she saw two men lingering in the hallway. One, she claimed, was Mr. Thompson, who was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. The other was Mr. Thompson's alleged accomplice, Gilbert Franklin, who was wearing a denim jacket. (Mr. Franklin was also convicted and is serving time.)

        But then last September, as his investigation deepened, Mr. George received a piece of evidence that seemed to contradict Ms. Concepcion's story. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, he got hold of a detective's report, called a DD-5, in which a different witness claimed that it was not Mr. Thompson in the hallway wearing the red sweatshirt, but a man she knew as "Tony."

        Trial records show that Mr. Thompson's first lawyer, who has died, was at least aware of this witness, but Mr. George claims that the DD-5 itself was never turned over. Mr. Macron and officials in the district attorney's office dispute that claim.

        In either case, Mr. George was interested in "Tony." From the moment he started working on the case, Mr. George had heard from Mr. Thompson's family that the real killer was a man named David Clark, a Jamaican native who often went by the street name "Jamaican Tony." The family, moreover, knew Mr. Clark: He was married to Mr. Thompson's sister, Candice.

        Last year, lending some credence to what was in the detective report, Candice Thompson gave a statement to the district attorney's office that implicated both herself and "Jamaican Tony" in the crime. Opening herself to prosecution, she admitted that she had been at the stash house when Mr. Clark and another man committed the fatal robbery, not her brother and Mr. Franklin.

        Armed with this account — and with the DD-5 — Mr. George asked the prosecutors if they would send an investigator to speak with Mr. Clark, who was living in Jamaica. But no one ever went, he said.

        And so in February, Mr. George went to Jamaica with his own investigator, Eddie Dowd, and Mr. Clark's daughter, Davina Thompson. Davina Thompson was there, he said, to lure her father to a meeting: She had told him that she had won a free trip to the island and invited him to visit her at a resort. When Mr. Clark showed up, Mr. Dowd confronted him and eventually persuaded him to give a videotaped statement in which he, too, confessed to having committed the robbery himself.

        "I am convinced more than ever that Foster Thompson is an innocent man who is needlessly rotting in jail for a crime committed by Jamaican Tony," Mr. George wrote in an email to the district attorney's office shortly after he returned from Jamaica. Because he believed that the prosecutors still trusted the original testimony of Mr. Staley and Ms. Concepcion, Mr. George continued in his email: "There need not be a debate on the 'credibility' of Staley and Concepcion because surely you can agree that the evidence we have obtained to date (i.e. video confessions of both Jamaican Tony and Candice Thompson) would warrant a hearing."

        Mr. George has not yet filed a formal motion for a hearing, but he did try another method of bolstering his case. A few months ago, he asked the district attorney's office if he could test the red sweatshirt that Mr. Thompson had supposedly worn at the scene of the crime for D.N.A. evidence, hoping he could show that it had actually been worn by Mr. Clark — or "Tony." The sweatshirt, however, had been lost by the police years ago, trial records show.

        In a memo to the district attorney's office, Mr. George offered his own theory of the case, suggesting that prosecutors had used the Browning case as a way to pressure Mr. Thompson into giving information on other crimes. Two months before he was arrested in the killing Ms. Browning, Mr. Thompson was taken into custody by federal agents who believed that he had robbed a bank on Staten Island and that his relatives were involved in other robberies.

        In his memo, delivered in the spring, Mr. George claimed that the district attorney's office had used the threat of murder charges as "leverage" to persuade Mr. Thompson to implicate himself and his family in the robberies, and to identify his partner, Mr. Franklin, in Ms. Browning's death.

        In a telephone interview from prison this month, Mr. Thompson supported that claim, saying that Mr. Macron had sought his cooperation in a meeting when he was still in federal custody.

        "Macron told me that if I was to help him help the feds with their bank robbery case, then the murder case would disappear," he said. "I said, 'I didn't rob no bank' and he knew I didn't commit no murder. So there was nothing I could help him with."

        But Mr. Macron flatly denied he ever met Mr. Thompson and dismissed the notion that he needed help in charging Mr. Franklin, saying, "There was plenty of ballistic evidence." According to Mr. George, while two guns found near the stash house did match those that were used to kill Ms. Browning and injured Mr. Staley, nothing ever tied them to Mr. Thompson.

        Said Mr. Macron: "There's nothing to hide here. If credible evidence comes out questioning the conviction, it should be reviewed. But just because people are making noise doesn't mean anything."



