The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory in an American City by Laura Tillman My rating: 3 of 5 stars I don’t know how to explain my feelings toward this book. It is an extremely compelling story, but the writing quality is poor. There seemed to be no real outline or backbone to it. The purple prose only highlighted this flaw, as did the repetition of unimportant things and the lack of refreshers given for details that seemed more important. If all you knew about the case was the manner in which Julissa, John Stephon, and Mary Jane died, then it would seem impossible to feel bad for John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho, but what happened to them within the justice system is awful for other reasons. This is a case where a man with a severe mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia) and an intellectual disability (IQ in the low 70s) and a woman who had a shared psychosis with this man because of her own intellectual disability (IQ in the 50s) end up imprisoned, and, for him, end up on death row, but the writer is busy talking about superstitions & personal fears. It’s almost like she doesn’t completely perceive the gravity of the situation, the level of injustice that’s going on. As lovely as it is to learn about regional cultural beliefs, I was more concerned about the fact that this man who should be in a hospital will probably face lethal injection. The writer could only view this as horrible once she met Mr. Rubio, but it seems like anyone with a basic sense of compassion would figure out after learning about his background. Instead, she was oblivious to it, which made her seem callous. It made the whole book feel callous. Also, the stalking of Ms. Camacho’s family was a bit disturbing. I understand she felt that she needed to hear from them for her newspaper article and her book, but her behavior was quite creepy. I’m surprised that they didn’t issue a restraining order after the second or third time she showed up outside the woman’s front door. The writing honestly reminded me of what you’d find in an essay by a bored, uninformed student who waited until the last minute to do an assignment. I have a hard time believing that this is something the writer was encouraged to get published, at least in its current form. I have no doubt that she has talent, but the fixations on pointless details within the work are distracting and annoying. I wish she had explained more about Rubio’s mental health than how a superstitious grandmother convinced her to throw away a perfectly good pair of tennis shoes. This wasn’t her memoir. This wasn’t even a memoir for the building. It was an unfocused work of nonfiction that was rather disappointing. View all my reviews

Review: The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts: Murder and Memory ...

Guess who’s back…back again? If you said the Backstreet Boys, you are wrong in so many ways. If you said Dale Jackson, then obviously you’ve been reading my tweets for the past few hours. The man that I have had either blocked or muted for years has once again deemed it necessary to bother me.1 Apparently, people can’t post links to petitions about voter suppression without earning an annoying tweet from the awful and annoying Mr. Jackson. That'll be a very short investigation called for by very stupid people. #alpolitics — Dale Jackson (@TheDaleJackson) October 5, 2015 The “conversation” quickly devolved into him calling me stupid2 and wanting me to prove that he’s a racist. 3 I’m pretty sure that his racism could be inferred by anyone who read his tweets or listened to his talk show. I don’t. I try to pretend like the man doesn’t exist. His talk show makes my anxiety levels go up because it seems like he’s constantly yelling. Despite what some people think, anger and rage are not my cup of tea. Anyway, Dale and his followers4 seem to think that voter suppression will not happen as a result of Alabama closing 31 of its driver license offices, leaving only 28, because most people get their licenses using other methods. Well, that’s nice, but it’s still possible and any possible injustice is something that people should be alarmed by.5 They, including Dale,6789 also thought that it was super easy1011 to get a free photo voter ID from the state, which I’m guessing is either from willful ignorance or laziness. Either way, I was amazed at how often they got it wrong. I started to write a tweet out to send to one of them, informing them of their ignorance, but it ended up being extremely long. I realized it was actually almost blog post length, so I thought I’d post it here rather than on Twitter or an app for super-long tweets: If you think you can get a photo voter ID easily in the state of Alabama, you’re wrong. First of all, you can’t get one if you currently have any other form of recognized (at precincts) state-issued photo ID. If your other ID expires tomorrow, you better have someone bring you to the registrar two days from now. And they may try to convince you to get your license renewed, even if you can no longer drive or cannot afford the fee for the non-driver ID. (Paying to procure an ID for the purpose of voting is a violation of laws prohibiting poll taxes.) To get the ID, you have to bring your birth certificate to the registrar. No big deal, right? Except that many people don’t have a copy on hand. If you DON’T have one, you’ll need to get one. And to get one, you have to pay a fee. (This falls under the poll tax classification, but you can challenge getting it for yourself & authorize the registrar to get it from ADPH for free.) Even if you bring every piece of required information with you, there’s no guarantee that they will know what to do with it. I wasn’t the only person who had trouble. Three or four people came in while I waited & got turned away for bs reasons. I almost got turned away for bs reasons & was told I needed to pay for the ID several times before the actual county registrar came in & told them that was unconstitutional. And you may have difficulty finding the registrar office. I’ve seen several people say, “Just go to the courthouse.” (I thought that was where the registrar in my county was, too. It wasn’t. It was miles away & difficult to find.) Now once you have the ID, you may end up having other issues. You know how you use a photo ID at medical appointments? Yeah, they don’t have to use this one. It actually says you can’t use it for non voting purposes. Some offices & hospitals take this seriously, which makes it difficult to get admitted to a clinic/hospital. I know that I’ve already shared this story on Twitter and on here. I’m fairly certain that many of those who were claiming that the IDs were easy to get either won’t read this or, if they read it, they will say that it’s lies or exaggerations or something along those lines. Still, I felt it was necessary to refute their ignorance. Personally, I think that a lot of people who think that the voter suppression isn’t going to happen with the office closures or that the IDs aren’t hard to get are just misinformed.12 They may not mean to be ignorant on an issue, but that doesn’t mean that that ignorance shouldn’t be challenged or called out. But, Dale, if you ever feel the need to contact me again, take this advice: I’m serious. No, really, I am. Go away. Stay away. Buh-bye now. Edited – 10/06/2015 at 11:58 am to change of to if in this sentence: First of all, you can’t get one if you currently have any other form of recognized (at precincts) state-issued photo ID. It seems like every year since 2008 or 2009 he shows up. ↩Get a new line, Dale. ↩Get a new schtick, Dale. ↩Remember my lemmings/sheep comment from before? ↩Surprise, surprise: Injustice isn’t good. It’s actually really bad and we should try to make sure that it never happens. ↩ We know what happened. Budget cuts closed numerous state operations. Every county has a place to get free ID. End. — Dale Jackson (@TheDaleJackson) October 2, 2015  ↩ You do realize, every county has a venue that provides free Voter ID. Which is racism? — Dale Jackson (@TheDaleJackson) October 6, 2015  ↩ And the state provides Voter IDs for free in every single county. Please acknowledge you know this. — Dale Jackson (@TheDaleJackson) October 5, 2015  ↩I did acknowledge it a few times. And I […]

