Secret clique in L.A. County sheriff’s gang unit probed

From LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sheriff-clique-20120420,0,663420.story

The investigation was prompted by the discovery of a document that suggests that the group, known as the Jump Out Boys, considers officer-involved shootings to be a badge of honor.

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
April 20, 2012

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives have launched a probe into what appears to be a secret deputy clique within the department’s elite gang unit, an investigation triggered by the discovery of a document suggesting the group embraces shootings as a badge of honor.

The document described a code of conduct for the Jump Out Boys, a clique of hard-charging, aggressive deputies who gain more respect after being involved in a shooting, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. The pamphlet is relatively short, sources said, and explains that deputies earn admission into the group through the endorsement of members.

The sources stressed that the internal affairs investigation is still in its early stages and that little is known about the Jump Out Boys’ behavior or its membership.

Still, sheriff’s officials are concerned that the group represents another unsanctioned clique within the department’s ranks, a problem the department has been grappling with for decades.

Last year, the department fired a group of deputies who all worked on the third, or “3000,” floor of Men’s Central Jail, after the group fought two fellow deputies at an employee Christmas party and allegedly punched a female deputy in the face. Sheriff’s officials later said the men had formed an aggressive “3000” clique that used gang-like three-finger hand signs. A former top jail commander told The Times that jailers would “earn their ink” by breaking inmates’ bones.

Other cliques — with names like Grim Reapers, Little Devils, Regulators and Vikings —- have been accused of breeding a gang-like mentality in which deputies falsify police reports, perjure themselves and cover up misconduct.

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Fighting For Her Life: Transgender Woman Charged With Murder

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/Crime/Fighting_for_her_Life_Trans_Woman_Charged_With_Murder/

One night in front of a Minneapolis bar has changed CeCe McDonald’s life forever.

By Diane Anderson-Minshall
April 20, 2012

In light of the Trayvon Martin killing — an incident in which a black youth armed with only a cell phone and pack of Skittles was killed by a white neighborhood patrol member — there’s been a whirlwind of media coverage debating the issues of race and justice and occasionally how LGBT folks should or do fit into the mix.

Nowhere are those issues more apparent than in the case of CeCe McDonald, a 23-year-old African-American transgender woman who goes on trial in Minneapolis April 30 for second-degree murder. It’s a case that has galvanized Minnesota’s LGBT community as well as transgender and African-American individuals nationwide. To many it’s served as a stark reminder that that black and transgender people experience imprisonment at a rate significantly disproportionate to that of the general U.S. population. And according to recent studies by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, trans people are at greater risk of discrimination, mistreatment, harassment, and assault throughout their experiences with the criminal justice system.

McDonald (named Chrishaun by her parents, nicknamed CeCe by her friends) was charged with second-degree murder after a June 5, 2011, incident in Minneapolis, on an evening that began like many in the city. At the time, McDonald was a vibrant and creative young woman known by her friends as energetic and optimistic. She was studying fashion at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, a program that’s the only one of its kind in the upper Midwest and has led many bright young students to Minneapolis’s rather vibrant fashion and theater scenes for work.

She lived with and helped support four other African-American youth, her chosen family of queer and trans kids she was trying to mentor and assist. Each person described her as a leader, a role model, and a loyal friend, and notably, a woman who had, say many supporters, a history of handling prejudice with amazing grace. Her friends called her Honee Bea.

On June 5, 2011, McDonald and four black friends, all of them trans or queer, headed out to Cub Foods, a popular grocery store in south Minneapolis, just after midnight. The grocery store is in one of those business strips where working-class and immigrant entrepreneurs struggle for the American dream. It is, writes Redlark, a white lower-middle-class queer activist in the Twin Cities, in a Tumblr post in support of McDonald,  “a busy, polluted, vital artery” between a police station and a light rail station, “in a historically contested neighborhood where communities meet, mix, and sometimes contend: the older white working class who bought in during the ’70s and ’80s meets immigrants from Mexico, Somalia, and Central America who came looking for work or for political refuge; Native people still under the gun of colonization; African-Americans who’ve lived in Minneapolis for generations or arrived from Chicago or New Orleans in the last few years; students, punks, and radicals, mostly, but not exclusively white, gentrifiers or born in the neighborhood.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/Crime/Fighting_for_her_Life_Trans_Woman_Charged_With_Murder/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Pot Songs for 4/20

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Will Canada Legalize Marijuana?

