A Call for National Emergency Meetings on the Border Migrant Crisis: July 20 – 27




Campaign for Medicare for All

At San Francisco Mime Troupe Shows In July

Dear Healthcare Activist, 

We invite you to help us collect postcards in support of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

We send the postcards to the constituent's Congress Member asking them to support HR 1384 or thanking them if they are already a cosponsor.

In July we will be asking people at many of the San Francisco Mime Troupe shows.  This year's show is about development on Treasure Island.

We will be asking people to sign postcards from noon to 2pm.

The show starts at 2pm. 

Please let us know when you can help.

___ Yes, on July 4 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at Dolores 
Park (18th St and Dolores - 5 blocks from 16th St BART)
___ Yes, on Sat. July 6 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41          
Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.
___ Yes, on Sun. July 7 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41 
Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.
___ Yes, on Sat. July 13, I can help collect HR 1384 postcards at         
Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park. Derby & Hillgrass in Berkeley
___ Yes, on Sat. July 20 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in
          McLaren Park at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco
___ Yes, on Sat. July 27 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in 
Balboa Park (San Jose Ave & Havelock in San Francisco)

I look forward to working with you.
Don Bechler
Chair - Single Payer Now

And if you would like to make a financial contribution to keep us strong, you can send a contribution to:
Single Payer Now
PO Box 460622
San Francisco, CA 94146
Or to make a credit cards contribution: Click here



Hi Carole,

We're excited to announce our new fact sheet series outlining the reasons why we should abolish war. 
  1. War Is Immoral
  2. War Endangers Us
  3. War Threatens Our Environment
  4. War Erodes Liberties
  5. War Impoverishes Us
  6. War Promotes Bigotry
  7. We Need $2 Trillion/Year for Other Things
The fact sheets are designed as printable handouts that can be used for tabling events, grassroots lobbying meetings, and much more. Each one contains a list of references, so you can learn more about any of the details mentioned.

We believe that education is a critical component of a global security system, and an essential tool for getting us there. We educate both aboutand for the abolition of war. Our educational resources are based on knowledge and research that expose the myths of war and illuminate the proven nonviolent, peaceful alternatives that can bring us authentic security.

Thank you to numerous volunteers, including Gayle, Joanne, Tim, and Ben, who helped us complete the fact sheet series!

For questions or more information about our peace education programs and volunteer opportunities, please email me at greta@worldbeyondwar.org

For a world BEYOND war,

Greta Zarro
Organizing Director
World BEYOND War

World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement – 
support our work for a culture of peace. 
World BEYOND War 513 E Main St #1484 Charlottesville, VA 22902 USA
Privacy policy.
Checks must be made out to "World BEYOND War / AFGJ" or we can't deposit them.



Solidarity with Wayfair workers in their struggle to end profiteering from im/migrant suffering!

Worker power can bring an end to the concentration camps!



Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!

Update June 3, 3029:

Forwarded message from Dr. Joseph Harris:

To All:

With a more complete history I was able to clarify:

1. Mumia is currently suffering from severe visual impairment "functionly" blind.
2. Under current conditions of incarceration his prognosis is dismal. I estimate he will be partially blind in less than 1 year and will be totally or near totally blind in 2 years.


J. Harris MD
(Please circulate)
P.S. In a subsequent email, Dr. Harris said that Mumia gave his permission to circulate this information. 

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition
2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158
3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733


50 years in prison: 

FREE Chip Fitzgerald 
Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend
former Black Panther 
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:
·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;
·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;
·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald
Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y
Sent from my iPhone



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 
Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300



Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!



    1) 'The Antithesis of Bolsonaro': A Gay Couple Roils Brazil's Far Right
    By Ernesto Londoño, July 20, 2019

    "This can wind up strengthening democracy," said David Miranda, who is at the center of an intensifying dispute with President Jair Bolsonaro.CreditCreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times

    RIO DE JANEIRO — The votes had been tallied, and the skies of Rio de Janeiro crackled with fireworks as supporters celebrated the decisive election of a far-right populist, Jair Bolsonaro, as Brazil's president.
    But not everyone was jubilant. David Miranda, a socialist Rio de Janeiro council member who had campaigned for Congress, reached for a bottle that October night to mourn his electoral loss. His husband, Glenn Greenwald, a spitfire American journalist, popped a Xanax. The political era that dawned felt like a gut punch for the gay, biracial couple.
    "We are the antithesis of Bolsonaro," Mr. Miranda said in an interview. "We're everything they hate."

    Since then, the two men find themselves on the front lines of the country's increasingly bitter political divide. In June, Mr. Greenwald's news organization published reports suggesting that Mr. Bolsonaro's main opponent in the race was improperly jailed just six months before the election, raising serious questions about the legitimacy of Mr. Bolsonaro's victory and testing the mettle of Brazil's democratic institutions.

    Now, Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Miranda — who ultimately took a seat in Congress — are under attack by Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies. They have faced death threats and, according to a conservative Brazilian website, the federal police are investigating Mr. Greenwald's finances. Government officials have neither confirmed nor denied the report, but the suggestion that Mr. Greenwald is being targeted by the state for his news reports has ignited an outcry over press freedom in Brazil.
    Mr. Greenwald — one of the two journalists who obtained and disseminated the trove of secret intelligence documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden in 2013 — said he had doubted he would ever break a more consequential story. The Snowden revelations set off a global debate about government surveillance and privacy.
    But the stakes of the exposé in Brazil seem higher in some ways, he said.
    The information published by The Intercept Brasil, a news organization co-founded by Mr. Greenwald, challenged the integrity of a wide-ranging corruption investigation that ensnared some of the most powerful figures in Brazil's political and business establishment over the past five years, landing many of them in prison.
    Among them was the leftist former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was jailed and prevented from taking part in a presidential race in which he had a large lead over Mr. Bolsonaro.
    The man presiding over that investigation, the federal judge Sérgio Moro, became a folk hero of sorts for many Brazilians fed up with graft and violence. Later nominated by Mr. Bolsonaro to be justice minister, Mr. Moro became one of the most popular members of his cabinet, lending legitimacy to the president's promise to tackle rampant crime and crack down on corruption.

    But a massive archive of private chats between members of the judiciary involved in the sprawling corruption investigation, obtained by The Intercept Brasil from a source it did not reveal, contains exchanges in which Mr. Moro appears to cross ethical and legal lines in his handling of Mr. da Silva's case.

    The exchanges show that Mr. Moro provided strategic advice to prosecutors and passed along an investigative lead. Judges must be impartial arbiters under Brazilian law. Mr. Moro has denied wrongdoing.
    "I'm a big defender of the free press, but this campaign against Carwash and in favor of corruption is bordering on ridiculous," Mr. Moro said in a statement, referring to the name of the corruption scandal.
    The Intercept Brasil's steady stream of articles has led to calls for Mr. Moro's resignation, and made Mr. Greenwald, 52, the chief target of praise and fury for those on opposite ends of Brazil's political divide.
    The scandal has also become the first test of the resilience of Brazil's democratic institutions under the leadership of a president who has spent much of his political career railing against democracy and lauding the 21-year period of repressive military rule in Brazil that ended in 1985, Mr. Greenwald said.
    "There is a huge question about what kind of country Brazil is going to be," Mr. Greenwald said during a recent interview at his heavily guarded home in Rio de Janeiro. "Will it be a country with functioning democratic institutions, or is it going to become the repressive authoritarian state that Bolsonaro desires and craves?"

    Mr. Greenwald would probably not have ended up so invested in Brazil's future were it not for a day in February 2005 when he was sitting alone on an Ipanema beach, nursing a broken heart, and a young man accidentally knocked over his drink with a ball.
    Mr. Miranda, who was then 19, apologized profusely in broken English. Mr. Greenwald, who was 37, accepted the apology and asked the young Brazilian out to dinner. Three days later, the pair had essentially moved in together, to the dismay of friends on both sides, who saw nothing but red flags as two radically different lives began to meld.
    Mr. Greenwald had a law practice in New York. Mr. Miranda, the son of a prostitute who died when he was 5, had been raised by an aunt in Jacarezinho, a poor favela in Rio, and dropped out of school at 13.
    "I was not at all the type that ever fell in love with someone at first sight," Mr. Greenwald said. "But the passion, David's intensity, it was like two asteroids colliding."
    Mr. Miranda soon enrolled in college and Mr. Greenwald began writing about national security and legal matters in a blog called Unclaimed Territory. Among his many loyal readers was Mr. Snowden, who turned over to Mr. Greenwald and the American documentary-maker Laura Poitras a huge cache of secret intelligence documents.
    In August 2013, while Mr. Miranda, 34, was transporting a memory drive with Snowden files from Ms. Poitras's home in Germany back to Brazil, he was interrogated for hours and threatened with arrest during a layover in London.

    The experience prompted Mr. Miranda to lead a campaign to get the Brazilian government to offer Mr. Snowden asylum, an effort that ignited his interest in running for office. Soon after, Mr. Greenwald started writing about Brazilian politics. The pair soon crossed paths with Mr. Bolsonaro, who represented the state of Rio de Janeiro in Congress.

    In 2014, Mr. Greenwald decided to profile Mr. Bolsonaro in The Intercept Brasil, which was then a new online news site funded by Pierre Omidyar, the American billionaire who founded eBay.
    It fell to Mr. Miranda to interview Mr. Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who was then a largely powerless representative notorious for making incendiary comments about women, gays and blacks. The story ran under the headline: "The Most Misogynistic, Hateful Elected Official in the Democratic World: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro."
    In 2017, when Mr. Bolsonaro was gearing up to run for president, he and Mr. Greenwald exchanged barbs on Twitter. After the journalist referred to Mr. Bolsonaro as a "fascist cretin," the politician responded with a crude reference to anal sex.
    Mr. Miranda ended up taking a seat in Congress in February, after a gay lawmaker in his party who had been sent death threats went into self-imposed exile. Soon after Mr. Miranda was sworn in, one of Mr. Bolsonaro's staunchest allies in Congress, Representative Joice Hasselmann, began suggesting that he had purchased his seat in Congress.
    The claim is preposterous, Mr. Miranda and Mr. Greenwald say, but it came just as Mr. Miranda was struggling to get his bearings in Congress, where most lawmakers are white and hail from privileged families. The first time he grabbed the microphone to speak, his hand trembled, he said.
    "I was feeling like I didn't belong," he said. "Everyone else seemed like they knew what they were doing."

