Feb 28

Manning Trial, Toxic Water, Texas Pipeline Spill, Is Wanting Better Education a Crime?


At 9:30 this morning EST, Bradley Manning will take the stand in his pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade. He’s expected to talk about his reasons for releasing classified information via WikiLeaks. This hearing is open to the public. You can get more information at the Bradley Manning Support Network. 



Common Dreams had a story yesterday on a new environmental report:  Study: Over 100 Million Americans Drinking ‘Toxic Trash’ Water. And people wonder why cancer is on the rise.



Best Bloomberg Photos For 2011
 Speaking of water, an oil pipeline in East Texas just sprung a leak, and the oil company in charge, Sunoco, didn’t notice. Residents did, though, when they started finding oil in their water. As it happens, the leak isn’t far from the Tar Sands Blockade, where brave activists have been putting their bodies on the line trying to prevent the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built, precisely because of the extreme environmental danger of poisoning aquifers. Meanwhile, the BP Gulf oil spill trial is going on in New Orleans. Will we ever learn?

Send your kid to the wrong school, the one he shouldn’t be “allowed” to go to? Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (well, you’re homeless, you lousy ingrate), go to jail, go directly to jail. Tanya McDowell was just sentenced to 5 years in prison on drug and larceny charges.
She’s poor, she’s black, she’s persona non grata. Do you think if she were white and middle-class she would’ve even been picked up, let alone sent to prison for 5 years? 
I had a dear friend, had known him for 30 years, when I discovered via another friend that he had become addicted to crack. He was, at the time, in his 50s. White, well educated, well traveled, a musician, an oenophile, an aficionado of all the finer things in life. But somewhere along the way, he had become deeply depressed and had gotten involved in this underworld. Went into debt, almost lost his house, went through multiple rehabs. Funny thing, he was also a former probation officer. So the cops knew him. They knew where he lived. They knew where he bought drugs. Yet he was never picked up. Never hassled. Not once. Tanya McDowell wasn’t so lucky.  -Lisa Simeone
tanyaBRIDGEPORT — Even as she faced sentencing Tuesday for twice selling drugs to an undercover police officer, Tanya McDowell vowed she would continue to fight for a better education for her young son.

“Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?” McDowell lamented as she stood handcuffed before Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti. “I have no regrets seeking a better education for him, I do regret my participation in this drug case.”

Last month the 34-year-old Bridgeport woman pleaded guilty in a Norwalk court to charges of first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for illegally enrolling her 6-year-old son in Norwalk public school despite living here.

That case drew protests by residents and civil rights groups who claimed McDowell was being persecuted for her attempt to get a better education for her son.

Iannotti retorted Tuesday that the Norwalk case had nothing to do with why McDowell was before him.

“This case is about the convictions for the sale of narcotics to an undercover police officer,” the judge said. “I think you understand that because that is really the essence of what has gotten you into the predicament you find yourself today.”

On the two counts of sale of narcotics, the judge then sentenced her to 12 years, suspended after she serves five years and followed by five years probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a five-year sentence she received in the Norwalk case.

“When you are released, go back to doing an honest living and become a role model for your son,” the judge added.

Tuesday’s hearing ended a highly charged case that put a spotlight on the city’s beleaguered school system and cries for changes in state legislation that makes it illegal for parents to send their children to schools in towns where they are not residents.

But support for McDowell dropped off after she was arrested by Bridgeport police in June and charged with selling marijuana and crack cocaine on two occasions to an undercover police officer outside her Dover Street home. Police said McDowell even interrupted her 6-year-old son’s birthday to sell the drugs.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michael DeJoseph had made strong efforts to separate the Norwalk case from the drug cases he was prosecuting.

In the end, both he and McDowell’s lawyer, Darnell Crosland, said they were happy with the resolution of the cases.

dtepfer@ctpost.com; 203-330-6308; http:// twitter.com/dantepfer

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Tanya-McDowell-sentenced-to-5-years-in-prison-3437974.php#ixzz2MCXj2uxk


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