Open thread for night owls: Central American refugee crisis being ignored

People hoping to reach the U.S. ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The unlucky fall from the train, sometimes losing limbs or their lives. Children as young as 8-10 can often be found aboard the train.

People hoping to reach the U.S. ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast)
in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The unlucky fall from the trains, sometimes losing limbs
 or their lives. Children as young as 8 can often be found riding the trains.

Joseph Sorrentino discusses The Refugee Crisis No One’s Talking About:

The refugee crisis isn’t over. I’m not talking about the tens of thousands pouring into Europe over the last several months, but about the tens of thousands who are still trying to get to the United States from Central America.

But you’d never know it from listening to our government or our media. After the panic over the “surge” of children at the border last summer, stories about Central American refugees all but disappeared. Now, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is crowing about a nearly 50

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Open thread for night owls: Central American refugee crisis being ignored

People hoping to reach the U.S. ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The unlucky fall from the train, sometimes losing limbs or their lives. Children as young as 8-10 can often be found aboard the train.

People hoping to reach the U.S. ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast)
in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The unlucky fall from the trains, sometimes losing limbs
 or their lives. Children as young as 8 can often be found riding the trains.

Joseph Sorrentino discusses The Refugee Crisis No One’s Talking About:

The refugee crisis isn’t over. I’m not talking about the tens of thousands pouring into Europe over the last several months, but about the tens of thousands who are still trying to get to the United States from Central America.

But you’d never know it from listening to our government or our media. After the panic over the “surge” of children at the border last summer, stories about Central American refugees all but disappeared. Now, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is crowing about a nearly 50

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Open thread for night owls. Schwartz: Millennials’ driving habits are going to change everything

Hummers

It’s not just these behemoths that Millennials are shunning.

Sam Schwartz at Salon writes—This is the one change by millennials that will change absolutely everything:

Let’s take a look at the era that began in 2001, when the first Millennials graduated college, got jobs, and started families. Eight years later, in 2009, Millennials drove 23 percent fewer miles on average than their same-age predecessors did in 2001. That is, their average mileage—VMT, or vehicle miles traveled—plummeted from 10,300 miles a year to 7,900, a difference of 2,400 miles a year, or 46 fewer miles a week.

owls

It’s not that they stopped traveling. While Millennials made 15 percent fewer trips by car, they took 16 percent more bike trips than their same-age predecessors did in 2001, and their public–transit passenger miles increased by a whopping 40 percent. That’s 117 more miles annually biking, walking, or taking public transit than

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Open thread for night owls: How can we know extent of police killings without complete reports?

Police killings, Black Lives Matter

Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland at the Guardian report—Eric Garner and Tamir Rice among those missing from FBI record of police killings:

Killings by police that unleashed a new protest movement around the US in 2014, including those of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and John Crawford, are missing from the federal government’s official record of homicides by officers because most departments refuse to submit data.

Only 224 of 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the US reported a fatal shooting by their officers to the FBI last year, according to previously unpublished data obtained by the Guardian, which sheds new light on flaws in official systems for counting the use of deadly force by police.
The Counted, an investigation by the Guardian to report all deaths caused by police in 2015, had already logged deadly shootings by officers from 224 different law enforcement agencies by 10 April this year.

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Open thread for night owls: A little bit of insight on Hollywood’s stubborn sexism from Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan

Not pulling her punches anymore.

Rose McGowan has shown she can be a thorn in the behind of sexists she has to work for in the film industry. You can how it works here. She was interviewed recently by Christopher Wyrick at The Hollywood Reporter (THR). She didn’t mince words. Rose McGowan: Hollywood Is “Doubling Down on this ‘Mad Men’ Era Bullshit and It Needs to Stop” Here’s an excerpt:

You are at a turning point in your career and in your life. Can you describe how working with artists to fundraise for organizations like the East Los Angeles Women’s Center connects with the shifts in your creative work?
Let me say first that it is important for all of us to take on the status quo. Because if we don’t, it is never going to change. #Yesallwomen I am involved in because it is exactly what it is —

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Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the latest Harper’s Index

Two 3rd Cavalry Regiment Soldiers assigned to Train, Advise, Assist Command–East provide security for U.S. advisers in a rural area adjacent to the the Nangarhar police Regional Logistics Center during an advising trip Jan. 6, 2015.  