    By April, the loneliness and alienation he felt in Brasília led to a breakdown.
    "I am not doing well," Mr. Miranda said he told his therapist, who prescribed anti-depressants. The lawmaker took two weeks off and stayed home with the two sons he and Mr. Greenwald adopted last year.
    Soon after Mr. Miranda returned to the capital, the political establishment was rocked by the first leaked Carwash chat.
    Threats and taunts against Mr. Miranda and Mr. Greenwald have kept the pair largely confined to their home. They venture out only with armed guards, sleep little and lightly, and fear for the safety of their children.
    Yet the two said they have no regrets about the cause they took on, calling it a make-or-break moment for the rule of law in Brazil.
    "This can wind up strengthening democracy," Mr. Miranda said. "It will depend on how institutions decide to act."


    2) Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law
    By Katie Benner, July 19, 2019


    WASHINGTON — More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department's implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year.
    The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners. 
    Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law.
    The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, sought to tamp down those concerns at a news conference on Friday to announce that the department had met the deadline for the prison releases, as well as other milestones of the law, called the First Step Act.

    "The timely, efficient and effective implementation of the First Step Act is a priority for the Department of Justice and this administration," Mr. Rosen said. "The department intends to implement this law fully and on time."
    In addition to the release of 3,100 inmates, the Justice Department said that it had redirected $75 million from Bureau of Prisons inmate care programs and institutional administrative funding to fully fund the law for the fiscal year that started in October.
    The department will work with Congress to obtain the funds needed for the law going forward, Mr. Rosen said, including money for services at its heart, such as vocational and job readiness training, rehabilitation and trauma care services that prisoners can participate in to earn reduced sentences.
    He also said that the department had created a tool that gauges whether inmates are ready to leave prison. The Bureau of Prisons will use the tool to screen all federal inmates to identify risk factors that could increase their likelihood of recidivism, and match them with programs aimed at reducing that risk, such as drug treatment and job training courses.
    As the law is written, inmates who had already earned credits and were eligible for early release could not leave until after the Justice Department created the risk assessment tool. Critics argued in recent months that the language did not accurately reflect the intent of the lawmakers who drafted the bill, and they pressed Congress to rewrite it so that thousands of prisoners could immediately be freed.

    That didn't happen, so the eligible prisoners had to wait until Friday for early release. Of the 3,100 prisoners released nationwide, about a third of them were subject to detainers, meaning they will go from federal custody to serve state prison sentences or they are in the United States illegally and will be released to face immigration court proceedings.
    Amid acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, the criminal justice overhaul passed overwhelmingly in December. Mr. Trump has hosted two events to highlight the law, and he is likely to tout it during his re-election campaign as one of his administration's signature achievements.

    But the overhaul had a difficult birth, partly because of opposition from Mr. Sessions, according to legislative aides and advocates who worked on it. Mr. Sessions promised to provide feedback, they said, but he eventually criticized a draft without giving lawmakers what they considered substantive recommendations or improvements.
    A representative for Mr. Sessions, who has returned to private life, disputed that characterization Friday in a statement. "The Department provided significant substantive feedback on the proposed bill over several month period both at the staff and member level," the statement said, adding, "The members also were well aware of the Department's grave concerns about the bill's large reductions in sentences for violent and serious federal criminals and the need to maintain truth in sentencing."
    Mr. Sessions was opposed to retroactively reducing sentences for drug offenders, according to a former administration official familiar with the deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to share details. Mr. Sessions also opposed sentence reductions for repeat offenders, believing that repeat criminal behavior increased the likelihood of recidivism.
    Once it was clear that Mr. Trump supported the bill, Mr. Sessions began publicly backing it but privately worked through back channels to oppose it, encouraging law enforcement associations and other groups to voice their opposition to lawmakers and other stakeholders. When supporters of the bill heard about his efforts, they sought White House help to ensure its passage.

    But after Congress passed the law, they expressed concern that Justice Department officials who had sided with Mr. Sessions and remained in their jobs after he was fired in November would delay its implementation.
    "Sessions represented an all-time low for prospects for successful passage at the time and also prospects for implementation," said Holly Harris, the president of Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform advocacy group. "We're looking at a vastly improved situation," she said of Attorney General William P. Barr, who replaced Mr. Sessions in February.
    Mr. Barr assured supporters of the law that he would back its full implementation. Ahead of his confirmation hearing, he met with senators including Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the former head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was one of the bill's strongest backers. Mr. Barr said that his thinking on criminal justice had evolved, and that he no longer supported the harsh sentencing measures that he had pushed for during his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990s.
    During an interview this month after touring a federal prison in Edgefield, S.C., Mr. Barr defended the tough-on-crime measures he had supported at the time as "essential for reducing the crime rate and also tackling the crack epidemic." But with crime rates down substantially, he said he felt that the time was right to identify and free inmates who no longer constituted a safety risk. 
    "After someone has been in prison for a substantial period of time, and you can really assess whether they continue to pose a threat to the community," Mr. Barr said, "then obviously you're more inclined to modify the sentence or strike the balance in favor of some kind of monitoring that doesn't involve the heavy cost and the isolation of this kind of prison system."
    The law consists of a package of incentives and new programs designed to improve prison conditions and prepare prisoners considered low risks for recidivism to re-enter society. It also outlawed the shackling of pregnant inmates and the placement of juveniles in solitary confinement and said the Bureau of Prisons must place prisoners close to home if possible. 
    The law also makes retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which decreased the relative penalty for possession of crack versus powder cocaine.

    In the run-up to Friday's announcement, both Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen worked with Antoinette Bacon, a Justice Department lawyer who is in charge of implementation, to ensure that the department met the deadline for developing the risk assessment tool, called Pattern, and prisoner releases.
    In June, Mr. Rosen met for nearly two hours with the team creating Pattern, discussing research that showed how risk factors including age and gender affected the likelihood of recidivism. Ignoring these disparities, the committee warned, could result in early releases being applied unfairly.
    Mr. Barr met with the committee on Thursday to hear about steps to improve Pattern in the coming months as the committee gets feedback from the Bureau of Prisons and advocates about its effectiveness.
    In addition to Mr. Barr's recent visit to the medium-security federal prison in South Carolina, Mr. Rosen visited a maximum-security penitentiary in Colorado in recent weeks to discuss programming and rehabilitation efforts.
    Advocates said they were pleased that Mr. Barr was speaking positively about the criminal justice overhaul, but they called for a congressional oversight hearing about the implementation of the entire law and vowed to closely monitor the process, especially the efficacy of the risk assessment tool.
    It "has been a real mystery to a lot of groups," said Ms. Harris.


    3) Student presents thesis in underwear after professor says her "shorts are too short"
    By Chloe Farland, May 12, 2018

    A student has stripped down to her bra and underwear during her thesis presentation in protest against her professor's comments that her choice of clothing was inappropriate. 
    Letitia Chai, a senior student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, took off her clothes during her presentation, which was filmed on Facebook live, to stand up against "oppressive beliefs and discrimination". 
    Ms Chai organised the protest after her teacher allegedly questioned her choice of clothing during a test run of her thesis presentation and told her: "Your shorts are too short". 

    Describing the incident in a Facebook post, Chai wrote: "She proceeded to tell me in front of my whole class that I was inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body." 
    "I think that I was so taken aback that I didn't really know how to respond," she told the Cornell Sun
    Ms Chai said that some students in the class were also surprised by the teacher's comment but one international student agreed with the teacher and told her she had "a moral obligation to dress more conservatively" in respect for her audience. 
    "Needless to say, I was shook," Ms Chai wrote. 
    After she left the classroom, her teacher came out to talk to her and according to Ms Chai, she asked her what her mother would think of her outfit. 
    "What would my mom think? My mom is a feminist, gender, sexuality studies professor. She has dedicated her life to the empowerment of people in all gender identities. So, I think my mother would [be] fine with my shorts," she wrote. 
    When asked what she was going to do, Ms Chai replied: "I'm going to give the best damn speech of my life." 
    Writing on Facebook, Ms Chai invited others to support her on the day of her actual presentation and asked people to "strip down" to their underwear with her during her 15-minute address.
    The event was filmed on Facebook Live as Ms Chai removed her clothes and some of the students in the room joined her in support. 
    She told the audience of several dozens that this was a call for "solidarity" with students like her who had been asked to "question themselves about their appearances for the comfort of others". 
    The teacher involved told local media: "I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress. I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions."
    Following the incident, 11 of the 13 other students in the class issued a statement saying they "supported Ms Chai's commitment to the cause of women's rights" but did not agree with her recollection of the events. 
    "All of us feel that out professor's words and actions were unfairly represented in the post, with certain quotes taken out of context and we wish to clarify any misunderstandings that may have occurred," they said. 
    The students described their teacher as an "outstanding member" of the university and "a gift to Cornell". 
    "In an environment like Cornell, where it is so easy to feel dismissed by both your peers and higher-ups, she is unparalleled in her support of us," the statement read. 

