Opinion | We May Be Able to Get Kevin Cooper Off Death Row – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The horror began with a nighttime home invasion and the stabbings of a white family, and was compounded when sheriff’s deputies arrested and framed a black man for murder.

That’s my view, and now after 35 years the wheels of justice in California may finally be creaking into motion. I last wrote about the case two months ago, and there’s a hopeful development: Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be moving toward allowing advanced DNA testing that may correct a gross injustice abetted by the police, prosecutors, judges, politicians and journalists.”

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Opinion | For Hope in Trump’s America I Read Sojourner Truth – The New York Times

By KHADIJAH COSTLEY WHITE

DL: Not a bad piece, but a weird beginning, since it leads the reader on in thinking it will be about Sojouner Truth, when it is more about civil rights in the last 150 years.
This piece gets an A for substance, and a C for honest opening and title.
Frustrated, I went to wikipedia, and learned a lot more about Soujourner Truth, including:
“Northampton Camp Meeting—-1844, Northampton, Massachusetts: At a camp meeting where she was participating as an itinerant preacher, a band of “wild young men” disrupted the camp meeting, refused to leave, and threatened to burn down the tents. Truth caught the sense of fear pervading the worshipers and hid behind a trunk in her tent, thinking that since she was the only black person present, the mob would attack her first. However, she reasoned with herself and resolved to do something: as the noise of the mob increased and a female preacher was “trembling on the preachers’ stand,” Truth went to a small hill and began to sing “in her most fervid manner, with all the strength of her most powerful voice, the hymn on the resurrection of Christ.” Her song, “It was Early in the Morning,” gathered the rioters to her and quieted them. They urged her to sing, preach, and pray for their entertainment. After singing songs and preaching for about an hour, Truth bargained with them to leave after one final song. The mob agreed and left the camp meeting.[26]”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sojourner_Truth

U.S. Immigration Director Threatens to Jail Elected Officials in Sanctuary Cities – Texas Monthly

“Mayors from across the state were stunned today when the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, went on Fox News and threatened to jail and prosecute elected officials in so-called sanctuary cities who do not fully cooperate with federal authorities in rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants.

“Did he mention me?” an incredulous Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked when reporters brought up the remarks.When I asked Austin mayor Steve Adler for a response, he characterized Homan’s remarks as un-American. “Threatening to jail political opponents, especially for laws they aren’t breaking, is not the America I grew up in,” he said. “Austin is the safest big city in Texas, and we follow the law. I will oppose anti-immigrant policies, regardless of the personal consequences, because spreading fear and making threats makes us all less safe.”

San Antonio Mayor Ron Mayor Nirenberg said that it’s up to the federal government to enforce immigration laws, not the local police force. “I trust our police department’s guidance on the proper way to ensure public safety to the best of our ability. Community policing requires the community’s trust in the police department,” Nirenberg said. “It is unfair to punish local law enforcement for the federal government’s failure to do its job.”

Source: U.S. Immigration Director Threatens to Jail Elected Officials in Sanctuary Cities – Texas Monthly

David Lindsay: When Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez won her NY primary for congress, we learned that she calls for the abolishing of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department that was moved from the Justice Dept to the new Homeland Security Department after 9/11, in 2001. It is hard to find any proof that ICE is doing anything unlawful or heinous, but the article above shows that Trump’s new manager is a disaster. This troglodyte Homan should be replaced, but then, so should Trump. But the Democratic party has to be careful. A majority of voting Americans want illegal immigration to be stopped. A few of us want strict rights for illegal immigrants, protection to always get paid for work performed etc, but we don’t want unlimited or even any illegal immigration. God protect us.
Trumps denial of the threat of climate change is catastrophic. Roughly 22 million of the 68 million refugees in the world are from climate change loss of livelihood or civil war. People of faith or of compassion will want to address these problems in spite of their complexity.

Opinion | Janus Decision Reins in Unions’ Political Power – The New York Times

“In its 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Supreme Court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional laws that require public employees to pay “agency fees” to unions that they refuse to join. The court’s ruling, will not, as critics fear, deliver a “death blow” to unions. But it will restore to thousands of public employees the right to decide which political causes to support with their money.”

