Last week, a boat carrying migrants and refugees from North Africa sank in the Mediterranean. Of the 300,000 plus who’ve attempted the journey to Europe this year, about 2,500 have died. In Austria, children crammed into a van were rescued, while others weren’t so lucky. And after pictures of a young Kurdish child washed up on a Turkish beach appeared in newspapers around the world this week, the humanity behind this crisis seemed to jolt the world closer to the response required.
In Syria alone, the refugee crisis is enormous. But that’s still only a part of the overall influx of those desperate to find a safer home for themselves and their families. I really don’t have anything more to say about this other than that this is an enormous tragedy that the wealthy nations of the world helped to bring about, and one that it can and should fix. But I have very little confidence that they will.
More news from the past two weeks…
Bernie Sanders intends to introduce legislation in the Senate that would abolish private prisons. Peter Wagner writes about how private prisons haven’t been too concerned with prison reforms up to this point.
Lincoln Chafee has gone farther than any other candidate in calling the legalization of marijuana in multiple states a “positive” development.
Radley Balko writes about Campaign Zero, the proposals from the Black Lives Matter movement to eliminate police killings and the use of excessive force. Prachi Gupta interviewed some of the leading voices in the movement. German Lopez points out the failure of Democrats to convince the Black Lives Matter movement to support them.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about the myth of the Ferguson effect on crime rates. Brentin Mock looks closer at the data. Jesse Walker digs into it as well. German Lopez reminds us that the same nonsense was thrown at Martin Luther King Jr and civil rights activists in the 1960s.
Jamelle Bouie writes about the scrutiny of Joe Biden’s horrendous civil liberties record that would occur if he chose to run for President.
Jon Swaine, Jamiles Lartey and Oliver Laughland write about the frequency of police officers shooting into moving cars.
Jenna McLaughlin writes about what we’ve learned about GCHQ methods and rationale from the incident where they destroyed the hard drives of laptops owned by The Guardian.
John Oliver discussed the continued legality of LGBT discrimination in many states.
Conor Friedersdorf writes about the increased number of police officers being charged for murders while on-duty.
David Dayen writes about how banks are allowed to get away with robbery and finds more evidence of foreclosure fraud. In Baltimore, financial institutions are preying on desperate people in order to take their homes.
A federal judge ruled against the Obama Administration over its handling of minors in immigration detention centers. Lawyers and others are being actively prevented from visiting those in detention if they speak up about the horrible conditions in the detention centers. Adam Frankel writes more here. Desiree Kane writes about one prisoner whose medical issues in detention left him wheelchair-bound.
Ryan J. Reilly writes about how the FBI uses Twitter to build cases against people who are allegedly supporting terrorism. A teenager from Virginia was sentenced to 11 years in prison for using social media to assist ISIS recruiting.
Jason Leopold writes about what we now know from recent disclosures regarding the investigation into Samir Khan, the radicalized American who was killed in a drone strike along with Anwar al-Awlaki.
Mathieu Aikins writes about the cover-up of a suspected killing spree in Afghanistan by U.S. Special Forces.
A large number of organizations have signed on to a request to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate Muslim-Free Zones [PDF].
Dan Savage writes about the privacy implications with the Ashley Madison hack.
Adam Rathge writes about the history of marijuana prohibition in the U.S.
An Alaska law that tried to prevent the use of Medicaid for medically necessary abortions was struck down.
A Washington man serving a lengthy sentence for handgun possession was released after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal law was unconstitutional.
The state of California has agreed to move thousands of prisoners out of solitary confinement. Brian Mann writes about the use of solitary confinement in prisons across the U.S. Jessica Pishko writes about the toxic work environment at one California jail.
Maura Dolan writes about the court hearings discussing the constitutionality of the death penalty in California.
The Los Angeles Police Department is starting to outfit officers with body cameras.
Two young Guatemalan sisters (ages 7 and 4) were found abandoned by smugglers in the Arizona desert.
An Arizona police officer, who was initially fired for kicking out the teeth of an 18-year-old suspect, has been reinstated.
J Cabou discusses an asset forfeiture case in Arizona.
Also in Arizona, a medical marijuana patient is facing charges after a SWAT raid.
Martin Kaste reports on how Utah is the most progressive state when it comes to monitoring SWAT usage.
A federal judge ruled that attempts to prohibit people from passing out jury nullification info near a Denver courthouse is unconstitutional.
A newly-released video shows Texas cops killing a man with his hands in the air. In response, the Sheriff’s office got angry at the TV station for showing the video. The incident has prompted an FBI investigation.
In Houston, a hospital security guard (who is also a police officer), shot a combative patient inside a hospital.
