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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 9, 2017, 01:31 PM
Number of posts: 7,582

Journal Archives

Where Bronx housing went awry

By Eileen Markey
New York Daily News |
Feb 02, 2022

The Twin Parks fire, which cost 17 people their lives, has gripped the heartstrings of the city and the nation.

It’s a concrete tragedy, one people can get their heads around. But it’s not the whole story. The fire was fueled by decisions made a decade ago and a far broader abandonment of the public good.


The Twin Parks fire started when we gave over a crucial social function to the market. The market doesn’t work for providing housing in New York City. If it did, we wouldn’t have nearly half a million people in public housing, 45,000 people in city shelters and one in seven kids in the Bronx living in a shelter, a family member or friends’ couch or a car. If the market worked, we wouldn’t have one in three Bronxites paying half their income in rent.

Keith "KILL THEM ALL" Wrede Police Brutality Lawsuit Costs Colorado Springs $175K

Michael Roberts February 1, 2022

A portrait of Colorado Springs Police Officer Keith Wrede. Colorado Springs Police Department

The City of Colorado Springs has agreed to pay $175,000 and institute policy changes to settle a lawsuit filed by Celia Palmer against Colorado Springs Police Officer Keith Wrede, who was accused of roughing her up without provocation during a 2020 racial-justice protest.

According to attorney Andrew McNulty of Denver-based Killmer, Lane & Newman LLP, who represents Palmer as well as Michael Acker, an injured protester paid $500,000 last week by the City of Denver to settle a separate complaint, the deal "brings some semblance of justice to Ms. Palmer, who was brutalized for no reason."

Wrede, one of three defendants in the lawsuit, along with fellow Colorado Springs Police Officer Wesley Woodworth and the City of Colorado Springs, had already made headlines in 2020 after posting "KILL THEM ALL" regarding Black Lives Matters protesters under a pseudonym. That this action only earned Wrede a one-week suspension was infuriating to McNulty. As he told us last year after filing Palmer's suit, Wrede "was acting out exactly what he was saying on social media about Black Lives Matter protesters. He wrote 'KILL THEM ALL' about folks peacefully demonstrating to hold police officers accountable for the violence they've perpetrated on communities of color, and then he acted on those exact thoughts in regard to my client."


A Little Spectrum-y​ : What the Autism Diagnosis Says About You

Emer Lucey is a historian of medicine and disability and a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University.

Online, someone is wondering if Will Smith is on the spectrum. Jennifer Lawrence? Low-key autistic. So is Matthew McConaughey, though he may be a savant. Thomas Pynchon seems to know a lot about town planning: distinctly spectrum-y. Anna Wintour’s limited diet, love of indoor sunglasses, and exacting standards have Asperger’s vibes. Other things that have been declared autistic-adjacent on Twitter: having an Aquarius moon, dudes in high school who shout rap lyrics, Tulsi Gabbard supporters, the sudden urge to climb a tree, the Build-A-Bear Workshop website.

What, exactly, are all these people talking about? You get the sense that we’ve strayed quite far from the official diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disability that’s linked to difficulties with social interaction and communication and restricted or repetitive behavior. The colloquial use of terms like “autistic” and “on the spectrum” conjures up a set of related images of the autistic person: socially awkward, or maybe obsessive about a niche topic or area of expertise, or failing to recognize social cues or make eye contact, or affectless, or inconsiderate towards others and even self-absorbed. This stereotype is omnipresent today, but has been on the rise since the early 2000s, when the media first stoked widespread panic about a supposed childhood autism epidemic.

Sometimes, what gets called autism is indistinguishable from ordinary rudeness. (One telling YouTube video from last September explains “How to Tell if Someone’s Autistic or a Jerk (or both?).”) Calling a terrible boyfriend or a coworker with bad anger management skills “spectrum-y” simultaneously puts a name to and partially excuses inconsiderateness, for how can one be taken to task for being autistic? Autism may be a throwaway insult or justification, but its ubiquitous everyday usage also reflects something more substantial about what’s churning through our collective mind. What it means to call someone autistic in common speech has changed, and not only because the science has changed. The more you study its evolving public perception, the more you realize that definitions of, and explanations for, autism are in an important sense a mirror for the non-autistic, neurotypical world. “Autism” is — and has been — as much a reflection of our collective anxieties as it is of an individual disability.

