Social justice organization asks white liberals to avoid sending their children to “any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color”

Original: https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20210725160619/https://www.dallasjustice.org/college-pledge

Dallas Justice Now

An Open Letter to Wealthy White Liberals of HPISD from DJN

To Our White Allies:

Talk is not enough. Commit yourself towards taking action and making sacrifices to correct centuries of injustice. Open up spaces for Black and LatinX communities by refusing to send your kids to Ivy League and US News & World Report Top 50 schools and encourage friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same. Imagine if those hundreds of thousands of spots at these institutions were occupied only by marginalized communities. Imagine the opportunities. We can achieve true equity within our lifetimes but only if white folks are willing to sacrifice their privileges.

The Dallas Justice NOW College Pledge:

As a white person with privilege both from my whiteness and my neighborhood I recognize the need to make sacrifices for the purpose of correcting hundreds of years of murder, slavery, discrimination, and lack of educational and economic opportunities perpetrated upon people of color. I understand that access to top schools is a key component in economic and social advancement. Therefore, I commit that my children will not apply to or attend any Ivy League School or US News & World Report Top 50 School so that position at that school is available for people of color to help correct historical wrongs.  If I do not have children under 18 then I will commit to encouraging my white privileged friends, neighbors, and family members with children to sign the pledge and holding them accountable until they do so.  

Have you been asked to take the pledge? Don’t be a racist hypocrite. Sign the pledge today!

Sincerely,

Dallas Justice NOW 

 

July 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

TheReportOfTheWeek: The Worst Chicken Sandwich I Ever Had… (Buffalo Wild Wings classic chicken sandwich)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_JBmIL6CG4

July 22, 2021. Tags: , , . Food. Leave a comment.

California is so crazy that its environmentalists are actually PREVENTING bike lanes from being built

https://web.archive.org/web/20160410070501/https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-enviro-bike-lanes-20160407-story.html

Want a bike lane in your neighborhood? It’s not so simple in California

By Liam Dillon

April 7, 2016

For many years, Berkeley bike advocates have pushed for their own lane on a two-block stretch of Fulton Street. The conditions seem ripe for one. It would connect two existing bike lanes in a bustling area between UC Berkeley and downtown. Bike racks already line the sidewalk.

But when asked, the city delivered an answer the advocates say they have heard time and again: The bike lane couldn’t go in because of the state’s premier environmental law.

The California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA, has stymied bike lanes up and down the state for more than a decade. Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco have faced lawsuits, years of delay and abandoned projects because the environmental law’s restrictions often require costly traffic studies, lengthy public hearings and major road reconfigurations before bike lanes are installed.

All told, bicycle advocates say the law has blocked hundreds of miles of potential bike lanes across the state.

“The environmental law is hugely frustrating,” said Dave Campbell, advocacy director for Bike East Bay, which has pushed for the Fulton Street bike lane. “It’s a law that allows you to say no. It’s not a law that lets you say yes.”

The bike lane issue is just one frustration state leaders have faced in trying to overhaul CEQA. Gov. Jerry Brown has called efforts to reform the law “the Lord’s work.” Major efforts in recent years to make it easier to build urban residential development and reduce businesses’ costs under CEQA have failed.

But as lawmakers face difficulty in changing the landmark law, a solution appears to be on its way for bike lanes. Thanks to a provision tucked into a bill that allowed the Sacramento Kings arena to be built more than two years ago, bike lanes might finally get a green light.

The issue has festered for a long time. A decade ago, a lawsuit against San Francisco’s citywide bike plan stalled the city’s plans to add more than 30 miles of bike lanes for several years. After that lawsuit, Los Angeles decided to conduct a full environmental review of its master bike plan to ward off potential legal challenges. And two years ago, a neighborhood activist in San Diego sued under CEQA after the city painted a bike lane on a main road.

Even without the threat of litigation, the environmental law can stop bike lanes in their tracks. When city of Oakland officials wanted to narrow a wide road near a major transit station and add two bike lanes, they realized it would be difficult to comply with the environmental law’s rules and didn’t proceed, said Jason Patton, Oakland’s bike program manager. About a decade later, the road remains a six-lane highway.

“CEQA is an incredible burden to doing work in urban areas,” Patton said. “And I say that as a committed environmentalist.”

The environmental law requires proponents of new projects — including bike lanes — to measure the effect the project would have on car congestion. When a traffic lane is taken out in favor of a bike lane, more congestion could result along that road. That result can put proposed bike lanes in peril. And traffic studies to show whether installing a bike lane would lead to greater congestion can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Oftentimes, cities won’t bother with the effort.

Twice in recent years, state legislators have passed laws aimed at making it easier for bike lanes to dodge the environmental law’s restrictions. Bike advocates say these efforts have helped, but because they have not eliminated requirements to produce traffic studies and hold public hearings, they haven’t fixed the problem.

Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Association, said his organization was preparing to lobby legislators to propose another bill on the matter when SB 743 emerged in late 2013.

That bill’s main purpose was to exempt the new Sacramento Kings basketball arena from lengthy review under the environmental law. But tucked into the measure was a provision that changed the way projects would gauge their effects on traffic under CEQA. Once SB 743 passed, Snyder dropped his own proposal.

“It solves our problem completely,” he said.

The new law says that traffic congestion is no longer the preferred metric to be used. In its place, cities will measure how much a project impacts the number of miles cars will travel along nearby roads. Since replacing a traffic lane with a bike lane won’t increase the number of cars on the road, the new standard should allow cities to install bike lanes without environmental conflict.

Now the standards must be put into place. SB 743 called on the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research — a state agency that handles guidelines related to the environmental law — to write the new traffic rules. More than two years have passed, and the agency is still writing them.

Based on state regulators’ current schedule, the Kings will have built and started playing in their new arena before the traffic guidelines will have gone into effect in early 2017.

By changing the way all projects measure automobile traffic, environmentalists and urbanists hope the new regulations will lead to fewer car-centered developments and help the state meet its climate change goals. Others fear the new rules will derail projects already in the pipeline. The Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning organization with jurisdiction over 18 million people in and around Los Angeles, is warning that the new traffic rules could endanger major plans for highway widening.

Darrell Steinberg, the former Democratic leader of the state Senate who authored SB 743, said it was difficult to understand the consequences of changing the environmental law. Dealing with CEQA, Steinberg said, was the hardest thing he did as a legislator.

“You take any substantive provision of CEQA and an advocate can credibly cite an example where that provision was used to save an environmental treasure,” Steinberg said. “You take the same provision and someone from the other side can cite an example where it was misused in some way.”

In February, a car hit and dragged a Berkeley research scientist on Fulton Street as she was cycling home after work, causing major injuries. After that accident, there were renewed calls for a bike lane, but Berkeley city officials again cited the state environmental law as the reason one couldn’t go in immediately.

Campbell and other bike advocates continued pushing until Berkeley’s mayor finally said the city would do whatever necessary to install a lane by May due to the safety concerns. If the city hadn’t, Campbell said, his group had an alternative in mind.

“We said if you don’t do it, we’re doing it,” Campbell said. “We have paint.”

