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Hurricane Sally, Breonna Taylor, Bill Gates, Michael Caputo, JK Rowling, Chad Wolf, Carole Baskin, AstraZeneca, Chick-Fil-A: HOT LINKS

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HURRICANE SALLY. Historic flooding possible as storm approaches Gulf Coast…

MICHAEL CAPUTO. Caputo, who was appointed spokesman for HHS in April, and late last week was revealed to have systematically sought to change or alter CDC reports to fit Trump’s “optimistic” messaging about the coronavirus outbreak, and told Trump supporters in a Facebook Live video over the weekend to “buy ammunition” because “when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” deleted his Twitter account last night: “Caputo, who was using his verified Twitter account, reportedly commented ‘gas all of them’ in response to a post by a self-described journalist who posted a video saying they were about to be tear-gassed. In another post, Caputo referred to another user on the social media site as a feminine hygiene product and mocked that person by saying ‘you have four followers.’”

BREONNA TAYLOR. Family reportedly agrees to multi-million-dollar settlement.

BILL GATES. The former Microsoft CEO and philanthropist says the FDA and CDC have been destroyed, doesn’t trust them: “Historically, just like the CDC was viewed as the best in the world, the FDA had that same reputation as a top-notch regulator.”

Chad Wolf

CHAD WOLF. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security likely serving unlawfully: “In sum, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to demonstrate (former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin) McAleenan’s appointment was invalid under the agency’s applicable order of succession, and so he lacked the authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as Acting Secretary,” Judge Paula Xinis’ 69-page ruling said.

PRINCE HARRY. The Duke of Sussex has just turned 36, the age Princess Diana was when she died.

CROSSDRESSING SERIAL KILLER. Queen of the TERFs JK Rowling just turned up the transphobic volume with her new book.

WHY? OF THE TIGER. Carole Baskin’s Dancing with the Stars debut.

EXPERIMENTAL CONCENTRATION CAMP. Complaint says there have been mass hysterectomies at ICE detention center… “Several legal advocacy groups on Monday filed a whistleblower complaint on behalf of a nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center documenting ‘jarring medical neglect’ within the facility, including a refusal to test detainees for the novel coronavirus and an exorbitant rate of hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women.”

NOT ENOUGH FIRE IN HELL. I can’t even with this…

ROGER STONE. Justice Department watchdog examining abrupt change in sentencing for Roger Stone: “The investigation is focused on events in February, according to the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Stone’s prosecutors have said that is when they were told to seek a lighter sentence than they had previously considered.”

UNITED NATIONS. Mike Pompeo to push anti-LGBTQ agenda. “Two months after a controversial State Department commission elevated religious freedom at the expense of LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to promote its findings at the United Nations, Mother Jones has learned. “

NEW MEXICO. Mass migratory bird deaths alarm scientists: “Over the past few weeks, various species of migratory birds are dying in ‘unprecedented’ numbers of unknown causes, reported Martha Desmond, a professor at NMSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. ‘It is terribly frightening,’ Desmond said. ‘We’ve never seen anything like this. … We’re losing probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of migratory birds.’”

ASTRAZENECA. NIH concerned about complications in COVID vaccine trial: “The Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to follow British regulators in resuming a coronavirus vaccine trial that was halted when a participant suffered spinal cord damage, even as the National Institutes of Health has launched an investigation of the case. … A great deal of uncertainty remains about what happened to the unnamed patient, to the frustration of those avidly following the progress of vaccine testing.”

TEXAS. Arrest made in murder of transgender woman: “Mireya Rodriguez Lemus was killed Sept. 2 in the town of Aquiles Serdan just outside Chihuahua City. Prosecutors announced Sunday that Ivan Arturo G.P. had been arrested in connection to Rodriguez’s death. A news release said investigators found evidence linking him to the crime.”

fox friends chick-fil-a

TEXAS. Chick-fil-A no longer seeking lease at San Antonio airport: “Chick-fil-A said Monday that it no longer plans to open a restaurant in the San Antonio airport, even though the Texas city relented after more than a year of legal wrangling that began when some city leaders opposed the fast-food chain getting a spot, citing donations made by company owners to anti-LGBTQ causes.”