Excerpt: Today, you can take online tests to measure how many autistic traits you have or what your “Autism Spectrum Quotient” is. For autistic people, this idea is frustrating. Having some autistic traits is not the same as being autistic. Everyone isn’t a little bit autistic; rather, some are autistic, and others are not. The spectrum, as it is now generally understood by the scientific and autistic communities, is a way of capturing autism’s range and complexity within the subset of people who have it, not the span of all human experiences.

( I hope more will read this exceptionally well-written and thoughtful piece on autism. I thought perhaps I was one of the few who found the application of the term used in so many circles of late, troubling....so glad a friend shared this article with me because it is the very definition of advocacy for those who struggle in the neuro-typical world as people with autism.)

Why Smedley Butler left the imperialist front despising 'Gangsters of Capitalism'

New book shows how the American general’s contempt for ‘the racket’ was born during his service in the 20th century ‘small wars.’

January 28, 2022

Written by
Daniel Larison

Smedley Butler was one of the most decorated Marines in U.S. history, and by the end of his life he was also one of the most outspoken critics of the U.S. imperialism that he had spent most of his life enforcing. That contradiction between Butler the antiwar critic and Butler the builder of empire is at the heart of an important new book by Jonathan Katz, Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, the Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America’s Empire. Katz’s book is an essential reminder of what the U.S. did during those decades and of the lasting effects that those interventions had on the countries where Butler went.

Butler took part in America’s so-called “small wars” in Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America in the early twentieth century. Like those wars, his military career has mostly been forgotten by the American public. That career was defined by aggressive military interventions on behalf of corporate interests, and by the end he was disgusted by it. As the author of War Is a Racket, Butler has been an inspiration to many antiwar and anti-imperialist Americans over the years, but he was also one of the military officers responsible for implementing destructive American colonialist designs at the expense of other nations. Twice awarded the Medal of Honor, he never believed he had done anything to deserve it, and the massacre that he took part in at Fort Rivière in Haiti haunted him.

In his later life, Butler came to see much of his career as a disreputable series of actions in the service of wealthy American interests, and he called himself a “racketeer for capitalism.” The racket he denounced was one that benefited a very few at the expense of the many. That core problem with our foreign policy that Butler identified almost ninety years ago is still very much with us. The U.S. still wages unnecessary wars based on flimsy pretexts against countries that cannot possibly threaten us, and today it also enables other wars with its weapons sales. The military budget grows every year despite the extraordinary physical security that the United States enjoys, and the hunt for new monsters to slay is unending. The racket is bigger and more destructive than ever.


Scott Hechinger@ScottHech:*Hundreds* of NYPD steal subway fare & walk through exit gate.


( Fine upstanding folks. )

New York Police Department Overview
This report presents a review of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Fiscal 2022 Executive
Budget. The City’s budget for Fiscal 2022 is $98.56 billion. The proposed NYPD expense budget
for Fiscal 2022 is $5.44 billion, representing 5.5 percent of the City’s total. The NYPD budget is
funded primarily through City tax-levy funding - for Fiscal 2022 City funds account for $5.12
billion, or 94 percent, of the total budget.

The Personal Services (PS) budget for Fiscal 2022 is approximately $5 billion, representing 92
percent of NYPD’s budget allocated to salaries, wages, and overtime for its workforce. The total
budgeted headcount for Fiscal 2022 is 52,482 which consists of 35,030 uniform members of
service, 15,646 civilian personnel, and 1,806 full-time equivalents.

Education Secretary Calls For Increased Funding For IDEA

by Michelle Diament | January 31, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks about his priorities for American education. (U.S. Department of Education/Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is pushing for more funding to meet the needs of students with disabilities and to support special education teachers.

In a major speech late last week, Cardona said that it’s not enough for students to be back in school after classrooms across the country went virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation needs to do more to ensure that children, including those with disabilities, are successful, he said.