July 22, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, 11,326 people voted but did not register to vote until after the election

Video at https://www.bitchute.com/video/3ajWHO5V0n2V/

July 15, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Maricopa County, Arizona counted 74,243 mail-in ballots that have no record of being sent to voters

Video at https://www.bitchute.com/video/JoyNvFYEnu5g/

July 15, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Here are some early results from the audit in Maricopa County, Arizona

Election workers counted 74,000 mail-in ballots that had never actually been mailed out to anyone.

11,326 people voted in the election but did not appear on the voter rolls on November 7, but did appear on the voter rolls on December 4.

3,981 people voted even though they had not registered to vote until after the October 15 registration deadline.

18,000 people who voted were removed from the voting rolls after the election.

Sources:

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/07/wow-az-audit-finds-74000-ballots-returned-counted-2020-election-no-record-sent/

https://therightscoop.com/watch-arizona-forensic-auditors-detail-the-highly-suspicious-findings-from-their-audit/

https://www.westernjournal.com/breaking-az-auditors-reveal-massively-disturbing-results-2020-election/

July 15, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Atlanta’s biggest newspaper and Fox News are both reporting that ballots were scanned multiple times in Fulton County, Georgia

New article from Atlanta’s biggest newspaper:

https://www.ajc.com/politics/some-ballots-initially-double-counted-in-fulton-before-recount/GY4FTEEI6REIJN3SDKIDNIOYV4/

New report from Fox News:

https://rumble.com/vjuxir-tucker-presents-meaningful-evidence-of-voter-fraud-in-georgia-election.html

Older info:

CBS News, Nov 3, 2020: “Pipe burst in Georgia delays vote counting”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C25DAAHZdEw

ABC News, November 3, 2020: “The election department sent the ballot counters at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta home at 10:30 p.m., Regina Waller, the Fulton County public affairs manager for elections, tells ABC News.”

https://twitter.com/abcpolitics/status/1323846118208376834

Video from that same night shows that after Republican poll watchers and news reporters went home, election workers stayed behind and continued counting the ballots. There is no visible water leak in the video.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/rPqQKvuFk473/

Video shows Fulton County election worker scanning the same ballots three times after Republican poll watchers and news reporters went home because of a “water leak.”

https://www.bitchute.com/video/6Bvf8xq1CsoJ/

July 15, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. 2 comments.

Double-Scanned Ballots Uncovered in Fulton County Election

https://rumble.com/vju1en-double-scanned-ballots-uncovered-in-fulton-county-election.html

 

July 14, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Tucker Carlson Presents ‘Meaningful Evidence of Voter Fraud’ in Georgia Election

https://rumble.com/vjuxir-tucker-presents-meaningful-evidence-of-voter-fraud-in-georgia-election.html

July 14, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Door-to-door vaccines launch in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

This video is from the official YouTube channel of WCNC-TV, which is the affiliate TV station of NBC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I got vaccinated several months ago. I’m very pro-vaccination. But there’s no way I would trust a total stranger who knocked at my door and offered me the vaccine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvfXtuXCQRQ

July 14, 2021. COVID-19. Leave a comment.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Some ballots initially double-counted in Fulton before recount”

https://www.ajc.com/politics/some-ballots-initially-double-counted-in-fulton-before-recount/GY4FTEEI6REIJN3SDKIDNIOYV4/

Some ballots initially double-counted in Fulton before recount

By Mark Niesse

July 13, 2021

The most obvious example of duplicates in the initial count occurred in a batch of 99 ballots first scanned the morning of Oct. 28, then scanned again about an hour later, with the second batch tallied in exact reverse order from the first. Those batches had 58 votes for Biden, 39 for Trump, one for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and one for West.

Part or all of another batch of 98 ballots appeared to be scanned a second time within minutes on election night. Biden received 55 votes in the first of those batches and 56 in the second batch. Many of the ballots appeared to be identical.

Video at https://www.bitchute.com/video/ZT30qJPxxb1U/

July 14, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Ballot images prove that the same ballots were scanned multiple times in Fulton County, Georgia

Video at https://www.bitchute.com/video/ZT30qJPxxb1U/

Article at https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/07/hard-evidence-presented-duplicate-ballots-counted-fulton-county-georgia-2020-election/

July 14, 2021. Tags: , , , . Stop the steal, Voter fraud. Leave a comment.

Defund Columbia: Federal loans for high-cost, low-value graduate schools have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to thrive.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/defund-columbia/

Defund Columbia

By Preston Cooper

July 13, 2021

Federal loans for high-cost, low-value graduate schools have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to thrive.

Columbia University is among America’s most elite schools. Many believe that a graduate degree from Columbia or another Ivy League school will lead to financial security for life. But a recent investigation by Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Andrea Fuller shows that this perception, so eagerly cultivated by universities, is a fiction.

Master’s-degree students at Columbia and many other elite schools take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. Yet after they graduate, too many find that the degree did not open the doors promised. The existence and scale of these subpar graduate programs is tied to irresponsible federal lending practices, which extend unlimited lines of credit to graduate students with no regard to their ability to repay.

Students in Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts in film program typically accumulate $181,000 in federal debt, according to the report. But when they enter the labor market, their median salary is just $30,000 — less than one-sixth of the debt they took on. Few, if any, of those students will fully repay what they borrowed from taxpayers.

“There were 55 students in my incoming class at Columbia’s MFA Film program,” says former student James Stoteraux. “Only 4 of us ever managed to make a career out of it. . . . Columbia traded on its reputation to sell them big dreams that it could never deliver.”

Fueled by federal aid, master’s-degree programs have become profit centers for elite universities. Ivy League schools coast off their selective undergraduate programs, which earn the schools top spots on the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. They leverage this prestige to churn out graduate degrees that would make many for-profit colleges blush.

The strategy has paid off. During the 2019-20 academic year, Columbia collected $268 million in federal loans on its graduate programs. The undergraduate schools, on which Columbia built its reputation, only supplied $16 million in federal loans.

Columbia officials have even admitted to the scheme. The school’s vice provost for academic programs says that master’s degrees “can and should be a revenue source,” according to the Wall Street Journal report. The cost of that business model falls on students, who are responsible for paying off the debt, and taxpayers, who inevitably will be stuck with part of the bill when the government forgives the loans that students can’t pay.

There’s only one way to solve this problem: Defund Columbia and other elite institutions guilty of this practice. End the federal loans for graduate schools that have enabled the Ivy League master’s-degree racket to go on for so long.

Congress originally created the federal student-loan program to help low-income students afford college. But student loans have transformed into a welfare program for rich universities. Graduate loans now account for two in five loan dollars issued by the federal government. That has not happened by chance; it is the result of deliberate policy changes.

Created in 2006, the federal Grad PLUS program allows graduate students to borrow an effectively unlimited amount from the federal government, provided they attend an accredited college or university. After taking on the debt, students are allowed to pay it back through income-based plans, where payments average just $154 per month. Ten or 20 years after a borrower starts payments, any remaining debt is canceled.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 60 percent of the loans issued in 2021 and repaid in this manner will eventually be forgiven. Internal Education Department documents suggest that over $400 billion of the federal government’s loan portfolio will not be repaid. To be sure, students themselves will be responsible for paying a lot as well. But colleges and universities are running away with the profits.

