Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beating up on kids in custody: a tradition since at least 2009

Abuse of children ACLU report

On May 22, the ACLU released a report documenting horrendous abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The ACLU produced the report together with the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. Examples of abuses reported by the ACLU include allegations that CBP officials:

  • Punched a child’s head three times
  • Kicked a child in the ribs
  • Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
  • Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times
  • Verbally abused detained children, calling them dogs and “other ugly things”
  • Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room
  • Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth
  • Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”
  • Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice
  • Threw out a child’s birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.

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You’re invited to the Block (Line 3) Party!


This weekend water protectors and pipeline resisters will party in St. Paul, and you’re invited! The party starts on Friday at 2:30 at the State Capitol and moves from there to Metro Square, 121 7th Place East, where the PUC has its offices, continuing through Saturday afternoon.

The Block Party focus is on protecting our Minnesota water, and especially on opposing Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline proposal, which would cross 337 miles of northern Minnesota. Go to for more information..

Come for part of the time, drop in and out, or stay through the night. Here’s the schedule of events:

 Schedule for Friday, May 18
2:30 PM Meet on the steps outside the Capitol before we visit the governor’s office together to ask him to stand strong against Line 3.  Then we’ll walk to the PUC for the Block (Line 3) Party at 3:00.
3:00 PM Clean Energy Solutions Fair, Info Tents, and Silk Screen Art Tent at PUC (bring a t-shirt!)
4:00-6:00 PM Community meal provided (vegan/gluten free option too!)
5:30-9:00 PM  Concert to Block Line 3 Lineup!

  • Thomas X
  • See More Perspective
  • Jayanthi Kyle
  • Annie Humphrey

What should you bring on Friday? 
*Bring your own reusable dinnerware for the Community Meal in the form of a plate and silverware. Let’s be eco-friendly wherever we go!
*Bring a reusable water bottle. We’ll have the water!
*Bring camp chairs and blankets for our outdoor concert!
*Bring a t-shirt or other piece of clothing from home to have a very cool design screen printed on it. This is a fundraising event for the Water Protectors who have an art tent up north, so donations are accepted in any amount.

Overnight vigil & community space will be hosted at the PUC block between Friday and Saturday schedules — no scheduled events overnight, but please stay, and wake up refreshed for our morning Water Ceremony.

Schedule for Saturday, May 19
8:30 AM Water Ceremony at Mississippi River (meet at river near Sibley St in downtown St. Paul)
10:00 AM Pledge of Resistance Signing at the PUC — commit to oppose Line 3
12:00-4:00 PM Direct Action Training OR join the March for Science at Mears Park

What should you bring on Saturday? 
*Bring your own reusable dinnerware for breakfast or lunch in the form of a plate and silverware. It’s so easy to be eco-friendly wherever we go!
*Bring a reusable water bottle. We’ll have the water!
*Bring a cup of water from your home for the Water Ceremony.

*A light breakfast will be provided (vegan/gluten free option too!).

The Public Utility Commission will hear oral arguments in June, prior to making its decision on Line 3. Mark your calendar for June 18, 19, 26, and 27 to attend those arguments. Subscribe to HealingMNStories to stay up-to-date on developments. From the StopLine3 website:

“Line 3 is an Enbridge pipeline that ships crude oil from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. It spans northern Minnesota, crossing the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac reservations and l855 and l842 treaty areas.  It was built with defective steel in l96l, and has had numerous ruptures and continues to degrade. Instead of cleaning up this liability, Enbridge is proposing to leave it in the ground and build a $7.5 billion brand new corridor through our watershed and Ojibwe treaty territories,  expanding Line 3 into the largest project in Enbridge’s history.  This would become one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the continent, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day. First Nations, tribes, and communities along this dangerous corridor having been fighting for years to stop Line 3 and protect our future generations.”



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Valentine’s Day massacre

Ash Wednesday.jpg

Today saw another massacre, this time in a school in Florida.

17 dead, so far.

One 19-year-old with an AR-15, the “civilian version of a military assault rifle.”

Why is there a civilian version of a military assault rifle?   Continue reading

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For the record: Trump tracking, January 13, 2018

emperor Trump

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I do not like writing about Trump. I fear that writing about him only strengthens him by giving him more of the attention he craves and thrives on. Nonetheless, this year is already full of so much new information about his racism, lies, and other bizarre behavior that I will record several reports here, to make track-backs easier for myself and for anyone else who may want the information. Continue reading

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Tax cuts: ABCs and BS

If you are confused about the “tax cut” bill, you are not alone. I took two semesters of tax law way back in the day, and I do my own taxes every year, so here’s my explanation of just one of the ways the “tax reform” cuts taxes but actually leaves you paying more. Continue reading

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Helping after Hurricane Harvey


Texas National Guard Soldiers respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Pruitt) Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Just a couple of quick notes to anyone who wants to know how to help after Hurricane Harvey – because there are so many ways to do it right, and just as many ways to do it wrong. Here are five ways to do it right: Continue reading

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Retirement is a good time to go to work

Association House and playground

Association House – a settlement house in Chicago, where Chester Kolmodin volunteered for West Town Legal Services. (Photo from Chicago History in Post Cards)

When I read about Jim Scheibel and the Encore Fellowship program at Hamline University, my mind slid back in time, remembering a retiree volunteer named Chester Kolmodin.

I was a young lawyer, just licensed and working at a settlement house in Chicago. My job: directing West Town Legal Services, the legal aid program I had started when I was still in law school. I was the only lawyer. My job included raising the money to pay my munificent $12,000 a year salary, and training and supervising a paralegal to help clients with welfare appeals. Continue reading

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Taking down ‘Scaffold’ at the Walker

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 11.18.10 PM

Coya Hope’s Twitter post was one of many protesting ‘Scaffold’ in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

A tall gallows structure stands in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, near the iconic Cherry and Spoon, the new Giant Blue Chicken, and the mini-golf course. But not for much longer.  After an outpouring of pain and anger from Minnesota’s Native American community, the Walker has agreed to remove ‘Scaffold.’

Sam Durant, a white Los Angeles artist, first created ‘Scaffold’ in 2012 in Germany, and the sculpture has been exhibited in other cities. The sculpture features gallows from seven hangings. The largest one, which supports all the rest, is a model of the Mankato gallows  on which 38 Native American men were hung on December 26, 1862 in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The Walker planned carefully for the opening of the new sculpture garden, but they failed to consult Minnesota’s Native American communities.  before erecting ‘Scaffold.’

Over and over, the Native Americans denouncing the sculpture repeat: we were not consulted, we were not listened to, our voices are not heard. Rather than adding my voice to the discussion, I want to amplify their voices in this blog post: Continue reading

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Budgets are moral documents – and Trump’s budget is an immoral failure

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it half a century ago: budgets are moral documents. The budget that Trump sent to Congress this week is immoral as well as unworkable. It deliberately overstates the amount of money available, which will lead to even greater deficits.  Then it slashes programs that build for the future, protect clean air and water, and serve our most vulnerable citizens and children.

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Legislating against agriculture and environment

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According to Governor Mark Dayton, “Agriculture is not a partisan issue—all Minnesotans want a strong agricultural industry.” That’s far from evident in the agriculture omnibus bill that Republicans in the legislature sent to the governor –which he vetoed last week. Besides restricting spending for the Agriculture Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) program, the bill takes away the Department of Agriculture authority to enforce pesticide regulations. That puts Minnesota in conflict with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Continue reading

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