Ohio

House GOP Vote To Sue President Obama May Help Democrats Politically

7/31/14

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to sue President Barack Obama for overstepping the bounds of his office. The vote was 225-201, giving authorization to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to proceed with the lawsuit. The suit was centered around the implementation of Obamacare, the president's signature health care legislation that Republicans vehemently opposed and have tried to repeal more than 40 times. 

How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth

7/29/14
Image
The former General Motors Mansfield-Ontario Metal Center in Ontario, Ohio, was sold to the Brownfield Communities Development Co. in 2012. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

There are more than 450,000 brownfield sites in the U.S., properties once used for industrial purposes that are now contaminated by hazardous substances at low levels. In 1995, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Brownfields Program to provide support for brownfield remediation, an effort that was expanded in 2002, when Congress passed the so-called Brownfields Law. From that law's enactment through fiscal year 2013, the EPA has awarded public and private-sector organizations nearly 1,000 grants for cleaning up these industrial eyesores, for a total of almost $190 million.

Studies have proven the environmental gains that come with infill development on brownfield sites. And there's all kinds of examples that show all the uses to which brownfield sites can be put: transit centers, parks, even new factories. Until now, though, there's never been a measure for the actual value of brownfield remediation nationwide. Is the government getting its money's worth?  

According to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the answer is yessir. Neighborhoods near brownfield cleanup sites, the study shows, enjoy a rise in housing values that can be dramatic.

The paper, which is the work of Kevin Haninger, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins, advances recent research into "environmental gentrification"—which the authors describe as "a process whereby changes in the socioeconomic characteristics of a community accompany changes in environmental amenities." While this isn't the first study to try to assess the usefulness of brownfield remediation by measuring changes in nearby property values, this report employs housing data from Dataquick Information Systems to look at brownfield cleanup across the entire EPA Brownfields Program.    

It's a difficult trick. The researchers used a quasi-experimental approach to compare housing near brownfield-cleanup sites (the treatment group) with housing in the same county, near the treatment group but not exposed to the brownfield site (the control group). The study considers a number of factors that confound this approach: for example, houses within about 3 miles of a brownfield site tend to be older, smaller, and less expensive than houses outside that range. Then there are the "unobserved" house or neighborhood characteristics that can be correlated with brownfield remediation.

Ohio Office of Redevelopment/Flickr

Finally, there's the data: The EPA provided (non-public) data on brownfield cleanup grants from the Brownfields Law's passage in 2002 through 2008. Of the 1,383 brownfield cleanup applications the EPA received, the researchers—after striking applications with missing data and taking other factors like reapplications into consideration—were left with 797 brownfield grant applications (437 funded, 360 not funded).

Successful brownfield cleanups happen too quickly for U.S. Census or American Community Survey housing price data to register in a meaningful way. Dataquick's housing-transaction data, on the other hand, gave the researchers higher "resolution" and "frequency." Of the 797 brownfield applications, there were 327 brownfields associated with housing data on sales and re-sales: 197 funded, 130 denied, and most of them in cities.

Under the most conservative estimates of the cleanup effect and the housing value increase, the NBER study finds an average benefit value of $3,917,192 per brownfield site (with a median value of $2,117,982). According to the report, the Northeast Midwest Institute estimates the average per-site cost for brownfield remediation at $602,000; the EPA provides cleanup grants of up to $200,000.

The authors conclude that, "averaging over the experiences at a nationally representative sample of brownfield properties, cleanup leads to housing price increases between 4.9 percent and 32.2 percent."

NBER
NBER

Not all the effects are necessarily positive. While neighborhoods near brownfields are more likely to be characterized by minority and low-income households, neighborhoods near brownfield sites that undergo cleanup tend to grow whiter. 

But as far as bang for your remediation grant goes, the report is unambiguous: "Taking the most conservative estimate of the value of an average site cleanup, we find that it indeed passes cost-benefit analysis by an order of magnitude based on the expenditures from the Brownfield Program."








How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth

7/29/14
Image
The former General Motors Mansfield-Ontario Metal Center in Ontario, Ohio, was sold to the Brownfield Communities Development Co. in 2012. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

There are more than 450,000 brownfield sites in the U.S., properties once used for industrial purposes that are now contaminated by hazardous substances at low levels. In 1995, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Brownfields Program to provide support for brownfield remediation, an effort that was expanded in 2002, when Congress passed the so-called Brownfields Law. From that law's enactment through fiscal year 2013, the EPA has awarded public and private-sector organizations nearly 1,000 grants for cleaning up these industrial eyesores, for a total of almost $190 million.

Studies have proven the environmental gains that come with infill development on brownfield sites. And there's all kinds of examples that show all the uses to which brownfield sites can be put: transit centers, parks, even new factories. Until now, though, there's never been a measure for the actual value of brownfield remediation nationwide. Is the government getting its money's worth?  