Congress could put an end to this with one simple policy change: Stop supporting graduate programs with federal loan dollars.

There’s a reasonable economic justification for federal lending to undergraduate students, since most have no credit history to speak of and might need government help to get a loan. But that argument generally does not apply to graduate students, who are in their 20s and 30s. The economic rationale for a federal graduate-loan program is nonexistent.

Indeed, there was a thriving private market for graduate loans — one that could be engaged once more — before Grad PLUS arrived on the scene. Students who needed to borrow large amounts for a high-value degree, such as medical students, could almost always secure private funding, and usually at a lower interest rate than the federal government offered.

But programs with outrageous tuition costs and meager earnings payoffs would have a hard time pocketing funding from a private lender that cannot simply pass losses on to taxpayers, as the federal government can. Only the presence of federal graduate loans, with their heavy implicit subsidies, makes high-cost, low-value programs possible on a large scale.

Problems are best solved by removing their root causes. Defunding Columbia and other graduate schools is the most effective way to rescue graduate students from unaffordable debt and taxpayers from the burden of cleaning up the mess.

July 13, 2021. Tags: , . Education. Leave a comment.

White environmentalists pat each other on the back for hurting low income black people. Environmental racism is real, and it’s caused by white liberals.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

July 13, 2021

This is absolutely disgusting. Western European countries claim to be “green” because so much of their energy comes from biomass. But this CNN article explains that this “green” biomass actually wreaks major havoc and destruction on the environment in areas of the southeastern U.S. which are home to low income black people.

The fact that white environmentalists are patting each other on the back for doing this is totally reprehensible.

From now on, whenever I hear American liberals praise western Europe for its “green” use of biomass, I’m going to show them this CNN article.

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2021/07/us/american-south-biomass-energy-invs/

How marginalized communities in the South are paying the price for ‘green energy’ in Europe

By Majlie de Puy Kamp

July 9, 2021

Andrea Macklin never turns off his TV. It’s the only way to drown out the noise from the wood mill bordering his backyard, the jackhammer sound of the plant piercing his walls and windows. The 18-wheelers carrying logs rumble by less than 100 feet from his house, all day and night, shaking it as if an earthquake has taken over this tranquil corner of North Carolina. He’s been wearing masks since long before the coronavirus pandemic, just to keep the dust out of his lungs.

Some nights, he only sleeps for two or three hours. Breathing is a chore.

“I haven’t had proper rest since they’ve been here,” he said.

That was eight years ago, when the world’s largest biomass producer, Enviva, opened its second North Carolina facility just west of Macklin’s property in Garysburg. The operation takes mostly hardwood trees and spits out biomass, or wood pellets, a highly processed and compressed wood product burned to generate energy. Enviva is one of nearly a dozen similar companies benefiting from a sustainability commitment made 4,000 miles away, more than a decade ago.

In 2009, the European Union (EU) pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions, urging its member states to shift from fossil fuels to renewables. In its Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU classified biomass as a renewable energy source — on par with wind and solar power. As a result, the directive prompted state governments to incentivize energy providers to burn biomass instead of coal — and drove up demand for wood.

So much so that the American South emerged as Europe’s primary source of biomass imports.

Earlier this year, the EU was celebrated in headlines across the world when renewable energy surpassed the use of fossil fuels on the continent for the first time in history.

But scientists and experts say it’s too early to celebrate, arguing that relying on biomass for energy has a punishing impact not only on the environment, but also on marginalized communities — perpetuating decades of environmental racism in predominantly Black communities like Northampton County, where Macklin and his family have lived for generations.

Macklin’s elderly aunt lives right behind him, a tall Magnolia tree provides shade to both their homes. His mother’s house is just down the street. They used to have large family cookouts in his garden while the kids played on the lawn, but they haven’t done that in years. Between the noise and the sawdust from the plant, his home is no longer a safe place to gather.

But it’s the pollution that worries him most.

“You don’t know what’s coming out of the smokestack,” said Macklin. “That’s my main concern.”

To say cutting down trees and burning them for power is a renewable energy source feels counterintuitive and, in reality, it is.

Burning wood is less efficient than burning coal and releases far more carbon into the atmosphere, according to almost 800 scientists who wrote a 2018 letter to the European parliament, pushing members to amend the current directive “to avoid expansive harm to the world’s forests and the acceleration of climate change.” President Joe Biden and other world leaders received a similar letter from hundreds of climate scientists earlier this year.

The EU directive that encouraged the pivot to biomass also left a loophole — it did not prevent the leveling of rooted trees for wood pellet production.

“I can’t think of anything that harms nature more than cutting down trees and burning them,” said William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at Tufts University.

Yet by burning wood, European power plants can reduce their carbon footprint — at least on paper.

The American Southeast is the largest wood-producing region in the world.

In 1996, scientists at the United Nations devised a method to measure global carbon emissions. To simplify the process and avoid double counting, they suggested emissions from burning biomass should be calculated where the trees are cut down, not where the wood pellets are burned.

The EU adopted this methodology in its Renewable Energy Directive, allowing energy companies to burn biomass produced in the US without having to report the emissions.

The accounting method — which was never intended to assign national responsibility for carbon emissions, according to climate experts — has created a lot of discussion and disagreement among advocates, scientists and policymakers.

But ultimately it is not the accounting of carbon that is the problem, it’s the emissions.

“It doesn’t change the physical reality,” said Tim Searchinger, senior research scholar at Princeton University. “A law designed to reduce emissions that in reality encourages an increase in emissions … has to be flawed,” he said, referring to Europe’s directive.

Logs are strapped onto a truck at a clear-cut site in Northampton County, North Carolina.
The blade of a felling saw used to cut down trees.

Ultimately, Europe is not reducing emissions by burning American trees — it’s just outsourcing them to the United States.

“The idea was to curb our addiction to fossil fuels,” said Bas Eickhout, Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament. Biomass was an attractive option for EU countries at the time, he explained, because it was much cheaper than solar or wind power and could be “mixed in” when burning coal.

However, European decision-makers didn’t fully consider the repercussions of importing biomass, Eickhout said, adding they “were too naïve.”

“The production of biomass has become an industrial process which means something has gone fundamentally wrong,” he said. “The professionalization of the biomass industry is a problem that needs attention.”

‘The math doesn’t add up’

The directive led to troubling consequences across the Atlantic. By failing to restrict biomass to the byproduct from manufacturing paper, furniture or lumber, Europe created a strong incentive to cut down whole trees and turn them into wood pellets.

Encouraged by government subsidies, European power plants began importing biomass from the largest wood producing region in the world: the American Southeast.

North Carolina has been “ground zero” for the wood pellet industry, said Danna Smith, co-founder and executive director of the environmental advocacy group Dogwood Alliance. One hundred and sixty-four acres of the state’s forests are cut down by the biomass industry every day, according to an analysis by Key-Log Economics.

Enviva owns four wood pellet plants in North Carolina, including this one in Northampton County.

US-based Enviva, which owns four wood pellet plants in North Carolina, says their product is fighting climate change.