    4) 'The People Can't Take It Anymore': Puerto Rico Erupts in a Day of Protests
    By Frances Robles and Alejandra Rosa, July 22, 2019

    Demonstrators and the police clashed near the governor's mansion on Monday night.CreditErika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

    SAN JUAN, P.R. — Hundreds of thousands of people swept through the capital of Puerto Rico on Monday, shutting down a major highway and paralyzing much of the city in the latest in a series of furious protests over the island's embattled governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló.
    The protest was one of the largest ever seen on the island, as Puerto Ricans streamed into the capital on buses — and some on planes from the mainland — in a spontaneous eruption of fury over the years of recession, mismanagement, natural disaster and corruption that have fueled a recent exodus.

    Ignoring sporadic deluges, demonstrators launched impromptu line dances, paraded on horseback, banged pots and carried banners along several miles of highway, many shouting: "Ricky, renuncia, el pueblo te repudia!" — Ricky, resign, the people reject you.

    Demonstrations continued until after 11 p.m., when the police began firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd in an attempt to clear the streets in front of the governor's mansion.

    Mr. Rosselló said on Sunday that he would step down from the leadership of his party and pledged not to run for re-election in 2020. But the governor, a 40-year-old former biomedical scientist and businessman, is growing increasingly isolated as a series of influential political leaders, some from his own party, have called on him to accede to public demands for an immediate resignation.
    "Governor, Puerto Rico Demands Your Resignation," the island's largest-circulation daily newspaper, El Nuevo Día, said in an unusual front-page editorial on Monday.
    The newspaper, citing an analysis by a geographer, said more than 500,000 people attended Monday's protest, which later in the day moved from the highway to the area outside the governor's residence. The organizers had not yet cited an attendance estimate, and the police said they did not plan to offer one.
    President Trump, who has frequently been at odds with Mr. Rosselló, a Democrat, over federal hurricane recovery aid, weighed in on the protests. "You have totally grossly incompetent leadership at the top of Puerto Rico," the president told reporters at the White House. "The leadership is corrupt and incompetent."
    The crisis has deepened an existential wound that has long been festering in Puerto Rico, an island of 3.2 million people that is a territory of the United States with neither official voting representation in Congress nor a vote in presidential elections. Hundreds of thousands of people have left in the past decade, as those who remained suffered through unemployment, hurricanes, economic restructuring and government-imposed austerity measures. Nearly half of those left on the island live in poverty.
    "People are tired already," said Ashley Santiago, 28, whose home in the eastern city of Yabucoa was without power for nine months after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. Then her son's neighborhood school became one of hundreds across the island that closed, victims of the debt crisis, population flight and a transition to charter schools.
    "There's an indignation that they walk all over you day after day," said Ms. Santiago, who supports the protests. "They are up there making decisions and don't see the domino effect the things they do have on the people. The people can't take it anymore."

    The long-simmering unrest erupted earlier this month when Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of transcripts of Telegram messaging app chats involving Mr. Rosselló and 11 of his friends and advisers, all of whom are men. The exchanges revealed an arrogant "bro" culture of elites who joked about making chumps out of even their own supporters. They ridiculed an obese man, a poor man, a gay pop star and several women.

    In recent days, Puerto Ricans have used a variety of phrases to explain the effect the revelation of the crass messages has had on Puerto Ricans of all stripes: The last drop that overflowed the glass. The straw that broke the back of the Puerto Rican camel.
    "It's all connected," said Dimaris Traverso, who joined the protests in San Juan. "From a bad government, to poor performance — it all connects."

    Ms. Traverso has been trying to get answers from the government about the death of her 23-year-old son from unexplained causes. But his body has been held up at the short-staffed morgue in San Juan for four weeks — in line for an autopsy, awaiting official identification, unable even to be buried. "Do you think it's easy to be here with these picket signs?" Ms. Traverso said. "Do you think we had to resort to this?"
    In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Mr. Rossello said he had apologized to some of those named in the chat but still has work to do as governor.
    "I have made a decision; I'm not going to run," he said. "I'm not going to seek re-election. And that way I can focus on the job at hand."

    "You know," he added, "I've had the biggest recovery effort in the modern history of the United States on our hands. We're battling corruption with certain initiatives that we've already started and certain new ones that we want to put out there so that we can fix the problem."

    Many Puerto Ricans see this crisis as an opportunity to rethink the difficult status quo. A fiscal control board designated by Congress has been calling many of the shots in recent years, forcing the island through strict austerity measures to manage a crippling debt crisis that caused it to declare a form of bankruptcy two years ago. Although the people and their placards are unlikely to change that, many experts here say that the protests could lead to a seismic shift in the domestic power structure, which has long been controlled by two political parties.
    Puerto Rican politics have long been dominated by the governor's New Progressive Party, which supports statehood for Puerto Rico, and the Popular Democratic Party, which favors an enhanced version of the current commonwealth status. The governor's party controls both chambers of the legislature, but most protesters are fed up with both parties.
    "There aren't two parties, there is just one, the P.L.P.: the Party of Lining Your Pockets," said Nelson Denis, the author of a book, "War Against All Puerto Ricans," about a 1950 revolution in Puerto Rico and the long history of American intervention on the island.
    Mr. Denis said the current push for change is not only over which politicians are in charge, but also what laws govern Puerto Rico's relationship with the mainland. One of the chief targets is the 1920 Jones Act, which specifies that only ships built, owned and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents can bring goods to Puerto Rico. The law is cited as one of the main reasons goods generally cost much more in Puerto Rico.

    "People get in a lather over this chat when hundreds of thousands should be marching over the Jones Act and structural issues that makes a car cost $6,000 more than it does in Miami," Mr. Denis said.
    Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan and a member of the Popular Democratic Party, said Puerto Rico faces the possibility of significant political change for the first time in years.
    "It's not that we want to blow up the system," she said. "It is that the system has imploded."
    Ms. Cruz, whose battles with Mr. Trump after Hurricane Maria made her an international celebrity, said she plans to run for governor next year. "We have to take this opportunity to look at the larger picture and see how we ended up with some of those vices of democracy that make those who have more think they deserve more, and those that have less continue to have less," she said in an interview. "We are writing a different kind of history."
    Luis Vega Ramos, a legislator in Ms. Cruz's Popular Democratic Party, said many of the measures he proposed in the past that never made it out of committee could now see new life as a result of the political tumult. Among the reforms he said are needed are campaign finance transparency, direct election of the lieutenant governor and the adoption of rules allowing Puerto Ricans to conduct citizen initiatives and recall referendums. Lacking runoff elections, he noted, Puerto Rico is now governed by a man who won just 42 percent of the vote.

    "That means 58 percent voted against him," Mr. Vega said. "People are fed up with a system they believe favors those who are close to certain candidates who are willing to engage in pay-to-play schemes. We have had corruption and ineptitude before. This is organized crime with bratty indolence."

    It is still not clear what effect the current crisis will have on the governor's quest to make Puerto Rico a state, although it is unlikely to help. The issue has long been a divisive one on the island, where people enjoy the benefits of American citizenship but cling to their own Spanish-speaking culture.
    In a 2012 vote, 54 percent of Puerto Ricans rejected the current territorial status, but they were divided on what to do as an alternative. The vast majority signaled support for statehood, but the vote on that issue wasn't given much credence because so many statehood opponents and others boycotted the question.
    "Island residents have felt for some years now that the current territorial status isn't working anymore," said Luis Fortuño, a former governor. "Said political status used to be promoted as the best of both worlds. Now it's definitely the worst of both worlds."
    He acknowledged that statehood will take a back seat to the present domestic political turmoil.
    "The current crisis trumps all other issues," he said. "The claims for equal rights and obligations of the over 3 million Americans residing in Puerto Rico will not go away."
    Tamara López's 9-year-old daughter, Libertad, died of a pulmonary disease on Sept. 20, 2017 — the day Hurricane Maria struck and health care services across the island were paralyzed. She said Puerto Ricans were ready to build a new government.
    Ms. López and a handful of other women gathered under an unforgiving sun this weekend beside several pairs of used shoes arranged in a circle. A Nike sneaker supported a Puerto Rican flag. Each tattered sandal and battered sneaker once belonged to someone who perished in the chaotic days after the hurricane, when the government lacked a cohesive emergency response plan and hospitals were plunged into darkness.
    She will never know whether her daughter died of natural causes, or because the government failed to require hospitals to have generators that could power life-sustaining equipment, she said.

    "They used that slogan, 'Puerto Rico Rises.' What did it rise for? For corruption and for them to steal millions from the health department and schools?" she said, referring to recent federal indictments in those sectors.
    "We went through the worst. We did not rise up for this. We rose up to build a new country," she said. "Now, this is what we are building."

    Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting from Miami.



    George Takei, Karen Ishizuka address controversial topic.