        14)   Please Rise for Our National Anthem — if You're Not Too Busy

        By   OCT. 1, 2017




        CARSON, Calif. — At the moment the public-address announcer asked fans to rise and kindly remove their caps for the national anthem, the men's room behind Section 108 was in full use, with dozens more waiting in a line that streamed out the door.

        At the concession stand, beers kept pouring. Cash kept changing hands. The 11 metal detectors here at the StubHub Center's entry gates each had more than 50 people lined up to come through. The machines kept beeping.

        Most removed their caps, but not all did. A young man with a rubber Eagle mask (the Los Angeles Chargers were playing the Philadelphia Eagles) kept it propped on his head. A girl spooned a slushy concoction into her mouth, turning her lips blue. A man and woman nudged their way through those standing still and talked through the song about the best way to find their seats the moment it ended. They did not want to miss the kickoff.

        As players continue being judged by their postures during "The Star-Spangled Banner," perhaps it is fair to turn the lens around. Those who have spent a lot of time in stadiums and arenas know that they are rarely sanctuaries of patriotic conformity and decorum.

        Across the N.F.L. on Sunday, the scenes were familiar, starting long before the games began. Anthem singers rehearsed their renditions in empty places like M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, and the words and melody carried deep into the surrounding parking lots, which were thick with revelers and barbecue smoke. When the song swept through, tailgaters continued eating, drinking and playing games, unmoved. It was not the time or place to pause for the national anthem, apparently.

        Fans were much more attentive in the minutes before the game, at least in the seating areas. On a large, wide walkway at the open end of the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium directly overlooking the field, several dozen fans ambled around during the anthem, indifferent to the song or the presentation of the flag by a color guard on the field.

        At MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., a steady flow of men entered and exited the restroom during the anthem, though it was audible through the concourse. Of the hundreds who passed near the aisle leading to Sections 103 and 104, a tiny percentage stopped, removed their hats and held their hands on their hearts. People in concession lines continued their transactions.

        At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., where the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Los Angeles Rams, many fans raised their arms during the anthem — some in a fist as a sign of protest, perhaps, but far more holding a cellphone high to better record what the players were doing.

        Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers wryly noted the contradictions inherent in the anthem-respect debate when he posted a photograph on Instagram last week, showing photographers crouched at the feet of Rodgers and his teammates, aiming cameras at them.

        "I can't imagine what kind of social media attacks these cameramen must be enduring after taking a knee during the anthem and wearing a hat," Rodgers wrote.

        If nothing else, an air of anticipation surrounds the anthem now, whether borne of patriotism or of curiosity.

        But as part of the game-day experience, the anthem has always meant different things to different people. For some, it is something to cherish; for others, something to endure. For most, it is the biggest signal that the game is about to start.

        Until the past couple of weeks, the anthem was rarely seen by television viewers; it was a time for broadcasters to show commercials. At stadiums, seats are usually not yet full.

        The anthem itself is a two-minute pause amid the anticipation of a violent game, and guidelines for decorum are mostly unwritten and local. Many fans use the lyrics to express home-team allegiances. Kansas City fans shout that theirs is the home of the "Chiefs!" rather than "the brave" at the end of the song. It is not uncommon for individuals to pierce the pauses between lines to express love for the home team or disdain for the visitors. Imagine a player doing that.

        The United States Code, in Title 4, Chapter 1, provides standards for presenting and respecting the American flag. They are not enforceable. After all, in Texas v. Johnson in 1989, the Supreme Court upheld the First-Amendment right to burn the flag.

        The code states that military personnel should stand at attention and salute when the flag is raised, lowered, or when it passes, and others "should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart."

        If you have been to an N.F.L. stadium, you have probably noticed many in the crowd doing that. You have probably noticed plenty of others not.

        The current controversy began last year when one of the N.F.L's roughly 1,700 players sat for the national anthem. The player, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, soon shifted to kneeling instead of sitting, and he was clear about his motivation: To call attention to racial injustice, including a string of killings of unarmed African-Americans by the police.

        His position — the physical one, at least — angered many Americans. Critics said his mere posture was the ultimate sign of disrespect.

        Yet as he knelt, Kaepernick faced the flag and solemnly kept his gaze ahead. He appeared to pay attention to the proceedings. He was not on his phone, he was not in a beer line, he was not chewing on nachos — all things that occur countless times during an anthem at just about any sporting event in this country.

