Google donated $5k to GOP Senator who "joked" about attending a lynching with her Black opponent

Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Mississipi GOP Senator is going into a runoff election against her Democratic opponent, Black man named Mike Espy who might end up the first Black Mississipi Senator since 1883; she made headlines last week with a joke about attending a "public hanging." Read the rest

Thunder Bay: podcast about Canada's hate crime and murder capital is a cross between Serial and Crimetown

The remote north Ontario city of Thunder Bay leads Canada in murders and hate crimes and features a local government mired in scandal, from a mayor who was charged with extortion to a police chief who went on trial for obstruction of justice. Read the rest

3D print this Harriet Tubman stamp and fix all those twenties that Mnuchin forgot to take Andrew Jackson off of

As of 2020, Harriet Tubman -- revolutionary anti-racist hero -- was supposed to replace Andrew Jackson (authoritarian, genocidal stain on the American project) on the $20 bill, with Jackson moving to the other side of the bill as a sop to racist idiots. Read the rest

Edward Snowden on Malkia Cyril, a multigenerational black rights activist on the front lines of the surveillance wars

For its 25th anniversary, Wired Magazine asked numerous luminaries to pick a figure from the digital world to celebrate; Edward Snowden chose EFF Pioneer Award Winner Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice and cofounder of the Media Action Grassroots Network, who is one of the leaders in teaching grassroots activists to resist government surveillance. Read the rest

School apologizes for promo photo manipulated to darken students' skin for "diversity"

Art school Émile Cohl in Lyon, France formally apologized after students noticed that a group photo on the school's United States promotional web site had been manipulated to make several of the people appear to have dark skin. The manipulated photo is at the very top of this post. Below it is another image, without the alterations, from the same series of snapshots. From The Guardian:

Antoine Rivière, the college director, told L’Express he was only made aware of the altered photo when he was contacted by some fifth-year students who appeared in it.

“We had sent a certain number of documents to an American communications agency in order to highlight our college,” he said. One of the photographs had been doctored without the school’s knowledge...

The school is planning to open a branch in the US in the near future.

Read the rest

IBM developed NYPD surveillance tools that let cops pick targets based on skin color

The NYPD's secretive Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center uses software from IBM in its video analytics system, which allows cops to automatically scan surveillance footage for machine-generated labels that identify clothing and other identifying classifiers. Read the rest

Access Restricted: revolutionary teens escape the domes of All Rights Restricted and try for universal liberation

In Gregory Scott Katsoulis's All Rights Reserved, we had a thrilling YA adventure in a world where ever word is copyrighted and every person over 15 wears an unremovable surveillance cuff to bill them for their speech; in the sequel, Access Restricted, we follow the surviving heroes outside the claustrophobic confines of the Portland dome and into the wider world, to DC, the wastelands beyond, and finally to Tejico, the semi-colonized, semi-independent nation made up of Mexico and Texas, where a way out of this terrible world may be found.

Law and Order Republicans have suddenly discovered the undeniable injustice of "flipped" prosecution witnesses

Ken "Popehat" White, a former US Attorney turned criminal defense attorney, notes that the Republican outrage about "flipped" prosecution witnesses is awfully self-serving (given that Trump's bagman Michael Cohen and hushup capo David Pecker have both seemingly turned state's evidence), they have a point, as countless black and brown and poor defendants have discovered in their journey through the American justice system. Read the rest

TSA racially profiles Muslim woman, makes her show her bloody sanitary towel

Harvard grad student Zainab Merchant is detained and invasively searched every time she flies; she's tried extensively to end this harassment, applying for Global Entry and Precheck, writing to her members of Congress, and trying to run through the DHS's Redress procedure. Read the rest

Prisoners in 17 states are on strike, demanding an end to prison slavery and basic human justice

For the second time in two years, America's prisoners have staged a mass, coordinated strike, demanding an end to slave labor for incarcerated people, channels for redress of grievances, an end to racial discrimination in the American penal system, access to rehabilitation programs, the reinstatement of Pell grants, the right of ex-prisoners to vote, and the right of rehabilitated prisoners to be paroled. Read the rest

Florida's prisons change tech providers, wipe out $11.2m worth of music purchased by prisoners

For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world. Read the rest

How the NYPD recriminalized marijuana after the state decriminalized it

Back in 1977, middle class, white New Yorkers got frustrated over being criminalized for smoking weed, so they got the state legislature to decriminalized simple possession of weed -- merely having weed in your possession became a civil infraction and if you were caught, you might get a ticket, but that's it. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

Why would a company give free tablets to prisons for inmate use?

Spoiler alert: to steal from prisoners and their families. Read the rest

Seattle passes America's most comprehensive labor protections for domestic workers

Domestic workers -- overwhelming female, overwhelmingly racialized -- have historically been exempted from traditional labor protections, from the minimum wage to workplace safety to recourse for harassment and worse. Read the rest

The American Conservative: "The Dickensian Return of Debtors’ Prisons"

It's fascinating to read Dan King writing in The American Conservative to decry "Dickensian debtors' prisons" in the USA -- the practice of judges locking up poor people who can't pay fines for petty infractions like traffic tickets. Read the rest

Police called on state representative for canvassing while black

Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum, who is running for reelection, was canvassing in Clackamas County when one of her constituents called the police. Why? According to Bynum's Facebook post, the resident thought she was acting suspiciously "going door to door and spending a lot of time typing on (her) cell phone after each house."

She praised the deputy who responded for being professional, and said she asked him if she could meet the woman who made the call, but she was not available.

"The officer called her, we talked and she did apologize," Bynum said, without specifying the race of the caller.

(CNN) Read the rest

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