Boing Boing 

New York Governor asks to decriminalize possession of pot in public view

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is asking legislators to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is fighting back because he believes that destroying the job prospects of 50,000 people a year (mainly young black and Latino men) benefits society, and wants continue to use a sneaky police tactic to arrest them.

NewImageIn New York, the Legislature in 1977 reduced the penalty for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana to a violation, which carries a maximum fine of $100 for first-time offenders.

But it remains a misdemeanor if the marijuana is in public view or is being smoked in public, and lawmakers and drug-reform advocates have argued that the misdemeanor charge is often unfairly applied to suspects who did not have marijuana in public view until the police stopped them and told them to empty their pockets.

“Now it’s in public view,” Professor Levine said. “If you go by the police reports, all around New York City, there are people standing around with their palms outstretched with a bit of marijuana in them.”

From 2002 to 2011, New York City recorded 400,000 low-level marijuana arrests, according to his analysis. That represented more arrests than under Mr. Bloomberg’s three predecessors put together — a period of 24 years. Most of those arrested have been young black and Hispanic men, and most had no prior criminal convictions.

Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests

Sun god appeased in Manhattan

To this marvelous photo of something odd going on in Manhattan, Jane-Claire Quigley appends an explanation (of sorts). [Animal NY]

Occupy Wall Street takes over Times Square (updated)

Watch live streaming video from occupynyc at

445pm ET: Happening as I post this. Watch live video here.

Read the rest

Occupy Wall Street sign of the day: Sasha, 7, painting "Homes for the Homeless"

Scott Matthews of Turnstyle tells Boing Boing:

Hi Xeni, saw your post about the signs of Occupy Wall Street, and thought I'd share ours. Amy (Cory blogged her autism story a few weeks ago) and I took our seven-year-old daughter Sasha to visit Occupy Wall Street last Sunday.

She was very interested in the many signs splayed out across the sidewalk. We spotted some people with a pile of cardboard, paint, and brushes, and asked if we could contribute.

Sasha asked us what she should write, and we told her to write about something that she cared about and wished could make the world a nicer place. She was very proud to add her sign to join the rest.

Right Here All Over: a short film on Occupy Wall Street by Alex Mallis

Alex Mallis directed this beautiful short film about Occupy Wall Street.

New York State Senators want "refined First Amendment," laws to prevent trolling, flaming and excluding people from online groups

New York State Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky apparently missed civics class, because they think the First Amendment grants the "privilege" of free speech, not the right, and that this "refined" view of free speech should be implemented in order to stop people from saying stupid things on the Internet.

Their report suggests that a "refined" First Amendment could be used to stop "happy slapping" (a short-lived violent craze from 2005), trolling, "flaming," and "INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP" (the caps are theirs).

Seriously? If we don't let you into the club, it's now a form of cyberbullying? It makes you wonder what happened to these particular Senators when they were kids.

The paper also attacks "anonymity," again ignoring how anonymity can often be extremely helpful to kids who wish to discuss things and ask questions without revealing who they are.

As for where they're going with this? Well, you guessed it: they're planning to introduce new laws to deal with cyberbullying (even though NY already has such a law). The plan is to extend two existing areas of law: "stalking in the third degree" will now include cyberbullying, and "manslaughter in the second degree" will be expanded to "include the emerging problem of bullycide."

(via /.)

(Image: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from brentdpayne's photostream)

Another hit from NYPD's "Mace in the Face" cop, DI Anthony Bologna

This video, labelled as being recorded "moments after" NYPD DI Anthony Bologna's now-infamous unprovoked mace assault on four women at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, shows the same office in another mace attack. How many before we can call it a rampage? How many before the NYPD admits that it's wrong and unacceptable?

Integrating autistic people into the community

On the cover of today's NYT, a 8,000+ word feature on Justin Canha, an autistic high school student who has been participating in an intensive program that aims to integrate people with autism (and not just the "high-functioning" kind) into the community. Justin is a talented artist, and is often sweet and charming, but he is also extremely confused by many everyday social interactions. His teacher, Kate Stanton-Paule, has been accompanying him through a multi-year program of daily community routines (shopping, working at part-time jobs), and Amy Harmon's long, well-written piece chronicles the triumphs and failures of the new approach that aims to replace segregation and institutionalization with integration and participation.
Some advocates of “neurodiversity” call this the next civil rights frontier: society, they say, stands to benefit from accepting people whose brains work differently. Opening the workplace to people with autism could harness their sometimes-unusual talents, advocates say, while decreasing costs to families and taxpayers for daytime aides and health care and housing subsidies, estimated at more than $1 million over an adult lifetime.

But such efforts carry their own costs. In this New York City suburb, the school district considered scrapping Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program almost as soon as it began, to save money on the extra teaching assistants who accompanied students to internships, the bank, the gym, the grocery store. Businesses weighed the risks of hiring autistic students who might not automatically grasp standard rules of workplace behavior.

Oblivious to such debates, many autistic high school students are facing the adult world with elevated expectations of their own. Justin, who relied on a one-on-one aide in school, had by age 17 declared his intention to be a “famous animator-illustrator.” He also dreamed of living in his own apartment, a goal he seemed especially devoted to when, say, his mother asked him to walk the dog.

Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World - (Thanks, Scott!)

(Image: A job at a bakery, Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times, used with permission)