Opinion | The North’s Jim Crow – By Andrew W. Kahrl – NYT

Last month in Philadelphia, a white Starbucks manager summoned police officers to confront a pair of African-American men after one asked to use the restroom before he had purchased a drink. About two weeks later, at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, Calif., a white woman called police to report a black family that was grilling food for a picnic.

In both instances, the victims were accused of violating laws or rules governing conduct in commercial establishments and public spaces. In the first case, it was for trespassing or loitering. In the second, it was for using a charcoal grill outside of the designated areas.

“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.

In contrast to the Jim Crow laws of America’s dark past, these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.

Opinion | The N.F.L. Kneels to Trump – The New York Times

“The owners of the National Football League have concluded, with President Trump, that true patriotism is not about bravely standing up for democratic principle but about standing up, period.

Rather than show a little backbone themselves and support the right of athletes to protest peacefully, the league capitulated to a president who relishes demonizing black athletes. The owners voted Wednesday to fine teams whose players do not stand for the national anthem while they are on the field.

Let us hope that in keeping with the league’s pinched view of patriotism, the players choose to honor the letter but not the spirit of this insulting ban. It might be amusing, for example, to see the owners tied in knots by players who choose to abide by the injunction to “stand and show respect” — while holding black-gloved fists in the air. Or who choose to stand — while holding signs protesting policy brutality. We look forward to many more meetings of fatootsed gazillionaires conducting many more votes on petty rules to ban creative new forms of player protest.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Great editorial, and comments afterwards!
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Issassi wrote:”Colin Kaepernick is someone I really look up to; I don’t have his kind of courage. As for the NFL owners, they have shown their lack of spine today, and their abject failure to support free speech in America. Last, I applaud the Jets and their co-owner Chris Johnson, who is firmly on the right side of history.” What is this about. I found: “Johnson first endeared himself to his players in September, after Trump made protests against racial injustice the talk of the NFL. Prior to New York’s Sept. 24 game against the Dolphins, Johnson met individually with every Jet and asked if he could stand alongside them during the national anthem. Their blessing given, he’s been doing it ever since. On Tuesday, Johnson said linking arms with his players has been “the honor of my life.”’ I hope Chris Johnson offers Colin Kaepernick a job playing football. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Dovey Johnson Roundtree- Barrier-Breaking Lawyer- Dies at 104 – By Margalit Fox – NYT

By Margalit Fox,   May 21, 2018

“The jurors were looking at her when they filed into court. That, Dovey Johnson Roundtree knew, could have immense significance for her client, a feebleminded day laborer accused of one of the most sensational murders of the mid-20th century.

Little had augured well for that client, Raymond Crump Jr., during his eight-day trial in United States District Court in Washington: Mr. Crump, who had been found near the crime scene, was black and poor. The victim was white, glamorous and supremely well connected. The country, in the summer of 1965, seethed with racial tension amid the surging civil rights movement.

Federal prosecutors had amassed a welter of circumstantial evidence — including 27 witnesses and more than 50 exhibits — to argue that on Oct. 12, 1964, Mr. Crump had carried out the execution-style shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a Washington socialite said to have been a former lover of President John F. Kennedy.

By contrast, Ms. Roundtree, who died on Monday at 104, had chosen to present just three witnesses and a single exhibit to the jury, which comprised men and women, blacks and whites. Her closing argument was only 20 minutes long.”

David Lindsay:

Amazing story, about possibly one of  the most extraordinary Americans I’ve never heard of.  Margalit Fox has written a fine report, which includes:

““As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” Katie McCabe, the co-author of Ms. Roundtree’s memoir, “Justice Older Than the Law,” said in an interview for this obituary in 2016. “She was a one-woman Legal Aid Society before people used that term.”

So there is a biography already, I hope there will be a movie.

Edidtorial | He Walked for His Right to Vote. Now He’s Running for Office. – The New York Times

This is part of a series on voting in America.