“When sourced responsibly wood-based biomass is recognized by the leading international organizations and scientists as climate friendly, renewable and carbon-neutral energy source,” Enviva wrote in a statement, adding that they require the forests they source from ”will regenerate, either naturally or through planting.”

Yet, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the UN body that came up with the carbon accounting methodology — states its guidelines “do not automatically consider or assume biomass used for energy as ‘carbon neutral,’ even in cases where the biomass is thought to be produced sustainably.”

Trees are harvested at a logging operation in Northampton County.

And, North Carolina’s Clean Energy Plan notes that biomass “does not advance (the state’s) clean energy economy.” The plan goes on to acknowledge that most of the wood pellets produced in the state are exported to Europe, and even that “the science regarding carbon neutrality and accounting methods are contentious issues.”

Biomass is renewable only in the sense that trees can grow back, said Grant Domke, who leads a team researching and reporting on carbon stocks and changes on forest land at the US Forest Service. “But that is different than it being carbon-neutral.” When it comes to Europe reducing carbon emissions by burning American biomass, “the math doesn’t add up.”

Still, the biomass industry is not showing any signs of slowing down. Drax, a British company that operates the largest UK power plant, has acquired several wood pellet plants in the American South and is developing others. Enviva, too, is building new facilities and is expanding existing ones — including the plant in Northampton County, North Carolina, where Macklin and his family live.

‘We’ve been disrespected all our lives’

It’s here where once grand country homes stand dilapidated, overrun with weeds and abandoned in a jigsaw puzzle of cotton, grain and sprawling pine plantations. Strip malls, restaurant chains and expansive parking lots comprise the commercial landscape. Gas stations line the roads but grocery stores are few and far between. The temperature was already scorching in May — residents kept their curtains drawn and many stayed inside, the hum of air conditioning providing the only sign of life.

For the last decade, the population in Northampton County has been declining and, despite a clear need for health care, there was only one primary care physician serving the entire county, with a population of just under 20,000, in 2018.

That same year, a health assessment by the county health department asked residents if they had ever been diagnosed with certain ailments. The report showed more than 60% of the participants said they had high blood pressure, more than half said they were overweight and over 20% said they suffered from depression or diabetes. Nearly 11% of residents said they had heart disease.

The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that more than one in 10 adults in Northampton had asthma in 2018. Asthma hospitalizations in the county, however, are lower than in the state as a whole, according to the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

Macklin, a father of two and lifelong Northampton resident, is living these statistics. Two years ago, the 44-year-old’s heart condition worsened, requiring him to quit his job at a meat packaging plant and leaving him with a disability, like more than 16% of county residents under 65.

Andrea Macklin wipes dust off of his car. He says he has to wash his car frequently because of the dust coming from the Enviva plant behind his house.

Macklin’s wife and 21-year-old son both suffer from asthma, a condition that Macklin said is exacerbated by the pollution and dust coming from Enviva’s plant behind his house. Since the plant started operating, he said, his wife and son can’t spend more than five minutes outside without coughing.

Before Enviva opened its Northampton mill, the 551 square miles that make up the county were already home to three major air pollution sources — facilities required to a request a permit under Title V of the Clean Air Act for emitting large amounts of air pollutants. Another three such facilities are located within two miles of the Northampton border in neighboring Halifax County.

In 2013, Enviva became the fourth Title V permit holder in Northampton County, emitting tons of dangerous fine particles, or PM2.5, carbon monoxide and a number of what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “Hazardous Air Pollutants” — including formaldehyde and methanol

“All of our plants operate in compliance with their permits and federal and state prescribed emission legal standards under the permits, presenting no risk or issue to public health or environment,” Enviva said in a statement, adding that a state air quality monitor five miles from its facility found that PM2.5 levels did not “present a health risk” to county residents.

Yet federal standards for fine particulate matter are too high and do not protect public health, according to twenty scientists who served on an EPA panel on particulate matter in 2018 and urged the administration to impose tougher pollution standards.

The EPA did not take action at the time but announced last month it is taking another look at the federal standards for PM2.5 saying “scientific evidence and technical information indicate that the current standards may not be adequate to protect public health and welfare, as required by the Clean Air Act.”

Exposure to year-round PM2.5 pollution — particles at least 20 times thinner than a strand of human hair — has been linked to asthma and slowed lung function in children and increased risk of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and death from cardiovascular disease, according to the EPA. The health problems in Macklin’s community have not been directly linked to the Title V facilities in the county.

The population of Northampton — which, according to CNN’s analysis, has one of the highest numbers of major air polluters per capita in the state — is predominantly Black, underscoring long-standing concerns over environmental racism.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the agency tasked with granting air quality permits in the state, declined to comment for this story.

“We’ve been disrespected all our lives,” said resident Belinda Joyner, 68, who has been fighting environmental racism in her community for decades, “and we’re still being disrespected.”

PM2.5 polluters in the United States “disproportionately and systemically affect people of color,” according to a recent study that noted this type of exposure is responsible for up to 200,000 excess deaths in the United States every year.
When there is “degradation of the air and the land, we simultaneously see degradation of the community,” said Smith, of the Dogwood Alliance.

‘They can’t sleep at night’

All but one of Enviva’s nine operating plants in the country are located in communities that have higher percentage of Black residents than their states as a whole, according to a CNN analysis of census tract data from the American Community Survey. The only exception was the company’s plant in southeast Georgia.

In addition, all of Enviva’s plants are in census tracts that have lower median household incomes than their states, and eight of the nine — all except the one in southern Virginia — are in tracts with higher poverty rates than their states as a whole.

To some, like Macklin, Enviva’s presence has hardly benefitted the community.

“They just feel like they come in and do what they want to do,” said Macklin, adding later, “All the noise and the dust and stuff, it was never like that, it’s always been quiet around here … that plant is on 24 hours a day. It don’t stop. Seven days a week.”

Kathy Claiborne, 59, who lives on the other side of the Enviva plant in Northampton, anticipates the sleepless nights by trying to take a nap when she gets home from work. The noise is worst around 2 a.m., she said.

“I never really thought about noise as being a health hazard until I talked to the communities that live next to the Enviva facilities and they say they can’t sleep at night,” said Smith. “Not being able to sleep is depriving people of one of the most important foundations of human health.”

Enviva’s Northampton plant glows against the night sky. Nearby residents say noise from the plant is the worst overnight.

In its response to CNN, Enviva said the company takes “environmental justice concerns raised with respect to our operations very seriously. And, we work closely in our communities and community leaders to ensure our operations bring both positive economic and environmental impact.” The company also said it had not received noise complaints other than “generic complaints” at a recent hearing raised by “the same activists we’ve heard from before.”

Enviva pointed to an environmental justice analysis for its operations in Northampton done by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, claiming the report ensures “there is no negative impact on disadvantaged or minority communities from out plants or operations.”

However, the 2019 Environmental Justice Impact Statement merely describes the demographics around the plant — noting high disability and poverty rates in a majority Black population — it does not give recommendations or reach conclusions about the impact the industry would have on the community.

Still, in June, the county Chamber of Commerce awarded Enviva with the “Corporate Business of the Year” award — noting the company “continuously supported, donated, and invested their time and talents into local organizations and causes.”