“We can’t lose this moment — this chance for a reset in education — by going back to the same pre-pandemic strategies that did not address inequities for Latino, Black and Native students, students from low-income backgrounds, students from rural communities, students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness and English learners,” Cardona said in the speech outlining his vision for the nation’s education system. “Instead, let’s do what America does best — turn crisis into opportunity.”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption ( Watch video. )

A powerful true story about the Equal Justice Initiative, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice, Just Mercy is a bestselling book by Bryan Stevenson that has been adapted into a feature film.


In 2021, 72% of UnitedHealth's $222.9 billion health plan revenue came from taxpayers.

94% of its total U.S. membership growth over the past 10 years was in government programs.

Wendell Potter

Jan 27 2022

As I noted in my last post, UnitedHealth Group made more profits last year than any health insurer has ever made for its shareholders–and considerably more than Wall Street financial analysts had expected. Investors were so impressed they rushed to buy shares of the company’s stock.

That might not have surprised you. United and other big insurers have reported record profits every year over the past decade. What might surprise you, though, is that even if you are not enrolled in a United health plan, some of your money likely wound up in the pockets of United’s already rich shareholders. That’s because you and America’s other taxpayers increasingly are fueling United’s profits.

In its press release last week, United bragged about the growing number of people it “serves,” including the number of people in its health plans. The release said the company had 10.5 million more “members” in its health plans in 2021 than in 2011. But when you look more closely at the numbers and do some math, you’ll see that very little of that growth has been in the private sector.


A U.S. Foreign Policy Fit for the 21st Century

By Pramila Jayapal, the U.S. representative for Washington’s 7th Congressional District and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Barbara Lee, the U.S. representative for California’s 13th Congressional District and chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

January 24, 2022


Across the country, Americans are mourning the losses of their loved ones to a pandemic that has taken more lives than the Civil War. Millions are struggling to make ends meet as they are burdened with debt, skyrocketing housing costs, and exploitative jobs. Others are enjoying a short reprieve between the hurricane and wildfire seasons that annually turn everyday life into a fight for survival.

Meanwhile, our fellow members of Congress finished the year by authorizing the largest war-making budget in U.S. history since World War II—and they did so in the name of security.

Excerpt: The greatest threats to America’s security—pandemics, climate change, economic inequality, authoritarianism—cannot be defeated at the barrel of a gun. It’s time to stop relying on the same old playbook and instead forge a foreign policy that works for everyday people. (That’s why we have introduced the Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution.)

The resolution sets out a new vision for the United States’ role in the world. It takes as its starting point a few simple truths. Today’s greatest security challenges cannot be solved through military adventurism. International cooperation, diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding—not bombs—must be the foreign-policy tools the country reaches for first. Global problems require global solutions. Justice and security go hand in hand. The United States cannot play by a different set of rules than it expects of the rest of the world. Foreign policy must be made not for the self-interest of the few but by and for the people, centering the working class and impacted and marginalized communities at home and abroad.

( Long overdue. )

Schools Use Off-Book Suspensions To Push Out Students In Special Ed, Report Finds

by Michelle Diament | January 27, 2022

In a new report, the National Disability Rights Network says that schools are using a wide range of tactics to keep children with disabilities out of classes. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Hundreds of students with disabilities across the country, if not more, are illegally being kept out of school without access to special education services due to their behaviors, advocates say.

A report out this week from the National Disability Rights Network highlights several kids who have experienced what the group is calling “informal removal.”

The off-the-books suspensions come in many forms, according to the network, an umbrella group for the federally mandated protection and advocacy organizations in each state. Some students are repeatedly sent home from school while others are limited to shorter school days, assigned to homebound placement with minimal education or remote learning, the report says. In other cases, school districts transfer students involuntarily to programs that do not exist, have no openings or ones which the child does not qualify for.

Excerpt: The report tells of a 6-year-old with complex medical needs who was only allowed to go to school one day a week. Another child with autism was placed in homebound services in second grade because of his behaviors and did not have a seat in a classroom for at least three years. And, at one school district, three kids with autism were routinely sent home because there were too few paraprofessionals and the children were deemed “too hard to handle.” One of the students was kept out of school for nearly a year.


( This is what we're about now? The Pentagon received $24 billion more than they even asked for, but schools are conniving kids out of services...ugh )
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