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

For the best of reasons, The Slants won the right to trademark racially offensive slurs -- and now there's rather a lot of that

It's been a year since the Asian-American band The slants won their court case against the US Patent and Trademark office, which had refused to allow them to trademark their band-name because it was a racial slur. Read the rest

Remember when conservatives were terrified of Big Government violently interfering with families?

Remember when conservatives were into "family values" and defending their families from Big Government intrusions, like breaking up families over refusal to obey the law on education, vaccination, corporal punishment, etc? Funny, that: "Here, their paranoid fantasy has become a real nightmare—not an ideological or religious separation, but the physical removal of children from their parents by force, an actual destruction of families by the federal government." (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

We know how to fix homelessness, we just won't do it

The largest, wealthiest cities in America are filling up with tent cities -- especially on the west coast, where East Coast style right-to-shelter laws are rare -- and if the spectacle of human misery doesn't alarm you, perhaps you should be thinking about communicable disease epidemics. Read the rest

Street interviews: what Chinese think of white foreigners

Asian Boss, a YouTube channel that features person-in-the-street interviews around Asia on different topics, went to Shanghai to ask people about what they thought of white foreigners living in China, about skin lightening, and about "white monkey workers" -- white people hired by Chinese companies to appear at dinners and events to make the company seem more international. Read the rest

Tax-funded charter schools textbooks deny evolution, teach human-dinosaur cohabitation, endorse slavery and indigenous genocide

2,000 US schools use textbooks from Abeka, BJU Press and Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), including tax-funded charter schools across America; students who learn from these texts are taught that God wanted Protestantism to flourish in North America and that Catholocism is not a true faith; that it was better Africans to be enslaved and come to "know Christ" than to be free but not Christian; that evolution is untrue; that humans and dinosaurs lived together (and that Noah brought baby dinosaurs on the ark); that the Loch Ness monster is real; that "abortion, gay rights and the Endangered Species Act" are part of a "radical social agenda"; that nonwhites are inferior (60% of the tax-funded scholarship students at charter schools come from racialized minorities and are thus taught that they are racially inferior to their white schoolmates). Read the rest

Stanford prof Niall Ferguson conspired with campus Republicans to do oppo research on students who opposed invited eugenicist speaker

Niall Ferguson is a conservative British historian who teaches at both Oxford and Stanford, where he chaired a right-wing lecture series called Cardinal Conversations. Read the rest

Southwest wouldn't let mixed-race family fly until mom "proved" parenthood

Last Monday, UC Berkeley woman's basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb and her fiance Patrick Martin tried to board a Southwest flight with their one year old, biracial son; they presented the check-in clerk with their son's passport, but the clerk refused to let them fly until she showed the clerk Facebook posts or a birth certificate to prove that she was her son's mother. Read the rest

Dirty Computer: Janelle Monáe's gorgeous, sexy, queer afrofuturist short film

Back in April, afrofuturist icon Janelle Monáe (previously released Dirty Computer, an "emotion picture" that serves as accompaniment to her album of the same name. Read the rest

How to Draw a Black Lady

Myisha Haynes and Jaz Malone released the second in their fun and interesting series on how cartoonists can draw black people while avoiding imagery fraught with negative connotations. Read the rest

White Americans abandoned democracy and embraced authoritarianism when they realized brown people would soon outvote them

A working paper from a pair of political scientists analyzed World Values Survey data to trace the rise of support for authoritarianism in America to a growing sense among white people that democracy's commitment to giving everyone a vote would soon erode their privilege, as the growing population of racialized people started to vote for fairer policies. Read the rest

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