CAYMAN ISLANDS. Leaked screenshots from a Christian, faith-based WhatsApp group threatening gay hangings: “Advocacy group Colours Cayman is demanding police conduct a thorough investigation into the messages, which suggest gay community members be hanged and their conduct criminalised. The chat messages, emailed anonymously to Colours Cayman by an apparent member of the Whatsapp group, provide an incomplete snapshot of exchanges about gay rights between members of Cayman Caribbean Cause, a group that includes several prominent leaders from the church community.”

ALEXEI NAVALNY. Poisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny shares photo from hospital on Instagram, says he can breathe again:

TUESDAY TEMPTATIONS. Cody.

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Skai Jackson’s Mom Kiya Manages Her Daughter’s Career

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In a 2017 interview with Refinery29, Kiya opened up about the importance of keeping her teen daughter humble while working in this competitive industry.

“When it comes to fame, I basically told Skai not to take it too seriously. Yes, it’s her job, but for the most part, just to have fun with it, because you have to love what you do,” she told the outlet. “Also, I try to keep her as grounded as possible, which I’m pretty good at,” adding, “I try to keep her humble.”

Prior to managing her daughter’s successful career, Kiya was working at the post office in New York. After a few people complimented how “cute” her daughter was, she sent pictures to modeling agencies. “At the time, the only thing I could think of is, ‘Well, hopefully she can make enough money to go to college,'” she told Refinery29

Since starting her career, Skai went on to book her breakout gig in the Disney Channel series Jessie. She also wrote a memoir,  Reach for the Skai: How to Inspire, Empower, and Clapback.

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Da’Vonne Rogers (‘Big Brother 22’) on possible eviction: ‘You know me, I’m gonna fight’

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Da’Vonne, Da’Vonne, Da’Vonne! At the conclusion of this season of “Big Brother” when Da’Vonne Rogers goes back and watches all the episodes on her DVR, she’s going to feel so silly about everything that happened this week. For starters, the three-time fan favorite incorrectly accused David Alexander of betraying her, Kevin Campbell and Nicole Franzel about not voting to keep Ian Terry, when it was really Nicole. And now, she stubbornly refused to pick David for the Veto, even though he previously said if he won he planned on using it to “save a friend.”

SEE ‘Big Brother’ slop: What are the ingredients and rules?

To recap, after Tyler Crispen won the Veto against the wishes of Head of Household Memphis Garrett, he proclaimed he wasn’t going to use it. At first Memphis was upset because his plan all week was to backdoor David. But when Tyler hypothesized that Da’Vonne and Kevin might be working with Nicole and Dani Briones (which isn’t necessarily wrong), Memphis seemed okay with him keeping the noms the same.

“This confirms there was never a backdoor plan for David in progress,” Da’Vonne wrongly stated in the Diary Room after the Veto meeting. “Unfortunately, here I am sitting on the block next to one of my best friends yet again going into eviction night. But you know me, I’m gonna fight.”

Da’Vonne’s block buddy Kevin seemed equally determined to stay in the house this week, telling the camera, “So the Veto is not used and I’m still on the block with Da’Vonne. That means one of us is actually gonna go. But I survived the block before and I’ll survive the block again because I’m the ‘Big Brother’ phoenix. I will rise from these ashes.”

Even though Memphis’ backdoor plan went awry, he doesn’t seem too upset about having to live with David another week. “It was more important this week to cut off Dani and Nicole’s side deal,” he noted, mimicking what Tyler told him earlier. “We want them to stay focused on the Committee and not try to work other angles.”

Who will be evicted on Thursday, September 24 — Kevin or Da’Vonne? And who will become the next HOH of Season 22? Stay tuned.

Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the eviction episode airs live on CBS. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift card and a spot on our “Big Brother” Season 22 leaderboard. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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Why Defunding the Police Starts With Stopping School Police

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For better or worse, spoken-word performer, poet, and musician Gil Scott-Heron was wrong when he wrote that “the revolution will not be televised” in 1971. As a Black woman who works as a public defender — representing children and young adults charged with crimes and who have experienced the normalized violence of American policing — I have been unable to stomach watching the videos of killings by police, of people who look like me and my clients, under the color of law. At the same time, I see how these videos have galvanized a nation to say enough is enough.

We are finally imagining a world fundamentally different than the one we live in now. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech in 1967: “We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.” If Black lives truly matter, now is the time to defund the police. By removing funding from police departments, we will limit police contact with the public, and with it limit opportunities to inflict violence on Black and Brown communities. Defunding the police will free up state and federal funds to invest in community-based resources, like housing, food security, mental health services, and violence interrupters.