Earl and Kathy Claiborne live next to the Enviva plant in Northampton County.

Kathy says the noise from the plant is the worst around 2 a.m.

Though the relationship between local officials and Enviva is “good now,” inviting them in had drawbacks, said Franklin Williams, the county’s economic development director. The company wants to be “good partners,” he said, applauding its outreach efforts and noting that Enviva has provided school supplies to local schools and helped sponsor food banks in the community during the pandemic.

Joyner and the Claibornes recalled a Christmas when Enviva sent some residents hams — but the outreach felt almost insulting.

“The next thing you know that plant is up and running and we’re getting a ham,” said Claiborne’s husband, Earl. “It was a good gesture but you know you’re getting pulled into something.”

To Joyner, school supplies and holiday meals do little to counter the impacts Enviva’s operation has had on the people of Northampton. This is where her mother bought the land that her house sits on — it’s where she raised her two daughters.

“All I want to do is take care of it,” she said. “I don’t have the privilege to get up and move. Where am I going? This is home.”

‘We aren’t renewing thousand-year-old ecosystems’

Just across the border in Virginia — less than an hour from Joyner’s house — sits a rare, protected ancient wetland forest.

“We’re looking at trees around us that are over a thousand years old,” said Smith, as she maneuvered her kayak through the Cypress trees, pointing out different species and identifying birds whose habitats are threatened by industrial logging. It’s an “incredible jewel of an ecosystem,” she said.

It’s a humbling place, in stark contrast with the hot and dusty clear-cuts — land where trees have been leveled and not replaced — and rows of newly planted pine trees that make up Macklin and Joyner’s neighborhood.

Cypress trees, some with trunks wider than a sedan, stand tall between lily pads and beaver dams. In the winter, the water rises and hides those massive, cracked and often hollow tree trunks that are visible in the warmer months. Noise from the nearby highway is drowned out by an orchestra of birds. Fish jump out of the water as if in an animated film.

It’s peaceful, green and surprisingly cool on an otherwise sweltering summer day.

The 535-acre forest — surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of pine plantations and clear-cuts — is a precious needle in a haystack.

Danna Smith is the co-founder and executive director of environmental advocacy group Dogwood Alliance.

“The forestry industry and the wood pellet industry says that trees are renewable,” said Smith, but “we aren’t renewing thousand-year-old ecosystems. They’re renewing forests for commercial production. So you’ll see trees on the landscape that are maybe, you know, 30 years old. That’s not an ecosystem — that’s a fiber farm.”

As long as trees are replanted, Enviva and supporters of the biomass industry argue, burning them can be considered renewable energy. But the reality is not so simple.

When trees are cut down and burned, all the carbon they stored is immediately emitted into the air, Moomaw, the professor at Tufts University, explained. For a new tree to grow and re-absorb the same amount of carbon takes decades — making the worldwide attempts at going carbon neutral on deadline, like the EU wants to by 2050, a daunting goal.

At best, planting a seedling for every downed tree keeps carbon emissions neutral over time — it’s not removing any more carbon out of the atmosphere, Moomaw stressed.

“It’s preventing us from getting worse, but it’s not making it better,” he said.

A Cypress tree rises out of the water in a wetland forest in Courtland, Virginia.

Or, as Smith put it ominously, “we’re losing decades of time every time forests are clear cut — time we don’t have.”

Traveling back to Northampton from the protected Cypress wetlands, Smith points out clear cuts along the way. A 50-acre plot of decades-old trees cleared in the fall still bore the smell of pine — serving a jarring image less than an hour from the lush wetland forest to the east.

Enviva received 15% of those once living, standing trees — deemed “lower-value wood” by the biomass industry because it doesn’t meet the specifications for lumber.

“This is our nation’s sacrifice zone for unsustainable consumption of wood products and products we don’t need,” Smith said. “These wood pellets aren’t even producing electricity here … this is completely unnecessary.”

‘We bring positive economic impact to rural communities’

Thomas Garner has been logging — cutting down trees and loading them onto trucks — since he was 16 years old. He remembers pulling logs onto his back and loading the trucks by hand. Big machines — aptly called log loaders — have made his work much easier, but even at 83 he drives fully stocked 18-wheelers to wood and paper mills all over Northampton County and beyond.

Enviva has been good for his business as an independent contractor, he said, a sentiment echoed by others who spoke to CNN.

But the jobs come at a hefty price for Northampton County.

Local officials eager to pull Northampton out of its Tier One status — a designation by the state for its 40 lowest ranking counties in terms of economic well-being — lured companies, including Enviva, to the area with financial incentives. But these incentives actually set Northampton back, said Williams, the current Director of Economic Development in the county.

Thomas Garner has been logging since he was 16 years old and says Enviva has been good for his business.

In Enviva’s case, among the conditions the company agreed to was the creation of 62 full-time jobs, Williams said, adding that in return, Northampton County would pay the company $360,556.70 each year, in addition to 120 acres of land and upwards half a million dollars toward water, sewer and gas lines among other support.

But instead of boosting the economy out of the lowest tier, the five-year agreement was among the drivers of higher property taxes in the community.

“I think they over-incentivized their efforts to get these businesses here and it caused the tax rate to go up in order to meet the budget,” said Williams.

Between 2011 and 2019, the property tax rate in Northampton County increased nearly 6%. The county has had the third highest property tax rate in the state for the past five years.

It’s a burden many residents can’t shoulder.

Cut logs sit on a truck in Northampton County.

Northampton has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state — which almost doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic — and nearly 22% of its residents are living in poverty.

“If the wood products industry and biomass were a way of growing strong rural economies in the southeastern region, these rural communities should be some of the wealthiest on the planet,” said Smith. “We are in the world’s largest wood producing region. But you don’t see any evidence in these rural communities of thriving rural economies. The opposite is actually true.”

Enviva currently employs 98 people at their Northampton facility and pay roughly 37% more than the average wage in the county, the company told CNN in a statement, adding that they strive to hire locally if workers have the right qualifications.

The salary is one of the reasons that even Macklin applied for jobs at Enviva, most recently about two years ago. He said he worked in wood mills before and had hoped for a job close to home, but he never heard back from the company. Macklin, who recently had major heart surgery, said he won’t apply again out of concern for his health.

“I wouldn’t want to be around all that dust,” Macklin said. “I don’t want to be inhaling it.”

‘We don’t recognize the costs of this destruction’

On a hot Wednesday morning at the end of May, Joyner and fellow community activist Richie Harding, drove an hour and a half to Raleigh to protest against the wood pellet industry and deliver a petition to the governor’s office, asking him to keep future biomass operations out of North Carolina.

At a news conference, Joyner stressed that her community was a “dumping ground” for industries that nobody else wants to live near.

Harding, another lifelong Northampton County resident, called out what he perceives to be environmental racism targeting his hometown: “If Black lives matter, why is my community the desired location for a facility that would not only shorten my life, but the lives of my children?”

Despite wide-ranging arguments against biomass, Enviva has received more than $7 million in subsidies since 2013 from federal, state and local agencies to produce wood pellets for export to Europe.