According to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the answer is yessir. Neighborhoods near brownfield cleanup sites, the study shows, enjoy a rise in housing values that can be dramatic.

The paper, which is the work of Kevin Haninger, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins, advances recent research into "environmental gentrification"—which the authors describe as "a process whereby changes in the socioeconomic characteristics of a community accompany changes in environmental amenities." While this isn't the first study to try to assess the usefulness of brownfield remediation by measuring changes in nearby property values, this report employs housing data from Dataquick Information Systems to look at brownfield cleanup across the entire EPA Brownfields Program.    

It's a difficult trick. The researchers used a quasi-experimental approach to compare housing near brownfield-cleanup sites (the treatment group) with housing in the same county, near the treatment group but not exposed to the brownfield site (the control group). The study considers a number of factors that confound this approach: for example, houses within about 3 miles of a brownfield site tend to be older, smaller, and less expensive than houses outside that range. Then there are the "unobserved" house or neighborhood characteristics that can be correlated with brownfield remediation.

Ohio Office of Redevelopment/Flickr

Finally, there's the data: The EPA provided (non-public) data on brownfield cleanup grants from the Brownfields Law's passage in 2002 through 2008. Of the 1,383 brownfield cleanup applications the EPA received, the researchers—after striking applications with missing data and taking other factors like reapplications into consideration—were left with 797 brownfield grant applications (437 funded, 360 not funded).

Successful brownfield cleanups happen too quickly for U.S. Census or American Community Survey housing price data to register in a meaningful way. Dataquick's housing-transaction data, on the other hand, gave the researchers higher "resolution" and "frequency." Of the 797 brownfield applications, there were 327 brownfields associated with housing data on sales and re-sales: 197 funded, 130 denied, and most of them in cities.

Under the most conservative estimates of the cleanup effect and the housing value increase, the NBER study finds an average benefit value of $3,917,192 per brownfield site (with a median value of $2,117,982). According to the report, the Northeast Midwest Institute estimates the average per-site cost for brownfield remediation at $602,000; the EPA provides cleanup grants of up to $200,000.

The authors conclude that, "averaging over the experiences at a nationally representative sample of brownfield properties, cleanup leads to housing price increases between 4.9 percent and 32.2 percent."

NBER
NBER

Not all the effects are necessarily positive. While neighborhoods near brownfields are more likely to be characterized by minority and low-income households, neighborhoods near brownfield sites that undergo cleanup tend to grow whiter. 

But as far as bang for your remediation grant goes, the report is unambiguous: "Taking the most conservative estimate of the value of an average site cleanup, we find that it indeed passes cost-benefit analysis by an order of magnitude based on the expenditures from the Brownfield Program."








A Day in Ohio: Secretaries Perez and Duncan Go to Toledo

7/29/14

Labor Secretary Tom Perez is traveling with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Toledo, Ohio, today to see first-hand model programs and partnerships that are equipping Americans with the knowledge, skills and industry-relevant education they need to get on the pathway to a successful career.

We want to make sure you see what they see, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from their day.

First stop: The Toledo Technology Academy.

The path to good jobs begins in grade school. Students in grades 7 – 12 receive an intense integrated academic and technical education that prepares them for a rewarding, life-long career in engineering or manufacturing technologies. Along with more “typical” high school classes, they receive hands-on training in plastics technologies, automated systems, manufacturing operations, computer-automated design, electronics and other manufacturing technologies. The academy works closely with employers – including the local GM plant – to provide students with industry recognized credentials and certification. Students also can earn advanced credit at local 2- and 4-year colleges. In April, the Toledo Public School System was awarded a $3.8 million Youth CareerConnect grant that will expand the Toledo Technology Academy’s model to serve more students.

...Where students on the robotics team earn a varsity letter.

read more

Statement: Legal experts and human rights defenders demand international community end Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza

7/28/14
Palestinians walk past the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

Palestinians walk past the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. We also condemn the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable. However, as also implicitly noted by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of the 23th July 2014, the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

Once again it is the unarmed civilian population, the ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law (IHL), who is in the eye of the storm. Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community. The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967. In the course of this ongoing conflict thousands of Palestinians have been killed and injured in the Gaza Strip during recurrent and ostensible ‘ceasefire’ periods since 2005, after Israel’s unilateral ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip. The deaths caused by Israel’s provocative actions in the Gaza Strip prior to the latest escalation of hostilities must not be ignored as well. 

According to UN sources, over the last two weeks, nearly 800 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and more than 4,000 injured, of whom the vast majority were civilians. Several independent sources indicate that only 15 per cent of the casualties were combatants. Entire families have been murdered. Hospitals, clinics, as well as a rehabilitation centre for disabled persons have been targeted and severely damaged. During one single day, on Sunday 20th July, more than 100 Palestinian civilians were killed in Shuga’iya, a residential neighbourhood of Gaza City. This was one of the bloodiest and most aggressive operations ever conducted by Israel in the Gaza Strip, a form of urban violence constituting a total disrespect of civilian innocence. Sadly, this was followed only a couple of days later by an equally destructive attack on Khuza’a, East of Khan Younis. 