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Attorney warns of violence if university snuffs out Colorado 4/20 protest

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/19/attorney-warns-of-violence-if-university-snuffs-out-colorado-420-protest/

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, April 19, 2012

A violent scene could be the inevitable result if the Colorado University-Boulder’s moves ahead with its plans to snuff out a long-running 4/20 protest, a Colorado attorney warned Raw Story on Thursday.

“What the university is trying to do is kill a fly with a nuclear ICBM,” Robert Corry, Jr., a lawyer specializing in marijuana law who’s currently working with Colorado protesters, told Raw Story on Thursday. “It’s completely overreaching to close down an entire campus to all members of the public.”

The school announced last week that it would use police officers to restrict access to campus on April 20, preventing anyone who is not a student from stepping onto their grounds. “The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus,” CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said in a media advisory. “The size of the crowd has become unmanageable, and limits our faculty, staff and students from getting to class, entering buildings and doing their basic work. It needs to end.”

To that effect, CU-Boulder plans to bring in a swarm of police officers on Friday to surround the campus and set up checkpoints at key entrances. They intend to prevent unauthorized access to the campus by non-students, and the school said that officers will be issuing tickets for trespassing that carry fines of $750 and up to six months in jail.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/19/attorney-warns-of-violence-if-university-snuffs-out-colorado-420-protest/

See Also:

420 Meaning: The True Story Of How April 20 Became ‘Weed Day’

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Some Relationship Counseling for Feminism and the Left

I remember when Robin Morgan launched her diatribe against the Left and the Counter Culture in 1970.  I was part of Weather, living in Berkeley where the left and feminist seemed to be on the same side in their analysis of social structures and oppressions.

In retrospect Morgan’s diatribe comes off as both highly privileged and aimed at devastating a unified progressive front that was aimed at furthering the rights of all people including women.

Oppression and privilege are rarely absolutes, yet Morgan used the idea of one dimensional absolutes of oppression to separate feminism from other issues of oppression including class and race.

Hillary Rosen spoke the truth when she said Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.  Neither has Mitt.  The rich and privileged do not work, not the same way the lumper loading a truck or the primary school teacher does.

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8581-some-marriage-counseling-for-feminism-and-the-left

By Harriet Fraad
Thursday, 19 April 2012

First marriages, sometimes cynically called “starter marriages” often don’t work. Second and third marriages work out even less. Americans marry and also divorce more than any other people on earth. I believe that a prime reason for our remarkable remarriage rate is Americans’ loneliness in our time of disconnection from each other.

According to Cacioppo and Patrick’s brilliant book, “Loneliness,” our basic sense of self is built on three legs of support. Each leg is a way of connecting to others. One basic support is personal, individual, intimate connection to a person who puts us at the center of her or his emotional life. The second is a relational connection to a wider circle of friends and/or family whom we trust and with whom we share personal bonds. The third leg of support is collective connection to a wider group. This can be a political group, a work-related group, a religious group, a sports group or any other social group with which we identify and with whom we are active. Americans have lost two of the three legs that hold up our sense of self. We have become isolated and separate from relational and collective supports.

Countless studies agree that Americans are disconnected from one another. The most thorough is Robert Putnam’s book, “Bowling Alone.” In one dramatic example, Putnam points out that in spite of the increase in the US population since 1970, there are fewer members in active groups in America now than were in bowling leagues alone in 1970. One out of four Americans has no one to talk to even in a crisis. Americans may marry more than other people because they have lost two of the three basic constructs for a human self. A vast number of Americans has neither a circle of friends nor trusted family members nor collective connection to and membership in a wider social group. People may look to marriage to support them on every level.

Snip

The founding mothers of what was called the women’s liberation movement were socialist activists. Most of us believed that since we, as women, were at the bottom of economic and political hierarchies, if we demanded economic and political equality for women, we would bring everyone with us to create an America with equal opportunity for all. Although the early women’s liberation movement was a mass movement of distinct and differing groups, all of the feminist foremothers were leftists. We were multiracial and multi-ethnic. The first significant publication of the women’s liberation movement in 1968 was “Notes from the Second Year: Women’s Liberation” edited by Shulamith Firestone and Anna Koedt. The first anthology of women’s liberation statements, “Sisterhood Is Powerful,” was edited by Robin Morgan and published in 1970. Both were written within an avowedly left, class-conscious perspective. Both included multi-ethnic and African American women’s liberation pieces. In addition, there were groups of minority women who had their own feminist groups. The Third World Women’s Alliance was formed in New York City in 1968. Their revolutionary statement is published in “Dear Sisters,” a collection of writings from the women’s liberation movement. The women’s liberation movement lost its class focus and left-connectedness. One reason for this loss was our naiveté.

