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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Categories: Drew Whitcup, ZiR | 1 Comment

The documentary series Making a Murderer, currently airing on Netflix, is generating a lot of reaction from viewers and commentators. Many people (including hundreds of thousands who have signed a petition) are clamoring for the release of the show’s central figure, convicted murderer Steven Avery. Avery was falsely accused and convicted of an assault in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin […]

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hands and prison bars

Anna M. Phillips of the Tampa Bay Times reported big news yesterday from the US Supreme Court. In an 8-1 vote, the high court held in Hurst v. Florida that the state’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional. Specifically, the court decided that it is insufficient for juries on capital cases to simply recommend life or death. […]

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Armed activists took over a small government building in Oregon this weekend, eliciting mostly negative reactions from left-leaning commentators who have (quite fairly) pointed out a number of inconsistencies in the so-called militia’s message. More troubling still has been the notable difference in how the Oregon protesters are being treated compared to, say, members of […]

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There is a chorus of voices this week denouncing yet another grand jury’s failure to indict yet another killer of a young person of color. This time, that person is Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old Cleveland resident who was shot and killed by Cuyahoga County police over a year ago. Among the voices decrying this injustice […]

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Categories: Drew Whitcup, ZiR | 1 Comment

Across many professional realms, unions provide critical protections for vulnerable citizens. Those of us aligned with the political left decry most efforts to undermine the power of collective bargaining. The police, however, represent a notable exception. Writing earlier this month for the New Republic, Steven Cohen describes the sometimes disastrous effect of police union protections. He […]

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US Supreme Court building, Washington, DC

Writing for Slate.com, Dahlia Lithwick discusses the case of Evenwel v. Abbott, which was argued yesterday in the US Supreme Court. Lithwick sums up the competing positions: In the plainest sense, Evenwel v. Abbott simply asks the court to determine whether states—in this case Texas—should apportion legislative districts by counting the total population (as determined through the census) or the […]

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Yesterday was World AIDS day, which is how I found myself reading an article from earlier this year. Writing for The Nation, Rod McCullom tackled the sad and informative case of Michael Johnson, former college student and wrestler from Missouri. Johnson was prosecuted under Missouri’s “HIV criminalization statute,” a law that punished those who have sex […]

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Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick published an excerpt of her interview with Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, during which they discussed race as a factor in criminal court jury selection. Bright is lead counsel for Timothy Tyrone Foster, a convicted murderer whose appeal has reached the Supreme Court. At issue in his case— Foster v. Chatman— […]

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US Supreme Court building, Washington, DC

Writing for Mother Jones, Hannah Levintova discusses the newest abortion-rights-related law to find its way to the US Supreme Court: Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. Levintova describes the premise: In this case, the justices are expected to focus on two of [recent Texas abortion law HB2]’s most onerous requirements: that abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, hospital-like […]

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Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern’s recent Slate.com post offers a brief preview of what’s to come this term in the nation’s highest court. For readers with a liberal bent, the news may be troubling, as they ask, rhetorically: “Is the court moving right, or far right, or really, really far right?” The entire analysis […]

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Last year, I read and posted about an article in The Nation that highlighted a growing trend: private companies commissioned to collect fines from low-level criminal offenders who were in arrears. The article highlighted one company in particular—Judicial Correction Services—that operated in a number of Southern US municipalities. As I noted last March, “[t]he results [of […]

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Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

Last year, I read and posted about an article in The Nation that highlighted a growing trend: private companies commissioned to collect fines from low-level criminal offenders who were in arrears. The article highlighted one company in particular—Judicial Correction Services—that operated in a number of Southern US municipalities. As I noted last March, “[t]he results [of […]

Essay

May 11, 2018

Using personal essay, literary reference, and journalistic voice, the article plants itself on our existential doorstep while illuminating Barnes' novel one more time. Very strong. Thanks.

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Categories: Essay | Add a Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

Last year, I read and posted about an article in The Nation that highlighted a growing trend: private companies commissioned to collect fines from low-level criminal offenders who were in arrears. The article highlighted one company in particular—Judicial Correction Services—that operated in a number of Southern US municipalities. As I noted last March, “[t]he results [of […]

Essay

May 10, 2018

"When these new memories suddenly came upon me … time had been placed in reverse. As if, for that moment, the river ran upstream." Stolen from Barnes's book for my poem "From the Vale for a Soul Making". Great book to write about.

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Last year, I read and posted about an article in The Nation that highlighted a growing trend: private companies commissioned to collect fines from low-level criminal offenders who were in arrears. The article highlighted one company in particular—Judicial Correction Services—that operated in a number of Southern US municipalities. As I noted last March, “[t]he results [of […]

ZiR

March 13, 2018

i am looking for spiritual rats that bring money into my room i am from zimbabwe

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