EMU administration whiffs opportunity to build bridges with concerned students

EMU administration whiffs opportunity to build bridges with concerned students

Image by Pwojdacz via Wikipedia

Monday, Nov. 7, 2016

College is supposed to be an opportunity to learn, explore and grow as one transitions from a high school teenager to a young adult. New ideas blossom and unknown worlds are revealed. College is a place where mistakes are made, and lessons are learned under the watchful eye of professors and mentors. But at Eastern Michigan University, exploring one’s identity and making those mistakes has been meant with threats of criminal charges and expulsions.

Last Monday, a second racial slur was discovered on a campus building. Rightfully so, students, who already felt little was being done by the administration to address the previous incident, were upset. Days later, students took to the Student Center on campus to peacfully protest, occupying the building overnight.

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The Dangers of Lenawee County’s Economic Crimes Unit

The Dangers of Lenawee County’s Economic Crimes Unit

Image of William Hogarth’s ‘A Rake’s Progress’ 

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016

Debtors’ prisons in the United States were outlawed at the federal level in the mid-1800s. A string a Supreme Court cases in the 20th century further outlawed practices associated with such prisons; however, it left some power in the hands of individual judges as to determine who was indigent (to poor to pay) and who was willfully refusing to pay a debt.

That is a mighty power to have, and one that has led to allegations that some courts are running de facto debtors’ prison—such as the case in Sherwood District Court in Arkansas. The Arkansas Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have filed a lawsuit alleging the court’s “Hot Checks Division” is infringing on citizens’ civil liberties and sending people to prison for unpaid debts.

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Pot meet kettle: Why the Colin Kaepernick National Anthem kerfuffle is bullshit

Pot meet kettle: Why the Colin Kaepernick National Anthem kerfuffle is bullshit
Image via REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

America prides itself on its Made-in-the-USA brand of Patriotism; heavy on the pomp and circumstance but light on substance. We say we care about our military men and woman and our veterans, but we do a piss-poor job proving we give a damn. But by God, as he looks down upon America making it the best damn country ever, when the flag tips skyward and the first notes of The Star Spangled Banner belt forth, we scramble to pin our American Flag button to our American Flag polo as we stand at attention supporting the groupthink that everything in Bless-ed America is deceitfully righteous.

I know our military service members and veterans appreciate the two whole minutes we take out of our day at The Ballgame to give them a hearty pat on the back for a job well done keeping America safe—but that’s all we give them. We put down our beer, slip our phones into our pockets and once “…and the home of the brave” reverberates through the stadium we feel like we’ve done all we need to Support the Troops. We checked our patriotic participation box for the day.

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The sound of silence in Lenawee County

The sound of silence in Lenawee County

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

In recent years, the Thin Blue Line of police camaraderie, which is wider now than ever due to increased public scrutiny, has silenced the good officers from outing the bad ones. Videos of questionable and disturbing police behaviors have increased focus on police and how they conduct themselves while on duty. And as protesters march in city streets demanding justice and accountability, police unions and fellow officers often wholly defend the accused of negligence or remain silent in the face of disparaging evidence. There are rare occurrences when the good do call out the bad. However, those warnings often fall on deaf ears like they recently did right here in Lenawee County.

In June 2014, Eaton County Sheriff Deputy Greg Brown resigned before a disciplinary hearing could be conducted, which would have likely led to his firing, according to Sheriff Tom Reich who spoke with Lansing City Pulse (Print View), after video (full video here) of a traffic stop showed he assaulted a motorist and then falsified the police report. The driver was able to capture video even though Brown had been ordered to wear an issued body-worn camera after a previous incident with another motorist. But in this case, Brown’s camera was not on. While Brown resigned from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department just weeks after the stop, he did not leave law enforcement.

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Anyway County is at it again

Anyway County is at it again

Saturday, July 30, 2016

(Editor’s note: I wrote this several months ago when news broke when Lenawee County law enforcement officials decided it was best to begin prosecuting individuals for overdue library books.)

Back in June 2014, five 16-year-old boys inadvertently closed down Tecumseh Park’s (The Pit) beach for several days after discharging blowgun darts near the waterfront. To comb the beach for darts, bring in extra sand and commission the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office’s dive team to search the water cost City of Tecumseh taxpayers an estimated $6,600, according to The Tecumseh Herald, where I originally reported this story.

The five were never held accountable as they quickly retained a local attorney, David Stimpson, who mediated with former Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch, showing a city employee where the darts were used at The Pit. According to the police report at the time, the darts were about five-and-a-half inches and had a very sharp point.

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