Additionally, the offensive has already caused widespread destruction of buildings and infrastructure: according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 3,300 houses havebeen targeted resulting in their destruction or severe damage.

As denounced by the UN Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on the Gaza conflict in the aftermath of Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008-2009: “While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: The people of Gaza as a whole” (A/HRC/12/48, par. 1680). The same can be said for the current Israeli offensive.

The civilian population in the Gaza Strip is under direct attack and many are forced to leave their homes. What was already a refugee and humanitarian crisis has worsened with a new wave of mass displacement of civilians: the number of IDPs has reached nearly 150,000, many of whom have obtained shelter in overcrowded UNRWA schools, which unfortunately are no safe areas as demonstrated by the repeated attacks on the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun. Everyone in Gaza is traumatized and living in a state of constant terror. This result is intentional, as Israel is again relying on the ‘Dahiya doctrine, which deliberately has recourse to disproportionate force to inflict suffering on the civilian population in order to achieve political (to exert pressure on the Hamas Government) rather than military goals.

In so doing, Israel is repeatedly and flagrantly violating the law of armed conflict, which establishes that combatants and military objectives may be targeted, i.e. ‘those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.’ Most of the recent heavy bombings in Gaza lack an acceptable military justification and, instead, appear to be designed to terrorize the civilian population. As the ICRC clarifies, deliberately causing terror is unequivocally illegal under customary international law.

In its Advisory Opinion in the Nuclear Weapons case, the ICJ stated that the principle of distinction, which requires belligerent States to distinguish between civilian and combatants, is one of the “cardinal principles” of international humanitarian law and one of the “intransgressible principles of international customary law”. 

The principle of distinction is codified in Articles 48, 51(2) and 52(2) of the Additional Protocol I of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to which no reservations have been made. According to Additional Protocol I, “attacks” refer to “acts of violence against the adversary, whether in offence or in defence” (Article 49). Under both customary international law and treaty law, the prohibition on directing attacks against the civilian population or civilian objects is absolute. There is no discretion available to invoke military necessity as a justification.

Contrary to Israel’s claims, mistakes resulting in civilian casualties cannot be justified: in case of doubt as to the nature of the target, the law clearly establishes that an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes (such as schools, houses, places of worship and medical facilities), are presumed as not being used for military purposes. During these past weeks, UN officials and representatives have repeatedly called on Israel to strictly abide by the principle of precaution in carrying out attacks in the Gaza Strip, where risks are greatly aggravated by the very high population density, and maximum restraint must be exercised to avoid civilian casualties. HRW has noted that these rules exist to minimize mistakes “when such mistakes are repeated, it raises the concern of whether the rules are being disregarded.”

Moreover, even when targeting clear military objectives, Israel consistently violates the principle of proportionality: this is particularly evident with regard to the hundreds of civilian houses destroyed by the Israeli army during the current military operation in Gaza. With the declared intention to target a single member of Hamas, Israeli forces have bombed and destroyed houses although occupied as residencies by dozens of civilians, including women, children, and entire families. 

It is inherently illegal under customary international law to intentionally target civilian objects, and the violation of such a fundamental tenet of law can amount to a war crime. Issuing a ‘warning’ – such as Israel’s so-called roof knocking technique, or sending an SMS five minutes before the attack – does not mitigate this: it remains illegal to wilfully attack a civilian home without a demonstration of military necessity as it amounts to a violation of the principle of proportionality. Moreover, not only are these ‘warnings’ generally ineffective, and can even result in further fatalities, they appear to be a pre-fabricated excuse by Israel to portray people who remain in their homes as ‘human shields’. 

The indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the targeting of objectives providing no effective military advantage, and the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian houses have been persistent features of Israel’s long-standing policy of punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip, which, for over seven years, has been virtually imprisoned by Israeli imposed closure. Such a regime amounts to a form of collective punishment, which violates the unconditional prohibition set forth in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has been internationally condemned for its illegality. However, far from being effectively opposed international actors, Israel’s illegal policy of absolute closure imposed on the Gaza Strip has relentlessly continued, under the complicit gaze of the international community of States. 