Throughout the South, the biomass industry continues to grow. Twelve new plants across six states, including two proposed Enviva facilities in Alabama and Mississippi, have requested permits, according to data from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Existing plants, like the Enviva operation in Northampton, are expanding.

A log loader moves freshly cut trees in Northampton County.

The EU, which aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, is set to revise its Renewable Energy Directive this summer and is expected to update sustainability criteria for biomass. Critics hope they will restrict biomass imports from overseas, exclude whole, living trees as “waste product” and properly account for carbon emissions from cutting and burning wood.

But a draft document that surfaced this past spring does not suggest substantial changes are coming for Europe’s directive.

None of the options offered will address the two main problems with biomass: burning wood for energy is worse than burning coal, and cutting down trees “profoundly damages ecosystems and biodiversity,” Mary Booth, scientist and director at the Partnership for Policy Integrity, wrote in a critique of the draft document.

The European Commission declined to comment on the draft, but confirmed the revised directive will be published on July 14.

In the US, federal policymakers have not yet determined the fate of wood pellets.

Timber scraps cover the ground of a clear-cut site in Northampton County.

“Biomass is categorically incompatible with our climate, justice and health goals,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who successfully opposed the permitting of a biomass energy plant in his state, said in a statement to CNN. Neither the planet nor the United States, he said, can “afford to make the same … mistake that allowed the European Union to put biomass on the exact same level as truly renewable energy sources like wind and solar.”

Under former President Donald Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency planned to follow in Europe’s footsteps and classify biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source, but that never happened. Despite the Biden administration’s commitment to fight global warming, activists worry they won’t acknowledge the threat of biomass and industrial logging.

“It’s almost like in the US, all we see of value in a forest is a dollar bill,” Smith said. “We don’t recognize the costs of this destruction.”

Back in Northampton, Macklin feels just as defeated.

“Us being in a poor area… I mean, what can we do?” he said. “A company like that with money… we don’t got money to fight against it and it seems like we don’t got no one fighting for us. Not the state, no one.”

July 13, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

The left wing Women’s March has just scored a major victory. As we all know, its founder, Linda Sarsour, wants the U.S. to adopt Sharia law. Well, a Texas judge just ruled that a woman getting a divorce must go by Sharia law, where a woman’s testimony counts only half has much as a man’s. I hope the left is happy.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

July 8, 2021

Linda Sarsour, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, made four tweets in favor of the U.S. adopting Sharia law.

Sarsour made this tweet, which says the following:

“10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And ur worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.”

She also made this tweet, which says:

“shariah law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics”

and this tweet, which says:

“You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?”

and this tweet, which says:

“If you are still paying interest than Sharia Law hasn’t taken over America.”

These statements prove that Sarsour wants the U.S. to adopt Sharia law.

Sharia law bans women from driving cars, prohibits women from appearing alone in public, calls for girls to have their genitals mutilated, and gives a woman’s testimony in court only half the value of a man’s.

After Sarsour made those four tweets in favor of the U.S. adopting Sharia law, left wing American feminists chose her to be one of the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March.

Now in 2021, a Texas judge has ruled that a woman getting a divorce must go by Sharia law, where a woman’s testimony counts only half has much as a man’s. I hope the left is happy.

https://news.yahoo.com/texas-judge-denies-woman-divorce-185600526.html

Texas judge denies woman divorce proceedings in favor of Sharia tribunal

By Nicholas Rowan

July 8, 2021

A Texas judge earlier this year ordered that a Muslim woman seeking a divorce appear before a tribunal governed by Sharia, a move that her lawyers said was unconstitutional.

In March, Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson ordered that Mariam Ayad, a woman attempting to divorce her husband, Ayad Hashim Latif, forgo the usual legal paths and instead submit to arbitration under a Fiqh panel, governed by a traditional Muslim group based in Saudi Arabia. Thompson’s reasoning rested on a prenuptial agreement between the two in which Ayad agreed to allow her marriage to be arbitrated according to Sharia.

Ayad said that when she signed the document, she did not realize that she was submitting to Sharia, according to court documents. Instead, she said she thought she was signing two copies of a marriage acknowledgment form. Under Sharia, a woman’s testimony in divorce proceedings is worth half of a man’s, making her plea to be removed from that agreement especially urgent, her attorneys wrote.

Ayad argued that she should be released from the agreement because she did not sign it voluntarily and because the agreement itself violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Under the agreement, her husband has the sole right to seek or deny a divorce and Ayad “will not have a meaningful right to be heard,” her attorneys wrote.

Thompson, however, ruled in March that the agreement was binding. A revised order in June reaffirmed that decision, but it removed explicit references to the Fiqh panel, according to court documents. Under the order, Ayad’s divorce case falls under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Association of North Texas, one of the largest Muslim groups in the state.

Thompson did not respond to a request for comment.

Ayad’s attorneys took the case to a Texas appeals court, arguing that the Sharia proceedings are in direct conflict with United States divorce law. The agreement itself, they added, is “unconscionable” and in opposition to Texas law as well.

July 8, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Islamization, Sexism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Texas judge denies woman divorce proceedings in favor of Sharia tribunal

https://news.yahoo.com/texas-judge-denies-woman-divorce-185600526.html

Texas judge denies woman divorce proceedings in favor of Sharia tribunal

By Nicholas Rowan

July 8, 2021

A Texas judge earlier this year ordered that a Muslim woman seeking a divorce appear before a tribunal governed by Sharia, a move that her lawyers said was unconstitutional.

In March, Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson ordered that Mariam Ayad, a woman attempting to divorce her husband, Ayad Hashim Latif, forgo the usual legal paths and instead submit to arbitration under a Fiqh panel, governed by a traditional Muslim group based in Saudi Arabia. Thompson’s reasoning rested on a prenuptial agreement between the two in which Ayad agreed to allow her marriage to be arbitrated according to Sharia.

Ayad said that when she signed the document, she did not realize that she was submitting to Sharia, according to court documents. Instead, she said she thought she was signing two copies of a marriage acknowledgment form. Under Sharia, a woman’s testimony in divorce proceedings is worth half of a man’s, making her plea to be removed from that agreement especially urgent, her attorneys wrote.

Ayad argued that she should be released from the agreement because she did not sign it voluntarily and because the agreement itself violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Under the agreement, her husband has the sole right to seek or deny a divorce and Ayad “will not have a meaningful right to be heard,” her attorneys wrote.

Thompson, however, ruled in March that the agreement was binding. A revised order in June reaffirmed that decision, but it removed explicit references to the Fiqh panel, according to court documents. Under the order, Ayad’s divorce case falls under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Association of North Texas, one of the largest Muslim groups in the state.

Thompson did not respond to a request for comment.

Ayad’s attorneys took the case to a Texas appeals court, arguing that the Sharia proceedings are in direct conflict with United States divorce law. The agreement itself, they added, is “unconscionable” and in opposition to Texas law as well.

July 8, 2021. Tags: . Islamization. Leave a comment.