‘Cause It Feels So Empty Without Me

Should Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, be in jail for refusing to grant marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples? Was her refusal to do so an example of injustice? Should she be applauded for standing up for what she believes in? Is it hypocritical for her to oppose marriage equality when she has been married four times?

There’s an ongoing refugee crisis in European and Middle Eastern countries as people flee countries like Syria,123456789 Libya,1011 and Afghanistan.1213141516 Should countries in Europe and the Middle East allow people seeking refuge to either move to their country or to travel through to another country? Should companies that are selling tickets for buses, trains, and planes be penalized if they sell a ticket to a refugee while refugees are forbidden from leaving the country they are in? Are Western countries to blame for this crisis, due to the wars that they have started and/or participated in in the region? Image of 3-year-old who washed ashore underscores Europe’s refugee crisis ↩Hungary Reopens Budapest Train Station to Stranded Refugees After Two Days ↩Cameron bows to pressure to let in more Syrian refugees ↩Image of a Small, Still Syrian Boy Brings Migration Crisis Into Focus ↩ EU migrant crisis: Father describes moment children slipped away as Cameron says UK will take Syrian refugees ↩Syrian Refugees” ↩Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis ↩Syria Regional Refugee Response ↩Stories from Syrian Refugees ↩Libyan asylum seekers reach New Zealand ↩2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile – North Africa ↩Costs of War: Afghan Refugees ↩Report: $1B Wasted in Afghan Refugee Crisis ↩Coming home to war: Afghan refugees return reluctantly from Pakistan ↩2015 UNHCR country operations profile – Afghanistan ↩$950M U.S. Effort to Aid Afghan Refugees Thwarted by Incompetence and Corruption ↩

Milton Mathis, Convicted Killer, Executed In Texas Despite Evidence Of Retardation zainyk: A man convicted of slaying two people and critically injuring a third in a drug house shooting was executed on Tuesday evening by Texas officials, despite evidence that he suffered from mental retardation. Milton Mathis, 32, was sentenced to death in 1999, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that execution of the mentally retarded violated the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Intelligence tests, including one given by the Texas Department of Corrections in 2000, measured Mathis’s IQ in the low 60s, well below the threshold for mild mental retardation as recognized by almost all states. The argument used by the prosecution is that he was “street smart”, it’s a argument I have heard DA’s use about clients I have worked with during my time in NC. To be clear, the man had an IQ in the low 60’s, this gives him a mental age of 8-10. According to court records, Mathis began smoking PCP and marijuana soaked in formaldehyde, known as “fry,” as early as age 12. There is no excuse for what Milton Mathis did. He was convicted of murder. But what purpose is served, what good is it to society, other than vengeance, when you kill a man with the mind of a 10 year old. He was killed by the state, with the sanction of the people. His mind was that of a child, could he have not been locked away for life, as punishment? Could he not have been allowed to live yet deprived of his freedom as a result of what he did? What difference would it have really made to the people and to the state? I thought that the Supreme Court had ruled that it was unconstitutional to do executions of people with MR.