Our Common Good
And did we mention, most of these kids are black?

shiracoffee:

In Meridian, Miss., it is school officials – not police – who determine who should be arrested. Schools seeking to discipline students call the police, and police policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency, according to a Department of Justice lawsuit. The result is a perverse system that funnels children as young as ten who merely misbehave in class into juvenile detention centers without basic constitutional procedures. The lawsuit, which follows unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the county, challenges the constitutionality of punishing children “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience” and alleging that the city’s police department acts as a de facto “taxi service” in shuttling students from school to juvenile detention centers. Colorlines explains:

Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights.They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations.

Mississippi County Jails Kids For School Dress Code Violations, Tardiness, DOJ Alleges

January 11th is when American women in one American state will lose access to what is supposedly their constitutionally protected right, because Republicans in that state decided that for them

Maddow rips Mississippi Republicans over abortion crack down  (via The Raw Story)

The states least likely to join in the Medicaid expansion also happen to be among those whose residents are in the greatest need. The poor and uninsured in these parts of the U.S. will likely continue to go without unless their political leaders have changes of heart. Texas had the highest rate of uninsurance in the nation last year: 24 percent, according to census data compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana, it was 20 percent. Nineteen percent of Mississippians were uninsured in 2011. Nationally, 16 percent of people had no health insurance last year. In Massachusetts, which enacted a comprehensive health care reform program in 2006, only 4 percent of residents are uninsured. States that refuse to cover more poor people will do so despite the fact that Uncle Sam will pick up most of the tab. From 2014 to 2016, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of covering newly eligible people, after which the share will gradually go down to 90 percent in 2022 and later years.

The litigation seeks remedies for violations of the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.   The complaint alleges that the defendants help to operate a school-to-prison pipeline in which the rights of children in Meridian are repeatedly and routinely violated. As a result, children in Meridian have been systematically incarcerated for allegedly committing minor offenses, including school disciplinary infractions, and are punished disproportionately without due process of law.   The students most affected by this system are African-American children and children with disabilities. The practices that regularly violate the rights of children in Meridian include:

  • Children are handcuffed and arrested in school and incarcerated for days at a time without a probable cause hearing, regardless of the severity – or lack thereof – of  the alleged offense or probation violation.
  • Children who are incarcerated prior to adjudication in the Lauderdale County system regularly wait more than 48 hours for a probable cause hearing, in violation of federal constitutional requirements.
  • Children make admissions to formal charges without being advised of their Miranda rights and without making an informed waiver of those rights.
  • Lauderdale County does not consistently afford children meaningful representation by an attorney during the juvenile justice process, including in preparation for and during detention, adjudication and disposition hearings.

“ The department is bringing this lawsuit to ensure that all children are treated fairly and receive the fullest protection of the law,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “ It is in all of our best interests to ensure that children are not incarcerated for alleged minor infractions, and that police and courts meet their obligations to uphold children’s constitutional rights.”

[…]

This investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section, working in conjunction  with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.   The Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section also has a long-standing school desegregation case against the Meridian Public School District. The district is currently working cooperatively with the department to resolve issues in that case.

(via One way to get the message out: ‘NO Voter ID required in MS’ - The Maddow Blog)
jfklibrary:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s first day at the University of Mississippi - a watershed moment in the fight for civil rights. Here are a few brief remarks from Attorney General Holder on Meredith and the young president… who inspired him to dream big:
“In many ways, his journey to the University of Mississippi began in early 1961 – when, from here in his home state, he watched a charismatic young President take the Oath of Office. On that January morning, President John F. Kennedy invoked the words of Scripture to demand that leaders around the world ‘undo the heavy burdens…(and) let the oppressed go free.’ The very next day, James Meredith wrote to Ole Miss to ask for a college application.”

jfklibrary:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s first day at the University of Mississippi - a watershed moment in the fight for civil rights. Here are a few brief remarks from Attorney General Holder on Meredith and the young president who inspired him to dream big:

“In many ways, his journey to the University of Mississippi began in early 1961 – when, from here in his home state, he watched a charismatic young President take the Oath of Office. On that January morning, President John F. Kennedy invoked the words of Scripture to demand that leaders around the world ‘undo the heavy burdens…(and) let the oppressed go free.’ The very next day, James Meredith wrote to Ole Miss to ask for a college application.”

A mosquito bite can kill, and this year 41 Americans have found that out the hard way as they lost their lives to the mosquito-borne disease West Nile virus.

Forty-seven of the 50 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, in Atlanta.