        Still, the cause has remained at the forefront of the national discourse, as President Trump again trumpeted the issue through the weekend, beginning with a tweet on Saturday evening.

        "Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem," he wrote. "Respect our Flag and our Country!"

        So what counts as appropriate, and who decides? What if your hands are full because you do not have a place to set your hot dogs? What if your hat is part of the costume and cannot be removed easily? One man in at the Atlanta Falcons' game on Sunday wore a red, white and blue mask over his face during the anthem, raising the question of whether a wrong can ever be a right.

        Can you scratch an itch? Take a sip? Look at a text? Can you nod at the beer vendor so that he'll sell you a drink when the song is over?

        What if you are on the concourse, out of view of the field? Can you keep walking? Can you continue to use the urinal if you hear the anthem through the bathroom doors?

        Is the most important part to "stand," or to be "at attention?" Because Kaepernick, and most who have knelt since, broke only one of these quasi-rules.

        Many — including the president, most pointedly — have criticized the N.F.L. for creating the debate by not requiring players to stand at attention. Others suggest that the flap would not have arisen had the N.F.L. not required teams to be on the field for the anthem, a mandate that began in 2009.

        The sports world's trend toward big productions often overwhelms out the nobility and solemnity of the anthem. For example, the code also says that the flag "should never be carried flat or horizontally." The code does not specify if it is appropriate for a flag 100 yards long to be held parallel to the ground, or shaken by the people holding it when the anthem gets to lyric "that star-spangled banner yet wave," and then wadded up hastily to make way for a game about to start.

        The code states that the flag should not be worn as a costume, but "a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, fire fighters, police officers, and members of patriotic organizations." The N.F.L., apparently, has deemed itself one of those, as U.S. flag decals adorning the back of player helmets.

        It can be hard to know what counts as right anymore, and opinions are about as numerous as fans themselves. Some Jets fans at MetLife Stadium Stadium wore green T-shirts reading "I stand for the national anthem." Plenty of others around the nation wore replicas of Kaepernick's No. 7 with the 49ers.

        In Baltimore, fans and players mostly stood in solemn respect during the anthem. Before it started, however, the Ravens knelt together to pray for "kindness, unity, equality and justice for all Americans."

        The players were booed by fans — those who were not making a last-minute stop for the bathroom or a beer, at least, before kickoff.




        15) Thousands Rally in Dublin Against Ireland's Abortion Ban

        By Megan Specia, September 30, 2017


        Thousands of people marched in Dublin on Saturday to demand an end to the country's constitutional ban on abortion, one of the strictest such laws in the Western world.

        The March for Choice is an annual protest against the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which enshrines a ban on abortions, but this year it was held just days after the government announced it would hold a referendum next year that could potentially change the law.

        Saturday's rally in Ireland's capital drew demonstrators from across the country and led to solidarity events in several British cities. Crowds marched through the streets chanting slogans like "Get your rosaries off my ovaries" — a reference to the historical influence of the Roman Catholic Church on the country's laws.

        An Irish Times report estimated that 30,000 people took part. Counterdemonstrators, in small numbers, handed out fliers.

        Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, announced Tuesday that a referendum would be held in 2018 on whether to legalize abortion, at least in some circumstances. The wording of the referendum has yet to be determined, leaving uncertainty over how far it would go in overturning the restrictions.

        The Eighth Amendment, passed in 1983, gives an unborn child a right to life equal to that of its mother. At the time, Ireland was seen as one of the most conservative Catholic nations in the world, but a series of church scandals and growing secularism have the country rethinking many of its government's positions. The United Nations has called the amendment a violation of women's rights.

        Thousands of Irish women travel to Britain annually for abortions.

        In Ireland, abortions are allowed only when the life of the mother is at risk, though critics say heavy penalties and a lack of clarity around the law pose risks for pregnant women.

        The death in 2012 of Savita Halappanavar, a dentist who was 17 weeks pregnant, both reignited the debate and galvanized a new generation of abortions rights advocates. Doctors at a hospital in Galway refused to terminate her pregnancy while she was having a miscarriage. She died of septicemia.

        Heather Browning, 27, who attended Saturday's march, said conversations about abortion had become more commonplace in recent years.

        "It has kind of been changing for a while. It's become a much more mainstream thing to talk about," said Ms. Browning, who described a relaxed atmosphere at Saturday's event. "The referendum has kind of encouraged people to come out."

