The bulk of the president’s speech was devoted to justifying drone strikes. I was shocked when the president claimed that his administration did everything it could to capture suspects instead of killing them. That is just not true. Obama’s reliance on drones is precisely because he did not want to be bothered with capturing suspects and bringing them to trial. Take the case of 16-year-old Pakistani Tariz Aziz, who could have been picked up while attending a conference at a major hotel in the capital, Islamabad, but was instead killed by a drone strike, with his 12-year-old cousin, two days later. Or the drone strike that 23-year-old Yemini Farea al-Muslimi talked about when he testified in Congress. He said the man targeted in his village of Wessab was a man who everyone knew, who met regularly with government officials and who could have easily been brought in for questioning.
When the president was coming to the end of this speech, he started talking about Guantánamo. As he has done in the past, he stated his desire to close the prison, but blamed Congress. That’s when I felt compelled to speak out. With the men in Guantánamo on hunger strike, being brutally forced fed and bereft of all hope, I couldn’t let the president continue to act as if he were some helpless official at the mercy of Congress.
“Excuse me, Mr. President,” I said, “but you’re the Commander-in-Chief. You could close Guantánamo tomorrow and release the eighty-six prisoners who have been cleared for release.” We went on to have quite an exchange.
While I have received a deluge of support, there are others, including journalists, who have called me “rude.” But terrorizing villages with Hellfire missiles that vaporize innocent people is rude. Violating the sovereignty of nations like Pakistan is rude. Keeping eighty-six prisoners in Guantánamo long after they have been cleared for release is rude. Shoving feeding tubes down prisoners’ throats instead of giving them justice is certainly rude. — Medea Benjamin, Why I Spoke Out at Obama’s Foreign Policy Speech (via fariyah)
You know you’ve hit a special point in the night when you and your friends start singing about labias.
Beautiful day at #uchicago
I don’t doubt my own college choice, but UChicago will always be such a magical place.
NYPD Data Proves White People Are More Likely To Possess Drugs Or A Weapon Than Racial Minorities When Stopped, Yet 84% of Stop & Frisk Victims Are Black/Latino
During the just-concluded trial on the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program, the city argued that officers’ disproportionate targeting of black and Latino New Yorkers was not due to racial profiling but because each stopped individual was doing something suspicious at the time. The data, however, tells a different story: weapons and drugs were more often found on white New Yorkers during stops than on minorities, according to the Public Advocate’s analysis of the NYPD’s 2012 statistics.
White New Yorkers make up a small minority of stop-and-frisks, which were 84 percent black and Latino residents. Despite this much higher number of minorities deemed suspicious by police, the likelihood that stopping an African American would find a weapon was half the likelihood of finding one on a white person.
• The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded a weapon was half that of white New Yorkers stopped. The NYPD uncovered a weapon in one out every 49 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 71 stops of Latinos and 93 stops of African Americans to find a weapon.
• The likelihood a stop of an African American New Yorker yielded contraband was one-third less than that of white New Yorkers stopped. The NYPD uncovered contraband in one out every 43 stops of white New Yorkers. By contrast, it took the Department 57 stops of Latinos and 61 stops of African Americans to find contraband.
It’s unlikely that the appropriate lesson to take from these findings is that stops of white people should increase because they are more likely to carry weapons and drugs. Rather, they suggest that police are excessively targeting minorities. Officers may be netting more successful stops of white New Yorkers because they are only likely to stop a white person when they actually suspect that person of committing a crime. Considering one officer’s testimony that superiors explicitly directed him to target young black men, minorities are judged by a much more flexible definition of “reasonable suspicion.”
In general, stop-and-frisk has proven to be remarkably ineffective; nearly 89 percent of all stops result in no charges. The city has also had to settle a surging number of civil rights lawsuits against police to the tune of $22 million in one year.
The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss
Research finds that same-sex unions are happier than heterosexual marriages. What can gay and lesbian couples teach straight ones about living in harmony?
Read more. [Image: Gail Albert Halaban]
“Well this looks familiar: every lawmaker at the House hearing on the nationwide 20-week abortion ban is a man.” - @LEBassett