Trust the Police? Racism is a Systemic Pandemic

Some white Americans still claim they can’t wrap their heads around black Americans’ fear of or distrust in the police.  A quick glance at the history of the U.S. legal system, and the police in particular, is all it takes to see that distrust is a reasonable and predictable response to centuries of mistreatment. Racism is systemic and it always has been.

For centuries it was the specific job of police to demean, abuse, and dehumanize black Americans. Is it realistic, let alone fair, to expect history not to leave a mark? At the very least through implicit biases?

The conversation doesn’t even require any moral or political conclusions or judgments; it’s just facts. It’s  a large part of why, in the wake of the killing by police of numerous unarmed black Americans, people of all races flooded the streets of major cities across the country for months straight.

For many, the fact that many of these unarmed victims were murdered on camera has made it impossible to deny the problem any longer. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmad Brooks, and Jacob Blake are merely the newest faces among the lasting legacy of America’s original sin.

Racism isn’t just real, it’s been an intrinsic part of the United States since the very beginning. The law isn’t always right, breaking the law isn’t always bad, and enforcing the law has often been supporting inexcusable evil. “Just following orders,” isn’t supposed to fly as a defense, but it always has here.

Slavery was the law of the land and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. So was the 3/5 compromise. The Missouri compromise was legal, as the country expanded and required that every new free state must be a matched by a state where slavery remained legal. Our national entanglement with human trafficking continued. 

The Dred Scott Supreme Court decision was legal and held that escaped slaves were not free or safe in northern, “free” states and could be seized and forced back into bondage. Police enforced these laws, abusing and terrorizing black people. Following orders did not make them right. Notably, police were also known to sell free Black Americans into slavery.

After hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, and slavery was finally made illegal, it should have been the end of it but our country failed to facilitate equality and integration.

Black people may have been freed, but they were never given restitution for all of the unjust enrichment the country and the southern states stole from slave labor. They were never even given the reparations they were promised. They were free to leave, but had no homes, no jobs, unfriendly neighbors, and likely little training beyond plantation labor. White dominated society stacked the deck against them, lawfully.

Enslaved Black Americans were left out of the Homestead Act, unable to take advantage of the generational wealth building opportunity. Blocked from the American Dream, legally. A century later, black Americans were denied the benefit of the GI Bill’s college funding. Due to legal segregation they had sorely limited access to higher education. Again, white America stiff armed Black Americans away from the American Dream.

Reconstruction was short lived, as the north quickly decided that enforcing some semblance of equality in the South was more trouble than it was worth. Yankee soldiers went home and the South instituted a new legal system where white America again treated Black Americans as less than human.

The Jim Crow system of legal segregation was legal. Black Codes, limiting Black Americans’ freedoms and creating excuses to take their freedom altogether, were legal. Voter suppression was legal and rampant, and for the past eight years has been on the rebound. The peonage system of prison slave labor was legal slavery under a new name, and likewise has again reared it’s head, in recent decades.

Even after legal segregation was struck down by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board, in fact it remained in place across much of the country. Redlining was the concerted effort to limit Black and Latin Americans to real estate in designated areas, and to limit services and expenditures in those areas. These legal and professional polices created slums and ghettos and then forced black Americans to live in them. It was the law and police enforced it.

The War on Crime and the War on Drugs targeted black people, with over policing, excessive charges, excessive penalties, and little accountability for malfeasant police or prosecutors. Black men were charged more often and sentenced to far harsher sentences for the same crimes which they commit at the same rate as white men.

Theses fear and race driven policies destroyed the lives of generations of black fathers and their families, while creating the largest prison population in the world. Generations of black men were ripped from their families and condemned to futures of undesirable jobs and limited options.  Both wars were legal and it was police waging these wars against black families.

Racial profiling was legal. Stop and frisk policies were legal. Mass incarceration is still legal. And it too often judged legal for police to use violence and take black lives, even when their is no imminent threat to any other lives. After centuries of the police enforcing bad, racist laws, and regularly getting caught on camera using excessive force to this day, how in the world can anyone expect Black Americans to feel like the police are on their side? Even if some finally are.

Institutional, systemic racism has always been real. The fact that some people escape its worst effects, or don’t notice it all, does not diminish its nefarious effects.

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Super-Delegates for Hillary? Makes Total Sense

Across the U.S. Bernie Sanders’ fans are thrilled about his vision of bringing revolution to the Democratic Party and overjoyed about his rise to prominence, but from Rachel Maddow to your Facebook wall they are furiously confused about the mighty Super-delegates, many of whom have already signed on to support Hillary Clinton.

