Shepard Fairey's inauguration posters: We the People

Shepard Fairey's updated his iconic Obama HOPE poster with a set of inaugural posters featuring women of color and slogans of solidarity. Read the rest

"Urban Myths" episode with white Michael Jackson won't air

Cable network Sky will not air the episode of the comedy series Urban Myths featuring Joseph Fiennes, who is white, portraying Michael Jackson. The decision came in response to intense criticism from the likes of Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson who tweeted that the trailer (above) "honestly makes me want to vomit."

“We have taken the decision not to broadcast Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a half hour episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family," said a Sky spokesperson. "We set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offence. Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.”

(NPR)

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Webcomic explains how weakening the Voting Rights Act led to voter suppression in 2016

On The Nib, Andy Warner posts a quick primer on the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the requirement for districts with a history of racist voter suppression to get federal oversight for changes to their voting procedures; of note is the section on Jeff Sessions, whose Attorney General confirmation hearing is underway right now. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Women sue over forced cavity searches for visitors to Rikers Island

Procedure at New York's Rikers Island prison is for visitors to be subjected to a pat-down search, but women who visit their loved ones are suing the New York Department of Corrections because guards there subject them to illegal, violent, humiliating strip and cavity searches, sometimes holding them down while forcibly penetrating them with their fingers. Read the rest

America's gargantuan new corporate landlords evict the shit out of Americans

The housing recovery has been famously uneven, in every way: for one thing, it's allowed hedge-fund and publicly listed landlords to acquire a greater proportion of America's housing stock than ever, even as mass foreclosures created a new class of desperate tenants who pay rent to these corporate giants, who charge higher rents than ever. Read the rest

RIP Tyrus Wong, unsung Chinese-American Disney legend who had to lie to come to America and save his life

Nagurski writes, "Tyrus Wong was a brilliant Chinese-American artist who designed the look of the landmark 'Bambi' cartoon for Disney. Due to racial attitudes and at the time, he received limited recognition for his contributions, but was belatedly named a Disney Legend in 2001. He also was an accomplished painter and made fantastic kites, which he flew on the Santa Monica beach, continuing to do so past the age of 100." Read the rest

For 13 years, Texas has been secretly, illegally denying kids special education

In 2004, under then-governor Rick Perry, the Texas Education Agency secretly instituted a plan to cap the number of students receiving special education support at 8.5% -- far less than the national average. Read the rest

Mom reports assault on her son to Ft Worth cop, who wrestles her to the ground, then arrests her and her daughter

On Dec 21, Jacqueline Craig called the Fort Worth, TX police to report that her neighbor had choked her 7-year-old son; the cop who arrived was belligerent and dismissive, blamed her son for littering and her for not parenting him adequately, and then, when she became upset at his refusal to take her report, he violently wrestled her and her teen daughter to the ground, cuffed them and arrested them. Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). Read the rest

Kickstarting six books on self-empowerment: fermentation, feminism, punk, bicycling, sewing, and comics journalism

Elly from Microcosm Publishing (previously) writes, "We decided to try something different this time, and put up a project to help fund and spread the word about all six of the books we're putting out this coming spring. They're all very different on the surface, but the thread that runs through them is exactly what makes Microcosm work as a publishing company: Book-shaped tools that help people create the lives they want to live and the world they want to see." Read the rest

Bureau of Justice Statistics release new, accurate police killing numbers that are double the historic estimates

After years of guesswork -- in which civil society groups and government stats bodies produced radically divergent estimates of killings by police in America -- the Bureau of Justice Statistics has finally released a report that validates the civil society groups, admitting that killings by police in America are 1,100-1,400/year, more than double the official figure. Read the rest

How hackers tried to knock blacklivesmatter.com offline

DBO writes, "A new report by Deflect Labs tracks the complex ways that hackers have sought to take down the Black Lives Matter website. The attacks, which relied on harvesting WordPress sites, increased in sophistication and left a murky, unsavory trail by actors who did everything from try to extort the website to taking it down entirely." Read the rest

"No President": the despair, fear, and resolve of the next four years

"No President" is an unsigned editorial in N+1, and is, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates's My President Was Black, the best postmortem on the events of November 8 yet published: it begins with the door-to-door canvas of voters in the runup to the election and the strange ideological contradictions on display on America's doorsteps, reflects on the questions of gender and Clinton's election outcomes, and moves on to a realistic, but firm and inspiring, call for resistance in the years to come. Read the rest

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Obama's blackness, America's white supremacy, and Trump's victory

Ta-Nehisi Coates's 17,000-word history of the Obama presidency in the Atlantic is called "My President Was Black," but it's about the very special kind of blackness that Obama embodied -- not because whites saw the biracial politician differently, but because Obama's extraordinarily supportive white family and unique boyhood in Hawai'i spared him the racial trauma visited on other young black people in America. Read the rest

Women and African-American sf writers created trumpist dystopias because they were beta testing trumpism

Kameron "Geek Feminist Revolution" Hurley notes that writers like Octavia Butler crafted stories that feel eerily prescient of our present moments with books like Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents -- but not because they were fortune tellers, but because trumpism -- corrupt confiscation of wealth, overbroad policing powers, discriminatory hiring practices, impunity for violent abusers -- has been a daily fact of life for brown people, women and queer people. Read the rest

Genderqueer artist wears a message about race

Dean Hutton is a South African artist whose most notorious project involves walking around in a custom-printed black and white suit and absorbing the responses from strangers. Read the rest

NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest

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