The blacker a city is, the more it fines its residents (especially black ones)

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In the aftermath of the Ferguson uprising, much ink was spilled on the reliance of the predominantly black city on fines from its residents to pay its bills -- and on the use of what amounted to debtors' prisons that locked up those who wouldn't or couldn't pay the constant stream of fines and scared the rest into begging and borrowing to pay their own fines. Read the rest

The demographics of Brexit

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The Brexit vote wasn't mere xenophobia, it was self-destructive lashing out by people whom the political classes had written off for a generation. Read the rest

Undercover reporter spent four months as a prison guard in a Louisiana pen run by CCA

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Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is one of the world's largest private jailers; it runs prisons and immigration detention centers across the USA (and is diversifying into halfway houses, mental health center, and surveillance for poor neighborhoods). Mother Jones's Shane Bauer went undercover at CCA's Winn Prison in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spent four months meticulously documenting the way that CCA destroys the lives of the prisoners in its care and its own employees, while paying its CEO $3.4M/year. Read the rest

Unnamed Canadian telco sabotages' library's low-income internet service

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Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them. Read the rest

Homeless in Seattle: five essays

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Peter Wieben's sister is bipolar and homeless in Seattle, living in a van and weaning herself off Klonopin without a doctor's supervision: if she gets the dose wrong, she'll die. Read the rest

$40,000/year private school sues school for low-income kids for $2M over "Commonwealth"

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The Commonwealth School is a $40,000/year private school that occupies a couple of mansions in the Back Bay of Boston, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Academy is a pay-what-you-can school for underprivileged kids, located 90 miles away (also in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). Read the rest

Wisconsin Congresswoman: mandatory drug tests for anyone claiming $150K in itemized tax-deductions

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After Governor Scott Walker [R-WI] and Congressman Paul Ryan [R-WI] both proposed expanding drug-testing for poor people on benefits, Congresswoman Gwen Moore [D-WI] introduced legislation requiring urine samples from anyone claiming over $150,000 in itemized tax-deductions -- households with gross incomes of about $1M. Read the rest

Not robots: youth unemployment caused by late retirement, driven by pension precarity

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If youth unemployment -- and the lack of good entry-level jobs for college grads -- was being driven by workplace automation, American productivity (value created per hour worked) would be soaring, rather than stagnating. Read the rest

The winners in today's economy work worse hours than yesterday's losers

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Last month's research report on work-hours for high-paid salaried workers from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth paints a picture of a nation where even the winners are losers. Read the rest

Massachusetts bill would force employers to pay half-salary to laid off employees for duration of noncompetes

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Massachusetts is one of the few places in high-tech America where non-compete agreements are enforceable, a factor that scholars have pointed to in explaining why the state's tech industry has stayed so small relative to California, where the best workers can always move to the best companies. Read the rest

College of Arms issues rules for managing coats of arms in same-sex marriages

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If you believe that God has imbued your blood with special zoomph, thus ennobling you, and you marry someone of the same sex, the College of Arms has you covered! Read the rest

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine kicks off tour to fight the TPP

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Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive, secretive deal that poses a serious threat to human rights, the environment, and your Internet freedom. But one of the biggest problems with it is that too many people still don't know what it is or why it's so dangerous." Read the rest

It's getting harder and harder to use gag clauses to silence laid off workers in America

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In America, it's common practice to make severance pay for laid-off workers contingent on signing a "nondisparagement clause" that prohibits workers from ever speaking ill of their former employers -- some contracts I've seen even prohibit revealing the existence of these clauses, combining silence with secrecy. A winning combination if you're a rapacious corporation engaged in legally questionable labor practices. Read the rest

UK startup offers landlords continuous, deep surveillance of tenants' social media

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Here's Source Assured's pitch: landlords, if you write a requirement for tenants (and prospective tenants) to let us access their social media accounts into your lease/application process, we'll scrape all that data, use an unaccountable system to analyze it, and produce libelous, life-destroying dossiers on them that you can use to discriminate against people who seek shelter, the most fundamental human need after sustenance. Read the rest

After a coup, a judgment: Brazil's "interim president" barred from holding office for 8 years

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Last month, a controversial political machination at the top levels of Brazil's government saw the removal of its elected left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, and her replacement with an appointed, neoliberal "interim president" President Michel Temer, who has now been convicted of committing election fraud and barred from holding elected office in Brazil for 8 years. Read the rest

Corbyn pledges to kill TTIP if elected

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TTIP is the farcically secretive, insanely corrupt trade agreement that the US and EU negotiated behind closed doors in parallel with the faltering Trans-Pacific Partnership. Read the rest

US government agency's own numbers predict virtually no gains from TPP

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The United States International Trade Commission, "an independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches," has just tabled a deep, 792-page report on the likely economic benefits to the USA from the secretly negotiated, anti-democratic Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they predict that the agreement will deliver 0.01% growth to the US economy between now and 2032, when it will level off altogether. Read the rest

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