Two 3rd Cavalry Regiment Soldiers assigned to Train, Advise, Assist Command–East provide security for U.S. advisers in a rural area adjacent to the the Nangarhar police Regional Logistics Center during an advising trip last January. A policy change announced Thursday let the world know that 5,500 Americans and an undecided number of NATO troops will remain in Afghanistan after President Obama leaves office.

Here are a few excerpts from the October Harper’s Index:

• Average amount U.S. colleges raise tuition for every additional dollar of Pell Grant aid available to their students: $0.55
• Percentage by which the number of women graduating from college is expected to exceed the number of men in 2025: 47

• Portion of U.S. households with children in which a woman is the primary earner: 2/5

• Estimated number of Americans with developmental disabilities living with caregivers older than 60:

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Open thread for night owls: In 2015, U.S. toddlers have shot themselves or others nearly every week

Emergency room sign.
owl banner

About once a week in America, a child of age 3 or less finds an unsecured, loaded gun and shoots themselves or someone else with it. About a third of the time, those injuries have proven fatal.

These cases are invariably referred to as “accidents” in media reports. But as Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that advocates for stricter gun laws, argues, many incidents like this are preventable. In a study of accidental shootings by children of all ages (not just toddlers), they estimate that “more than two-thirds of these tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them.”
There are policy and technical responses to preventable childhood gun deaths as well. States and localities could require guns to be locked up at home, a policy supported by 67 percent of Americans. Various types of smart gun technology, which prevent

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Open thread for night owls: 200 Peoples Climate Movement actions planned across the nation Wednesday

Don’t be one of these guys on climate change.

While you’re commenting on how you think the Democratic debate went, take out a little time to see if there is a climate-related action in your neck of the woods Wednesday:

Six weeks out from critical United Nations climate talks in Paris, local communities across the U.S. are calling for bold action to combat climate change. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, labor, faith, environmental justice, students and immigrant organizations are working with the People’s Climate Movement to organize nearly 200 events across the country to demand that our leaders bring a strong agenda to the Paris talks. […]

The People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action will highlight the important local work being done in front line communities as well as bring attention to the upcoming United Nations talks. The events, ranging from marches to rallies, will bring together people

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Open thread for night owls: 200 Peoples Climate Movement actions planned across the nation Wednesday

Don’t be one of these guys on climate change.

While you’re commenting on how you think the Democratic debate went, take out a little time to see if there is a climate-related action in your neck of the woods Wednesday:

Six weeks out from critical United Nations climate talks in Paris, local communities across the U.S. are calling for bold action to combat climate change. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, labor, faith, environmental justice, students and immigrant organizations are working with the People’s Climate Movement to organize nearly 200 events across the country to demand that our leaders bring a strong agenda to the Paris talks. […]

The People’s Climate Movement National Day of Action will highlight the important local work being done in front line communities as well as bring attention to the upcoming United Nations talks. The events, ranging from marches to rallies, will bring together people

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Open thread for night owls. David Graeber: The bully’s pulpit

Bullying

David Graeber is a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and best known for his book, Debt: The First 5000 Years. He was a leading figure in the Occupy movement. What follows is an excerpt from his essay, “The Bully’s Pulpit: On the elementary structure of domination” published in The Baffler:

In late February and early March 1991, during the first Gulf War, U.S. forces bombed, shelled, and otherwise set fire to thousands of young Iraqi men who were trying to flee Kuwait. There were a series of such incidents—the “Highway of Death,” “Highway 8,” the “Battle of Rumaila”—in which U.S. air power cut off columns of retreating Iraqis and engaged in what the military refers to as a “turkey shoot,” where trapped soldiers are simply slaughtered in their vehicles. Images of charred bodies trying desperately to crawl from their trucks became iconic symbols of

night owls
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Open thread for night owls: Chaos doesn’t stop House Republicans from doing Big Oil another favor

Stripper well on Oklahoma Indian land.

