Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Last Call For As Callous As They Come

The city of Cleveland has settled a lawsuit with the family of Tamir Rice for $6 million over the shooting death of the then 12-year-old boy by police for the crime of carrying a toy gun in Ohio.  But the settlement isn't the awful part. The response from the Cleveland's  largest police union is.

The head of the Cleveland rank-and-file police union says the family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice should use money from a $6 million settlement to educate children about the use of look-alike firearms. 
Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association association, was criticized on a national scale for statements he made to the media in the weeks and months after two officers in his union were involved in Tamir's death. 
The usually talkative Loomis issued a news release that said "we can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms
"Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm," the release continues.

Now, stop and think about this.

First of all, the police union is telling the Rice family how to spend their settlement over the death of their child.

Second of all, the police union feels the need to tell the Rice family that it is their duty to educate Cleveland's kids to not play with toy guns so that Cleveland cops don't murder them in cold blood.

I have never seen anything more awfully callous, more reprehensibly disgusting than this release.

Steve Loomis, you are without a doubt a monster.

School Daze, Con't

The destruction of red state public schools continue as the Republican plan to fund white schools at the expense of black ones is creating a new era of school segregation.  Today's example: Sumter County, Alabama.

The front door at Livingston Junior High in rural Sumter County is something of an early warning system. It screeches so loudly that visitors can hear it — from the parking lot. Once inside, the scale of disrepair becomes clear. 
“In the girls restroom, they may have four or five stalls, but only one works,” says principal Tramene Maye, giving a quick walking tour. “And the funds are limited, so what do you deem necessary? If one is working, that’s what you’re going to allow to continue.” 
And Livingston’s problems don’t end with a loud door and broken toilets. One former classroom leaks when it rains. Garbage cans catch some of the water, but the moldy smell and buckled floor prove they miss plenty. Around the school, it’s a similar story: broken windows, peeling paint, cracked floor tiles. Maye insists there just isn’t enough money to fix it all. 
“We have 580 students. Everything should be functioning,” Maye says. “When you have to spread that money thin like that, it’s hard to put it in the right places. But we do the best we can.” 
Sumter Central High senior and star student Jewel Townsend’s school is in better shape than Livingston, but she says it’s still hard when she travels to schools and sports facilities outside the district. 
“I see that Sumter County doesn’t have that,” she says, her voice catching. “It’s like, ‘Wow,really? Why can’t we have that?’” 
This largely low-income, all black school district doesn’t have a baseball or soccer team. And, says superintendent Tyrone Yarbrough, “we would love to have music and art in all of our schools. We don’t have that. If we had us some kids who were interested in, say, orchestra … we don’t have that.”

In more affluent districts, local property tax revenue makes a big difference for schools. But in rural Sumter, which is mostly farms and timberland, there isn’t much to tax. It’s also hard to raise rates on what is there. 
In Alabama, local voters have final say on tax hikes. Sumter school supporters have tried and failed twice in recent years to raise local rates. While some states send extra need-based dollars to districts like Sumter that serve lots of disadvantaged students, Alabama does not.

Sumter County school board member Julene Delaine says Sumter schools have another challenge. While basically all of their students are African-American, roughly a quarter of the county’s population is white.

“They live in this county, but they will not send their children to the schools in this county,” Delaine says. Instead, many white families send their kids to a local private academy or outside the area. “We shop in the same place. We eat at the same restaurant. So why can’t our kids go to school together?”

Because you're black.  And the same questions we black folks asked in 1966 about America, well, we're still asking those same questions and looking for answers in 2016.

Welcome to third world America, where white kids go to private schools and black kids go to schools with metal detectors, broken toilets, no sports, no art, no music, and no goddamn hope. We wall kids and parents like this off from the world, chain anvils to their legs and throw them in the deep end and say "This is America, boy. If you're worth saving, you'll save yourself."

Start swimming.

Docs Caught In Oklahoma's TRAP

Hey look, Oklahoma is trying to end abortions in the state again, and this time if they can't regulate clinics out of existence, they'll just regulate abortion-providing doctors out of practicing medicine.

A bill that will revoke the license of any doctor who performs abortions has landed on the desk of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R). While the conservative governor hasn’t yet said whether or not she will sign it, the Republican-dominated state legislature is eager for this proposed law to see the light of day, saying it will “protect life.” 
However, abortion rights advocates say the legislation violates the Constitution by banning a doctor from providing a medical procedure that is entirely legal. 
“Whether this bill is signed into law or now, the fact that it’s made it to the governor’s desk is appalling and offensive,” said Dr. Pratima Gupta, a member of Physicians for Reproductive Health. 
And, Gupta added, it will force doctors to give their patients deceptive and unscientific advice — that they should not go through with a requested abortion — in hopes of keeping their medical license. Many anti-abortion state laws already put doctors in this difficult situation. For instance,Arizona passed a law forcing doctors to tell their patients that an abortion is reversible — advice that remains unproven. 
“Patients trust me to care for them and give them the best medical advice,” Gupta said. “This bill would force us, as doctors, to go against our own beliefs.” 
In response to the bill’s advancement, Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), stressed that this legislation would only put women at further risk, as they may instead turn to unsafe, illegal methods to end their pregnancy. Politics, he emphasized, have no place in an exam room. 
“Health care decisions should be made jointly by patients and their trusted health care providers,” DeFrancesco wrote in a Monday statement. “Not by politicians who lack medical training and who clearly do not have women’s best interests in mind.”

Still, this is something of a bold new tactic and could effectively end abortions in the state, especially if the law remains in effect while it is being fought in the courts.  I'm not sure what GOP Gov. Fallin will do with this bill, but it's entirely possible a veto may be overridden.

I'll keep an eye on this one.


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