It is easy to forget how America, with all of its faults, is still an exceptional country, governed by laws for the people and to some extent by the people. Even those who commit crimes, and find themselves on the receiving end of retributive punishment, can understand the importance of a legal system that punishes criminals and holds them responsible for their actions. There is a predominant element of retribution, which is meant to consequentially evolve into restoration (rehabilitation and repairing damage). Its primary objective is to achieve justice for the victim and assure the safety of law-abiding citizens. Its secondary objective is to rehabilitate the criminal, preparing him or her to be released at some point as a law-abiding, taxpaying, productive member of society. This is where the travesty begins which is vividly illustrated in the following piece from a 9/16/13 New York Law Journal article, written by John Coher:
“Some judges, most recently Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott of Columbia County, have taken the Parole Board to task for its policies and procedures. In a trio of decisions this year, Mott has ordered the Parole Board to grant new interviews to inmates where it used boilerplate language to deny release, but offered nothing to back it up.
I got to see Let the Fire Burn at the Little on November 12. It's been a while, but I did want to give it a bit of a review.
It's an impressive document of the misguided actions of the Philadelphia government and police against the MOVE organization that led to them bombing and burning a house in 1985 containing 13 members, eleven of whom perished. In a way, it's a microcosm of war: both are avoidable, expensive, and deadly acts.
I always thought if I started a blog, it’d be about sexual justice. Or rape culture. Or sex-positive sexuality. Or feminist rants. When I’ve dabbled in guest blogging, it’s been on those issues. I never ever, ever though it would be about parenting. In fact, the thought still kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Not because I’m not excited about being a parent, but because I have worked SO HARD to be seen as more than the stereotypes of my gender.
Children assigned female at birth are generally socially conditioned to care about things like weddings and babies and home-making. And pink. All things pink. Even those of us that don’t follow the social script know that we are supposed to. My parents never pushed that girly stuff on me, but I got the message anyway through TV, peers, and subtle social cues.
This is a guest post from Larisa Karr [on the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State website]. Larisa is a writer currently residing in Syracuse, New York who is planning on pursuing a degree in international relations and journalism. Having lost a family member to cancer, which was developed as a result of working in a sweatshop, Larisa has become increasingly more active in learning more about the state of the garment industry and what can be done to help those who are in precarious situations.
“We want jobs and we want them with dignity”
“Namaskaar”, Kalpona Akter greeted a small audience at the Ford Foundation auditorium on November 20th means ‘hello’ in Bengali. Please repeat.”
Jocular and light-hearted, the incredible Akter gave the keynote address in Manhattan as part of the human rights focused Mary Robinson Speaker Series. A victim of child labour, Akter has endured much persecution in her quest to seek g justice for the many factory workers in Bangladesh. With her father becoming disabled when Kalpona was twelve, Akter soon found herself in a factory making around the equivalent of 778 Bangladeshi taka, or ten US dollars a month. Angry at the situation, she began organising a group to protest against the low wages, and then found herself being tear gassed, arraigned with false charges of criminal activity, and fired from her job. One of her friends who also helped organize the group was tortured and subsequently murdered by the government.
Press Conferences: Fri. Jan 3, 4pm & Sat. Jan 4, 9am with US Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark
DEWITT, N.Y. December 27, 2013 On Friday, January 3rd at 5pm, sixteen people will begin trial in the DeWitt Town Court for protesting the piloting of MQ9 Reaper Drones at Hancock Air Base. They will defend themselves against charges of Trespass and Disorderly Conduct. The defendants will hold a press conference January 3rd at 4pm and US Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark will join them for the second press conference on January 4th at 9:00 am at the DeWitt Town Court. The trial will follow at 10:00 am. The court is located at 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY.
On October 25, 2012, the sixteen served a War Crimes Indictment to Hancock Air Base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard, and were arrested. The base is located on the backside of Syracuse Airport. Base personnel fly MQ9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, train operators and maintain MQ9 Reaper drones for domestic use.
With the talk of the town in Rochester, NY being about whether or not former interim Rochester Police Chief Cedric Alexander, who lead the RPD for 9 months in 2005, will return to serve as Chief under Mayor-Elect Lovely Warren's new administration, I thought it would be a good opportunity to remind my fellow short-term memory Rochesterians, of Alexander's failed tenure as Chief.
In a 2005 write-up on a site called The National Psychologist, former Rochester, NY Police Chief Cedric Alexander is lauded as a hero of sorts for his creation of the Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team (EDPRT), a team of officers "specially trained to deal with emotionally unstable and mentally-ill individuals."
