Two Stories of a Philadelphia School’s Transformation

from Jeff Deeney. First, in July 2013: Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug … [Read more...]

“Civil Rights Group Blasts San Diego County Over Pepper Spray in Juvenile Halls”

actually way worse than that headline makes it sound! The girl sat on the bunk in her cell in one of San Diego County’s female juvenile-detention units as staff members explained that she was being placed on suicide watch. They told her she had to strip naked in front of them—including in front of a male staff member.She refused, twice. So, they sprayed her in the face with pepper spray, then shut the door to her cell.Two minutes later, they asked if she was going to cooperate. She r … [Read more...]

“The Boy Is the Father of Whatever”: I Review Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”

at AmCon: About an hour and a half into Richard Linklater’s memorable new film, my notes say, “This is RIVETING.” Exactly one hour later, as the movie finally ceased (“ended” is too strong, too decisive), I breathed a sigh of relief. What went wrong to turn the movie from startling, luminous journey into boring, platitudinous slog?Linklater’s movie has gained a lot of press for one of those gimmicks which hide deep meaning under their showy surface, like the delays in Hamlet. Linklater shot … [Read more...]

Tenn. Mother Charged with Assault for Drug Use While Pregnant: ThinkProgress

uses an unnecessarily tendentious headline, but these laws really are a bad idea, as I discussed here: At the beginning of July, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola gave birth to a baby girl. Two days later, the state of Tennessee charged her with assault. Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under a new law in Tennessee that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs.The legislation, which officially took effect about a week ago, … [Read more...]

“Sexual Abuse, Security, And the Seal of the Confessional”: Powerful Piece

at A Queer Calling: ...I belong to a Christian tradition where confession is offered, and it is encouraged that people make confessions as often as needed. Confession is, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful spiritual practices in my life. Every good confession makes me feel like a newly-illumined handmaiden all over again. Forgiveness is the most incredible of gifts. Each experience of this mystery leaves me feeling washed, renewed, restored, made whole, joyous, grateful, and empowered. … [Read more...]

I Used to Live Here: Old Interview w/John Darnielle About “The Life of the World to Come”

w/various things about his religion, but this was the part which struck me the most: Pitchfork: "Genesis 3:23" is about breaking into a house where you used to live. Is that something you've ever done?JD: Sort of. Not breaking in. I don't do B&Es anymore. I actually never did B&Es, I just did Bs. [laughs] But the inspiration for this is twofold, and is going to be a bit of a long story. I have that feeling that this is something that other survivors of abuse do. When I go back to … [Read more...]

“Speaking of Sexual Trauma”: A Queer Calling

blogs: Speaking of sexual trauma as an LGBT person requires walking on eggshells. Our stories have political capital, whether we want them to or not. In my experience, the broader LGBT community expects survivors to defend the idea that sexual abuse rarely, if ever, is a determining factor in one’s sexual orientation. On the other extreme, most of the conservative Christian community is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that if an LGBT person was sexually abused at some point in life, surely … [Read more...]


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