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The Quintessential Americanness of Juneteenth

Vann Newkirk on the most famous American emancipation holiday, and why it must be celebrated:

Juneteenth, rather, celebrates a belated liberation. Enslaved people in the Confederacy who didn’t manage to escape to Union lines or find themselves in occupied territory were not all made free by Lincoln’s proclamation, and had to await the end of the Civil War to take their first free breaths. In isolated Texas, word of the official end of fighting, the surrenders of generals Lee and Johnston, and the capture of President Davis through May of 1865 arrived late. Freedom finally came to Texas on June 19 of that year, after a proclamation by General Gordon Granger in Galveston solidified the emancipation of the quarter-million enslaved people in the state.

Make it a national holiday. It’s long overdue.

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The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

The Guardian:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

A whole lot more at the link. Accusations include holding minors (as young as 15 years old) without council for 12 or more hours and beatings that result in head wounds. Disgusting. Sad. If there ever were anything to the American Dream, shit-heel operations like this choked it to death and stuffed it in a sewer outflow pipe.

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New claims of prosecutor misconduct in Aaron Swartz case

I haven’t posted much about this here because I’m still very sad about it, but this is encouraging in the sense that every step we take to make sure there isn’t a next time is a good step.

In a letter (made public Wednesday) to an internal Justice Department ethics unit from January 2013, Swartz’s lawyers argue that [Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen] Heymann engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by “withholding key evidence from Swartz’s defense team and overreaching in his attempt to coerce Aaron into waiving his right to trial.”

It’s just awful that there have to be steps at all.