Sometimes I find a bunch of articles on a theme, and have absolutely no choice but to bundle them all together in a unified megapost. No choice at all, I tells ya!
And it’s mostly bad news. Well, a few calls to action on how to help people out, too.
City May Seek Permit and Insurance for Many Kinds of Public Photography- shaaaady new laws being proposed in NYC that would require folks wanting to photograph or film out in public for more than 30 minutes (or, for groups of more than 5 people, 10 minutes) to obtain a permit from the city and have $1 million in liability insurance. City representatives are going out of their way to say that these rules would not be used against tourists, which makes you wonder who would be targetted under these new rules. And knowing the NYPD as we do, I think its safe to assume that these rules would be used to prohibit or halt video or photography by activists, people filming police misconduct, and people with dark skin– particularly, I suspect, those who might “look Middle Eastern” (any Arab filming a monument in NYC is surely looking to blow it up, right?). If you’d like to send a comment to the appropriate NYC agency about this new rule, you can contact them here.
6 MEMBERS OF ORLANDO FOOD NOT BOMBS ARRESTED- on June 27, a small group of activists protested outside a campaign fundraiser for Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer by playing drums outside the event. Their primary grievance was Dyer’s passage of a bill last year which made it illegal to give away free food in more than 3 dozen public parks. Obviously, the folks of Orlando’s Food Not Bombs, who prepare and serve food to the homeless in some of those same parks, were displeased by this, and six of their members were arrested for violating “noise ordinances” during this protest. One of the six, Eric Montanez, was arrested several months earlier, for violating the anti-food sharing law.
It should go without saying that these sort of laws, being passed in more and more cities, are inhuman acts created so that tourists and middle-class residents continue to spend their money in downtown shops without having their buying moods dampened by the sight of human suffering and poverty. To city councils and entrepreneurs in these cities, the problem is not that people don’t have enough money for food and shelter, it’s that these poor people are not invisible.
Lesbians sentenced 11 years for self-defense- I got emailed this story and reposted it here on my site. Long story short, four African-American lesbians from New Jersey were just sentenced to years of prison time after being harassed, insulted with homophobic and sexist slurs, spat on, attacked by, and scuffling with a man in NYC’s West Village. The man was was later found stabbed and required hospital care. If the women had stabbed him, it seems like it could easily have been a case of self-defense that happened during the scuffle. But according to the article, the knife that one of the women was carrying at the time was never even tested to see if it had been the one that stabbed the man. Either way, the women were convicted
The article outlines how the man’s attack itself was homophobic, and that rhetoric inside the courtroom and in local media continually demonized the women for being lesbians and implied that these were man-haters who committed a hate crime on a straight person. Activist organization FIERCE is asking folks to help support these four women, details at their website.
Ever been to the school district where Brown v Board of Ed was decided?- in the wake of the new Supreme Court decision which says that schools can’t consider a student’s race in attempts to increase racial diversity, a former school teacher recounts her experiences teaching at non-diverse, predominantly black and latino schools. The conditions and resources in these schools were terrible. Which is why schools tried to desegregate in the first place: you never get “separate but equal”, not in a society as racist as ours, you get separate and stratified. The author of this piece lays out some of the naked racism involved in this segregation and in the Supreme Court’s rhetoric surrounding this decision, and goes on to say that the shitty, unequal schools are an essential part of a maintaining a class of poorly educated folks to fill the unskilled, low wage labor force.
NYC Police Brutalize Human Rights Attorney- in a true story that sounds like a parody, attorney Michael Tarif Warren (known for his work regarding police brutality) and his wife were beaten and arrested by police, in broad daylight. Why? Because they witnessed those same police beating a handcuffed suspect, told them to stop, and wrote down the cops’ license plate number. The cops didn’t like that.
Do we need to mention that both Warren and the handcuffed suspect were African-American? Of course we don’t.
Anti-Gay Language Reinstated In DC Appropriations Bill Following Bush Veto Threat- White House vows to veto funding bill for the city of Washington DC unless Congress adds an amendment to the bill that will defund the city’s “domestic partnership registry”, which allows gay couples to have some of the rights of married straight couples. And the House of Representatives went ahead and obliged.
MPAA sues Peekvid, YouTVPC- an interesting copyright/piracy case. A lot of copyrighted movies and television programs that you can watch in their entirety exist on various YouTube-like websites. Peekvid and YouTVPC are websites that have links to these specific TV show and movie files, but do not have any of the material on their own websites. Now the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is suing these two sites anyway. The sites argue that they’re not doing anything illegal, the MPAA argues that they’re making money off illicit material. Curious how that one’s gonna turn out.
Cheney Prompts Storm On Office’s Dual Role- for some years now, Dick Cheney has done his absolute best to prevent any information regarding himself or his colleagues from seeing the light of day (unless, of course, that information is total bullshit and implies we should drop bombs on civilians). I mean, Cheney won’t even tell the public the number of employees he has on staff. But his latest, craziest (until next week) ploy is to refuse to hand over documents to the Information Security Oversight Office, which all members of the Executive Branch are required to do by law. His rationale: claiming that the Vice President is not a member of the Executive Branch. Yes, you heard that right. The President is the head of the Executive Branch, yet his second-in-command, the Vice President of the United States is not. Well, Cheney actually argues that the VP is some sort of Executive-Legislative hybrid, since the VP also votes on tiebreakers in the Senate. Which is ridiculous nonsense, like saying that because you work at both a restaurant and a factory, that you don’t actually work at the restaurant. More funny analogies on that topic here.
Even crazier, if I understand this right, the Information Security Oversight Office isn’t even asking for possession of Cheney’s documents, they just want Cheney to tell them the number of documents he’s officially marked “classified.” Seriously, he could probably just lie and say “twenty” and this would all be overwith. But not, he’s got to play it like an emporer. I’ll bet every time he he goes to the bathroom, he has his shit collected and held in a secure location.
Well, okay, some of his secrecy is knee-jerk autocracy, and some of it is to hide the fact that he does terrible, harmful, illegal things on a regular basis.
Dems Call White House Out on Subpoenas- more secrecy. The White House refuses to turn over information about how they tried to rig elections and disenfranchise African-Americans, Latinos and anyone else who might vote Democrat (aka “the attorney firing scandal”) by claiming “executive privilege.” Says Bush’s lawyer, “For the president to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisers and between those advisers and others within and outside the Executive Branch.” And there’s some truth to that; how could you be the President of the United States if all of your horrific criminal acts were revealed to the public? Of course, you might suggest that if that’s the case, maybe the president shouldn’t do horrific, criminal stuff. But remember, we’re talking about the President of the United States here, not the President of Magical Rainbow Fairy Unicorn Land.
Are there any presidents of any country, past or present, who weren’t rotten, lying, thieving, murdering bastards?
Didn’t think so.