hearts and minds

April 12, 2016

Racial Disparity, Mass Incarceration, and the New Jim Crow

Racial Disparity + Police Brutality + Mass Incarceration = Violation of Human Rights + Intimidation + Individual and Community Impoverishment and Disenfranchisement

first researched and published in Feb. 2005; updated in Dec. 2014


The USA now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This distinction, acquired around the turn of the 21st century, is largely due to a huge escalation in incarcerations caused by drug law enforcement. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is a result of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ waged selectively and with markedly different tactics in different communities, since the 1980’s.  (more…)

January 15, 2008

Good News to Start a New Year – from Afar and from Wisconsin

Filed under: War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 1:49 pm

One lone man walked down a street in a beleaguered city wearing a yarmulke, in the waning hours of 2007, and was attacked by bigoted thugs with hatred gnawing at their hearts and minds. One other person (a stranger to the obviously Jewish man) observed the attack and physically intervened. The odds thus changed unexpectedly, and the intended victim of the hate crime attack was spared a serious beating and perhaps worse. The two, of course, then warmly met and introduced themselves to each other. The “good Samaritan” turned out to be a Muslim. And the two became fast friends. It’s a good news story to begin a good year in the good ol’ USA.

Here’s another good news local story, and a further harbinger of a hopeful 2008. Last year, the Cedarburg School Board and the Administration considered implementing mandatory random drug testing of students. (more…)

November 27, 2007

Mandatory Random Drug Testing Rejected by Cedarburg School District

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Education,Media criticism,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 11:04 am

The page 1 November 15 Ozaukee News-Graphic article “Random drug testing fails to pass”, fails to represent the facts. Just because an article is presented as a “news report” does not make it factual or unbiased. And just because an article (such as this one) is presented on the editorial page, or in a blog, does not mean it is “merely opinion”. [Note: This article was NOT presented on the editorial page, after all. The editor decided not to publish my criticism of the Nov. 15 article regarding the School District decision.]

May 23, 2007

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Filed under: Education,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 9:49 pm

A new and fresh approach is being taken by the Cedarburg School Board and Administration to the issue of substance abuse and the responsibility of the Cedarburg School District to address it. (You may need to see the previously posted article, to understand the context of this essay.)

May 18, 2007

Trying to Suppress Substance Abuse by Intimidation

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Education,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 12:16 am

(Here are some alternative light-hearted titles to the substantive article that follows. Click on the title above to read the article itself.)

“To Pee or Not to Pee; That is the Question.”
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means To Me , (By Urethra Cedarburg)”
“Cedarburg Salad Board – Lettuce Turnip and Pea”
“This Gland Isn’t Your Gland, This Gland Is MY Gland”
“2-4-6-8, Don’t Force Us to Urinate”
“1-2-3-4, Stay Outta Here When I Close the Door”
“Urine Trouble Unless U Urinate”
“Leave No Child Untapped and Unintimidated”


April 3, 2007

Cedarburg School District May Test for Drugs Without Cause

Filed under: Education,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 6:05 am

You wanna do dope? Why do you think they call it that? – Clarence Lee

The Cedarburg, Wisconsin School Board is considering testing Cedarburg High School students for drug use by requiring random, mandatory, urine sampling. Is this a good idea? That depends on the answers to three questions. (And you might also want to check out Part 1 of this series.)

April 1, 2007

Wisconsin Schools Oppose Random Drug Testing

Filed under: Education,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 3:13 pm

I’ve come across important information from other Wisconsin communities relevant to Part 1 and Part 2 of my series spotlighting the current proposal to impose random drug testing (by supervised urine collection) on students at Cedarburg High School. Here ’tis:

March 9, 2007

War on Drugs Surges to Cedarburg High School

Filed under: Education,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 9:16 am

It was 40 years ago today, that Sgt. Pepper’s band began to play. Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs 35 years ago. And it was eleven years ago that the Editors of the National Review publicly declared that “…it is our judgment that the War on Drugs has failed, that it is diverting intelligent energy away from how to deal with the problem of addiction, that it is wasting our resources, and that it is encouraging civil, judicial, and penal procedures associated with police states.”

August 6, 2006

Proportion in Sentencing

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Media criticism,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 8:08 pm

A recent editorial in this paper labeled young Benjamin Stibbe of Grafton a “serial killer” and urged that he be imprisoned and never permitted to walk the streets again. That term is generally used to apply to an individual who commits by his own hand or direction, intentional, pre-meditated murder of a number of innocent, unsuspecting victims. The crime charged against Mr. Stibbe doesn’t come close to that. And life without parole would be an excessive and unwise (not to mention impossible) sentence, for several reasons.


Fixing the coop, or covering up the raids?

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute introduced its latest citizen survey with a big bang. Only 5% of Wisconsinites now believe that the ethics of our state legislators is better than in the past, while 42% believe that our state legislators ethics have gotten worse. Only 6% of Wisconsinites believe that elected officials represent the actual interests of their constituents, while 87% believe that elected state officials represent their OWN interests and/or what WPRI termed “special interests”. The percentages represented by 5 and 6 percent have never been so low, and the percentages represented by 42 and 87 percent have never been so high. The report concludes, “Unfortunately, Wisconsin citizens are clearly saying that they think lobbyists have much more influence than they (citizens) do, and that is negatively affecting the ethics in state government.”

Art and Disparity in Prison (first published in Feb. 2005)

“Outside The Box” was an arresting and moving display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of “Artwork by Prisoners in Wisconsin Correctional Institutions”.

America now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This recently acquired dubious numero uno distinction is due largely to a huge escalation in the number of incarcerations for drug violations. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is due to the ‘war on drugs’ waged selectively and with varied tactics in different communities since the late 1980’s.

Examining an Inquest

Filed under: Courts and Justice,police and the people,Race hate crime,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 3:59 pm

I attended the entire day and a half long inquest into the death in police custody of 20-year-old Mequon resident Matthew Sheridan, and was perhaps the only person who did so who was neither a friend or family member, nor a police officer, nor paid or required to be there. I was the ‘public’ referred to in the term ‘public inquest’. I heard the evidence presented to the jury, and I had never met any of the people who caused or were affected by this tragedy. But I was not a disinterested observer. Two months ago I had written in this column about Matthew’s demise. Because of that involvement, I am compelled to comment on the inquest.

R.I.P. Matthew Sheridan

Filed under: police and the people,Race hate crime,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 3:26 pm

A plastic bag, designed to be impermeable and to prevent any (potentially toxic) air from getting inside the bag and then to the lungs, was yanked roughly over his head.

He couldn’t get the bag off, or tear it open, or even make a little opening to let some air in, because his ankles were bound and his hands were bound behind his back, and he was shackled where he was seated. He said over and over, “I can’t breathe”, and he begged for help. He was terrified, he struggled, and he desperately needed help to live. But no help came. He lost consciousness. And then he died, not old enough to count yet as an adult, in the back seat of a Mequon police car.

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