Defunding the police is rooted in prison and police abolitionist theory pioneered by Black woman leaders like Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore for years. The killings of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Andres Guardado, and countless others at the hands of the police have pushed the conversation around defunding police into the mainstream. What I see every day in my work is not the sharp pain of a shocking killing in police custody caught on video, but the steady throbbing pain caused by regular and systemic police violence in Black and Brown communities. Police violence doesn’t just look like the shooting captured by a bystander: it looks like the humiliation of being stopped, frisked, and handcuffed just for walking with a group of Black friends. It looks like being screamed at and shoved up against your car for not answering a question fast enough. It looks like being pistol whipped for asking, “Why are you stopping me?” And for the children I represent in court, it looks like the intimidation of police officers roaming school hallways, infringing on students’ ability to learn and feel safe.

How Is Defunding the Police Connected to School Policing?

The only resource that police have to offer in a school setting is the ability to react, arrest, and use force and violence to control the people around them, even when those people are children.

When I first began as a juvenile public defender in Prince George’s County, a Maryland suburb just east of Washington DC, I was shocked by the number of clients my colleagues and I represented whose cases stemmed from school-based arrests. More surprising were the “crimes” for which children were being prosecuted: “second degree assaults” that were regular schoolyard fights, or “robberies” that were the teasing and bullying that I recognized from when I was in school. I was confused. Why did this regular schoolyard behavior lead to the prosecution of my clients? What was so new and different about their behavior that they ended up in court instead of the principal’s office? The answer was the presence of police officers, euphemistically called school resource officers or SROs, whose mere presence leads to increased criminalization of behavior that is part of typical adolescent development. Why is this the case? Because the only resource that police have to offer in a school setting is the ability to react, arrest, and use force and violence to control the people around them, even when those people are children.

Every day, I see how the mere presence of police officers in schools directly contributes to the funneling of Black and Brown children to the courts, or the school-to-prison pipeline. Numerous studies have shown that the presence of police officers in schools leads to “increased rates of exclusionary discipline and the criminalization of relatively trivial student behavior” because school police “are not trained as educators, but as sworn law enforcement officers with the authority to arrest people.”

A resource guide compiled by the campaign Dignity in Schools includes alarming statistics about how the presence of police in schools leads to the criminalization of behavior that not only is part of typical adolescent development, but also is low-level conduct that does not warrant intervention by a court. One survey compared 13 schools with a school police and 15 schools without one, and found that schools with police had nearly five times the number of arrests for disorderly conduct as schools without police. Additionally, in New York City in 2012, 70 percent of arrests in public schools were for misdemeanors and four percent for even lesser violations, according to the NYPD’s own reporting.

It should not be surprising that Black students are overrepresented in school-based arrests. In Prince George’s County where I represent children, during the 2017-2018 school year, school police conducted 350 arrests in our public schools, 301 of those arrests involved Black children. Black students only comprise 58 percent of the school district’s overall enrollment, yet 86 percent of the school-based arrests. This is not because Black children are inherently more criminal; it is because policing even in the school setting replicates racial bias that is inherent in all policing.

The mere presence of an armed, uniformed officer changes the learning setting and escalates simple disagreements, contributing to a culture of criminalization and antagonism in schools.

For my clients, this goes beyond statistics. The mere presence of an armed, uniformed officer changes the learning setting and escalates simple disagreements, contributing to a culture of criminalization and antagonism in schools. The place where our children spend most of their days, where they are supposed to be able to grow and thrive and learn independence and how to critically engage with the world, suddenly turns into a caged institution where Black children feel like they are treated like animals by armed and unarmed school police. I have witnessed school staff saying that unless we’re on the “front lines” with them, we can’t understand why police must be present in schools. But children are not enemy combatants who need to be neutralized, they are growing people who make mistakes and can learn effective tools to work through them.

Removing school police is just one piece of defunding the police and dismantling the carceral state. We have created a system where we over-rely on police, defaulting to them in situations where they have no expertise. In an analysis of public police data in The New York Times, officers in Sacramento, New Orleans, and Montgomery County, MD, spend only four percent of their time responding to calls for violent crimes. These officers instead spend half of their time responding to traffic and noncriminal calls. What does this look like in practice? When a person is experiencing housing insecurity and sleeping in a vacant home, a neighbor may call the police to say that someone is trespassing. The only tool the police have is to handcuff that person, arrest them, and take them to a cage. The police’s involvement in that person’s life only punishes survival, and does nothing to change the material conditions impacting that person’s life.

