Ask me anything
Need proof the drug war failed? We have increased the number of Americans in prison, and the length of time they serve. Meanwhile, prices have collapsed.
Now, the “fill up the prisons” war … that one we’re winning.
ht: Ezra Klein
Doesn’t this suggest the opposite? More people in prison=fewer people selling drugs. Wouldn’t this cause the price to rise?
FAIRYTALES FOR LOST CHILDREN
This is the original artwork for my book ‘Fairytales For Lost Children’. The book is a collection of short stories about young gay and lesbian Somalis navigating issues of immigration, identity, family and faith as they tumble towards freedom. I love illustrated books so even though ‘Fairytales’ deals with very adult issues I wanted the collection to have the visual charm of an old-school children’s gift book.
The illustrations were created with ink on paper and I coaxed my cousin into translating each title so I could incorporate Arabic calligraphy into the design. They were a serious labour of love and I’m very proud of them. I hope you enjoy them too.
You can get a sneak preview of ‘Fairytales For Lost Children’ and pre-order it here.
Here is a vignette from March 2013: A 24-year-old gay man named Yhatzine Lafontain is leaving a restaurant late at night with a friend on Roosevelt Avenue and 95th Street in Queens. Both are dressed as women, Mr. Lafontain in a jacket, short dress and heels. Exchanging goodbyes outside, they are approached by a man who tells them they look good.
In Mr. Lafontain’s account, they chatted briefly to avoid seeming rude and the man departed. Within a few minutes, an undercover police officer approached Mr. Lafontain and his friend and arrested them, suspecting them of prostitution. “We were surprised,” Mr. Lafontain told me, “because we had never talked to anyone about sex or money.”
I met Mr. Lafontain last week in Jackson Heights, not far from where his arrest had taken place, at the offices of Make the Road New York, a community-organizing group that works primarily with Latino immigrants. It has tried, along with various anti-violence projects in the city, to call attention to the perverse specifics of stop-and-frisk policing — a practice currently on trial in federal court in Lower Manhattan — as it applies to gay, lesbian and transgender New Yorkers who are Black and Latino. Last fall, the group issued a report on policing in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood with a vibrant gay and transgender community and attendant club scene (and also a prostitution problem), and found in its survey of more than 300 residents that while 28 percent of straight respondents reported having been stopped by the police, 54 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents reported this kind of treatment.
By the way, I changed the title of the article because I felt that the original title (“Arrests by The Fashion Police”) created by the people at the New York Times was mocking the severity of the issues being discussed in the article.
Nancy is taking action today in solidarity with residents of neighboring Mayflower, Arkansas who have been forced from their homes and are suffering the health impacts from tar sands toxins.
Salfit is a small district within the occupied Palestinian Territory of West Bank. The graphic explained the conflict that are currently happening and the people’s struggle for clean water as their basic human needs. The occupation of the land by Israel had played a major role in the conflict, due to the increasing population in illegal settlements and expansion of Israel territories within the West Bank. In addition, the author had made certain climatic and political predictions for the future of Salfit and its people based on current events recorded. The study was made for the Future Climate modules as part of the MSc Sustainable Architectural Studies course in the University of Sheffield, UK 2012
This is what genocide looks like.
Hail The Heroes of the Electronic Resistance
Sad this has to be said. Over and over and over.
Clayton Plake reports on the angry response to a video, released online, of San Francisco police assaulting an African American college student.
SAN FRANCISCO police have sparked anger and outrage after officers were caught on videotape carrying out a vicious, unprovoked assault on Kevin Clark, a young African American man, in the city’s Mission district.
Footage of the attack on Clark was captured by what appears to be an anonymous bystander, using their cell phone camera. The video was posted to the Internet by activists from the Idriss Stelley Foundation—a leading organization in the struggle against police brutality in the Bay Area.
Over four minutes in duration, the video opens with an unidentified motorcycle cop riding his bike up onto the sidewalk near the 24th Street BART station and approaching a pedestrian now identified as 18-year-old Kevin Clark, a student at City College of San Francisco. The first cop was followed closely by another officer, also on a motorcycle. Neither cop appears to deliver a command for Clark—who was peacefully walking on the sidewalk—to stop walking or otherwise obey directions.