Ben Adler at Grist writes—Even as House descends into chaos, it manages to do big favor for Big Oil:

You thought the House of Representatives was mired in dysfunction, unable to find anyone competent to accept the miserable burden of serving as speaker and corralling the truculent Tea Party caucus. You heard that congressional Republicans are hopelessly divided between their mainstream and far-right wings, incapable of keeping the government running and now descending into total chaos.
Well, it turns out the House is working just fine and Republicans have found one thing they can all agree upon: deregulating the oil industry. Of course, the particular action they’ve just taken serves no purpose other than to fatten a few oil companies’ bottom lines.

owls

On Friday, the House passed, on a 261 to 159 vote, a bill to end the ban on exporting crude oil. (Twenty-six Democrats joined with virtually

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Open thread for night owls: On the 13th anniversary of Rep. Pete Stark’s Iraq resolution speech

An M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle fires rounds from a 25-mm chaingun as U.S. Army Spcs. Daniel Brothers and William McGrath prepare to engage the enemy after coming under fire in Buhriz, Iraq, Feb. 15, 2007. McGrath and Brothers are both from Bravo Company, 1st Cavalry Division, 12th Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall. Photo taken 2/15/2007

An M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle fires rounds from a 25-mm chaingun as U.S. Army Spcs. Daniel Brothers
 and William McGrath prepare to engage the enemy after coming under fire in Buhriz, Iraq, Feb. 15, 2007.

Rep. Pete Stark—who represented California in the House of Representatives from 1973-2013 (the 13th district for his final two decades in office)—delivered the following speech 13 years ago, on October 10, 2002, against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq resolution. He was one of 126 House Democrats and six Republicans who voted no. (And, no, it’s NOT tl;dr.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution.
I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with UN resolutions through careful and cautious diplomacy.

The bottom line is I don’t trust this President and his advisors.

Make no mistake, we are

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Open thread for night owls: Patriot Coal backs off plan to screw retired miners, wives and widows

Coal miner protest against Patriot Coal.

Alec MacGillis at ProPublica writes—Dealmakers Drop a Plan to Divert Millions from the Health Insurance of Retired Coal Miners

The parties involved in the bankruptcy of a coal company have stepped away from a deal that would have diverted $18 million intended for the health insurance of retired Indiana miners to pay attorneys and other bankruptcy costs.

Barred Owl

The turnabout came after ProPublica reported last week that the deal worked out by the lawyers and financiers involved in the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal Corp. would leave only $3 million to cover the guaranteed health-care benefits of 208 retired miners and their dependents, enough to last only about a year and a half. The deal was especially striking given that the unionized miners had themselves never worked for Patriot. Instead, they were having their benefits stripped of their value through an elaborate bit of financial engineering.
Over the weekend, former president

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Open thread for night owls: San Francisco activists want the city to let 16- and 17-year-olds vote

16-year-old vote. Voting

Carrie Kirby at The Atlantic writes—Why Students Want to Lower the Voting Age:

Oliver York has heard it all—and the 16-year-old political activist is always ready with a well-researched answer.
He has heard critics refer to him and his cohorts as pawns of liberal San Francisco supervisors looking for a few extra votes. He’s heard that if given suffrage, teens would just mimic their parents’ voting patterns. That reminds him of the historical argument against women’s suffrage.

“‘You’ll just vote the way your husbands vote.’ They said for workers, ‘You’ll just vote the way your overseers vote.’ I think there are some references on this sheet here,” says the teen, who wears a blue plaid shirt and rimless glasses. He leans over to proffer a fact sheet on the local initiative to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal and school board elections.
Jillian Wu,

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Open thread for night owls: Hospital massacre in Kunduz shows bankruptcy of U.S. Afghanistan policy

U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Newman, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Europe, watches the sunrise after a dismounted patrol mission near Forward Operating Base Baylough, Zabul, Afghanistan, March 19, 2009.

Sunrise near Forward Operating Base Bayough, Zabul, Afghanistan in 2009.

Bob Dreyfuss at The Nation writes—Air power inflicts horrific human-rights violations and has been thoroughly discredited as a means of fighting insurgencies:

The aerial destruction that rained down on a hospital complex run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, a provincial capital in northeast Afghanistan, on October 3 puts an exclamation point on the story of America’s 14 years of warfare in that Central Asian country. At least 22 people were killed, among them doctors, other medical personnel, and patients, including three children, and dozens were wounded in the attack.

night owls

Beyond the obvious, immediate implications of this massacre—which serves as a reminder that for all of those 14 years, the United States has engaged in a brutal, mismanaged and ill-conceived war—more broadly the ruins of the Kunduz hospital are a symbol of America’s unfortunate reliance on air power,

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Open thread for night owls: Central States Pension Fund cuts could be harbinger of same elsewhere

Teamsters recently protested possible pension cuts at a meeting of the Central States Pension Fund.