    July 22, 2019
    Karen Ishizuka and George Takei answer questions from the audience during a July 11 program at JANM. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

    In recent weeks, the term "concentration camp" has come up frequently in the mainstream news media, with some using it to describe government facilities where migrants seeking asylum are being held, and others saying it is inappropriate.
    With current events in mind, a program titled "What Is a Concentration Camp?" was held July 11 at the Japanese American National Museum. The speakers were Karen Ishizuka, author and chief curator at JANM, and actor/activist George Takei, a long-time member of the JANM Board of Trustees.
    JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs stressed, "It's a discussion about why JANM chose to use the term 'concentration camp.' So for us, it's not a debate because when you have a debate, you have opposing sides and you have opposing opinions. But because of … the current controversy around the use of the term 'concentration camp,' the term in a sense has become couched in the public eye as a debate. And it's also referred to in all sorts of different euphemistic ways.
    "We felt that because it was so important to JANM in the way that we use the term and why we use it and how we came to use it that we felt we would take the opportunity to have a conversation that we hope that will be educational, that will be inspiring."
    Exhibition at Ellis Island
    Ishizuka, a Sansei whose parents and grandparents were incarcerated during World War II, was the curator of an exhibition titled "America's Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience" in 1994 at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. She recalled, "I had already spent what I felt like was a lifetime trying to get myself come to grips with that … Even though I wasn't in camp, I inherited camp. The legacy of camp was always with me … I was asked to curate an introductory exhibit to the camps for people who didn't know very much about it."
    To illustrate her family history, Ishizuka showed photos — her grandfather as a distinguished gentleman before the war and in a government mugshot during the war; her grandmother and other relatives at Manzanar and Rohwer; two uncles who served in the Army, one of whom was killed the day after he helped rescue the Lost Battalion in France.
    Given that background, she said, "I came to the conclusion that only by presenting the experience from the point of view of those whose history it was … can a broad audience really grasp the understanding of it … So we thought long and hard about what words to use."
    One of her advisors, historian Roger Daniels, told Ishizuka about the distinction between "internment" and "incarceration." "Internment was under the Geneva Convention and applied to aliens ineligible for citizenship. Our Issei grandparents and parents were not able to become naturalized citizens … so they necessarily had to be made enemy aliens … Both my grandparents were picked up on Dec. 7 [1941] and sent to internment camps …
    "Incarceration came a little bit later. It was under the War Relocation Authority … There were 120,000 who were incarcerated … So the advisors from the very beginning, including [archival researcher]Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga … advised us to use the terms 'incarceration' versus 'internment,' 'forced removal' instead of 'evacuation,' and 'concentration camp' instead of 'relocation center.'"
    Ishizuka pointed out that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other government officials used "concentration camp" in reference to Japanese Americans as early as 1936. The term was also used in the 1967 book "America's Concentration Camps" by Allan Bosworth, and on plaques designating Manzanar and Tule Lake as state historical landmarks in 1973 and 1979, respectively.
    "America's Concentration Camps," a 1994-95 JANM exhibit featuring a barrack from Heart Mountain, included quotes using "concentration camp" by FDR, President Harry Truman, Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, and Mississippi Congressman John Rankin.
    Three months before the Ellis Island exhibition opened, "we got a message from the Ellis Island directors saying that unless the term the words 'concentration camp' were removed from the title, we could not proceed," Ishizuka said. "Given this mandate, Irene Hirano, who was our CEO at the time, and the board talked with the Jewish leaders that we had originally consulted four years earlier."
    Tom Freudenheim, executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, responded, "My first reaction is one of deep embarrassment as a Jew born in Hitler's Germany who lost various relatives in the Holocaust. I am deeply disturbed by the notion that Jewish Americans appear to be telling Japanese Americans about sensitivity. The internment of Japanese Americans may not be comparable to the decimation of my people, but I certainly don't feel that should prevent us from recognizing and naming America's concentration camps as precisely what they were."
    Ishizuka contacted colleagues in the community and academia, and the majority told her to "stay the course." Museum board members, including former incarcerees Takei, Norman Mineta and Bruce Kaji, felt the same way — that "we should not let anybody else tell us how to tell our own experience."
    "Six weeks before we were set to open, Sen. Dan Inouye personally appealed to Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt. He was in charge of the National Park Service, which Ellis Island is under … Eight days later, we received a message from the Ellis Island director, who suddenly reversed her earlier decision … So the U.S. government can work very quickly when it is prodded in the right way and by the right people."
    The disagreement was leaked to the press and received international coverage, but a meeting with the American Jewish Committee in New York was amicable. Ishizuka quoted Inouye as saying that "we should be working together, American Jews and Japanese Americans, and together we could prevent the question of who might be next."
    She added, "I always kind of choke up at that, thinking that it just breaks my heart about what's happening today — and how the senator would feel about that."
    "After much discussion, Benjamin Meed, who was the president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, offered a pragmatic solution," Ishizuka said. "He proposed that we write an explanation to distinguish the Nazi camps from American camps and that it be placed at the beginning of the exhibition so that the public would be further educated and it would be clear that there was no equivalency intended."
    The joint statement reads, "A concentration camp is a place where people are imprisoned, not because of the crimes they committed, but simply because of who they are. During World War II, America's concentration camps were clearly distinguishable from Nazi Germany's. Despite the difference, all had one thing in common: that people in power removed a minority group from the general population and the rest of society let it happen."
    A quarter of a century later, Ishizuka was heartened to see Japanese Americans and American Jews protesting together against the government's treatment of asylum-seekers at the border.
    "We Are Operating Such Camps Again"
    Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) characterized the detention centers for migrants as concentration camps. Takei was among the first to support her position, stating, "I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them in America [Rohwer and Tule Lake]. And yes, we are operating such camps again."
    That tweet was retweeted almost 70,000 times and received more than 233,000 likes.
    "I think it would be useful to know the dictionary definition of the words 'concentration camp,'" Takei told the audience. "It says that it is where people of a common heritage, race, faith or culture are imprisoned together for political purposes. That's a very accurate and precise definition of the camps that we were in."
    He recalled hearing a first-hand account from a survivor of Auschwitz at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Bloomfield, Mich. Sophie Tajch Klisman, 89, lost her entire family — her parents, two brothers and a sister.
    "They were camps that were intentionally created with a plan, a systematic plan, to eradicate a whole people," Takei said. "They were extermination camps. They were death camps … The word 'concentration camp' sounds like a euphemism when applied to what 6 million Jews went through."
    Turning to his own experience as a 5-year-old, he recalled accompanying his family to Little Tokyo in 1942. "My father gave my brother and me little packages to carry and he had two heavy suitcases … My mother … had our baby sister in one arm and a huge duffel bag in the other, and tears were streaming down her face. I will never forget that terrifying morning …
    "We were taken from our home, brought up right in front of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple … taken by bus to Santa Anita Racetrack, and herded over to the stables. Each family was assigned a horse stall to sleep in."
    At Rohwer, Takei said, "it became normal for me to line up three times a day to eat lousy food in a noisy mess hall … to go with my father and my brother to bathe in the mass shower … to go to school in a black tarpaper barrack and begin the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance … I could see the barbed-wire fence and the sentry tower right outside my schoolhouse window as I recited the words 'with liberty and justice for all.'"
    At the time, he didn't know how "catastrophic" the aftermath of Pearl Harbor was for his parents. "Suddenly there was a curfew. We had to be home by 8 o'clock at night and stay home until 6 a.m. … When my father went to the bank the next day to get some money, he learned that the bank account was frozen … We couldn't even get a few dollars to meet daily living expenses …
    "My parents' lives were stripped clean of everything that they had worked for. And then they were imprisoned … no charges, no trial, no due process … It was only because of our ancestry … At times of war hysteria, absolutely irrational things can be done by a whole nation."
    Takei shared what he learned about democracy from his father. "Ours is a people's democracy, and the people have the capacity to do great things … but people are also fallible human beings and people make mistakes. Our people's democracy is existentially dependent on people who cherish those noble ideals and actively engage in the process of our democracy."
    In the early 1960s, Takei performed in a civil rights musical called "Fly Blackbird," which led to participation in civil rights rallies. "The biggest one of them was at the L.A. Convention Center, where Dr. Martin Luther King was to be the keynote speaker. We were privileged to march in together with Dr. King into the sports arena … The most thrilling part of that evening was that after the rally, the cast of 'Fly Blackbird' was invited to come downstairs to Dr. King's dressing room. We met him, we got a chance to shake his hand and share a few words of conversation with him …
    "That is how I got involved in the arena of making our government and our country better than what it was, and since that time I felt it was my personal mission to raise the awareness of the internment of Japanese Americans."
    Takei has used his celebrity status to educate the public about the camps through speaking engagements, TV interviews, his autobiography, YouTube videos, the Broadway musical "Allegiance," and most recently a graphic novel, "They Called Us Enemy." He is a cast member and consultant for an upcoming TV series set in the camps, "The Terror." He now finds his message more relevant than ever.
    "Today we have other, newer concentration camps that have reached a new low," he said. "We as children … were not torn away from our parents. What is happening now on the southern border is grotesque. It's unimaginable.
    "The New York Times a few weeks ago had a front-page story on a four-week-old infant torn away from his father and then not kept on the Texas border … Children are scattered to the farthest reaches of the United States — Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey. And when the courts ordered them to bring them together, the child and the parents, this government is so incompetent that they can't find each other.
    "These children incarcerated in these cages, almost one on top of the other with only aluminum foil blankets to keep them warm, is an outrage … And if we allow this to continue, then the imagination just takes us to a horrifically chilling place."
    Takei told the audience, which included many young people, "We as Americans … must oppose what's happening today. It is constitutional to seek asylum. It is not illegal. The so-called president talks about how they came in illegally … He is a totally ignorant person who has no idea of history or of decency or humanity.
    "When we talk about concentration camps, we have to think of the humans that are involved in those words. We have a responsibility, particularly Japanese Americans who have this heritage, to take a stand, an active stand, against this kind of horror continuing."
    The presentation was followed by Q&A with the audience. To see a video of the entire program, as well as other JANM events, visit JANM's YouTube channel.

    6) When You Wear Sunscreen, You're Taking Part in a Safety Study
    By Kim Tingley, July 23, 2019

    CreditCreditIllustration by Ori Too

    The Food and Drug Administration almost never tests products itself. But in May, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a randomized trial, conducted by F.D.A. researchers, to determine whether the chemicals in four commercially available sunscreens are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Four times daily, subjects were coated in one of the formulas in an amount determined to be the maximum a person might use: two milligrams per square centimeter of skin over 75 percent of the body. Later, blood samples were drawn and analyzed. All of the sunscreen chemicals were detected in concentrations that exceeded an F.D.A. threshold past which manufacturers are required to do further toxicology tests. "People who use sunscreens very reasonably presume they have been tested and are safe and effective," says Kanade Shinkai, a dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and an author of an editorial accompanying the JAMA study. "And we don't really have that evidence."
    Legally, the U.S. regards sunscreen as a drug, meaning a substance "intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease" — in this case, sunburn and skin cancer — and/or one that affects "the structure or any function of the body." Until 1962, drugs could be sold in the U.S. without any data to support claims of their efficacy. But that year, reports that a sedative called thalidomide had caused severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Western Europe led to the Kefauver-Harris Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires drug makers to satisfy the F.D.A. that their products are safe and effective before they go on sale.