San Francisco keeps making it easier and easier for shoplifters to destroy businesses

https://twitter.com/KTVU/status/1412291979048718337

https://www.yahoo.com/news/looters-ransack-san-francisco-neiman-141600425.html

Looters ransack San Francisco Neiman Marcus in broad daylight: Video

By Jake Dima

July 6, 2021

Looters were captured on video Monday ransacking a Neiman Marcus in San Francisco as thefts continue to plague businesses in the area.

At least nine suspects smashed display cases, snatched handbags, and jetted out of the building before law enforcement arrived to the scene at about 6 p.m., according to footage. The suspects were seen running out of the store with their hands full of merchandise before entering an apparent getaway car that sped off down a busy intersection.

A man was caught on video in June filling a garbage bag with what appeared to be hair products before leaving the drugstore on his bicycle. A security guard, who was recording the incident, tried to grab the individual, though he eluded custody.

Walgreens shuttered 17 of its stores in the San Francisco area in the past five years, and the company said thefts in the area are four times more likely than anywhere else in the country as executives budgeted 35 times more for security personnel to guard the chains.

Target executives in the city also decided to limit business hours in response to an uptick in larceny.

Shoppers can no longer buy products in the chains after 6 p.m. after once being permitted to shop until 10 p.m.

“For more than a month, we’ve been experiencing a significant and alarming rise in theft and security incidents at our San Francisco stores,” a spokesperson for Target said at the time.

San Francisco Police Lt. Tracy McCray faulted District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s “criminals first agenda” for the uptick in theft incidents.

“What happened in that Walgreens has been going on in the city for quite a while,” she said in June. “I’m used to it. I mean, we could have a greatest hits compilation of people just walking in and cleaning out the store shelves and security guards, the people who work there, just standing by helplessly because they can’t do anything.”

“The ‘criminals first’ agenda from the district attorney [is to blame] because he’s not prosecuting any of those crimes as felonies [or] as a commercial burglary. [Criminals realize,] ‘This is gonna get slapped down to a misdemeanor,'” she continued.

Thefts under $950 are considered a misdemeanor in McCray’s area of operation, she added, and suspected criminals are often issued citations instead of spending time in jail ahead of their court date. In some cases, she said, thieves will have their case thrown out if they skip their court appearances.

Neither the San Francisco Police Department nor Neiman Marcus immediately responded to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.

July 6, 2021. Tags: , , , . Rioting looting and arson, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

The REAL Reason McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are Always Broken

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrDEtSlqJC4

July 5, 2021. Tags: , , , . Food. Leave a comment.

Spoiled college students with designer clothes and expensive phones say the U.S. is horrible and they are oppressed. But when asked to name a better country, they can’t.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6tBQRslg14

July 4, 2021. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Ashli Babbit’s Killer is a Dangerous Incompetent

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/07/ashli-babbits-killer-dangerous-incompetent/

Ashli Babbit’s Killer is a Dangerous Incompetent

By Larry Johnson

July 1, 2021

Close-up-shooter-1

Ashli Babbit’s Killer is a Dangerous Incompetent

A picture is worth a thousand words. So these two pictures tell you two thousand words worth of Ashley Babbit’s. He is demonstrably incompetent.

There are four critical rules for handling any firearm, especially a pistol:

Treat every gun as if it is loaded until you inspect it to ensure there is no ammunition in the chamber.

Always point the gun in a safe direction (in other words, do not point the gun at anything or anyone you are not prepared to kill or destroy).

ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Know your target and what is beyond. You do not fire at a target if there is a person or persons behind the target that do not pose a threat.

Look at the big picture. This moron has his finger on the trigger and is pointing his gun at other security personnel. He is violating all of the gun rules listed above. Every single one.

Making matters worse is what he is doing with his left hand. He is carrying something. When you have the finger of your right hand on the trigger and you are simultaneously using your left hand to grasp or hold something you are likely to cause a sympathetic movement with your trigger finger. The man in the blue shirt is damn fortunate that he was not shot in the back by this clown.

The lack of training discipline this man exhibits is alarming. And the results of this incompetence was the murder of Ashli Babbit. If a cop on the street in any city in America handled a pistol like this he or she would have their gun taken away and be sent back to training. Making matters worse–he took an innocent life.

July 1, 2021. Tags: , , , . Guns, Rioting looting and arson. Leave a comment.

Justice Clarence Thomas Is the Unlikely Cannabis Supporter on the Supreme Court

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/marijuana-supreme-court-clarence-thomas-dissent-1190201/

Justice Clarence Thomas Is the Unlikely Cannabis Supporter on the Supreme Court

But federal marijuana decriminalization will still have to wait on Congress for action

By David S. Cohen

June 28, 2021

Marijuana legalization has an interesting advocate at the Supreme Court: Justice Clarence Thomas. Today, once again, Justice Thomas indicated his support for cutting back federal laws that criminalize pot. You might think this is good news since Justice Thomas is one of the most conservative Justices on the Court, therefore surely more liberal Justices would agree. But, unfortunately for the movement, his zeal to rethink how this country criminalizes weed has, so far, no other supporters on the Court.

The case today involved a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado that, even though it was operating completely legally within the state of Colorado, could not take advantage of federal tax breaks for businesses because the federal government considers it to run an illegal drug business. The dispensary challenged the tax provision, claiming that the federal government cannot prohibit medical marijuana in a state, like Colorado, that makes it legal.

This morning the Court decided not to hear this case, leaving the dispensary without the benefit. (Had they decided to take it on, and maybe even ruled in the dispensary’s favor, any lawful business would have been able to take advantage of the tax break — something advocates have been demanding for years.) Without explaining itself, the Court presumably was relying on a 2005 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could continue to criminalize and regulate local use and production of medical marijuana. The Court’s ruling was based on the concept that Congress can only legislate with respect to national problems, not local ones. The two California women who had grown pot for their own use in that case argued that their medical marijuana was not a national issue — it was just for them and thus purely local. The Court rejected this argument on the basis that the federal government had a strong interest in locking down the entire national market for marijuana, and that even though medical marijuana was legal in California, Congress could still criminalize it under federal law in its quest to stop illegal drugs everywhere.

That decision was 6-3, with Justice Thomas dissenting along with Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Those two Justices are no longer on the Court, but you may have thought that, 16 years after the 2005 case with dozens of states now legalizing marijuana for medical (37 states) and/or recreational purposes (18 states), Justice Thomas may have found others who support his position that the federal government needs to relax how it treats marijuana.

However, based on what the Court did today, it seems he has yet to find any allies. The Court’s decision not to hear this case was, as it almost always is, unsigned and without explanation. Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion (available here if you scroll to page 28) that no other Justice joined. In that separate opinion, Justice Thomas called out the federal government for its “half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana.” What he is referring to is the fact that the Attorney General has refused to reclassify marijuana to permit use in states where it is legal and other parts of federal law, such as the tax code in this case, continue to treat it as illegal. Yet, Congress has refused to allow federal dollars to be spent enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where it is legal for medicinal purposes, and the Department of Justice has a policy against interfering with state legalization.

