State that executed more prisoners than any other – may be ready to end the practice

Virginia, a state that has executed more prisoners than any other in the country, appears poised to eliminate the death penalty — a seismic shift for the state legislature, which just five years ago looked to the electric chair and secret pharmaceutical deals to keep the ultimate punishment alive.

The former capital of the Confederacy would become the first Southern state to abolish capital punishment if a bill on track to pass the Senate gets out of the House and over to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who has promised to sign it.

A ban in Virginia could help sweep in change across the South, according to experts who say racial disparities in the death penalty’s application have roots in the region’s history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.

You don’t need experts to validate the theory of capital punishment used as another weapon to maintain official racism, Jim Crow laws. All you ever had to do was live and work in the Solid South BITD.

No armbands, this time. CAPS!


“This generation’s KKK hood”

Has there ever been a piece of headwear as contentious as the Make America Great Again cap? Not since burning bras, hijabs, miniskirts, hoodies, and baggie jeans has fashion ever been so political. But the MAGA hat beats them all for the visceral hatred it both symbolises and inspires…

One of the world’s leading black fashion critics, Robin Givhan of the Washington Post wrote…”The hat has become a symbol of us vs. them, of exclusion and suspicion, of garrulous narcissism, of white male privilege, of violence and hate. For minorities and the disenfranchised, it can spark a kind of gut-level disgust that brings ancestral ghosts to the fore.”

There’s no way post-modern #merch way to wear this thing. It exists in a category of one; fascist fast fashion which does what it says on the tin: mark the wearer out as a loud and proud racist bigot.

That includes all the rationales and excuses from the wearers who know damned well what this cap and its scumbag iconography stands for. Understanding the criminal intent of the slogan is just another reason to pretend the public lies are what they really identify with.

Battle of the Statues


Statue of Winston Churchill
Frank Augstein/AP

The battle of the statues is now global. Its most recent episode began in Bristol, United Kingdom, where the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was brought down in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter uprising sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in the US. It then quickly spread to the US and the rest of Europe.

In the US, the battle had begun decades earlier over the detested Confederate flag, and is now extended not only to Confederate statues and statues of other racists and white supremacists, but also to military bases named after racist generals of the Confederate army…

In short, it is the entire history of European racism and colonialism with its global consequences that is now on trial. This battle will not stop until this overdue reclaiming and rewriting of world history comes to full fruition.

We rest when and where we can. Then, we resume the fight.

A majority of voters want to abolish the electoral college

Only the Republican Party wants to keep this crap anachronism…because they believe more often than not, they benefit from avoiding a democratic vote.

89% of Democrats, 68% of Independents and 23% of Republicans support amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College and base the presidential election on the popular vote, according to the poll, which was conducted between August 31 and September 13.

Overall support for abolishing the Electoral College is at its highest point since 2011 (62% supported abolishing it) and six points higher than in 2019, and support among Democrats is the highest it’s been at any point since Gallup began tracking the question again in 2000.

Crank up your favorite search engine and wander around looking for “abolishing the electoral college”. You’ll even find a state or two that have moved to avoid it on their own with a compact regulating their state results to choose electors who represent the percentages cast exactly.

John Lewis, 1940 – 2020


ajc.com

I only met John Lewis a few times, starting back in 1963 during preparations for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His style of quiet leadership, thoughtfulness about the broadest possible range of ideas and achievement possible in political action is what impressed me most.

Reflection is becoming my greatest enemy. Not because of diminished goals, issues won or lost; but, other folks I would have consulted, discussed and debated tactics and standards – and would love to do so, today – are gone. Like John Lewis.

I’ve not only outlived some of the worst enemies of progress – but, many of those I joined, side by side, in battle against bigots and bigotry, class warfare, imperial armies deployed to war against colonial freedom-fighters – many of those are gone, now, as well.

Still, these battles continue to be fought by folks of all ages, many ideologies. Fightback derives from knowledge and inspiration as much as from repression. Resentful and backwards politicians inevitably feed the bravery of those who rise up to oppose their criminal path.

For now, we will mourn John. Tomorrow, we rejoin the battle, as he would wish.