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Homeless man gets life in prison for selling $20 of weed to an undercover cop

Police arrested Winslow, drove him to prison, and locked him up. Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole.

Currently, there are 3,278 prisoners sentenced to die in prison for nonviolent offenses. Some of these offenses involve property crimes, ranging from stealing tools from a tool shed to shoplifting a $159 jacket. The vast majority, however, stem from drugs. Seventy-nine percent of these inmates are serving life for drug offenses. Sixty-five percent of them are black. [link]

Yoruba-American yearning

While our parents and elders believed that their constant berating was affection, we knew that there was more to it. Could it be that only quirky white people with thriving trendy careers in New York City were the only ones who could find love? Or were we exempt because we weren’t the sassy African American women with trust issues that would soon find her Morris Chestnut-Esq lover at a black professional mixer? Was that kind of love for the average Yoruba girl or was it something that had to be purchased in the form of lavish weddings and expensive foreign homes? [link]

I would like to see your badge, please, officer

Depending on your jurisdiction, which could be city, college, county, or state, officers may have no obligation to wear identification at all, let alone disclose it on request. Moreover, departmental policies that do require identification often allow broad discretion for an officer, or commanders, to suspend the rule if they experience a threat, be it a present danger or existential, such as someone later using that information to harass… But even when policy or legislation mandates that they disclose, officers rarely receive punishment if they fail to do so. [link]

Harmattan

From Quartz, the video of the day:

Scientists studied data collected by CALIPSO, which was launched in 2006 to study clouds and aerosols and gauge how they affect weather systems, and found that on average, a stunning 182 million tons of dust each year are blown past the western coast of Africa that bounds the Sahara. As the NASA Earth Science News Team points out, that’s enough dust to fill about 690,000 semi trucks. The dust then crosses the Atlantic ocean, where 27.7 million tons of it settle in the Amazon basin. [link]

If this was a story about Africa, there would be a comment about the lack of a maintenance culture

From 2004 to 2008, states dedicated just 43 percent of their road budgets to maintain existing roads despite the fact that they made up nearly 99 percent of the road system. The other 1 percent—new construction—got more than half the money…To keep the nation’s roads in good repair would require about $45.2 billion a year, rather than the $16.5 currently spent on maintenance. [link]

A free ride for whites

Note: this isn’t simply because white bus drivers give white broke passengers a free ride, in fact, it’s better to be white whether the driver is white or black. That’s true privilege

As they describe in two working papers, Redzo Mujcic and Paul Frijters, economists at the University of Queensland, trained and assigned 29 young adult testers (from both genders and different ethnic groups) to board public buses in Brisbane and insert an empty fare card into the bus scanner. After the scanner made a loud sound informing the driver that the card did not have enough value, the testers said, “I do not have any money, but I need to get to” a station about 1.2 miles away. (The station varied according to where the testers boarded.)

With more than 1,500 observations, the study uncovered substantial, statistically significant race discrimination. Bus drivers were twice as willing to let white testers ride free as black testers (72 percent versus 36 percent of the time). Bus drivers showed some relative favoritism toward testers who shared their own race, but even black drivers still favored white testers over black testers (allowing free rides 83 percent versus 68 percent of the time). [link]