        Lisa Byrne, a 30-year-old from Dublin who also attended the march, said the campaign had evolved from a small group of mostly female activists to a more diverse group.

        "It isn't just young women in their 20s with trendy haircuts out here. It's everyone," Ms. Byrne said in a telephone interview. "I just saw a group of lads on their own, no women with them, who were marching together. You wouldn't have seen that years ago."

        Ms. Byrne plans to vote in the 2018 referendum but fears a full repeal of the ban might not be on the table.

        While comparisons have been made to Ireland's 2015 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage, abortion rights advocates believe this issue will be more contentious.

        "I think with the marriage equality, it was something that no one was scared to speak out on, but this is a very personal thing that people are more hesitant to speak about," Ms. Byrne said. "That is not just an Irish thing, it's international."



        16)  As Seas Warm, Whales Face New Dangers

        OCT. 2, 2017




        MOUNT DESERT ROCK, Me. — From the top of the six-story lighthouse, water stretches beyond the horizon in every direction. A foghorn bleats twice at 22-second intervals, interrupting the endless chatter of herring gulls.

        At least twice a day, beginning shortly after dawn, researchers climb steps and ladders and crawl through a modest glass doorway to scan the surrounding sea, looking for the distinctive spout of a whale.

        This chunk of rock, about 25 nautical miles from Bar Harbor, is part of a global effort to track and learn more about one of the sea's most majestic and endangered creatures. So far this year, the small number of sightings here have underscored the growing perils along the East Coast to both humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales.

        This past summer, the numbers of humpback whales identified from the rock were abysmal — the team saw only eight instead of the usual dozens. Fifty-three humpbacks have died in the last 19 months, many after colliding with boats or fishing gear.

        Scientists worry that the humpbacks may have been forced elsewhere in a search for food as the seas grow rapidly warmer and their feeding grounds are disturbed.

        "Food is becoming more patchy and less reliable, so animals are moving around more," said Scott Kraus, vice president and chief scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. "The more you move around, the higher the chance of entanglements."

        The North Atlantic right whales, which prefer colder waters, are also on a changed course — with even more dire consequences. Fifteen of the animals have died since mid-April in a population that has now slipped to fewer than 450.

        "We haven't seen this level of mortality in right whales since we stopped whaling them" in coastal New England in the 1700s, said Dr. Kraus.

        The aquarium maintains a catalog of images of North Atlantic right whales, in part to track their population levels. The pictures, spanning decades, are crucial to understanding these elusive leviathans..

        From the office computer in Mount Desert Rock's only house, researchers use 36,000 images depicting some 9,500 animals to track whales. It was on this island in the 1970s that scientists first confirmed that each whale's fluke pattern is unique. A humpback's tail is an unchanging signature and as distinctive as a face — except if it's been struck by a ship, bitten by a shark or slashed by a fisherman's gear.

        Digital algorithms make identifications a little easier, dividing the photos into categories of fluke patterns, mainly by determining how much of the tail is white or black. But researchers, including Lindsey Jones, a graduate student at the College of the Atlantic, which runs the station, must still look through several thousand images one by one to match by eye.

        It should be possible to build a better algorithm, but no one in the small, dedicated field of whale research has the funding to pay for one.

        Luckily, some matches are easy. Researchers on the island see many Gulf of Maine whales often enough that they recognize them on sight.

        The high number of humpback deaths from January 2016 to Sept. 1 of this year led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare an "unusual mortality event." No one knows exactly what's going on, but the agency's investigations attributed half of the deaths to ship strikes.

        The Gulf of Maine is warming rapidly — at one of the fastest rates on earth — and the temperature change might be causing shifts along the food chain, said Dan DenDanto, station manager at Mount Desert Rock's Edward McC. Blair Marine Research Station. As the whales follow food sources into new areas, they wander into the paths of ships and into fishing gear.

        Mr. DenDanto and several investigators with Allied Whale, a group affiliated with the College of the Atlantic, plan to begin a research project next year, analyzing bits of skin from humpbacks, collected using biopsy darts, to determine what the animals are eating and how that affects their health.

        Steven Katona, a co-founder of Allied Whale, was one of the first researchers to begin identifying whales here in the 1970s. Dr. Katona and his collaborators took pictures for the humpback whale catalog, which later confirmed their hunches that fluke patterns were consistent across a whale's lifetime.