    But more than 100,000 over-the-counter drug products were already on the market, including sunscreens, each of which, under the new law, needed review. To streamline the process, in 1972 the F.D.A. sorted them into therapeutic categories (antacids, for example) as assigned "monographs," which included lists of active ingredients. If publicly available data demonstrated that these ingredients were generally safe and effective, they could be used in current and future products under conditions specified in the monograph without further review.

    Almost 50 years later, a third of the monographs, including the one for sunscreens, have not been finalized; hundreds of over-the-counter drugs currently on sale have not yet been determined to be safe and effective. (The agency blames the delay on an antiquated system and a lack of funding.) Sunscreens are unique, however, in that the way we use them has changed significantly. Decades ago, the sunscreens that Americans were dabbing on their noses were often mineral concoctions, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, that sat on the skin in a thick white cream and physically blocked the sun's rays. But as awareness grew that ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer even without burning the skin, public health experts began to advise that people wear sunscreen daily on all exposed areas of the body. (Hats, long-sleeves and avoiding prolonged sun exposure are also recommended.) This substantially increased the usage of less messy, chemical sunscreens — which contain molecules, or "filters," that can absorb a "broad spectrum" of ultraviolet light — including by pregnant women and children as young as 6 months.

    Initially, it was assumed these chemicals, like mineral sunscreens, stayed on the surface of the skin. Then, in 1997, a study published in The Lancet demonstrated that after subjects applied sunscreen, the UV filter oxybenzone was present in their urine; in 2008, a national health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found oxybenzone in 97 percent of urine samples; a 2010 study of nursing mothers in a Swiss hospital reported that 85 percent had UV filters in their breast milk. (Because UV filters are in everything from makeup to shampoo to patio furniture, sunscreen was probably not the only source.) This widespread use has raised environmental concerns: Hawaii and Key West, Fla., have recently banned sunscreen ingredients, including oxybenzone, that studies have suggested may be damaging coral reefs. Yet despite sunscreen's extensive use over decades, there has never been any indication that sunscreen chemicals are harmful to humans.
    While drugs — like other products and health recommendations — can be tested for years in clinical trials of hundreds, or even thousands, of people, this doesn't always predict how they will affect millions of people after decades of use. In the general population, dangerous side effects can remain invisible in the absence of large, long-term studies. In 2002, some six million women were using hormone-replacement drugs to relieve menopause symptoms — one chemical was substituted for another, innocuously, it seemed — when a large federal study showed that after five years, the drugs increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attack and blood clots.
    So, the lack of negative evidence alone doesn't prove that sunscreens are safe. Animal studies have raised the possibility that some UV filters, including oxybenzone, may disrupt the endocrine system, which can adversely affect reproduction, development and immunity. Even if those filters only slightly elevated the same risks in people, which no evidence suggests they do, says Dr. Robert Califf, a former F.D.A. Commissioner and professor at the Duke University School of Medicine and the other author of the JAMA editorial, "small differences in a big population can be very important, and it would be very hard to see it. People have trouble getting pregnant, men are sterile — these things happen every day, so you don't think back, Gee, it must be the sunscreen. And it's probably not."

    But population-wide studies of sunscreens are especially difficult to perform because so many variables are involved. In the U.S., 14 active ingredients in the sunscreen monograph are available to be combined any number of ways. People use many formulas, apply them in varying amounts using different methods (e.g., sprays and lotions) and engage in a wide range of activities while wearing them. This is partly why, Shinkai says, basic research is lacking: "We don't actually know what the proper dose is to prevent skin cancer and whether that is different for different agents or even different combinations of agents that are used in sunscreen." (The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends one ounce for most people.) More information could be lifesaving: For instance, diagnoses of melanoma, the most common type of skin cancer, are increasing. And though there is strong evidence that sunscreen use prevents skin cancer, experts disagree whether the available data shows that current sunscreen formulas and application methods protect against melanoma specifically. There might be better practices we aren't aware of.
    There may also be more effective sunscreens unavailable to Americans. In Europe, newer formulations that are broader-spectrum have been in use for years, but the F.D.A. won't consider them without more data, leaving the U.S. marketplace with 1970s-era ingredients that, except for mineral varieties, the F.D.A. has not deemed safe and effective, either, but that it also can't remove without eliminating a valuable form of skin-cancer protection. "The public needs to know, Should I continue to use sunscreen?" says Henry Lim, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology and a dermatologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. "And that is becoming a challenge."
    The F.D.A. is maintaining its official position that Americans should keep using sunscreen. But by showing that chemicals are being absorbed, the agency has effectively forced manufacturers to provide additional data, which they argue is unreasonably exhaustive, by November or risk having their products pulled off U.S. shelves. (The F.D.A. will likely grant them an extension.)
    All of which raises the question of how deeply the unknown risks of a medically beneficial drug can and should be explored. "Science doesn't hold still, and we keep learning things," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the F.D.A. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, points out. That is, all of us are taking part in toxicology studies, whether we like it — or know it — or not.

    Kim Tingley is a contributing writer for the magazine.


    7) The Crisis Lurking in Californians' Taps: How 1,000 Water Systems May Be at Risk
    The troubled districts, which operate in mostly poor areas on thin budgets, receive little oversight and face a host of problems.
    By Jose A. Del Real, July 24, 2019

    Rosalba Moralez estimated that her family spent about $150 a month on bottled water in addition to the family's $67 monthly payment to the water district in Willowbrook, Calif.CreditCreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

    COMPTON, Calif. — It was bath time and Rosalba Moralez heard a cry. She rushed to the bathroom and found her 7-year-old daughter, Alexxa, being doused with brown, putrid water.
    "We kept running the tub, we turned on the sink, we flushed the toilet. All the water was coming out dirty," Ms. Moralez said.
    For more than a year, discolored water has regularly gushed from faucets in the family's bathroom and kitchen, as in hundreds of other households here in Willowbrook, Calif., an unincorporated community near Compton in South Los Angeles.

    The brown water, provided by the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District, first drew public outrage and local news media attention last year when customers began protesting over unexplained stomach pains and skin so itchy it had scarred from the scratching.

    Elected officials were soon jolted into action. Sativa's elected board of directors was disbanded and Los Angeles County took control of the water district. The county is now working furiously to replace dilapidated pipes and wells, and this week began new construction to reinforce Sativa's system. But problems persist. Overhauling the district has taken far more time and money than anyone initially expected because, by the time the county stepped in last fall, the district's infrastructure was on the brink of collapse.
    Sativa is just one case, which erupted into public view after decades of neglect. The rot in California's water system likely extends far beyond it.
    As many as 1,000 community water systems in California may be at high risk of failing to deliver potable water — one out of every three — according to a previously undisclosed estimate by senior officials at the California State Water Resources Control Board, which regulates drinking water. These troubled districts, which include Sativa, often operate in mostly poor areas on thin budgets. With little oversight, they face problems ranging from bankruptcy to sudden interruptions in water capacity, to harmful toxins being delivered through taps.
    Nationally, political leaders have struggled to reach consensus over how to rebuild America's aging infrastructure, including the country's drinking water systems, which the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a D rating in its 2017 report. In California, the abundance of small water districts, a fraught culture around water rights, and significant oversight gaps have exacerbated those problems.
    California has one of the most byzantine drinking water systems in the country, and even in urban parts of the state some water systems are so small they struggle to sustain their maintenance budgets. The hodgepodge of small districts are overseen by local boards — often with little to no expertise in water management — making it difficult for the state to keep track of them.

    Already, more than 300 public water systems in the state are out of compliance with federal drinking water safety standards, according to publicly available data, and an estimated one million Californians are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year. Those are the ones the state knows about because their water quality has already been tested as unsafe.
    Often, the state water board does not collect enough information from public water systems to catch mismanagement until the systems are already failing, or are approaching that threshold like Sativa, according to interviews with several officials. The state agency does not keep a list of suspected high-risk systems. The limited information that is collected from water districts is often scattered across agencies and levels of government, including county boundary commissions, which may be either reluctant to become involved or lack the authority to do so.
    "We didn't know how bad the problems were," said Russ Bryden, an engineer with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, who took over day-to-day management of Sativa as an emergency administrator last fall. "You could not have known from the outside. Sativa was not supposed to be this bad."
    When Los Angeles County took control, officials discovered that the problems at Sativa ran even deeper than anyone knew. They found the system needed more than $10 million in urgent repairs to protect against it shutting down entirely, according to Mr. Bryden. They uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills and debts. And a rash of suspicious spending in 2017 had left the district with just $10,000, according to balances reviewed by The New York Times.

    County officials have attributed the discoloration of the water to high levels of manganese from old pipes, but county and state health officials say the water in the Sativa district is safe to drink; the brown color is classified as a secondary, aesthetic violation, according to federal standards.