The Super-delegates are made up of elected members of the Democratic Party and their votes in the primary account for nearly a fifth of the total delegate count. Although the DNC maintains that these Super-delegates could all change their endorsement at the convention, should they choose, most of the them have already announced their support for Ms. Clinton.

“The Democratic National Committee shouldn’t be picking favorites,” I often read. Constant complaints that the DNC must be shills for Hillary and that they should equally support both presidential candidates and worry more about the Congressional races down the ticket.

To that point they are right, the DNC is concerned about elections up and down the ticket, and Sanders’ fans need to realize that like it or not, it is that concern that informs their decisions regarding their candidates for the White House.

A lot of it comes down to one simple fact, a fact that Sanders’ fans did not like hearing when Ms. Clinton pointed it out at last week’s town hall; Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat.

Sanders’ is an Independent who preaches the best Democratic ideals, votes Democratic and benefits from Dem fundraisers, but he doesn’t raise money for other Democrats. He has not always been in the trenches with Democrats who’ve been struggling to stop the onslaught of the Tea Party, the Bushes and Union Busters for the past decades.

BERNIE SANDERS, HILLARY CLINTON

ABC NEWS – 12/19/15 – ABC News coverage of the Democratic Presidential debate from St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, airing Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 on the ABC Television Network and all ABC News platforms. (ABC/ Ida Mae Astute) BERNIE SANDERS, HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary, on the other hand has already raised millions of dollars for other Democrats. Democrats who fight as a team against a wave of partisan opponents constantly pushing deregulation, anti-union, anti-middle class policies. 

The Super-Delegates support Hillary because she has been good for the Democratic Party for decades, working hard to win seats and votes for the party. 

There are plenty of Democrats with elections in red states, or at least red districts, who will need to pull centrists to keep or win their seats. It makes sense that they would be weary of the candidate running ever further from the center.

When you run on the National Stage you have to live up to the dreams of many constituencies, you have to negotiate and sometimes there are hard choices with no outcomes that provide wins for everyone. It’s much easier to be single minded and stubborn, to refuse to barter, when you’re focused on a small set of issues, for a smaller audience.

Bernie and his big ideas rock, but Hillary bashers are doing a disservice to Ms. Clinton, as well as the Democratic Party as a whole. For more than a generation she’s been a leader and supporter of the Party that Bernie has never deigned to be officially counted among, until now that it serves his revolutionary dream.

The LEED Rating System is Defining Excellence by Defying Obsolete Perceptions

The way to really jump-start the green movement is to convince private enterprises that alternative energy and responsible practices can also help their bottom line.

Money is powerful and in politics ever-present, as long as leaders of industry believe old practices are better for their profit margins, it will be difficult to make strong headway on tightening regulations. However, though legal regulations may move slowly, money talks and the push by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system has been the impetus for change, raising the standards above legal minimums and in the process birthing evidence that sustainable practices can provide better values than obsolete methods ever did.

The LEED rating system was developed to “evaluate a building’s resource efficiency and environmental impacts.” Under President Clinton the U.S. Green Building Council, between 1993 and 1998, developed what is now the world standard for sustainable building projects. Since 1998 there has been an exponential shift, away from established norms, towards sustainable building delivery systems.

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GrowBLOX Sciences to Open First of Four Commercial Cultivation Labs, Despite Difficult Nevada Climate

Plant to Medicine LinkedInNevada’s nascent medical marijuana industry faces strict testing and custody requirements, hurdles many struggling companies have been unable to overcome, but GrowBLOX Sciences continues to defy the trend, announcing their 30,000 sq. ft. Cultivation Labs are set to finish construction and begin operations before the end of the year.

The cannabis market is a complicated beast, a brand new industry, ripe with potential riches yet fraught with perilous dangers, impediments varying in origin and severity from state to state.

In a handful of States everything is rosy, with medical marijuana markets functioning smoothly and helping patients, while in a handful more recreational cannabis laws are going over like gangbusters. Meanwhile less fortunate States aren’t faring quite as well, with convoluted legislation or unexpectedly strict testing requirements keeping cannabis from reaching the market. Luckily for GrowBLOX Sciences, Nevada is a prime example of the latter.

This is good news for GrowBLOX Sciences and their investors because, since their inception, they’ve been approaching cannabis cultivation from a biotech background, and anything less than a scientifically validated, safe product was never going to be an option. At this point, the only thing precluding their medicinal cannabis making it to market, is cultivating a crop for commercial harvest.