Dallas police have begun using body cameras. Also in Dallas, a man who ran into the Dallas County Jail seeking help was killed by officers who deemed him a threat.
A judge in Kansas rejected Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s attempt to squash a lawsuit against his two-tiered voter registration system. Meanwhile, Kobach is trying to block an investigation into election records in one Kansas county.
North Dakota is the first state to allow law enforcement to deploy drones with non-lethal weapons.
In Minneapolis, police officers were caught engaging in sexual conduct with prostitutes before making arrests.
The city of Ferguson announced that its out-of-control municipal court system is withdrawing thousands of arrest warrants and working to keep people out of jail for minor offenses or an inability to pay fines. The Justice Department is accusing police in that community of exacerbating tensions rather than working to keep things peaceful.
Anti-abortion extremists in the Ohio legislature are trying to find ways to outlaw abortion based on specific characteristics of a pregnancy.
A black man in Ohio was told by a police officer that he was pulled over for making “direct eye contact”.
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky has been ordered to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Chris Geidner has more reporting here and Dan Savage discusses her insane levels of hypocrisy on marriage here. Brian Beutler argues that the appropriate next move is to send her to jail. And today, that’s exactly what happened.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky against a police officer for a 2012 shooting has been revived after initially being dismissed.
A sheriff in Tennessee is under fire for making statements about Muslim residents being a threat to democracy.
After Arkansas officials pushed to have a Ten Commandments monument on the State Capitol grounds, they rejected an effort to put a Hindu statue there as well.
Carimah Townes writes about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on those who experienced it as juvenile prisoners.
Louisiana still operates what amount to debtors’ prisons for people too poor to pay jail fees.
A federal judge has temporarily barred Mississippi from carrying out lethal injections.
A police officer in Orlando shot a man outside a WWE facility who was allegedly stalking a female wrestler and threatened the officer with a knife.
Carrie Teegardin and Bill Rankin write about reforming the mass incarceration trend in Georgia.
Chenjerai Kumanyika writes about the role that race has played in the aftermath of the South Carolina police shooting of white teenager Zachary Hammond.
In North Carolina, prosecutors are unwilling to retry officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick for the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell.
A Virginia police officer is being investigated by a grand jury over the shooting of an unarmed black man in a Walmart parking lot. Virginia police are hiding behind loopholes in their FOIA act in order to hide information about police shootings from the public. Meanwhile, a man who was held for four months over a $5 robbery died in his jail cell.
Maryland’s Attorney General released guidelines for police departments in the state that prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
A judge refused to drop charges against the Baltimore police officers accused of killing Freddie Gray.
A Pennsylvania woman was convicted and fined for witnessing an arrest and refusing to leave the area when asked by cops.
Shawn Musgrave writes about the NYPD’s refusal to release information about police shootings that judges have ruled should be public.
Christopher Mathias writes about a new documentary arguing for supervised heroin injection facilities in New York.
Keegan Stephan writes about the death of an innocent bystander during an undercover gun buy gone awry in New York.
Riker’s Island banned newspapers from the jail that had been reporting on the problems with jail.
Caroline Konrad writes about the efforts to restrict voting in Canada.
Chile is planning to decriminalize marijuana.
Two VICE News journalists have been arrested in Turkey on terrorism charges.
In Syria, hundreds have been killed and over 1000 injured near Damascus in air strikes carried out by the Assad government. The Islamic State beheaded an 81-year-old who was attempting to guard sites with historical importance in Palmyra.
A U.S. airstrike killed a British-born hacker supporting ISIS in Syria. General Petraeus wants to ally ourselves with al Qaeda in order to defeat ISIS. Dan De Luce writes about the long term reality of a military battle against a group like ISIS.
Saudi air strikes in Yemen continue to kill large numbers of civilians.
IDF forces in the West Bank came under fire while attempting to make an arrest in a refugee camp.
A court in Egypt handed down three year sentences to three Al Jazeera reporters.
The Washington Post editorializes against the detention of their Tehran-based reporter Jason Rezaian, who’s been held for over a year on questionable charges.
Women in Iran are still barred from attending volleyball matches.
A man in Tajikistan was fined for celebrating his birthday in public.
The Chinese government has invited Sudan President and war criminal Omar al-Bashir to their commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In Myanmar, some former allies are claiming that longtime democracy activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is embracing authoritarianism.
In Japan, there were protests against changes to the constitution that would allow for the country to engage in combat for the first time since World War II.
In the Philippines, militia members supported by the government killed the head of a school.
Lisa Visentin writes about the folly of Australia’s attempts to stiffen penalties for meth possession.
Rob Hulls writes about the lack of adequate legal protections for Aboriginal people in Australia’s Northern Territory.