What About Police Reform?

The knee-jerk response I often see from those against defunding the police is that we should instead reform it. But time and again, we have been shown that reform and checks and balances within the existing police structure will not work. For example, body cameras were initially lauded as the great accountability tool to finally shed light on the police’s actions. Yet when David McAtee was killed by the police in Louisville, KY, in May, none of the officers had activated their body-worn cameras, against clearly stated department policy. As a public defender, I have reviewed footage from these cameras where officers selectively mute or turn off their devices during critical parts of their interactions with my clients and investigations. There are rarely consequences from police departments, judges, or prosecutors when individual officers subvert these accountability tools.

Another popular rebuttal is that police just need more training. But this is insufficient for two different reasons. First, training cannot undo the violent roots of policing. As Mariame Kaba noted in her phenomenal opinion piece in The New York Times “Yes, We Literally Mean Abolish the Police,” policing in the US was born out of slave patrols, quelling labor strikes, and suppressing “marginalized populations to protect the status quo.” It is antithetical to say that police can be taught appropriate ways to deescalate confrontations with citizens or assist in mental health interventions when at their essence, police are taught and legally allowed to use force to get citizens to bend to their will. Counselors, psychologists, restorative justice practitioners, and social workers receive years of training in their respective fields. We cannot expect a few hours of training to undo the essence of American policing.

In order for training around issues like implicit bias or deescalation to be impactful, those being trained have to be receptive to it.

Second, in order for training around issues like implicit bias or deescalation to be impactful, those being trained have to be receptive to it. But privately, individual officers resist these types of trainings, just as they have for additional accountability tools. Recently, ACLU of Maryland released an expert report about allegations of systemic racial bias in the Prince George’s County Police Department. The report details numerous instances of racial bias by white police officers that went unchecked by department leadership. It’s littered with examples of violent racism in the police force, such as officers dressing a dummy used to practice baton strikes in an Afro wig and blackface, or exchanging racially derogatory texts while referencing “bringing back public hangings” and “getting rid of the animals.” But most damningly, during an implicit bias training, a group of white police officers walked out in protest. What this report and others make clear is that we cannot reform an entity that simply refuses to be reformed.

What Does Defunding the Police Look Like?

The only reasonable resolution to stop the sustained abuse and violence directed toward communities of color by the police is to start by defunding the police. Ralikh Hayes, Deputy Director of Organizing Black, was recently quoted by Jaisal Noor in Baltimore Beat, saying, “The movement is aimed at creating a world where public safety is not defined by police and crime but how communities use their resources to care for each other.” Take a look at the police budget in your city or county.

Prince George’s County spent $531 million on the arrest, incarceration, and prosecution of people. Imagine if we redirected that half a billion dollars toward resources and interventions that support people instead of funneling them into prisons and jails.

In fiscal year 2020, Prince George’s County spent $531 million on the arrest, incarceration, and prosecution of people. Imagine if we redirected that half a billion dollars toward resources and interventions that support people instead of funneling them into prisons and jails to maintain the status quo? Or let’s think smaller. In fiscal year 2021, the Prince George’s County Board of Education has proposed spending over $17 million on unarmed school police and security, in addition to the over $4 million spent by local police to fund armed police in schools. This includes an additional $1 million to place more unarmed school police and security personnel in middle schools. Comparatively, the budget provides for no new nurses or school psychologists, and only one additional guidance counselor for a school district that serves over 130,000 students. What if that $1 million for more school police had gone toward expanding on the restorative justice programming available in Prince George’s County Public Schools? What if it went toward increasing school counselors and psychologists available to meet the mental health needs of our students? What if we imagined solving challenges with love and support instead of suppression and arrests?

Kaba said it best: “As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm. People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation.”

What Can I Do to Help Defund the Police?

I will leave you with resources about defunding the police and abolition (a list compiled by my friend Josh Aiken, a current J.D./Ph.D. student in history and African-American studies at Yale University and former Policy Fellow at the Prison Policy Initiative). We can never stop learning and growing; that is how we will truly build the nourishing, safe, and secure world that we all deserve.

Michele Hall works as a public defender in Prince George’s County, MD. The views expressed in this piece are her own.

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