***

As affirmed in 2009 by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict: “Justice and respect for the rule of law are the indispensable basis for peace. The prolonged situation has created a justice crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action” (A/HRC/12/48, para. 1958) Indeed: “long-standing impunity has been a key factor in the perpetuation of violence in the region and in the reoccurrence of violations, as well as in the erosion of confidence among Palestinians and many Israelis concerning prospects for justice and a peaceful solution to the conflict”. (A/HRC/12/48, para. 1964)

Therefore, 

We welcome the Resolution adopted on 23 July 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council, in which an independent, international commission of inquiry was established to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

We call upon the United Nations, the Arab League, the European Union, individual States, in particular the United States of America, and the international community in its entirety and with its collective power to take action in the spirit of the utmost urgency to put an end to the escalation of violence against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, and to activate procedures to hold accountable all those responsible for violations of international law, including political leaders and military commanders. In particular:

All regional and international actors should support the immediate conclusion of a durable, comprehensive, and mutually agreed ceasefire agreement, which must secure the rapid facilitation and access of humanitarian aid and the opening of borders to and from Gaza;

All High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions must be urgently and unconditionally called upon to comply with their fundamental obligations, binding at all times, and to act under common Article 1, to take all measures necessary for the suppression of grave breaches, as clearly imposed by Article 146 and Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; these rules are applicable by all interested parties as well;

Moreover, we denounce the shameful political pressures exerted by several UN Member States and the UN on President Mahmoud Abbas, to discourage recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and we urge the Governmental leaders of Palestine to invoke the jurisdiction of the ICC, by ratifying the ICC treaty and in the interim by resubmitting the declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, in order to investigate and prosecute the serious international crimes committed on the Palestinian territory by all parties to the conflict; and

The UN Security Council must finally exercise its responsibilities in relation to peace and justice by referring the situation in Palestine to the Prosecutor of the ICC.

***

Please note that institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only.

John Dugard, Former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 

Alain Pellet, Professor of Public International Law, University Paris Ouest, former Member of the United Nations International Law Commission, France

Georges Abi-Saab, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Former Judge on the ICTY 

Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland

Chantal Meloni, Adjunct Professor of International Criminal Law, University of Milan, Italy (Rapporteur)

Roy Abbott, Consultant in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, Australia

Lama Abu-Odeh, Law Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, USA

Susan M. Akram, Clinical Professor and supervising attorney, International Human rights Program, Boston University School of Law, USA

Taris Ahmad, Solicitor at Jones Day, London, UK

Maria Anagnostaki, PhD candidate, Law School University of Athens, Greece

Antony Anghie, Professor of Law, University of Utah, USA

Nizar Ayoub, Director, Al-Marsad, Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights

Valentina Azarov, Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law, Al Quds Bard College, Palestine

Ammar Bajboj, Lecturer in Law, University of Damascus, Syria

Samia Bano, SOAS School of Law, London, UK

Asli Ü Bali, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, USA

Jakub Michał Baranowski, Phd Candidate, Universita’ degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy

Frank Barat, Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Emma Bell, Coordinator of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, Université de Savoie, France

Barbara Giovanna Bello, Post-doc Fellow, University of Milan, Italy

Brenna Bhandar, Senior lecturer in Law, SOAS School of Law, London, UK 

George Bisharat, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of Law, USA

Barbara Blok, LLM Candidate, University of Essex, UK

John Braithwaite, Professor of Criminology, Australian National University, Australia

Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, lecturer in international law, University of Edinburgh, UK

Eddie Bruce-Jones, Lecturer in Law, University of London, Birkbeck College, UK

Sandy Camlann, LLM Candidate, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France

Grazia Careccia, Human Rights Advocate, London, UK

Baris Cayli, Impact Fellow, University of Stirling, UK

Antonio Cavaliere, Professor of Criminal Law, University Federico II, Naples, Italy

Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Irish Center for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Elizabeth Chadwick, Reader in International Law, Nottingham, UK

Donna R. Cline, Attorney at Law, USA

Karen Corteen, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Chester, UK

Andrew Dahdal, Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Teresa Dagenhardt, Reader in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Luigi Daniele, PhD candidate in Law, Italy

Alessandro De Giorgi, Professor of Justice Studies, San Josè State University, USA

Paul de Waart, Professor Emeritus of International Law, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gabriele della Morte, Senior Lecturer in International Law, University Cattolica, Milan, Italy

Max du Plessis, Professor of Law, University of Kwazulu-Natal, and Barrister, South Africa and London, UK

Noura Erakat, Georgetown University, USA

Mohammad Fadel, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Canada

Mireille Fanon-Mendés France, Independent Expert UNO, Frantz Fanon Foundation, France

Michelle Farrell, lecturer in law, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool, UK

Daniel Feierstein, Professor and President International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), Argentina

Eleonor Fernández Muñoz, Costa Rica

J. Tenny Fernando, Attorney at Law, Sri Lanka

Amelia Festa, LLM Candidate, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Katherine Franke, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, USA

Jacques Gaillot, Bishop in partibus of Patenia

Katherine Gallagher, Vice President FIDH, senior attorney, Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York, USA

Avo Sevag Garabet, LLM, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Jose Garcia Anon, Professor of Law, Human Rights Institute, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Irene Gasparini, PhD candidate, Universitá Cattolica, Milan, Italy