[…]

About 75 percent of the cases have been reported from five states in a north-south strip through the center of the country – Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota – almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS) has ordered state agencies to prevent undocumented immigrants who benefit from President Obama’s deferred action directive from receiving any state public benefits. He said his executive order stopping the state from granting benefits to DREAM Act-eligible youth who qualify for the federal policy follows current state law. Mississippi already bans state agencies from providing benefits like unemployment payments or food stamps to people who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. Republican governors in Arizona and Nebraska issued similar orders after the deferred action policy went into effect August 15

fuckyeahfeminists:

Dr. Willie Parker explains why he is going to Mississippi to provide abortions to the people who needs them badly in the state. He writes (emphasis his)

In response to a query of why I choose to help women in Mississippi, the fact is that the women most at risk to be harmed by the loss of abortion services there are Black and poor. Twenty percent of all Mississippians live below the Federal poverty line, but 48% of Blacks there do, making it the poorest state in the country, a fact that exacerbates if not causes the life circumstances that lead to abortion. This observation is not to racialize  the impending loss of abortion access for all women in the state, but rather indicates that my personal commitment to address the provider shortage there stems in part from my lived experience of growing up as a poor Black child in the south (Alabama) and knowing first-hand the dire circumstances that converge to create desperation for women with unintended or fatally flawed pregnancies. During my clinic days there recently, I counseled a pregnant woman with 5 kids, the youngest who had just died a year ago from cancer, who indicated that she could not care for another child financially or emotionally. She, along with others had traveled from various distances in the state for their first state-mandated counseling visit ,or were returning for their procedure following a second trip from hours away,  often complicated by  childcare/work considerations and doubled travel costs. They typify the hardships that Mississippi women endure due to the present laws.

Thank you, Dr. Parker for understanding our needs and for going to Mississippi!

In South Carolina, a yearly income of $16,900 is too much for Medicaid for a family of three. In Florida, $11,000 a year is too much. In Mississippi, $8,200 a year is too much. In Louisiana and Texas, earning more than just $5,000 a year makes you ineligible for Medicaid.


Governors in those five states have said they’ll reject the Medicaid expansion underpinning Obama’s health law after the Supreme Court’s decision gave states that option. Many of those hurt by the decision are working parents who are poor — but not poor enough — to qualify for Medicaid.

While McDonald’s will remain king of the chips at the London 2012 Olympic Games, BP has charged itself with delivering the culinary “spirit of the Gulf”. The Louisiana Office of Tourism announced this week that the oil company would be hosting a series of events for Team USA that will pair three Gulf coast bands with chefs from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida preparing “the world’s freshest and best-tasting seafood”.

No doubt Team USA will enjoy the New Orleans jazz and Cajun food on offer, but it’s more than a little troubling that, after the 2010 Gulf oil spill, BP has co-opted the phrase “spirit of the Gulf” as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region’s culture and cuisine.

It doesn’t quite feel right.  But I have a hard time getting too furious with anything that helps the people devastated by that oil spill.  And we know that BP is only doing this because - as with their Gulf Coast promoting commercials, their legal settlements require them too. 

shortformblog:

The law, which abortion rights advocates say is a thinly veiled attempt to ban abortions in Mississippi, has threatened to make Mississippi the only U.S. state without such a facility.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters argue this is necessary to ensure women’s safety.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, in issuing a partial preliminary injunction, ruled on Friday that the clinic “will be permitted to operate lawfully while continuing their efforts to obtain privileges.”

Anti-abortion activists also claimed victory on Friday, as the law was allowed to take effect while the law’s constitutionality is challenged, though the abortion clinic (the state’s only abortion clinic, mind you) would be the only facility in the state which the law would affect.

And don’t forget that the state is having to spend money that could be used on other desperately needed services defending this law.

State officials are running into problems with the new voter-identification law even before the federal government has approved or rejected it. Voters without a photo ID are facing a circular problem: They need a certified birth certificate to get the voter ID, and they need a photo ID to get the birth certificate. Pamela Weaver, spokeswoman of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, today confirmed the catch-22 problem, which the Jackson Free Press learned about from a complaint posted on Facebook. One of the requirements to get the free voter ID cards is a birth certificate, but in order to receive a certified copy of your birth certificate in Mississippi, you must have a photo ID. Not having the photo ID is why most people need the voter ID in the first place.

State Facing Voter ID Hurdles | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS (via dendroica)

And that’s the whole reason Republicans passed these voter suppression laws to begin with…to keep people from voting. (via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

I ran into this when I accidentally left my drivers license at the bank when I went in to cash a travel check.  The bank calls you, but if you don’t pick up the license in 24 hours, they shred it.  As I was out of town at a conference, I did not get the call and couldn’t have gotten to the bank in 24 hours regardless.

I could not get a new license without a birth certificate, but mine had been destroyed in a flood years earlier.  My birth certificate is from a different state and they wanted a copy of my drivers license to process my request for a new copy of my birth certificate.  It took $120.00 and 3 months to get it all straightened out.

Painted crosses and mass-printed “Women Do Regret Abortion” signs belonging to anti-choice extremists clutter the sidewalk of North State Street in the Fondren region of Jackson, Mississippi, where Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) operates as the state’s sole abortion clinic.

“Some [protesters] hang out in lawn chairs. Some bark at cars and passersby,” says Deirdra Harris Glover, a Jackson resident and founder of the grassroots organization Pro Choice Mississippi. “Most only have eyes for the clinic, its staff and its clients.”