In the video, one cop uses his motorcycle—the front wheel pointed squarely at Clark’s body—and alternately accelerated and decelerates, seemingly to terrorize Clark. The terrified Clark yells, “Are you going to run me over?” Then the other officer, having stepped off his bike, grabs Clark from behind and throws him to the asphalt with staggering force, pushing him face first into a gutter.
Both cops then throw themselves on top of Clark. Each grabs one of Clark’s arms and pulls them up and back, and one cop digs his knee into Clark’s back. Clark’s screams of pain become interspersed with frantic pleas to be left alone. One cop, still keeping Clark’s arm in a locked position, starts to push the man’s face into a sewer grate.
In short order, a squad car arrives, as do a host of other police officers—no less than 10 officers were deployed to the scene, despite the fact that the victim appeared unarmed and was not resisting arrest. Comments from off-camera eyewitnesses reveal that this is the second African American man the police had stopped in the area in less than 10 minutes.
===What you can do
A rally and march against police brutality has been planned for February 7 at 5 p.m. at 24th and Mission Streets. Visit the Facebook event page for information.
Police brutality happens everywhere, and if you’re in San Francisco or nearby, here’s how to stick up for one of your fellow citizens.
Jean Anyon, professor of social and educational policy at the City University of New York Graduate Center and a supporter of the boycott, called what the Seattle teachers are doing “amazing.” “There have been very few groups that have decided to defy these tests,” she pointed out. “In terms of an outright boycott by a school, if it’s not the first it’s close to it.”
The tests, Anyon noted, are notoriously unreliable, with results varying from year to year and nearly impossible to replicate.
Ira Shor, professor of rhetoric and composition at CUNY Graduate Center, who writes on composition theory and urban education, commented, “The tests themselves are known as ‘junk science’ because of their pseudo-scientific basis in metrics while they notoriously produce unreliable, unreproducible, and even faked results. Yet these tests are used to judge what students know and how well teachers are doing their job.”
These tests, he explained, emerged around World War I as “intelligence” tests for the US Army. Public schools took them up at a time when dropout rates were high among working-class students and young people were “sorted” into tracks, pushing working-class students into vocational programs while the more elite students were tracked for more rigorous academic work. During the Cold War, students were tested more rigorously, but the ’60s and ’70s saw pushback from social movements on the way education was set up. But, Shor noted, for the last 40 years, there has been a strenuous public relations campaign pushing for more testing — more “accountability” to keep American students “competitive.”
“The long attack on public education and the public sector amounts to a culture war where the first prize is public opinion,” he said.”
I wrote about the Seattle teachers’ test strike—originally for the PSC-CUNY staff paper, the Clarion, and reprinted a longer version at AlterNet. Thanks to both editors, Peter Hogness and Liz Hines, for general awesomeness.
Portrait of Pamela Flood, for Sarah Jaffe’s article on the fast food workers strikes. http://www.bqbrew.com/2013/02/01/ny-fast-food-workers-serve-up-a-fight-for-economic
Pamela Flood is my hero and Molly did such a beautiful portrait of her. I’d be obliged if you’d check out the story too. Here’s a bit to get you started….
The sidewalk in front of the Wendy’s on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall was choked with people at noon on November 29th. The signs they held were mostly handmade, in English and Spanish, calling for higher wages, more respect on the job. A small group of them held a bright red banner, that read “STRIKE for higher pay for a stronger New York.”
A young woman led the rally, her bright red hair pulled back, her voice already ragged from chanting, from shouting her story. I was later told by an organizer she’d been out since 5 AM, showing up to support the first of the fast-food workers to walk out on that day’s strikes, and she’d be onstage at the end of the day, too, whipping up the crowd underneath the glittering lights of McDonald’s in Times Square.
Her name is Pamela Flood, and she works at the Burger King at 971 Flatbush Avenue. She was one of 200 or so workers at New York City’s fast-food restaurants that struck for a raise to $15 an hour and union recognition on that November day, kicking the simmering movement among the city’s lowest-wage workers up another level. She also works at a CVS and attends classes at night, holding down a 4.0 GPA as she studies to be a medical assistant, to better support her three children. Burger King pays her just $7.25 an hour.
Absolutely perfect. Talking about doing the work to find that deeper culture, not just surface culture, and hearing peeps rapping in their own language is so freaking awesome!