Stratos Georgoulas, Assistant Professor, University of the Aegean, Greece

Haluk Gerger, Professor, Turkey

Hedda Giersten, Professor, Universitet I Oslo, Norway

Javier Giraldo, Director Banco de Datos CINEP, Colombia

Carmen G. Gonzales, Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law, USA

Penny Green, Professor of Law and Criminology, Director of the State Crime Initiative, King’s College London, UK

Katy Hayward, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Andrew Henley, PhD candidate, Keele University, UK

Christiane Hessel, Paris, France 

Paddy Hillyard, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ata Hindi, Institute of Law, Birzeit University, Palestine

Francois Houtart, Professor, National Institute of Higher Studies, Quito, Ecuador

Deena R. Hurwitz, Professor, General Faculty, Director International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of Virginia School of Law, USA

Perfecto Andrés Ibánes, Magistrado Tribunal Supremo de Espagna, Spain

Franco Ippolito, President of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, Italy

Ruth Jamieson, Honorary Lecturer, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Helen Jarvis, former member Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), member of IAGS, Cambodia

Ioannis Kalpouzos, Lecturer in Law, City Law School, London, UK

Victor Kattan, post-doctoral fellow, Law Faculty, National University of Singapore

Michael Kearney, PhD, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex, UK

Yousuf Syed Khan, USA 

Tarik Kochi, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, UK

Anna Koppel, MSt Candidate in International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford, UK

Karim Lahidji, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and lawyer

Giulia Lanza, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy

Daniel Machover, solicitor, Hickman & Rose, London, UK

Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law, Director of the Centre for Global Justice, Seattle University School of Law, USA 

Maria C. LaHood, Senior Staff Attorney, CCR, New York, USA 

Louise Mallinder, Reader in Human Rights and International Law, University of Ulster, UK

Triestino Mariniello, Lecturer in International Criminal Law, Edge Hill University, UK

Mazen Masri, Lecturer in Law, The City Law School, City University, London, UK

Siobhan McAlister, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Liam McCann, Principal Lecturer in Criminology, University of Lincoln, UK

Jude McCulloch, Professor of Criminology, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Yvonne McDermott Rees, Lecturer in Law, University of Bangor, UK

Cahal McLaughlin, Professor, School of Creative Arts, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Araks Melkonyan, LLM Candidate, University of Essex, UK

Antonio Menna, PhD Candidate, Second University of Naples, Caserta, Italy 

Naomi Mezey, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, USA

Michele Miravalle, PhD candidate, University of Torino, Italy 

Sergio Moccia, Professor of Criminal Law, University Federico II, Naples, Italy

Kerry Moore, Lecturer, Cardiff University

Giuseppe Mosconi, Professor of Sociology, University of Padova, Italy

Usha Natarajan, Assistant Professor, Department of Law & Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Miren Odriozola Gurrutxaga, PhD Candidate, University of the Basque Country, Donostia – San Sebastián, Spain

Georgios Papanicolaou, Reader in Criminology, Teesside University, UK 

Marco Pertile, Senior Lecturer in International Law,
Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Professor of Law and Theory, LLM, The Westminster Law and Theory Centre, UK

Antoni Pigrau Solé, Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona, Spain

Joseph Powderly, Assistant Professor of Public International Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Tony Platt, Visiting Professor of Justice Studies, San Jose State University, USA

Scott Poynting, Professor in Criminology, University of Auckland, New Zeeland

Chris Powell, Professor of Criminology, University S.Maine, USA

Bill Quigley, Professor, Loyola University, New Orleans College of Law, USA

John Quigley, Professor of Law, Ohio State University

Zouhair Racheha, PhD Candidate, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, France

Laura Raymond, International Human Rights Advocacy Program Manager, CCR, New York, USA

Véronique Rocheleau-Brosseau, LLM candidate, Laval University, Canada

David Rodríguez Goyes, Lecturer, Antonio Nariño and Santo Tomás Universities, Colombia

Alessandro Rosanò, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

Jamil Salem, Director Institute of Law, Birzeit University, Palestine

Mahmood Salimi, LLM Candidate, Moofid University, Iran 

Nahed Samour, doctoral fellow, Humboldt University, Faculty of Law, Berlin, Germany

Iain GM Scobbie, Professor of Public International Law, University of Manchester, UK

David Scott, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Liverpool John Moores University, UK 

Phil Scraton, Professor of Criminology, Belfast, Ireland

Rachel Seoighe, PhD Candidate, Legal Consultant, King’s College London, UK

Tanya Serisier, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Mohammad Shahabuddin, PdD, Visiting researcher, Graduate School of International Social Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan

Dean Spade, Seattle University School of Law, USA

Per Stadig, lawyer, Sweden

Chantal Thomas, Professor of Law, Cornell University, USA

Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University, USA

Gianni Tognoni, Lelio Basso Foundation, Rome, Italy

Steve Tombs, Professor of Criminology, The Open University, UK

Paul Troop, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers, UK

Valeria Verdolini, Reader in Sociology, University of Milan, Italy

Francesca Vianello, University of Padova, Italy

Aimilia Voulvouli, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Fatih University, Turkey