“David Sadler wants to be the next state senator representing the 25th District of Alabama, a stack of three counties in the southern part of the state that includes the capital, Montgomery. He is handsome, charismatic and passionate, and speaks in the apolitical language of unity and justice. He’s running as a Democrat but doesn’t strongly identify with any political party.

He probably won’t win — the 25th District is overwhelmingly Republican and white — but don’t tell him that.

“We’re going to win,” Mr. Sadler said on one unusually cool evening late last month, as he hunkered down on the general-admission lawn at the Montgomery Biscuits’ minor-league ballpark. His 5-year-old son, Dennis, sat curled on his lap, wrapped in a thick yellow Biscuits blanket.

Mr. Sadler, who is 45 and runs a car service in Montgomery, recounted a recent conversation with one of his regular clients, a political pollster. “You cannot win. Flat out. You cannot win,” Mr. Sadler recalled him saying. “But then, within five minutes of talking to me, he said, ‘You know what? Let me take that back. If anybody can win, you can win.’ ” “

Opinion | Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder? – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“Soon sheriff’s deputies were swarming all over the Ryen house in affluent, suburban Chino Hills, east of Los Angeles, that day in June 1983. Several signs, including Josh’s personal account, pointed to three white attackers, and blond or brown hairs were found in the victims’ hands, as if torn off in a struggle.

Sheriff’s deputies were also contacted by the woman whose boyfriend was a convicted murderer, recently released from prison, whom she suspected of involvement in the Ryen killings. She not only gave deputies his bloody coveralls but also told them that his hatchet was missing from his tool rack and resembled one of the weapons reportedly used in the attacks.

But instead of testing the coveralls for the Ryens’ blood, the deputies threw them away–and pursued Cooper. After a racially charged trial, he was convicted of murdering the Ryens and Chris Hughes and is now on death row at San Quentin Prison.

Gov. Jerry Brown is refusing to allow advanced DNA testing that might finally resolve the question of who committed the murders, even though Cooper’s defense would pay for it. Brown refuses to allow even advanced testing of the blond or brown hairs  that were found in the victims’ hands.”

 

David Lindsay:

Thank you Nicholas Kristof. I just sent an email to Governor of CA Jerry Brown, using the link at the end of this hair-raising story.
“Kevin Cooper apparently needs you to authorize advanced DNA testing.
The only reason I can imagine your refusing, is if you are part of the frame up that has been described in the NYT.

“But instead of testing the coveralls for the Ryens’ blood, the deputies threw them away–and pursued Cooper. After a racially charged trial, he was convicted of murdering the Ryens and Chris Hughes and is now on death row at San Quentin Prison.

Gov. Jerry Brown is refusing to allow advanced DNA testing that might finally resolve the question of who committed the murders, even though Cooper’s defense would pay for it. Brown refuses to allow even advanced testing of the blond or brown hairs that were found in the victims’ hands.

This is the story of a broken justice system. It appears that an innocent man was framed by sheriff’s deputies and is on death row in part because of dishonest cops, sensational media coverage and flawed political leaders — including Democrats like Brown and Kamala Harris, the state attorney general before becoming a U.S. senator, who refused to allow newly available DNA testing for a black man convicted of hacking to death a beautiful white family and young neighbor. This was a failure at every level, and it should prompt reflection not just about one man on death row but also about profound inequities in our entire system of justice.”

Really, is this what you want to be remembered for?
David Lindsay Jr, Hamden CT

Furthermore, Learning that Kamala Harris participated in this lynching is a disappointing surprise.

Redskins Cheerleaders Describe Topless Photo Shoots and an Uneasy Night Out – The New York Times

“When the Washington Redskins took their cheerleading squad to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot, the first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification.

For the photo shoot, at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. Given the resort’s secluded setting, such revealing poses would not have been a concern for the women — except that the Redskins had invited spectators.

A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done. They had a special assignment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
What an opportunity. I am sorry once again, that I didn’t go to law school, and then practice law. These cheerleaders need a really good law firm. And criminal charges should be pressed by Attorney Generals. The NFL is trafficking in the sex trade. That is exactly what these men did when they took away the passports of these young women, and then ordered them to perform topless and act as escorts.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com