    But no one wants to drink brown water, and residents have lost faith in the district's promises that the water is safe to use. To them, the problems at Sativa are just another example of the growing inequality they see across California. 
    The seamstresses, chauffeurs and domestic workers who live in Willowbrook, a community in the district that is primarily Hispanic and where 70 percent of residents speak Spanish at home, maintain neat front-yard patios where bright purple and yellow flowers bloom. But their roads are lined with potholes, vacant businesses are a common sight and many street signs are so faded they are difficult to read.
    Although one in four residents here live in poverty, those who do not want to drink from their taps — which they no longer trust, even when the water is not brown — spend more money on drinking water than many families do in Beverly Hills, 20 miles away. Ms. Moralez, a home health aide, estimates her family spends about $150 a month on bottled water in addition to the family's $67 monthly payment to the water district, which it still must pay. The family currently lives on a single income.
    Anticipating another surge of brown water caused by the new construction this week, the county stockpiled huge amounts of bottled water to hand out to residents.
    The distrust among residents was decades in the making, but there were few legal pathways for government intervention.
    The district was issued various citations over the years, which were later enumerated in the state water board's own October 2018 order taking control of the district, including for repeatedly failing to adequately test water quality.
    Staff at the county commission that reviews municipal services began to raise alarms about Sativa's management practices as early as 2005. By 2012, after another service review, the commission discovered that Sativa had not carried out any financial audits in seven years, and it began to push for the district to consolidate with another water utility, said Paul Novak, the executive officer at the Los Angeles Local Agency Formation Commission.

    "They had no water meters, they had no computer systems, there were some extreme nepotism issues, and they were giving illegal holiday bonuses," Mr. Novak said. "We don't go into an agency and say, 'You need to be dissolved or consolidated.' But when you're dealing with people who are, at best, incompetent, the rules have to change.'"
    Despite signs of mismanagement, the agency's commissioners feared becoming mired in a costly battle to dissolve the district. 
    In November 2015, E. coli was detected in one of Sativa's three wells and it was shut down after a state recommendation, leaving Sativa with just two wells, barely enough to meet its water capacity needs.
    All along, the district's leadership suffered from infighting and poor financial decision-making, said Elizabeth Hicks, who served on Sativa's board of directors between 2003 and 2015. She described a toxic culture on the board.
    "It was in shambles," she said.
    When the county took over day-to-day management of Sativa in November, Mr. Bryden, the emergency administrator, said he could not find any financial bookkeeping, including invoices, purchase orders or receipts. The county is conducting a broader audit of the district's finances, which will be released later this summer.

    The financial situation appears to have only worsened in recent years. In June 2015, Sativa had nearly $600,000 in an investment fund it used as a savings account; by late 2018, there was just $10,000 left, yet the district had amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid bills and debts. A loan from City National Bank for $1.6 million was taken out during that time to build a new well, but today nearly $1 million remains unaccounted for.

    Luis Landeros, the Sativa board president between 2016 and 2018, declined to comment. None of the other board members who served during that time responded to multiple requests for comment. Sativa's former general manager, Thomas Martin, told The Los Angeles Times in September that he did not support the state's ultimate decision to take over the troubled water district: "I was hoping it would be a different outcome," he said. "We disagree with the legislators' decision. We wish the best of luck to the customers."
    As the district fell into deeper financial despair over the last few years, Julia Hernandez and her family in Willowbrook became fearful of showering in the water because of intense itching they felt afterward. Ms. Hernandez said that last summer she gave her 4-year-old grandson a bath and he broke out in hives, bad enough that she had to take him to the doctor.
    On a recent day, she pointed to pockmarks on her own skin, leftover scars from scratching.
    The inside of her bathtub is sometimes coated with wet silt, she said. Her washing machine sometimes gets clogged and last year she had to replace her boiler, which cost her family $700.
    "You put your white clothes in the washer and they come out brown," she said.
    In Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a budget plan in June which includes $130 million annually to help distressed water systems in the state. The money will help small districts fund desperately needed repairs.
    But it is unclear, however, how much that would help improve the oversight of troubled districts before they become dysfunctional and even more costly to repair.
    For now, Los Angeles County has borne the brunt of the financial costs involved with rehabilitating Sativa. Of the estimated $14 million in repairs necessary, the county will likely pay for about $8 million. The rest will be covered by continued revenue — clients must still pay their bill despite the brown water — and state grants. The county is currently looking for a water utility to take Sativa over permanently, most likely a privately owned water company.

    Many people in the Sativa district, even now, are skeptical that things will improve.
    "People think this is the ghetto, so they don't care," Ms. Moralez said.


    8) An American Citizen Is Released From Immigration Custody After Nearly a Month
    By Manny Fernandez, July 23, 2019

    Francisco Erwin Galicia, 18, was released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Tex., on Tuesday. Mr. Galicia, an American citizen, had been detained for nearly a month.CreditCreditKin Man Hui/The San Antonio Express-News, via Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO — Francisco Erwin Galicia, 18, was born in Dallas and, according to his birth certificate, is an American citizen. But he was held in federal immigration custody for nearly four weeks after he was detained at a Border Patrol traffic checkpoint in South Texas.
    Mr. Galicia showed the agents the proof of his birth in the United States when he was stopped at the checkpoint one night in June, when he was on his way to a college soccer tryout. But the agents, his lawyer said, told him they believed it was fake.
    They took him into custody, taking him first to a Border Patrol facility in the border city of McAllen and then to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Tex., southwest of San Antonio.

    Late Tuesday afternoon, 26 days after he was first detained, Mr. Galicia was released after the news media, Democratic lawmakers and migrant advocacy groups put his case in the national spotlight.

    "He's really happy to be out," Mr. Galicia's lawyer, Claudia Ivett Galan, said in a telephone interview from a restaurant near the detention center where she and her client had gone for tacos.
    Mr. Galicia declined to comment. "He's feeling a little bit overwhelmed," Ms. Galan said.
    Mr. Galicia's case, first reported by The Dallas Morning News, appears to be part of stepped-up enforcement efforts at Border Patrol traffic checkpoints as the Trump administration cracks down on illegal entry at the southern border. In cases such as these, the administration's zero-tolerance approach sometimes collides with the messy, unorthodox lives of mixed-status families, whose paperwork is often legitimate but incomplete or faulty.
    Officials with the Border Patrol's parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, and with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Tuesday that they had no immediate comment but were looking into the case.
    Mr. Galicia was traveling north on the evening of June 27 with his younger brother and a group of friends. They were headed to a soccer tryout at a college in Texas. Mr. Galicia will be a senior in the fall at Johnny Economedes High School in his hometown, Edinburg, a border city in the Rio Grande Valley. He was hoping that his soccer skills would capture the attention of the coaches and scouts, and earn him a scholarship.
    To drive north from Edinburg, the group knew they had to pass a Border Patrol checkpoint about 60 miles north of the border near the town of Falfurrias, Tex. The checkpoints form a secondary layer of border security, far from the actual fence line: All cars must stop, and agents typically ask the occupants of each vehicle if they are United States citizens. The more than 30 permanent checkpoints across Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico have instilled a quiet, widespread fear among many Hispanic citizens and legal residents in border cities that they will be mistaken for someone who is without papers.

    Mr. Galicia had traveled through the Falfurrias checkpoint in the past and was not expecting any trouble, Ms. Galan said. Nevertheless, as many Hispanics do, he had brought with him numerous documents, including a birth certificate that showed he was born at a hospital in Dallas on Dec. 24, 2000; his state ID, issued in January by the Texas Department of Public Safety; and his Social Security card. Ms. Galan supplied The New York Times with copies of these documents; the birth certificate features stamps from both the State of Texas and the City of Dallas Bureau of Vital Statistics.
    Mr. Galicia does not have a driver's license, Ms. Galan said.
    "Border Patrol agents were telling Francisco that his birth certificate was fake, that he was Mexican," she said.
    One of the issues that may have aroused the agents' suspicions was the presence of Mr. Galicia's younger brother, Marlon Galicia, 17, who was born in Mexico and has been living in the United States illegally. He had only a school ID, Ms. Galan said. The driver of the vehicle, one of Mr. Galicia's classmates, is also a United States citizen, Ms. Galan said.
    Another issue that could have confused the agents and has complicated his case involved one of Mr. Galicia's documents. He brought with him a tourist visa issued by Mexico that stated that he had been born in that country, his lawyer said.
    Mr. Galicia's mother, Sanjuana Galicia Chapa, is an undocumented Mexican immigrant who lives in Edinburg. When Mr. Galicia was born, she did not put her real name on his birth certificate because of her immigration status, and she never corrected it. Because of that, she never went through the process of getting her son a United States passport. She believed the best way for him to travel back and forth from Texas to Mexico was to get him the Mexican tourist visa, Ms. Galan said.
    "She never fixed that name on his birth certificate, so she never got him a passport and thought it was just easier to get him a tourist visa to get him in and out of the country," Ms. Galan said.
    Marlon Galicia was also briefly detained but later signed documents agreeing to effectively self-deport, and is now living with relatives in Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from McAllen.

    Mr. Galicia's mother tried on her own to get her son released. After about two weeks with no success, she turned to Ms. Galan for help. Ms. Galicia said in an interview that after her son was detained, the authorities prevented him from communicating with any relatives for weeks. She spoke to him for the first time since his detention only on Saturday.
    "Almost a month of not knowing anything about my son," she said, adding: "I also feel mad because he did not commit any crime. He spends all his time studying and playing sports."
    At about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Galicia was waiting in the lobby at the ICE detention center when Ms. Galan arrived for a meeting to discuss her client's case with officials. She said none of the ICE officials gave her any explanation about his detainment after he was released.
    "I did talk to his officer, and he did not apologize," Ms. Galan said. "All he said was just, 'Thank you for your patience.'"

    Nubia Reyna contributed reporting from Brownsville, Tex.


    9) DoorDash Changes Tipping Model After Uproar
    Following a New York Times article, the delivery company dropped a policy that effectively meant tips were going to it rather than workers.
    "For example, if DoorDash guaranteed a worker $7 for a delivery and a customer did not tip, DoorDash would directly pay the worker $7. If the customer tipped $3 via the app, DoorDash would directly pay the worker only $4, then add on the $3 tip so that the worker would still get only $7."
    By Andy Newman, July 24, 2019

    A food deliveryman navigates Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan.CreditCreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

    DoorDash, the nation's biggest on-demand food-delivery app, is dropping a widely criticized tipping policy that effectively meant customers' tips were going to DoorDash rather than the worker who delivered their meal.
    The decision follows days of widespread outrage and angry customer complaints about the policy after a New York Times reporter described it in an article about what it was like to work as a deliveryman for the company.
    "Going forward," DoorDash's chief executive, Tony Xu, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, "we're changing our model — the new model will ensure that Dashers' earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order. We'll have specific details in the coming days." 
    DoorDash's 400,000 delivery workers are known as Dashers. 