Teamsters recently protested possible pension cuts at a meeting of the Central States Pension Fund.

David Moberg is senior editor at In These Times, where he has worked covering labor issues since the publication began in 1976. He writes—Central States Pension Fund Prepares To Slash Hundreds of Thousands of Workers’ Pensions:

For several months, many current and retired truck drivers have feared receiving a letter in the mail that could be “devastating,” in the words of Teamsters union vice-president John Murphy. Finally, last Friday, the Central States Pension Fund sent those dreaded letters to 407,000 workers and retirees, mainly Teamsters employed by hundreds of trucking-related companies with roots in the Midwest, South and East.
Each individualized letter told them in detail whether the fund will now cut their promised pension payments—and, if so, by how much.

Four decades after Congress first passed legislation protecting workers against such

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Open thread for night owls: ‘Carried interest’ loophole widely hated, but Congress won’t touch it

money, piles of money, cash

At In These Times, Jim Hightower writes—Even Donald Trump Wants To Eliminate This Tax Loophole for the Rich, Yet Congress Won’t Do It:

With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing the burdens of the working middle class have taken center stage. And believe it or not, there is bipartisan support from the front-runners on a key issue brought up over and over again. Donnie Trump is for it. Hillary Clinton is for it. Jeb Bush is for it. Bernie Sanders is for it. Even Barack Obama is for it. And the American people are overwhelmingly for it.
The “it” that’s drawing such broad support is the idea of ending a ridiculous tax loophole that was written by and for the richest, most pampered elites on Wall Street. An obscurely titled “carried interest” tax break allows billionaire hedge-fund hucksters to have their massive incomes taxed at a

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Open thread for night owls: Here’s a documentary about juvenile injustice that you should watch

criminal justice system

An inmate at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Fusion has produced the documentary”Prison Kids: A crime against America’s children,” which you can view here.
This particular subject has a special resonance for me because I spent 23 months in “reform school,” aged 10-12. That sentence began almost 60 years ago in 1957 and I’d like to be able to say that those days were the bygone dark age of juvenile justice in America and that we’ve learned to do better. But as the documentary shows, it’s not bygone and we haven’t learned enough.

The Fusion site notes:

We incarcerate children at a higher rate than any other developed country. Kids make mistakes—sometimes large, sometimes small. And every day in America, they can be locked up in stark, mismanaged jails and marked for life.
Fusion traveled across the country, gathering the stories of kids who

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Open thread for night owls: Alabama makes voter-IDs harder to get by closing 31 DMV offices

Ari Berman at The Nation writes—Alabama, Birthplace of the Voting Rights Act, Is Once Again Gutting Voting Rights:

It was Alabama that brought the country the Voting Rights Act (VRA) because of its brutality against black citizens in places like Selma. “The Voting Rights Act is Alabama’s gift to our country,” the civil-rights lawyer Debo Adegbile once said.
And it was a county in Alabama–Shelby County–that brought the 2013 challenge that gutted the VRA. As a result of that ruling, those states with the worst histories of voting discrimination, including Alabama, no longer have to approve their voting changes with the federal government.

Ari Berman’s excellent new book.

After the Shelby County decision, Alabama’s strict voter ID law, passed by the GOP legislature in 2011, was allowed to go into effect without federal approval. And now Alabama is making it much tougher to obtain the government-issued ID required

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Open thread for night owls: Polluter king Duke Energy gets another sweet deal in North Carolina

Dan River coal ash spill

This is what parts of the Dan River looked like after Duke Energy
 leaked 35 million gallons of coal ash into in February 2014.

Sarah Lazare at Common Dreams writes—Duke Energy ‘Settlement’ Slashes Fine, Grants Amnesty for Coal Ash Pollution:

North Carolina regulators on Tuesday agreed to dramatically slash a fine initially imposed on Duke Energy for its coal ash pollution at a site in the west of the state—and grant the company amnesty for dumps at all of its 14 locations—prompting outcry from communities and environmental organizations.

“In another typical move, DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality] is cutting Duke Energy a break and failing to demand action,” said Amy Adams of the advocacy organization Appalachian Voices. “Apparently, they missed the state motto, Esse quam videri, ‘To be rather than to seem,’ because seeming to be environmental protectors is about all they have done with this settlement.”

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