To Justice Thomas, this confusing patchwork of federal approaches to state legalization undermines the 2005 Supreme Court decision. That decision was based on a comprehensive nationwide approach by the federal government to prohibit pot in all forms. But now, with the federal government picking and choosing what to do in the face of the state legalization movement, Justice Thomas argued that the justification for federal intervention in this area no longer exists. “Suffice it to say,” he wrote, “the Federal Government’s current approach to marijuana bears little resemblance to the watertight nationwide prohibition that a closely divided Court found necessary to justify the Government’s blanket prohibition in [2005].”

These are encouraging words for anyone who thinks the federal government is overreaching in the way it continues to prohibit and regulate marijuana, especially in the states where laws have been relaxed. However, as exciting at it is to have a Justice of the Supreme Court write these words, until Justice Thomas gains support from other Justices, federal marijuana liberalization is going to have to come from the Attorney General or Congress not the Supreme Court.

June 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . SCOTUS, War on drugs. Leave a comment.

BLM kidnappers hold politician hostage for 2 hours, force her to sign list of demands

I hope these kidnappers get prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

This is yet one more reason why I think it should be legal for drivers to run over people who deliberately and illegally block traffic.

https://www.startribune.com/activists-block-council-vice-president-andrea-jenkins-until-she-agrees-to-demands/600073230/

Activists block Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins until she agrees to demands

Confrontation turns tense as protesters push Jenkins to sign a list of demands. 

By Liz Navratil

June 29, 2021

Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Mayor Jacob Frey on Tuesday condemned the tactics of protesters who shouted at Jenkins and blocked her from leaving an event in Loring Park until she agreed to a list of their demands.

A 23-minute video showing a portion of their lengthy confrontation Sunday circulated on social media. Throughout the video, protesters rattled off demands — some of which Jenkins quickly agreed to, and some of which she pushed back on, insisting she needed to represent the people who live in her ward.

In the end, Jenkins signed a list of demands agreeing, among other things, to “leave George Floyd Square alone,” support the creation of a civilian-led commission to oversee police, and call for the mayor’s resignation. After she signed, people agreed to step away, clearing the way for the car she was riding in to drive off.

The encounter comes at a tense time, when re-election campaigns are escalating and residents are making conflicting demands as the city debates how to transform policing following George Floyd’s death. Over the past year, some elected officials have raised concerns about the tactics protesters are using.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Jenkins said she was “verbally attacked, berated and held ‘hostage’ against my will by a large group of angry protesters.”

She added: “Every citizen of this City has a right to bring forward their concerns, but no citizen has the right to detain and coerce anyone to do anything, that includes elected officials.”

Frey echoed that sentiment Tuesday afternoon.

“Holding people for hours against their will until they make a statement under duress is completely unacceptable,” he said. “It’s wrong.”

Activist D.J. Hooker, who posted the video to social media, said in an interview that the encounter lasted approximately two hours. He said he approached Jenkins after a Taking Back Pride event decrying police brutality. The event, according to a posting on social media, sought to prioritize the voices of people who are Black, transgender or queer. Jenkins was the first transgender woman of color elected to public office in a major U.S. city.

Hooker said he approached Jenkins to raise concerns about community groups contracted with the city to de-escalate tensions.

Hooker said he grew frustrated when Jenkins told him she didn’t have control over them and she wouldn’t commit to leaving George Floyd Square alone, so he said they would hold a peaceful protest outside her house. Hooker said he and Jenkins argued and someone jumped between them.

Hooker said Jenkins began walking away and he yelled, “Oh, you’re gonna call the cops on me knowing … what the cops have done to George Floyd, what the cops have done to Dolal Idd and Winston Smith and Daunte Wright.”

The video posted to social media begins with Hooker narrating and shows Jenkins sitting in the passenger seat of a white car, as people stand on three sides of it. A white post is behind the car.

Jenkins, who is on the phone, tells someone it might be “three days before I get out of here.”

Jenkins then sits quietly, her hands pressed together as Hooker expresses frustration that city officials haven’t done more to reduce police brutality.

Hooker begins reading off the list of demands, one by one. He asks if she will pledge her support for the creation of an elected, civilian commission to oversee police, for reopening cases in police killings, for dropping charges against protesters and releasing information about Smith’s death. Each time, Jenkins says yes.

Hooker then asks her to pledge her support “for Jacob Frey’s immediate resignation.” Jenkins laughs, shakes her head side to side and, after additional prompting from protesters, eventually says, “Jacob Frey resign.”

Hooker then asks her to “leave George Floyd Square alone. Period.”

Jenkins responds: “Don’t do my job, is that what you’re asking me to do?”

The two begin talking over each other, and Jenkins adds: “I was elected to represent that neighborhood, so what you’re asking me to do is to not do my job.”

Several people in the crowd begin shouting. Jenkins rolls up her window, saying she won’t sign anything, and people in the crowd continue to shout over each other.

A couple minutes later, Jenkins rolls down her window, and Hooker repeats the demand to leave the square alone.

“Fine, I’ll leave George Floyd Square alone,” Jenkins said. “I will not do my job.”

Eventually the person in the driver’s seat says this isn’t a negotiation. Someone in the crowd says they’re not asking, “we’re demanding,” and tells the person to “do your job and drive.” The driver raises their middle finger. Jenkins pushes the driver’s arm down, grabs the piece of paper with the demands and signs it. Protesters then ask her to print her name and date it.

Jenkins said she didn’t run to deal with situations like that.

“I ran to represent people. That’s what I did,” Jenkins says to the crowd. “You stand up and do that one day.”

A short bit later, people moved out of the way, and the car drove away.

Hooker said in an interview that they confronted Jenkins because they were tired of elected leaders making promises on policing and not following through. He said he would be surprised if Jenkins followed through on the document she signed.

June 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Black lives matter, Idiots blocking traffic, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Motorcyclist Who Identifies As Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record (satire)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipvesqJP1e4

June 29, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, LGBT, Sports. Leave a comment.

Professors declare correct grammar is racist

https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=17695

Profs declare correct grammar is racist, no such thing as standard English at symposium

Towson University hosted a virtual symposium to discuss anti-racist teaching practices.

One professor argued that “correct grammar” and “standard language” only “reinforce master narratives of English.”

By Ethan Khaldarov

June 25, 2021

Speakers at Towson University’s virtual “Antiracist Pedagogy Symposium” criticized university writing curriculum and programs for being racist and perpetuating Whiteness. 

The event occurred on June 17.

April Baker-Bell, associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education at Michigan State University, argued that idea of Standard English among teachers is used to maintain racist assumptions about “Black language.”

Bell stated it is evident that “anti-Blackness that is used to diminish black language of Black students in classrooms is not separate from the rampant and deliberate anti-black racism and violence inflicted upon black people in society.”

“Teacher attitudes include assumptions that Black students are somehow linguistically, morally, and intellectually inferior because they communicate in Black language,” said Bell.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania English professor Cristina Sánchez-Martín stated that her efforts are designed to contribute to “undoing Whiteness” in university students’ writing. 

“The repeated references to ‘correct grammar’ and ‘standard language’ reinforce master narratives of English only as White and monolingualism and a deficit view of multilingualism,” said Sánchez-Martín. 

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Bill Maher talks about college

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x5SeXNabd8

June 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education. Leave a comment.

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