    Under the policy, which the company adopted in 2017, DoorDash would offer a Dasher a guaranteed minimum amount to do a delivery. If a customer tipped, in most cases a tip paid through the app would go to subsidizing DoorDash's contribution toward the guarantee, rather than increasing the Dasher's pay.

    For example, if DoorDash guaranteed a worker $7 for a delivery and a customer did not tip, DoorDash would directly pay the worker $7. If the customer tipped $3 via the app, DoorDash would directly pay the worker only $4, then add on the $3 tip so that the worker would still get only $7.

    While the announcement is good news for customers who would like to think that their tips are going to increase a worker's earnings, the implications are much less clear for the Dashers themselves.
    There is no such thing as minimum wage in the piecework world of on-demand delivery. Also, the apps frequently adjust their complex pay models, which include incentives for working during rush periods and volume bonuses for doing a certain number of deliveries in a set time.
    On a forum for DoorDash workers on Reddit, some Dashers greeted the news with concern that DoorDash would simply pay them less to make up for the revenue it would lose by not using tips to subsidize labor costs.

    "I'm worried that the orders will guarantee less now, but we get all the tips," wrote a Reddit user named Dmillz648. "Meaning a previously guaranteed 10-dollar order might now only guarantee 5 bucks, and you get a 2 dollar tip, meaning you got 7 bucks for that order."
    "That's my worry too," replied a user named williams91. "And it saved me in times that I've been stiffed, so we'll have to see the model. I'm nervous but excited."
    A DoorDash spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the company would change its payouts to workers.
    DoorDash, which was valued at $7.1 billion after a round of financing this year, has faced bad publicity about the policy before.
    In February, Instacart, a grocery delivery app, dropped a similar tipping policy in the wake of a shaming campaign, and DoorDash was pressured to follow suit.
    At the time, Mr. Xu stood firm. "This is a model that is built with Dashers in mind," he said then. "The pay model is meant to make sure every order is worth fulfilling."
    But after The Times published an article on Sunday by a reporter who spent days working as a deliveryman for DoorDash and other food apps, the blowback reignited on social media.

    Thousands of people blasted the company, swore they would tip DoorDash workers only in cash or said they had deleted the app altogether.
    "I don't believe that a single person intends to give a tip to a multibillion dollar venture-backed start-up," a tech journalist, Louise Matsakis, wrote in a tweet that was retweeted thousands of times. "They are trying to tip the person who delivered their order. This deceptive model should be illegal."
    All the other major delivery apps, including GrubHub and Uber Eats, give workers 100 percent of tips, though some, including Uber Eats, typically pay less per job than DoorDash, not counting the tip.
    In his Twitter thread last night, Mr. Xu wrote that under the model that was being dropped, DoorDash's average contribution to Dashers was the same as it had been under the pre-2017 model. Before 2017, DoorDash paid Dashers a flat fee per delivery, plus any tip from the customer.
    "But it's clear from recent feedback that we didn't strike the right balance. We thought we were doing the right thing by making Dashers whole when a customer left no tip," he wrote.
    "What we missed was that some customers who did tip would feel like their tip did not matter."


    10) In Puerto Rico, Rosselló Finally Hears the People
    The political chaos won’t be resolved with his departure, but it is a start.
    “Somos más y no tenemos miedo,” or, “We are more and are not afraid.”
    By Laura Olivieri Robles, July 25, 2019

    CreditCreditDennis M. Rivera Pichardo/Associated Press

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — I heard that Ricardo Rosselló, the island’s governor, was going to resign around noon on Wednesday. I made my way to La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, around 10 a.m. in anticipation. As the day wore into night anticipation turned to frustration. The governor had not shown his face, which enraged people even more. But the crowd refused to budge. 
    As the streets swelled with protesters, it was clear that Mr. Rossello was running out of options. Just before midnight he finally addressed the island through a video published on Facebook Live. A wave of joyous and raucous screams erupted with the news that he would step down on Aug. 2.
    For days I had been watching the news from my apartment in Washington Heights, feeling distraught to be so far from home. These were extraordinary times and I longed to be there. Last Saturday, I reached for my phone and booked a flight home that afternoon, praying all the while that he wouldn’t resign before I arrived.

    The demonstrations arose after private chat group messages leaked on Telegram were published by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism. In them, Mr. Rosselló and his inner circle, all men, derided the deaths caused by Hurricane Maria and used vulgar, homophobic, and misogynistic language to disparage political opponents.

    News of the leak came days after six people, including Puerto Rico’s former secretary of education, were arrested on federal fraud charges. These events catalyzed what we have long suspected, and they unleashed a collective wave of fury. We all knew that corruption ran deep here, we just didn’t have the proof.

    I left Puerto Rico for New York a month before Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, leaving an estimated 4,600 deaths in her wake. I never wanted to leave, but life here had become untenable for young people like me.
    Decades of corruption and mismanagement has left the country saddled with debt. The cost of living has soared, choking the middle class. Education budgets have been slashed. Medical specialists have steadily left for greener pastures. I graduated with a degree in physics in 2017, but job prospects were dim. The future seemed bleak. So like many of my peers, I packed up and headed for the mainland to the continental United States in search of opportunities unavailable to me at home.
    I remember watching in awe when a series of mass demonstrations, spurred by the rising cost of living and other economic woes, ousted President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan this year. I could not imagine that happening in Puerto Rico. I had grown up thinking that Puerto Ricans simply accepted their lot in life. Sure, university students or union groups broke out into protest from time to time, but eventually those protests would fade out.

    I landed at San Juan airport Saturday evening. During the 20-minute ride from the airport to my sister’s apartment in Old San Juan, my driver told me how she planned to skip work and participate in the national strike scheduled for the next Monday.
    Earlier that week the police had deployed tear gas to disperse protesters. My sister was among the thousands caught in the upheaval, suddenly unable to see or breathe. For the first time in five years she felt unsafe in the city. “It feels like the police are not on our side,” she said. So we filled a leather backpack with vinegar, bottled water, an old T-shirt and a solution of vegetable oil, water and liquid dish soap to rinse off chemicals just in case, and stepped out into the humid summer night.
    Life in Old San Juan had come to a standstill. Restaurants were shuttered and the walls of the colorful colonial town were littered with protest graffiti. About 200 people were gathered around a drum circle in front of the governor’s mansion, chanting:
    “Where is Ricky? Ricky’s not here. Ricky is selling what’s left of the country!”
    “The people are holding up what’s left of the country!”
    The next day I walked over to the 7 a.m. yoga session, organized as part of the protest in front of the governor’s mansion. The morning sunlight cast a glow over the cobblestone streets, and the smell of incense filled the air. The instructor said, “Let peace be in this place.” 
    I caught up with old friends in the afternoon. We wondered if Governor Rosselló would resign. We talked about what we had witnessed the past few days. We talked about how we felt.

    By seven in the morning on Monday, people were already making their way to the March of the People at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Parking lots were full; cars lined the shoulders of the roads along the city. Puerto Rican flags danced in the air. Music blared from cars with jacked-up sound systems. Vendors sold cold water and beer to offset the scorching midmorning heat.

    I looked around and recognized faces from my past — people I had practiced yoga with in San Juan, university classmates from Mayagüez, cousins from Ponce, where I was born and raised. Amidthe chaos we gave each other sweaty hugs and kisses and urged one another to be safe.
    When I close my eyes I can see still see the throngs of people packed into both sides of Expreso Las Américas, a main highway in San Juan. By the time protesters reached La Fortaleza, most were soaking wet. The rains kept coming and the air smelled funky with sweat. But that did not stop them from cramming into the intersection of La Fortaleza and Cristo Streets.
    The pueblo chanted protest songs and banged on pots until their shape was unrecognizable. As the clock approached 11 p.m., riot police marched in. The tension mounted as they warned citizens to clear the area. A young woman, known as Cacerola Girl, hotly banged her pot at police officers while screaming at them.
    The importance of this movement is not lost on those who live on the front lines nor the thousands of Puerto Ricans outside the island. Citizens have come out in the morning to paint over graffiti. The streets are being cleaned by both protesters and municipal workers. Demonstrations have reverberated in the diaspora from Los Angeles to New York
    Mr. Rosselló was ushered into office in 2016 by a nation that had grown apathetic to politicians’ promises. The seeds of hope were planted then; Alexandra Lúgaro, the first female independent candidate to run for governor, finished in third place with 11 percent of the vote. 
    When I left Puerto Rico years ago, returning had seemed like a dim prospect. Now, for the first time I’m hopeful for the future. I want a political class that is for the people, not for their own interest. I want a Puerto Rico where my younger sisters won’t have to leave the island to access opportunities. 
    The political chaos here won’t be resolved with Mr. Rosselló’s departure, but it is a start. “Somos más y no tenemos miedo,” or, “We are more and are not afraid.”


    11) Tree Stumps Are Dead, Right? This One Was Alive
    When two ecologists hiking in New Zealand discovered this stump, they had to figure out how it could still be alive.
    By JoAnna Klein, July 25, 2019

    CreditCreditSebastian Leuzinger

    In a rain forest near Auckland, New Zealand, a leafless kauri tree stump rises a few feet off the ground. These trees can become giants: The country’s biggest, Tāne Mahuta, or the “Lord of the Forest,” has grown 168 feet high, with a 115-foot canopy. 
    But this stump is just a stump, so unassuming most would pass it by.
    One day, two ecologists from Auckland University of Technology spotted it on a hike.
    “A normal person would just think it’s dead. It looks dead to a point, but if you look a bit closer, you can see living tissue,” said Sebastian Leuzinger. “We both said to each other, ‘It’s clearly not dead. How does it live?’”
    Naturalists have observed living tree stumps in New Jerseythe Sierra Nevadas, British Columbia and elsewhere. But for more than 150 years, how the stumps survived without leaves for photosynthesis was a mystery.