A couple months ago we took a look inside the Iola tuberculosis hospital on Westfall Road. The buildings have since been demolished. But for Marilyn Casserino, 79, those photos triggered memories, and questions that will linger on…
For as long as we have been doing this, Chris and I have always wanted to go see Temple Sinai due to its unique architecture and its mysteriousness being tucked away back in the woods off of Penfield Road. We have reached out to the powers that be at Temple Sinai before and have been informed that while they do not offer tours, we are more than welcome to attend a Shabbat service on a Friday evening. Chris and I have gone back and forth on this idea as one we will “eventually do when we run out of other places to see.” Plus, Chris did go to Temple Sinai on a reconnaissance mission when the Temple was hosting a public book sale and returned with the message of “Dude, it’s a very cool sanctuary that we will have to check out some day.” So we continued to sit on it…until now.
Submitted by SusanGalloway on Sat, 2013-12-21 01:37
Rochester had the honor of screening the film "The Throwaways", which documents the life of Ira McKinley, an ex-felon and homeless man as he attempts to show the viewer "the throwaways" in our society.
The first blog post is always the…awkwardest. So let’s start with this really basic question: What makes a family queer? What is a queer family?
When we think of LGBT families, we usually think of two moms or two dads. More specifically, we think of two cisgender lesbian moms or two cisgender gay dads. When the acronym “LGBT” is used, the “B” and “T” are often silent. The “Q” isn’t even there. LGBT is often used as a catchall acronym for our communities–it’s pretty common. But LGBT organizations, service agencies, and media outlets often focus primarily on cisgender gay men and lesbian women. That’s also pretty common. There’s nothing wrong with two cis moms or dads and those families could certainly be queer, but these representations are not inclusive of all queer families.
The documentary, Unmanned: America’s drone war, was released this week. You can download a copy from the Internet or view it here. It was powerful and disturbing on an emotional level, and at the same time made a case that the drone strikes benefit nobody except avowed enemies of the United States, and certain corporations who get billion-dollar drone contracts.
The following article is written by Katrina Josberger, a student from Coxsackie-Athens High School.
Living our comfortable, busy lives as Americans we often forget an entire world exists outside our country. We overlook the basic structure of our economy and how most of the material products purchased in department stores and apparel shops are made using cheap, inhumane labor in India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. Millions of people, mostly young women, work in factories all seven days of the week, often clocking over 100 hours. Women are forbidden from taking a maternity leave, like Bangladeshi worker Morium Begum who lost her unborn baby at seven months when she was forced to work through illness and exhaustion. The Ha-Meem Group, the factory company employing Begum and 30,000 other garment workers, produce 70% of the apparel for Gap and Old Navy. Workers are paid 20 to 24 cents an hour, denied paid maternity leave, banned from organizing workers’ unions, and physically beaten. They are refused basic human rights and live in poverty, unable to afford food despite working 14 to 22 hour shifts. How can this be permitted? These women are being treated worse than working animals and are desperately in need of someone to speak up for them.
On September 12 I headed over to Goergen Hall on the University of Rochester Campus for a panel discussion titled "Block that Metaphor? Corporate Personhood Before and After Citizens United". The panel consisted of Lynn Stout from Cornell Law School, Greg Urban of the University of Pennsylvania, and Elana Shever from Colgate University. It was moderated by Robert Foster at the University of Rochester.
Lynn Stout studies corporations from a legal perspective. She started off by emphasizing that corporations are real, not a metaphor. The term "personhood" refers to a set of legal rights that allow a corporation to, for instance, have the right to own property in its own name. She's enamored of the idea of corporations which give people the ability to perform long term projects that human beings would never do.
Durand-Eastman Park. So peaceful and picturesque. This time of year the autumn colors are brilliant. And the water is so calm and reflective; the landscape seems to gently float up into the sky. This could be heaven.
On the edge of one great Lake Ontario, two much smaller lakes, Durand and Eastman are named for the two men who donated the land for this beautiful park. In the early 1900′s Dr. Henry S. Durand owned a summer camp here. He and his friend George Eastman saw a need for a public park with access to the beach. So they bought a number of farms around the Durand property, and in 1907 they offered the land to the City of Rochester.
On September 29th, Rochester Red & Black hosted a discussion about the influences that Anarchist ideals had on the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The talk was led by two authors that have recently written on the subject, Mark Bray and Nathan Schneider.
In the current government shutdown and bond default crisis, the extreme left-wing position, the one that House Speaker John Boehner says would amount to “unconditional surrender,” would be to allow the government to function normally and pay its bills under the “sequester” budget. This is the austerity budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, which at the time a surrender to the priorities of the Republican right wing.
On October 24, 2013, members of Enough is Enough, along with others in the community gave testimony of Rochester Police Officers behaving aggressively and with brutality at a forum organized by The United Christian Leadership Ministry of WNY, The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the NAACP, Spiritus Christi Anti-Racism Coalition.