Namita Wahi, Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, India

Sharon Weill, PhD, Science Po, Paris/ CERAH, Geneva, Switzerland 

Peter Weiss, Vice President of Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), New York, USA

David Whyte, Reader in Sociology, University of Liverpool, UK 

Jeanne M. Woods, Henry F. Bonura, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans, USA

William Thomas Worster, Lecturer, International Law, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Maung Zarni, Judge, PPT on Sri Lanka and Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science

Iron Man Should Move to Cleveland, Not San Francisco

7/25/14
Image
Yildiray Cinar/Marvel

In the run-up to San Diego Comic-Con this week, Marvel made a couple of thrilling announcements for its marquee characters. In brand new comic-book lines launching this fall, a black hero will assume the mantle of Captain America, while a woman will take up Thor's hammer. These transformations were matched with a third announcement, one that's more of an eyebrow-raising development than a jaw-dropping surprise. Iron Man is going to be a West Coast Avenger.

When Superior Iron Man #1 drops in November, it will see Tony Stark packing up his repulsors and moving from New York to San Francisco. (Continuity note: While the Iron Man film franchise places Stark's home on a cliff in Malibu, in the comics, Stark is generally more associated with Manhattan, home of Stark Tower and the Avengers Mansion). In addition to the move, Iron Man will be donning the latest successor to his Extremis armor, a new mark that suggests Tin Man by Tim Cook. The controversial Extremis armor isn't absent altogether, apparently: In Superior Iron Man, Stark is bringing "dark tech" to San Francisco in the form of an Extremis mobile app. Just what the Bay Area needs: One more gadget-obsessed narcissist moving to Silicon Valley.

Phil Noto/Marvel

Yet if the hints dropped by Marvel are reliable, then Shellhead may be in for more dramatic changes. (Bear with me, True Believers, while I explain some things to the regulars.) The title Superior Iron Man alludes to another recent Marvel series, Superior Spider-Man, in which Spidey's body was taken over by arch-villain Dr. Octopus. Sinister shenanigans ensued, with few of Peter Parker's friends the wiser.

While Doc Ock hasn't surfaced in any of the whisperings about what's happening with Iron Man, it appears that Stark himself may be taking a darker turn. Which is too bad, especially for San Francisco, which probably never asked to be visited upon by Bad Apple Iron Man. And—well, we could go on all day about the ways that Otto Octavius might have abused Stark technology using Spider-Man's access to Avengers infrastructure, couldn't we?

But there's a narrower issue with Superior Iron Man that doesn't sit quite right: Stark's move to the Bay Area. San Francisco doesn't need Iron Man. No doubt, with a little help from his friends, Stark will come around on whatever dark impulse is driving him. (He got through Fear Itselfam I right?) And on the other side of the darkness, he will emerge as some kind of San Francisco avatar. But San Francisco still won't need Iron Man. 

Know who needs Iron Man? Cleveland. If anyone can fix the Mistake on the Lake, it's Tony Stark.

That's right: Iron Man should move to Cleveland, not San Francisco. There's no city in the U.S. that needs Iron Man more and yet still affords Tony Stark some measure of the luxury to which he has become accustomed. Stand up, C-Town!

Cleveland has proven that it will welcome narcissists with open arms, even those who have already betrayed the city. As long as he's promising wins, even an anti-hero is going to get the welcome mat in Cleveland. This city has seen worse than Extremis. 

The addition of Iron Man would be welcomed by LeBron James, who likes to be part of a super squad. Iron Man and King James are both fabulously wealthy men gifted with natural abilities that are unrivaled by their peers. Stark and Bron is a buddy-cop movie I'd watch. No doubt, the heroes could bond over their shared hatred of the Mandarin—a villain with 10 rings.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Can't you see Iron Man setting up shop here? (Erik Drost/Flickr)

Stark Industries could bring jobs to Northeast Ohio that the region desperately needs. According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors forecast, Cleveland ranks 305th out of 363 U.S. metro areas when it comes to economic growth predicted for 2020. The same forecast doesn't expect peak employment to return to Cleveland until 2018 at the earliest. 

One major problem with Cleveland is its rapid depopulation. Since 1990, the city has shed more than one-fifth of its residents. And unlike other major metro areas that have lost population, the suburbs and counties surrounding Cleveland haven't made up for the decline. 

And like many other cities suffering from population decline, Cleveland has a violent crime problem. With a rate of 23.2 murders per 100,000 people in 2012, Cleveland's murder rate rivals that of Philadelphia or Memphis. As CityLab recently explained, immigration is key to turning around cities with high violent crime rates and plummeting populations. While it isn't clear that Tony Stark is a friend to immigration—he'd just as soon host the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland, I'm willing to bet—Iron Man is very tough on crime.