    Dr. Leuzinger and Martin Bader discovered that the kauri stump lives by sharing water with neighboring trees. Most likely, they’re connected through an underground plumbing system formed when their roots naturally fused, or grafted, together, the researchers reported in a study published Thursday in the journal iScience
    These types of relationships may be more common among trees in forests than once thought, adding evidence to the notion that while trees may appear solitary aboveground, they’re intimately connected underground.
    Most trees communicate through subterranean networks of symbiotic fungi referred to as the “wood wide web,” sharing nutrients, carbon and other information. But a tree needs roots for water, and leaves to sustain itself.
    During photosynthesis, plants open pores on their leaves to allow carbon dioxide to flow in. Open pores also allow water the plant hasn’t used to be released into the atmosphere. This process, called transpiration, draws water up from the roots so the plant doesn’t wilt.
    But a leafless stump needs another way to circulate water.
    To figure how it was surviving, Dr. Leuzinger and Dr. Bader measured water moving in the stump as well as in a neighboring tree. They found that when the tree transpired on sunny days, it took in water, but the stump didn’t.

    But during rainy days and at night, the stump drank and the tree shut down. The stump had somehow rerouted its circulatory system, and it seemed to take turns with the tree.

    To confirm their hypothesis, the scientists will need to clear away soil to expose the roots. But their early finding strongly suggests the stump received and circulated water through grafted roots.
    Why would a tree support a stump that can’t reproduce or make its own food? And for the stump, why bother?
    “It’s a bit unlikely that the tree dies, and goes and knocks on the other trees’ doors and says, ‘Hey, can I get a little carbon off of you? I’m dead,’” said Dr. Leuzinger. 
    The stump may be an oddball that got lucky from a connection formed before it became a stump. And that could mean such connections are quite common, he suggested.
    Natural root grafts have been reported in some 150 tree species. But how the roots fuse and the evolutionary reason for these grafts are buried mysteries.

    Scientists think grafting could have developed between trees because it’s cheap and easy. Trees may not sense death, recognize dying connections, or spend energy cutting off little stumps with small appetites. A stump’s extra roots may also add stability to other trees.
    And Camille Defrenne, who studies tree communication at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, thinks exploring potential root grafts and fungal connections could reveal more: Perhaps a tree supports a stump to maintain its symbiotic relationships with helpful fungi.
    The researchers also say their results have implications for how forests respond to disease and drought. In New Zealand, a root fungus thought to spread through human foot traffic is killing off kauris, which are among the largest trees in the world. But changing our view of forest ecology to include root grafts will take years of follow-up.
    “We probably know more about the surface of the moon than how a tree internally functions,” said Dr. Leuzinger.


    12) U.S. to Resume Executions of Death-Row Inmates
    The federal government has not executed an inmate since 2003, a moratorium reversed by the attorney general.
    By Katie Benner, July 25, 2019

    CreditCreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The federal government will resume executions of death-row inmates after a nearly two-decade moratorium, Attorney General William P. Barr said Thursday. 
    The announcement reverses what had been essentially a moratorium on the federal death penalty. The federal government has not executed an inmate since 2003, though prosecutors still seek the death penalty in some cases, including for Dylann S. Roof, an avowed white supremacist who killed nine African-American churchgoers in 2015, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. 
    “Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals,” Mr. Barr said in a statement. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

    Mr. Barr said that Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, has scheduled executions in December and January for five men convicted of murder. They will take place at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., and additional executions will be scheduled later, Mr. Barr said.


    13) 2 Brothers, Same Crime: Why One Got Out First
    A patchwork of attempts to roll back mass incarceration and harsh sentences for crack cocaine resulted in a reunion after 13 years.
    By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, July 25, 2019

    CreditCreditEmily Kask for The New York Times

    Lionel and Keith Henderson did everything together. 
    They played football, camped in the woods and fished side by side in Amelia, La., not far from the Gulf of Mexico. And after Lionel began selling cocaine as a teenager, Keith, four years younger, began doing the same, despite his brother’s protests.
    In 2006, the brothers were tried together and were convicted of drug trafficking and conspiring — with each other — to sell crack. Keith was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison, and Lionel to life.
    But last Sunday, the two reunited at a cookout near their hometown, embracing amid family, friends and lots of seafood. 

    Though Lionel, 43, had the more severe sentence, he was released earlier, having been granted clemency by President Barack Obama in 2017. Keith, 39, stepped out of a federal prison in Arkansas last week because of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice bill that President Trump signed in December.

    The story of the brothers shows the patchwork nature of efforts, by all three branches of government and under both parties, to roll back mass incarceration, a process as complex as the maze of sentencing rules that led to their prison terms in the first place.
    CreditProvided by Angela Henderson

    Some 3,100 people were freed last week because of a change, under the new law, in how the Bureau of Prisons calculates time off for good behavior. But Keith was freed under a different provision, which made retroactive a 2010 law, signed by Mr. Obama, reducingthe disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine
    The 2010 law lowered crack sentences, which have been widely criticized for filling prisons with a disproportionate number of young black men, but it did not make the change retroactive. 
    Legal experts said changes over the last decade show an increase in support for overhauling the criminal justice system, but also reluctance to release those who are currently incarcerated.

    “They’re all wary of doing something that looks like they’re giving someone a break,” said Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, citing the “Willie Horton effect.” Mr. Horton raped a woman and stabbed her boyfriend while released on a prison furlough program in Massachusetts; his case was featured in an adattacking the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, Michael S. Dukakis, who had been governor at the time of his release.
    “That concern that anything that might be viewed as a benefit or an early release could come back to haunt you makes politicians very wary of doing these kinds of things,” Professor Barkow said.
    Lionel and Keith Henderson were initially sent to the same prison compound but were housed in different buildings. Lionel was imprisoned in a more secure facility because of his longer sentence, which was the result of prior drug convictions. Their only contact for the next 13 years was through a prison email service.
    In 2014, Keith’s sentence was reduced by more than four years after federal sentencing guidelines were lowered for many drug crimes, but he still had years to go.
    Lionel walked free in 2017, among hundreds of people who were granted clemency by Mr. Obama just days before President Trump was sworn in. Keith’s last petition for clemency had been filed toward the end of Mr. Obama’s time in office and was not reviewed.
    Keith rejoiced at his brother’s release, but knew his loved ones, including his four children, were waiting for him to get out, too.

    “I knew my family still wasn’t whole,” Keith said. “My kids were saying, ‘How’s my uncle released and my dad still not home?’”

    “And my mom was saying the same thing: ‘Y’all went to trial together; y’all were found guilty together; y’all went to prison together. How are you not released together?’” Keith added.
    In separate interviews, the Hendersons recalled how Lionel had admonished Keith to stick to football and to avoid getting caught up in the streets. He got into a fight with Keith one night trying to keep him from following him, and he even told neighborhood drug pushers to keep crack out of Keith’s hands.
    But then Lionel did time in juvenile detention. When he returned, he said, his younger brother “was headfirst in it.” They didn’t look back until they were charged by federal agents.
    It was never his intention “to make it a lifestyle,” Lionel said of dealing. “You end up more addicted than the users.”
    After the two were convicted, Keith addressed the judge at his sentencing hearing, saying the prison term he was about to receive was effectively a death sentence.
    “To tell you the truth, your honor, if that’s what I get sentenced to today — I mean, what’s left?” Keith said to the judge, Tucker L. Melançon, according to a transcript. “Ain’t no more life. It’s over. And that’s about all I have to say.”

    Judge Melançon, who had sentenced Lionel earlier that day, expressed dismay at the length of the prison terms.
    “I’m not unmindful when I sentence you that I’m sentencing not only your four kids, but a lot of these other folks out here who love or care about you,” the judge said to Keith, later adding: “Even though I’m society’s voice right now, it’s not Judge Melançon that did that. And, you know, I feel for you as one human being to another.”
    Judges have a close-up view of the effects of criminal justice statutes that lawmakers do not.
    “They were thinking El Chapo, and the judges are seeing the actual people in front of them facing these sentences,” said Professor Barkow, who until January served on the United States Sentencing Commission, which has recommended lowering crack sentences since 1995. 
    When Keith was released last week, it wasn’t without opposition. The United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana argued that the First Step Act shouldn’t apply because a report filed with the court before Keith’s sentencing said he had handled far more cocaine than was reflected in the jury’s conviction. 
    Reuters reported on Tuesday that Justice Department lawyers have opposed scores of sentence reductions for similar reasons, and have sought to put some people who were released back behind bars.
    The judge who reviewed Keith’s petition for release, Robert G. James, sided with him, ruling that the statue he was convicted under, rather than the behavior outlined in the report, should dictate whether he was eligible for release.
    Out of prison for more than two years, Lionel is living in Lafayette, La., and working as a field service technician, servicing heat exchangers around the country for Kelvion, a chemical company. Keith will be job hunting in Plano, Tex., beginning this week, but first he had something to tell his son.

    Keith had always instructed his son to stick to football, echoing the advice he had ignored from his older brother a quarter-century ago.
    “I said, ‘Hey man, you see what happened to me and Lionel? It’s got to stop with you, bro. It’s got to stop,’” Keith said. “I told him what I wanted him to do, and I’m proud of him, because he did it.”
    Keith Henderson Jr. will be playing football at Nicholls State University as a freshman in the fall.



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