Civil Rights & Social Justice

2015: The Year That Black Lives Mattered, At Last

2015: The Year That Black Lives Mattered, At Last
Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Rekia Boyd. Tamir Rice. Most Americans have at least heard their names, and the stories of how they died.
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#twowrongs -- A Twitter Essay of Sorts

#twowrongs -- A Twitter Essay of Sorts
We've been seeing a lot of this kind of reasoning on Facebook the last couple of days. The point of this trope, and others, is to call liberals out as hypocrites. "Carter did it," this argument goes, so what do have to say about that?My response is simple: so what?
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Robert Lewis Dear, Planned Parenthood Terrorist, Appears in Court

Robert Lewis Dear, Planned Parenthood Terrorist, Appears in Court
Anyone hoping for hints at a potential motive in Robert Lewis Dear’s first appearance in court didn’t get it. This afternoon, the man accused of a murderous post-Thanksgiving rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood faced a judge in a downtown courtroom on a video feed from the county lockup. Dressed in a grungy protective vest without sleeves, his hands cuffed in front of him and head slightly bowed, Dear didn’t say much beyond ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when a judge asked him questions.
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What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much

What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much
Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. CIA Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.”
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Podcast Preview: Reporters Behind New “Spotlight” Movie Tell How They Exposed Priest Abuse

Podcast Preview: Reporters Behind New “Spotlight” Movie Tell How They Exposed Priest Abuse
After a Boston priest was convicted of sexually abusing more than 100 children, a team of Boston Globe reporters published an investigation that shocked the city. The Globe’s investigative unit, known as the “Spotlight” team, revealed in 2002 that Catholic Church leaders knew about child abuse by dozens of priests for decades and covered it up, reassigning the abusers to new parishes while paying millions in settlements to a trail of victims. The new film Spotlight, in theaters on Nov. 6, chronicles the Pulitzer-winning investigation that exposed the scandal.
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Mobile Justice: New App Empowers Public, Helps Keep Cops Accountable

Mobile Justice: New App Empowers Public, Helps Keep Cops Accountable
“If you see something, say something.”
It’s a mantra that’s constantly drilled into us in post-9/11 America. But what if you see the cops do something wrong? How do you say something then?
Umm… there’s an app for that.
Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado unveiled a new smartphone app that lets users record police interactions that get automatically submitted to the ACLU. The footage is treated as legal intake to be reviewed by ACLU staff for any
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An Arrest, a Suicide, a Year Later: The Lasting Tragedy of Kalief Browder

An Arrest, a Suicide, a Year Later: The Lasting Tragedy of Kalief Browder
Almost one year ago today, The New Yorker published the story of a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. Accused of stealing a backpack in 2010 at the age of 16, he was held on Rikers for more than 1,000 days waiting for a trial that never happened. His brutal detention included, among other abuses, two years in solitary confinement and beatings by officers and inmates. This tragedy of criminal justice was further compounded last June when, two years after his case was dismissed for lack of evidence, Browder, 22, committed suicide.
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Is the Gun Lobby’s Power Overstated?

Is the Gun Lobby’s Power Overstated?
Without doubt, the gun rights lobby is a formidable force. It is backed by a truly grass-roots network of committed and well-organized supporters who are willing to make calls to legislators and turn out in even low-turnout elections to back pro-gun candidates. This “intensity gap” bedevils gun-control groups, which, however well some of their proposals poll, have trouble getting voters to agitate and to prioritize the gun issue the way that gun-rights defenders do.
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Bankruptcy Lawyers Mine Health Insurance, Strip Cash from Coal Miners

Bankruptcy Lawyers Mine Health Insurance, Strip Cash from Coal Miners
There was plenty in the complex deal to benefit bankers, lawyers, executives and hedge fund managers. Patriot Coal Corp. was bankrupt, but its mines would be auctioned to pay off mounting debts while financial engineering would generate enough cash to cover the cost of the proceedings. When the plan was filed in U.S. bankruptcy court in Richmond last week, however, one group didn’t come out so well: 208 retired miners, wives and widows in southern Indiana who have no direct connection to Patriot Coal. Millions of dollars earmarked for their health care as they age would effectively be diverted instead to legal fees and other bills from the bankruptcy.
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Decorated Iraq War Veteran on Apprenticeship: “No one can relate to what I did over there, but these guys come really close.”

Decorated Iraq War Veteran on Apprenticeship: “No one can relate to what I did over there, but these guys come really close.”
Laborpress.org recently featured decorated war veteran and Ironworkers Local 361 apprentice Rob LeFurgy, whose shot at union membership was vital to him transitioning back into civilian life. LeFurgy began his career path after learning about the Helmets to Hardhats program. “This union turned my life around,” he said. “No one can relate to what I did over there, but these guys come really close.”
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