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2013 January

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Supervisor Avalos calls for investigation of LIBOR fraud by big banks

Standing in front of a JPMorgan Chase bank branch on Tuesday afternoon, San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos announced he was launching an investigation into San Francisco’s potential losses from the LIBOR interest rate fraud scandal and to explore options to recoup that money as other cities and counties have recently done.

Judges grant California six additional months to cut prison population

On Tuesday, a panel of three federal judges granted California six additional months to comply with federal orders to reduce prison overcrowding. About six years ago, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed federal receiver J. Clark Kelso to oversee the state’s prison health care system after determining that an average of one inmate per week died as a result of malpractice or neglect. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to reduce its inmate population to help improve prison health care.

Our children are affected by our incarceration

In America there are 24 million children with an incarcerated parent. Judges do not consider children when sentencing a parent, nor do they consider where those children will go or who will care for them. As parents, we must think about our children before we act because the courts have no money and our children are the ones suffering.

CPUC’s San Onofre investigation: Parties cry foul

Parties to the California Public Utilities Commission’s investigation of the San Onofre nuclear generating station outage are crying foul over ongoing procedural delays and a narrow Scoping Memo issued Tuesday, Jan. 28. Parties ask CPUC to stop paying for these severely damaged reactors now and plan for permanent replacement resources instead.

Court finds Shell Nigeria guilty

A Dutch court has rejected a bid by Nigerian farmers to hold Shell’s parent company responsible for oil damage to their villages, saying that only the Anglo-Dutch oil giant’s Nigerian subsidiary was partly responsible. On Jan. 29, the court dismissed four out of five allegations against the company but ordered it to pay compensation to one Nigerian farmer.

Working the room: Inmates in solitary confinement tell their stories and move people to...

By taking to heart the experiences shared by Heshima Denham we learn that one of the greatest gestures of support and reassurance of the safety of prisoners who are vocal about their circumstances is constant visibility. Solitary confinement is torture; it is a violation of some of the most basic of human rights; and the agents of the state responsible for carrying out this abuse need to be exposed.

Reflections and dialogue with the Global South

The solution must exist within our form of struggle. The resistance currently resonating across Latin America is not just saying “No” to what they do not want, but at the same time constructing what it is they want to see. They say it is no longer enough to be against a system of exploitation and domination, because we have the power to create the alternative.

Saving City College of San Francisco: Faculty initiate campus and community coalition

CCSF, one of the nation’s most successful community colleges, is fighting for survival. A lifeline to immigrants, students of color and the poor, the school has been knocked to its knees by brutal austerity measures. Students, staff, faculty, and community are joining together in the fight to save CCSF from closure. You are invited to the launch of the campus-community coalition on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m., at CCSF Mission Campus, Room 109, 1125 Valencia, between 22nd and 23rd streets, San Francisco.

Imprisoned human rights attorney Lynne Stewart denied cancer treatment

Civil rights attorney and political prisoner Lynne Stewart needs help. She fought breast cancer two years ago, apparently successfully, but now the cancer is spreading. Her condition is treatable. But authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received expert medical attention before.

New Orleans police conviction vacated

A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned the conviction of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, one of the former cops tried and convicted of an assortment of charges related to the murder of Henry Glover, who was shot by police and later burned in an abandoned car by cops just days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than seven years ago.

Leo Robinson, soul of the longshore

Leo Robinson was a Black leader of the longshore union in San Francisco. He died in mid-January. For many of us, he was a lifelong companion, an example of what being an internationalist and a working class activist was all about. When Leo Robinson spoke, he had the full attention of every union member in Local 10’s cavernous waterfront union hall.

Innocent but wearing guilty clothes

For 16 and a half years, I fought with every breath in my body to prove my innocence. On Oct. 5, 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my life sentence on the grounds of “insufficient evidence,” which is equal to a not guilty verdict, barring a retrial. Under the appeal issue on which my conviction was overturned, I was eligible for immediate release.

Postal hunger strike to save 6-day delivery

A half dozen postal hunger strikers completed a six-day fast for six-day delivery and declared a “people’s victory” in late December. The strikers established an “emergency” tent encampment in the shadow of the Capitol, demanding that Congress and the president halt closures and cuts to the U.S. Postal Service.

The N-word unchained

Movie-goers across the country are embroiled in heavy social media discussions or water cooler arguments about Quentin Tarantino’s use and Spike Lee’s criticism of use of the infamous N-word in the blockbuster hit “Django Unchained.” During the last couple of decades there has been an interesting ongoing dialogue concerning the use, misuse and exploitation of the so-called N-word.

Toward racial peace in all prisons

The call for racial peace came from Pelican Bay SHU – the hole. It was a brave, human and needed call for racial harmony. Since I’m a believer in peace and realness – one people, one race – I must echo their cry and add my voice to the chorus. I think it is a call all peace groups around the world, inside and outside of prisons, would welcome.

‘The 16th Strike,’ documentary on the current state of Blacks/Africans in America: interview with...

“The 16th Strike,” a documentary in progress, is directed and produced by T Alika Hickman with videographer Danny Russo. Hickman, the young survivor of a stroke and two brain aneurysms, is a Hip Hop artist with Krip Hop Nation – artists with disabilities – as well as a mother, activist, author and poet. She is raising funds to complete the film.

SFPD can’t stop and frisk, so they turn to ‘hunting’ and ‘wolf packing’

It’s a damn shame to see this sort of abuse of power, especially when you consider Mayor Lee, who was largely applauded for being the City’s first Asian-American mayor, was a long-time civil rights attorney. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, as many traditional civil rights organizations and leaders have turned the concept upside down.

Beyond banning ‘bad guns’ and ‘arming good guys’

In our current climate, it is increasingly hard to see how some of the alternating proposals flowing from these debates, namely, a “good guy with a gun” in every school or a generic “gun control” that bans all bad guns and gun accessories will be anything but a distraction from truly understanding and addressing the root of what is causing people to die.

HUD housing programs at risk locally and across the nation

Massive spending cuts to the nation’s federal housing programs are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2013, threatening thousands of low-income families in Oakland and other Bay Area cities with higher rent than they can pay. Additionally, several hundred thousand or more low-income families all across the nation could lose their vouchers.

I believe trying children as adults is unconstitutional

It is unconstitutional for a state to have a law that treats a class of people differently from others. Juveniles, or minors, are a class of people; and since they are under the age of 18 and not adults, they are denied all rights of adults. Therefore, it is wrong and unfair to have a law that allows juveniles to be tried and punished as adults yet denies them the same rights as adults.