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Gotham Kills, But Still Misses the Mark

Robyn Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, "The Penguin"

Robyn Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, “The Penguin”

I feel like the producers of Fox’s GOTHAM were sure they had found the secret, they knew they had done a lot of things wrong last season and surely it could all be cured with more over the top violence and zany villains.
It’s still not working. I do think they show is better than last year, they seem to have left the villain of the week procedural format behind for an arching vision of the Maniax unleashing hell on Gotham. Still, it really is all a bit much.
Jerome, our new Joker it would appear, is not amazing. Don’t get me wrong, he has some moments that are very good, but the laugh, one of the most important aspects of the Joker, is terrible. It’s far too intentional and over the top, it’s more reminiscent of Caesar Romero’s convulsing hooting than the creepy, naturally evil cackles from Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger. Not to imply these performances should be taken lightly.
As opposed to unleashing an uncontrollable laugh that can’t be contained, this Jerome purposefully jumps into the face of an opponent, or the camera, making it painfully obvious that the laugh is on purpose, for an in your face effect. It is isn’t haunting, it’s a put on.

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Sustainable Urban Planning, Cities Saving the World

Sustainable urban planning brings the most important concepts from the Green movement together into a single coherent plan. The heat island affect, solar heat gain, population density, alternative transportation, renewable energy, conservation, water capture and recycling are all ideas, threats and solutions that fall under the jurisdiction of sustainable urban planning.

The principles include creating lasting, compact walkable neighborhoods that encourage frequent “collisions” between citizens, eliminating separate use zoning and high volume road standards, promoting shared and mixed use form, focusing on sustainability and reinvigorating urban spaces that have been lost to urban blight.

24_Las Vegas Cyclery_LVC_ssThe concepts of the Triple Bottom Line philosophy are perfectly expressed in sustainable urban planning. As a community development, considering people is imperative because space is the product and the space must be filled.

Low waste design saves money for tenants, cheap energy saves money for everyone, native plants add to beautification, which pleases people, and reduces heat gain which saves money. Pleasing people brings in more tenants which in turn raises profits.

A strong example of sustainable urban planning is New York City’s PlaNYC, a city wide effort to address the long-term challenges of a city forecasted to contain 9.1 million residents by 2030. Changing climate conditions, changing economy and aging infrastructure. More than 25 City agencies and partners joined to outline initiatives and goals to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers for the future.

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Capitals Face Yet Another Game 7 After Slow Starts and Flawed Finishes

The New York Rangers brought ferocity early and the Capitals could not fight their way out of the hole in which they found themselves after the first 20 minutes of Sunday’s Game 6.

Chris Kreider put NY on the board in a flash as he rushed to the net and put a surprising puck past a sleepy Braden Holtby in the first minute. Just over 19 minutes later, after numerous chances by both teams failed to beat this postseasons’ two best net-minders, Kreider made it 2-0.

With just over three seconds remaining in the first period, after an amazing series of PK face-off wins, short-handed pressure, and even earning a power play for the Boys in Red, Troy Brauwer earned a spell in time-out for himself. Three seconds later, shortly after a Rangers face off win, one of the eight successful offensive zone face-offs the Rangers secured in their first nine attempts, and directly after Braden Holtby stopped the ensuing shot, John Carlson accidently kicked the unsecured puck through the legs of his goaltender, where Kreider converted the easy layup with 00.3 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Capitals came out for the second period undaunted and cut the deficit in half just over thirty seconds in when Jason “New York” Chimera crashed the net and slapped a rebound past King Henrik.

Over the next 25 minutes the Capitals out attempted the Rangers by about twenty, but nonetheless found themselves down three goals after Dan Boyle made it 4-1 when he put a long shot past a Braden Holtby.

Washington’s net minder did not stand a chance as his view was completely obscured by a screen from teammate Jay Beagle, who did such a good job of  camouflaging the shot that it was hard not be reminded of Joel Ward’s legendary behind, just on the wrong end of the ice.

Though the game appeared to have become a laugher, the Washington Capitals did not cower or surrender to the President’s Trophy winning Rangers, they continued to pile on the pressure.

Kuzy brings Caps within 2

Kuzy brings Caps within 2

Three minutes after Boyle scored his second of the series, Evgeny Kuznetsov matched the feet, bringing the Capitals within two goals with shot on Lunkqvist’s short side, the beneficiary of a Joel Ward forced turnover. Another three minutes later Joel Ward crashed the crease and deposited a Jason Chimera rebound into the Ranger’s net, pulling the home team within a goal with nine and a half minutes to play.

The remainder of the game was filled with great sound and fury, Washington out attempted the boys from the Big Apple 35-9 over the final frame and held them without a shot on goal after the Boyle marker. Wave after wave the Capitals sent raging into the offensive zone, stymied as the King offered up save after save, until finally, with two and a half minutes left, a bad call actually went the Caps way, as the refs incorrectly found the Rangers guilty of delaying the game, giving the NHL’s best regular season power play a chance to find the equalizer.

