Notorious Islamophobic mayor of Irving, TX worried Ahmed Mohamed's arrest will negatively impact town police


Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne is a notorious racist and is also the sworn mayor of the townspeople of Irving, TX, where Ahmed Mohamed and his family live.

On hearing the news that her police chief had dropped criminal charges against Ahmed Mohamed, a boy who made a clock because he wanted to engage with the makers in his new high school, Mayor Van Duyne posted to Facebook, exonerating the police and asking townsfolk not to hold their grotesque abuse of authority and farcically bad judgment against them:

I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel. To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus. Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.

Later, she appended a little weak-kneed blurb about how it's nice that kids are creative to her initial victim-blaming, bad-cop-exonerating post.

Police Drop Case Against Kid Who Made Clock, While Mayor Worries About The Impact... On The Police [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

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America's mass incarceration of black people: the most important essay you'll read today


Ta-Nehisi Coates's longread in the Atlantic, "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration" is a stupendous piece of serious journalism, tracing the long history of system racism in America to the present day condition: America imprisons more people than any other country in the world; it imprisons more people than at any time in its history; and it imprisons black people, especially black men, at a rate that beggars belief. Read the rest

Making while brown: Texas schoolchild arrested for bringing homemade clock to school UPDATED


Ahmed Mohamed is a gifted, driven maker-kid who's in the ninth grade at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas. When he showed the homemade clock he soldered and pieced together to his engineering teacher, he was told to keep it in his bag. But when the alarm went off in English class, his teacher accused him of bringing a bomb to school.

He told the teacher, and then the principal, and then the police offers who'd been summoned, that it was a digital clock he'd made and brought to school to show as evidence of the kinds of things he was making. He'd loved robotics club in middle school and was hoping to connect to a similar peer group in his new high school.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and paraded through the school with an officer on each arm, wearing his NASA shirt.

When he was brought before the school police, the officer who arrested him looked at him and said, "Yup. That’s who I thought it was." Ahmed Mohamed and his family (and the Council on Islamic American Relations) believe that the officer was referring to the color of his skin and his name.

Police spokesman James McLellan admits that Mohamed always maintained that the device was a clock, not a bomb, "but there was no broader explanation." When the Dallas Morning News asked him what "broader explanation" he was looking for, McLellan said, “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. Read the rest

"Crisis actors": a conspiracy theory that re-victimizes shooting survivors

"Social threat" is the psychologists' term for the urge to recast events that threaten our identities in new lights; it's the phenomenon behind some gun advocates' insistence that mass shootings are false-flag ops cooked up by governments to take away Americans' guns. Read the rest

Mid-Century Misery: the discontented delights of Stevan Dohanos

Dohanos was a prolific American painter and illustrator with over 125 Saturday Evening Post covers to his credit. Read the rest

Help crowdfund a relentless tsunami of FOIA requests into America's private prisons

Michael from Muckrock writes, "Investigative news site MuckRock is taking a broad look at how private prisons have rewritten state and local laws to ensure that they profit at the expense of inmates, staff, and taxpayers, even as reports indicate that promised savings are almost non-existent." Read the rest

Words about slavery that we should all stop using

"Plantation" = "labor camp"; "slave-owner" = "enslaver"; "Union troops" = "US troops." Read the rest

GOP "kingmaker" proposes enslavement as an answer to undocumented migrants

Jan Mickelson hosts one of Iowa's top talk-radio shows and has entertained many of the GOP's nomination hopefuls who want his endorsement for the all-important Iowa primary. Read the rest

Regal promises security-theater bag-searches in America's largest cinema chain

Going to the movies is getting airportified: your knapsacks, bags and purses will be searched on the way in to stop you from carrying in guns that you don't stick in your waistband or in a shoulder-holster. Read the rest

America does a better job of tracking bee deaths than deaths in police custody

Michael from Muckrock writes, "The federal government has a pretty good picture of where bees are dying across America, with two federal agencies collaborating on a systematic, scientifically-rigorous, long-term look at the problem, particularly important given the danger that colony collapse disorder presented." Read the rest

Jeb Bush: the NSA isn't spying on us enough

Because "evildoers." Read the rest

Pre-crime: DHS admits that it puts people on the no-fly list based on "predictive assessment"

A DoJ filing in an ACLU lawsuit in Oregon admits that you can be put on a no-fly list based on "predictive assessments about potential threats," as opposed to threatening or dangerous things you've actually said or done. Read the rest

Trickle-down kids' TV: Sesame Street will air on HBO 9 months before PBS

A show conceived to help low-income kids keep up with their affluent peers will now be "paywalled so that rich kids can watch it before poor kids can." Read the rest

Income inequality turns "neglected tropic diseases" into American diseases of "the poor living among the wealthy"

The deadly infectious diseases that were eradicated in America during the 20th century are now roaring back, thanks to growing poverty, failing sanitation, and underinvestment in science and health research and regulation. Read the rest

John Oliver on the brutal state of sex-ed in America

The best political commentator in America offers a terrifying, oh-god-I-can't-stop-laughing-but-it's-not-funny glimpse into the world of abstinence-based education, evidence-free sex-ed, and the culture of secrecy over curriculum. Read the rest

WATCH: Elizabeth Warren rescues Planned Parenthood, excoriates misogynist GOP creeps

Elizabeth Warren for President. (via Seanan McGuire) Read the rest

Actual questions from my Green Card questionnaire

Not even kidding. Read the rest

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