As Cleveland boosters claim, its position on the Great Lakes gives it superior access to markets throughout North America. Some 50 percent of the population of the U.S. is within a long day's drive of Cleveland, and while that doesn't matter much to Iron Man—who can fly from New York to Washington in under an hour—he still occasionally needs to host meetings with Cap or Henry Pym. The Cleveland Foundation reports that "Cleveland has the potential to host a series of thriving, high-tech, high-growth clusters... [including] biomed, health IT, manufacturing, food processing, film, and business-to-business." Iron Man can do all those things while simultaneously fending off Kang the Conqueror. 

Marvel

Some of you might be saying, "Make Mine Motor City." It's true that Detroit suffers from some of the same maladies as Cleveland: high crime rate, severe population drain, and a major manufacturing bust. But Detroit has already got a cyborg

San Francisco doesn't need Iron Man in part because San Francisco has so many capes already. Daredevil relocated to the Bay Area earlier this year. (In fact, according to Mashable, the Superior Iron Man will clash with the Man Without Fear.) Some of the X-Men still live there—maybe? There's good reason for the coastal migration: Some of the things that drew heroes to New York in the first place no longer exist. The Greenwich Village that served as the mystical anchor for Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is all but gone.

At one time, the West Coast Avengers was a label of derision, reserved for morts like Tigra, Vision, Wonder Man, and U.S. Agent. (Remember Darkhawk?) Now, plainly, it's fashionable for superheroes to take up residence in San Francisco—perhaps because the notion of iconoclastic disruptors in hoodies taking on the overculture appeals to comic-book writers. Today, comics reveal a different narrative about their authors than the Golden and Silver Age comics written by young Jewish immigrants arriving in New York City.

Comics have always told stories about cities: Spider-Man's Queens, Luke Cage's Harlem, Daredevil's Hells Kitchen. (Alright, stories about New York City.) Marvel would do well to expand the range of the cities where its stories take place. It's great that Thor is a woman, and here's hoping she moves back to (near) Oklahoma City. It's wonderful that Captain America is black, and he belongs in the nation's capital, Chocolate City. It's cool that Iron Man is an iPad now—but Cupertino doesn't need him.








Iron Man Should Move to Cleveland, Not San Francisco

7/25/14
Image
Yildiray Cinar/Marvel

In the run-up to San Diego Comic-Con this week, Marvel made a couple of thrilling announcements for its marquee characters. In brand new comic-book lines launching this fall, a black hero will assume the mantle of Captain America, while a woman will take up Thor's hammer. These transformations were matched with a third announcement, one that's more of an eyebrow-raising development than a jaw-dropping surprise. Iron Man is going to be a West Coast Avenger.

When Superior Iron Man #1 drops in November, it will see Tony Stark packing up his repulsors and moving from New York to San Francisco. (Continuity note: While the Iron Man film franchise places Stark's home on a cliff in Malibu, in the comics, Stark is generally more associated with Manhattan, home of Stark Tower and the Avengers Mansion). In addition to the move, Iron Man will be donning the latest successor to his Extremis armor, a new mark that suggests Tin Man by Tim Cook. The controversial Extremis armor isn't absent altogether, apparently: In Superior Iron Man, Stark is bringing "dark tech" to San Francisco in the form of an Extremis mobile app. Just what the Bay Area needs: One more gadget-obsessed narcissist moving to Silicon Valley.

Phil Noto/Marvel

Yet if the hints dropped by Marvel are reliable, then Shellhead may be in for more dramatic changes. (Bear with me, True Believers, while I explain some things to the regulars.) The title Superior Iron Man alludes to another recent Marvel series, Superior Spider-Man, in which Spidey's body was taken over by arch-villain Dr. Octopus. Sinister shenanigans ensued, with few of Peter Parker's friends the wiser.

While Doc Ock hasn't surfaced in any of the whisperings about what's happening with Iron Man, it appears that Stark himself may be taking a darker turn. Which is too bad, especially for San Francisco, which probably never asked to be visited upon by Bad Apple Iron Man. And—well, we could go on all day about the ways that Otto Octavius might have abused Stark technology using Spider-Man's access to Avengers infrastructure, couldn't we?

But there's a narrower issue with Superior Iron Man that doesn't sit quite right: Stark's move to the Bay Area. San Francisco doesn't need Iron Man. No doubt, with a little help from his friends, Stark will come around on whatever dark impulse is driving him. (He got through Fear Itselfam I right?) And on the other side of the darkness, he will emerge as some kind of San Francisco avatar. But San Francisco still won't need Iron Man. 

Know who needs Iron Man? Cleveland. If anyone can fix the Mistake on the Lake, it's Tony Stark.

That's right: Iron Man should move to Cleveland, not San Francisco. There's no city in the U.S. that needs Iron Man more and yet still affords Tony Stark some measure of the luxury to which he has become accustomed. Stand up, C-Town!

