Government -- Local

A.C.L.U. in $50 Million Push to Reduce Jail Sentences

A message our county board and those down at the courthouse need to hear loud and clear...

by Eric Eckholm
 

With a $50 million foundation grant, the largest in its history, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to mount an eight-year political campaign across the country to make a change of criminal justice policies a key issue in local, state and national elections.

State, Local Marijuana Legalization Measures Win Big On Election Day

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon and Alaska legalized and regulated the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults, while voters residing in the nation’s capitol and in numerous other cities nationwide similarly decided this Election Day to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

Ferguson No-Fly Zone Aimed at Media

by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government agreed to a police request to restrict more than 37 square miles of airspace surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, for 12 days in August for safety, but audio recordings show that local authorities privately acknowledged the purpose was to keep away news helicopters during violent street protests.

On Aug. 12, the morning after the Federal Aviation Administration imposed the first flight restriction, FAA air traffic managers struggled to redefine the flight ban to let commercial flights operate at nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and police helicopters fly through the area — but ban others.

'Assassination' of Public Health Systems Driving Ebola Crisis, Experts Warn

Neoliberal economic policies that defund health infrastructure responsible for current crisis in West Africa and across the globe, say analysts

In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity

by Kate Manne

On Sept. 26, two peaceful protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Mo. Watch this video (warning: includes profanity) and you will see two white officers arresting a young black woman who is wearing a red hoodie. One tackles her in a chokehold and yanks her hands behind her back. She whimpers, and they force her face down on the pavement. They then carry her off with one officer holding her by an arm, and the other holding her by a leg. Her body has gone limp; they dangle her between them carelessly. Why were these two men handling her “like an animal?” asks the protester recording the scene with her cellphone. It is a good question. And its answer is not obvious.
 

New Video of Michael Brown Shooting Shows Immediate Witness Reaction

Construction workers who saw Brown shot corroborate earlier statements that he was surrendering

Nadia Prupis, Commondreams staff write

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/12/new-video-michael-brown-shooting-shows-immediate-witness-reaction

A screengrab from the video provided by CNN shows witnesses to Michael Brown's shooting gesturing with raised arms.

Alaska, Oregon, and DC: A Marijuana Legalization Trifecta in 2014?

By Phillip Smith |  StopTheDrugWar.org
 

Labor Day has come and gone, and the 2014 election is now less than two months away. Marijuana legalization initiatives are on the ballot in two states — Alaska and Oregon — and the District of Columbia.

For the marijuana reform movement, 2014 is a chance for a legalization trifecta on the way to an even bigger year in 2016, but there is also the risk that losing in one or more states this year could take the momentum out of a movement that has been on a seemingly unstoppable upward trend.

The Initiatives

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Global commission condemns "harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies"

by Deidre Fulton, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/09/citing-failed-war-drugs-worl...

In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

Crime, Bias and Statistics

by Charles M. Blow

Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

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