But it was all for naught. As has been the case all postseason, Washington’s power play squad was inept, unable to get pucks to the net, even after pulling Holtby and going up 6 men to 4. It has become clear that John Carlson cannot get the puck to Ovechkin in a position to put dangerous shots on goal, and without the most dangerous scoring threat in the league, the unit looks confused and indecisive.

The power play failed and the 6 on 5 squad fared no better, the clock struck twelve and the Capitals’ 3-1 series lead turned into a pumpkin. Game 7 has been announced for Wednesday afternoon. It will be the third Game 7 for these two teams in the last four years, and the fourth since the 2009 playoffs, the Caps are 1-2 in those match-ups. Washington defeated the Rangers in 5 games in the spring of 2011.

The Triple Bottom Line, The Heart of Green Building: Sustainability is Good for Business

The triple bottom line is all about the benefits: people, planet profit. The question that the triple bottom line concept demands be asked is, “how can an enterprise balance what is best for their wallets with what is best for everyone else?” It’s surprising how often multiple concerns align.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has long been a big topic in the PR world, but it was seen as a way of building goodwill with the public in the hopes that, in the long term, that goodwill would serve as a kind of advertising, keeping the company’s name in the publics’ minds and keeping that name clean with positive associations. CSR includes community outreach, civic mindedness, charity and environmental responsibility, but, until fairly recently it was not viewed as a sound method of conducting everyday business in terms of profits.

The concept of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) was conceived by John Elkington, the founder of British Consultancy, SustainAbility, in 1994. It’s an accounting philosophy that takes into account the benefits and costs for that business and their community, including employees, clients and the public, as well as the Earth itself. That’s the tagline, “People, Planet Profit: The Triple Bottom Line.”

The TBL is about the relationship that the project will have with its tenants, and clients, over its lifespan.

Regardless of the purpose of the building, the TBL considerations begin in the planning process. It entails choosing a location that is the least destructive to the ecosystem.

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Caps Fans Can be a Sensitive Lot, Time to Think Brave Thoughts

The Capitals have a chance to do something special today, they have a chance to take this series by the throat, with their screaming faithful there to root them on.

They will be back in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center, in an even series, holding home ice advantage. They are yet to play a complete game and have not gotten their offense or their power play going. And here they are, tied and ready to drop the puck in front of their own fans. If they can finally come out with urgency, and put a few goals on the board, they have a chance to push the New York Islanders to the brink.

I have rarely written about the Boys in Red because I am weary of writing like a homer and to be certain, there have been glaring weaknesses and there are obvious possibilities for things to go wrong.

The Islanders have come out stronger every game so far, attacking with energy and speed that Washington has not yet been able to match early. In the last game, one in which we scored first and won, Holtby still had to stop five shots in the first five minutes, and watching it felt worse than that.

They race to kill icing calls when we should have the angle, they fight harder for 50/50 pucks with a desperation we have not seemed to possess, they have made clearing the defensive zone a helacious endeavor and they have applied more pressure more often to start each contest.

Can we match that speed and intensity? Can we bring the desperation to match their hustle without giving up risky chances the other way, it’s not like we’ve done a stellar job of preventing their opportunities off the rush as is.

But Capitals fans know all that. I know that I can envision things going to crap as they have in the past, I think most Caps fans have every bit the cynicism and fear of a terrible reality to balance any optimistic hopes. Capital’s fans are well aware of the ways this could all end poorly, but this could be different and yesterday’s defeats do not dictate today’s outcome any more than hopeful star gazing. Some of us need to remember that one day things can end differently, as they do for only 1 of 30 NHL teams every year.

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Washington Capitals Need to Clean Up Their Play or it’s Game Over For D.C.

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The Boys from Chinatown have played a lot of poor hockey so far this postseason, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
The New York Islanders came out Sunday morning with the same kind of fire the Capitals used to even the series on Friday, and they left the ice with similar results.
This is not unusual in strong playoff match ups, and fans rocking the red will be well accustomed to these nauseating roller coasters after no less than three straight seven game entanglements as their immediate playoff history. Game after game sees the previous tilt’s loser hit the ice with focus and desperation their opponent just cannot match.
The Caps certainly could not meet the intensity of the rebounding Islanders Sunday morning, instead they were complacent, as if waiting for the match to slow down and become manageable.
But manage it they did, finishing the second period down only a goal, no larger a deficit than that which stood before them with 20 minutes remaining in Game 2.

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