The naiveté of many of our hopes came in part from the times we lived in. The 1960s were a time of promise, prosperity and optimism. Unemployment was about 3 percent. Job opportunities for white men were omnipresent. White men were paid a family wage whether they had a family or not. Jobs for women and people of color were available, albeit at lower wages and in fewer sectors. Men of all races earned more than women did. Education guaranteed a job, even though a lesser one for women or people of color. There was a mass and largely successful civil rights movement and a powerful mass movement to stop the war in Vietnam. There was a sense of hope. The United States and the US dollar were the kings of the world. In prosperous 1960s and early 1970s America, women were paid fifty-nine cents for every dollar of men’s pay, even when women supported their families alone or worked side by side with men on the same job. That was the historical context of early feminism.

The early women’s liberation movement was unsophisticated. We, like most of the new left at the time, were class conscious, but we were neither immersed nor much interested in leftist history or theory. Early feminists formed our agenda through a radical technique called consciousness raising. We talked together about the struggles in our own lives and found a platform built upon our personal experiences. That was a powerful and effective method. However, if we had been more knowledgeable of and grounded within foiled attempts at gender justice or class equality, we may have done better. Had we seriously studied the way wealth and power operate, we would have had a far greater appreciation of the resources, resilience and manipulation that threatened our dreams. Perhaps, we would have been better able to forge common cause with the left had we anticipated right-wing determination to expunge the demand for class justice from our new feminist agenda.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8581-some-marriage-counseling-for-feminism-and-the-left

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A Real Name

I’m really pretty impressed with some of the things Natalie Reed has to say.

We met when I asked her if I could run her piece on the “Cotton Ceiling” and became Facebook friends.

Now I really liked this piece about “Real Names”.  I don’t give  the name my parents gave me at birth in the memoir, I’m writing, but I’m old and that name was attached to me for less than a third of my life and during much of that time I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I’m really glad there are some fresh voices coming along.  People who aren’t bogged down in the endless transwars and people who are challenging all sorts of dogmatic thinking.

Now Natalie gave me permission to run this piece in its entirety but I’m not going to do that because I want you to click on the link and go to her blog and read it there I’m just going to give you a standard few paragraph teaser.

While you are at it read some of her other articles, cuz she has some really bright stuff to say.

From  Natalie Reed Free Thought Blogs:  http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/04/17/a-real-name/

Natalie Reed
April 17, 2012

“So, what’s your real name?”

“Natalie.”

“No, I mean like, your real name, the one you were born with.”

“My assigned name?”

“Yeah, your real one.”

“It wasn’t real, and it’s none of your business.”

I’ve always found it interesting, this idea of a name’s “realness”. That a chosen name is not real but the ones arbitrarily imposed on us, before our selfhood had been in any way articulated, before there was really an “us” to name, are. To me it seems like such a silly, weird inversion of everything the concept of a name actually signifies, at least in my mind.

Names carry a great deal of weight and significance. I’d almost go so far as to say they have a nearly metaphysical power. A name is ultimately just a word that, like any word, is really just arbitrary sounds and squiggles that only carry any potency or meaning by way of the associations and significance we, cooperatively, invest in them. But a name is a particularly powerful word in that the significance we’ve poured into it, the association it makes, is with us, with our selves. That overarching, aggregate, emergent coalescence of our cognitive processes, the singifier that signifies not only all we are, but also the being of all we are, the are-ness itself (without which all the other signifiers dissolve back into noise… if not less. If not less than less.)

The name is that which signifies the self.

We have a habit of denigrating and dismissing chosen names. We’ll put little scare quotes around them, speak them in a satirical tone, engage with their use in the context of humouring someone. It seems like there’s this immense, subconscious drive to dismiss the possibility of a name that extends from the self it signifies. This dismissal becomes particularly strong when we refuse to accept the premise on which the name was selected. For instance, if we reject new age principles, or hippy / environmentalist culture in general, we’ll happily mock someone for having chosen the name Sage or Dharma or Windleaf. If we think it’s silly for people to convert to Islam, we’ll mock their conversion names. And yes, if we deny the legitimacy of someone’s transgender identity, one of the most cutting, hurtful and easy ways to make that position clear is to deny a trans person’s chosen name.

Now go on over to her blog and read the rest:  http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/04/17/a-real-name/

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