        In 1975, they named one of the first North Atlantic humpbacks na00008, or Number 8. The whale has been spotted three times since: in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence in the 1980s, off the coast of the Dominican Republic in 1993, and earlier this year off the coast of New Jersey.

        "We have only a handful of sightings of this whale, yet these link together the efforts of collaborators spanning much of the North Atlantic," Peter T. Stevick, a senior scientist with the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog, said in an email.

        The sightings occurred in four distinct humpback habitats, providing insights into where these giants feed, breed and migrate. Another sighting matched a whale in Brazil to one observed in Madagascar — a distance of about 6,500 miles — proving that an animal the length of a school bus can travel a quarter of the way around the world.

        The catalog has also allowed researchers to see that the whales breed at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, then fan out to traditional feeding areas, from the East Coast to Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland and Iceland.

        Understanding the whales' behavior remains key to helping them survive in warming waters shared with fishermen and ships, said Judy Allen, associate director of Allied Whale.

        "These are animals that are difficult to study," Ms. Allen said. "They spend most of their lives underwater. We see a brief glimpse when they lift their tails out of the water and somebody happens to be there with a camera."

        Right whales are generally seen in the Gulf of Maine, the coast of the Canadian Maritimes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the summer. In the winter, pregnant females and others migrate along the Eastern Seaboard to the Southeast.

        They don't have distinctive flukes; their bodies are wider, and they're less graceful than their humpback cousins. So researchers identify them using the pattern of each animal's "callosity" — the roughened skin patches on their heads. Because these formations can only be seen from the top, scientists must use planes and boats to track them.

        Researchers based on Cape Cod begin flying in the winter months when right whales, which can grow as long as a five-story building, seek out food and social interaction in the waters off Massachusetts. The low-flying plane rides are so dangerous that scientists undergo "dunk training," learning to survive if the plane drops into the frigid sea, miles from shore.

        The North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog, managed by the New England Aquarium, includes images of 722 whales, chronicling the population since the early 1970s. The work has been particularly crucial this year, when there have been so many unexplained deaths.

        Twelve carcasses have turned up so far this year in Canada and three more in American waters; only five calves were born, as far as researchers can tell. The latest estimates, released by the New England Aquarium, put the population of North Atlantic right whales at 458 — but that was before this year's deaths, Dr. Kraus said.

        Flying 750 to 1,000 feet over the animals also allows researchers to check on their health, making sure they are not dragging fishing ropes or bearing new scars, said Charles "Stormy" Mayo, director of the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass.

        Right whales are baleen whales, so they filter feed, supporting their 70-ton weight — nearly as much as the Space Shuttle — solely with microscopic animals called zooplankton. That search can push whales into shipping lanes, where the animals are sometimes struck, or into the gear of fishing boats.

        Despite federal protection efforts, about 80 percent of right whales bear scars from past entanglements or ship strikes. "They are remarkably built for a life in an ocean, which unfortunately is changing," Dr. Mayo said. He worries that "they're not finding what they need where they ought to."

        "It's a perilous place to live, that's for sure," he added.

        Cape Cod Bay, one of the first places that right whales were hunted — eventually nearly to extinction — is now a favorite hangout.. After routinely seeing up to 100 per winter field season, researchers have cataloged 200 to 300 most years since 2009, Dr. Mayo said.

        Researchers at the Center for Coastal Studies are now trying to determine how plankton levels, temperature, currents, and salinity might affect the whales' movements.

        It's not even clear how right whales find their food. Christy Hudak, a research associate at the center, said she thinks the whales probably use a combination of senses.

        Amateurs also participate in whale catalogs, both to help researchers and for their own pleasure.

        Gale McCullough of Hancock, Me., has set up a Flickr page and one on Facebook where people can post sightings and share their love of whales.

        "It's important for people to see that [each whale] is an individual with a life history and a group of offspring, like us," Ms. McCullough said.

        Another dedicated amateur, Ted Cheeseman, also maintains an online public catalog of humpback sightings, linking Allied Whale's database with others around the country.

        He lets people know when a whale they once photographed has been sighted again. In the two years he's been collecting images, 1,400 people have submitted more than 60,000 shots of more than 10,000 identifiable whales.

        "The vision is that it becomes a regular thing that people understand these whales are out there, they are to be respected and valued and really appreciated," said Mr. Cheeseman, a wildlife photographer and safari company operator.

        "We've had a few cases of, 'Hey, this known whale is entangled.' People react very differently when it's 'my' whale."















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