Cleveland has proven that it will welcome narcissists with open arms, even those who have already betrayed the city. As long as he's promising wins, even an anti-hero is going to get the welcome mat in Cleveland. This city has seen worse than Extremis. 

The addition of Iron Man would be welcomed by LeBron James, who likes to be part of a super squad. Iron Man and King James are both fabulously wealthy men gifted with natural abilities that are unrivaled by their peers. Stark and Bron is a buddy-cop movie I'd watch. No doubt, the heroes could bond over their shared hatred of the Mandarin—a villain with 10 rings.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Can't you see Iron Man setting up shop here? (Erik Drost/Flickr)

Stark Industries could bring jobs to Northeast Ohio that the region desperately needs. According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors forecast, Cleveland ranks 305th out of 363 U.S. metro areas when it comes to economic growth predicted for 2020. The same forecast doesn't expect peak employment to return to Cleveland until 2018 at the earliest. 

One major problem with Cleveland is its rapid depopulation. Since 1990, the city has shed more than one-fifth of its residents. And unlike other major metro areas that have lost population, the suburbs and counties surrounding Cleveland haven't made up for the decline. 

And like many other cities suffering from population decline, Cleveland has a violent crime problem. With a rate of 23.2 murders per 100,000 people in 2012, Cleveland's murder rate rivals that of Philadelphia or Memphis. As CityLab recently explained, immigration is key to turning around cities with high violent crime rates and plummeting populations. While it isn't clear that Tony Stark is a friend to immigration—he'd just as soon host the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland, I'm willing to bet—Iron Man is very tough on crime.

As Cleveland boosters claim, its position on the Great Lakes gives it superior access to markets throughout North America. Some 50 percent of the population of the U.S. is within a long day's drive of Cleveland, and while that doesn't matter much to Iron Man—who can fly from New York to Washington in under an hour—he still occasionally needs to host meetings with Cap or Henry Pym. The Cleveland Foundation reports that "Cleveland has the potential to host a series of thriving, high-tech, high-growth clusters... [including] biomed, health IT, manufacturing, food processing, film, and business-to-business." Iron Man can do all those things while simultaneously fending off Kang the Conqueror. 

Marvel

Some of you might be saying, "Make Mine Motor City." It's true that Detroit suffers from some of the same maladies as Cleveland: high crime rate, severe population drain, and a major manufacturing bust. But Detroit has already got a cyborg

San Francisco doesn't need Iron Man in part because San Francisco has so many capes already. Daredevil relocated to the Bay Area earlier this year. (In fact, according to Mashable, the Superior Iron Man will clash with the Man Without Fear.) Some of the X-Men still live there—maybe? There's good reason for the coastal migration: Some of the things that drew heroes to New York in the first place no longer exist. The Greenwich Village that served as the mystical anchor for Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is all but gone.

At one time, the West Coast Avengers was a label of derision, reserved for morts like Tigra, Vision, Wonder Man, and U.S. Agent. (Remember Darkhawk?) Now, plainly, it's fashionable for superheroes to take up residence in San Francisco—perhaps because the notion of iconoclastic disruptors in hoodies taking on the overculture appeals to comic-book writers. Today, comics reveal a different narrative about their authors than the Golden and Silver Age comics written by young Jewish immigrants arriving in New York City.

Comics have always told stories about cities: Spider-Man's Queens, Luke Cage's Harlem, Daredevil's Hells Kitchen. (Alright, stories about New York City.) Marvel would do well to expand the range of the cities where its stories take place. It's great that Thor is a woman, and here's hoping she moves back to (near) Oklahoma City. It's wonderful that Captain America is black, and he belongs in the nation's capital, Chocolate City. It's cool that Iron Man is an iPad now—but Cupertino doesn't need him.








Arizona Botched Execution: Joseph Rudolph Wood III Dies 2 Hours After Lethal Injection

7/23/14

UPDATE 8:39 p.m. EDT: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered a review of Wood's execution, saying she was "concerned" over how long it took Wood to die, according to NBC News. But she also said that Wood didn't suffer, while he inflicted "gruesome, vicious suffering" on his victims.

UPDATE 7:54 p.m. EDT: The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Arizona for going forward with the execution in light of the botched execution in Oklahoma and Ohio earlier this year.

Toledo Does a Double Demolition of Smokestacks

7/17/14

Can somebody in Toledo go run a bulldozer into the remaining smokestack shown in the above video? There's just something deeply unsatisfying about seeing two crumple into billowing brick dust, and having the third standing like somebody botched the job.

But this is how the Ohio city's mayor, D. Michael Collins, wanted it. After denigrating the old power-plant smokestacks as something from "Stuttgart, Germany, 1947," he was on the scene Wednesday to oversee their near-complete demolition. The unscathed, 298 foot-tall stack will soon have its top third lopped off, and then if the mayor gets his way will be decorated as a lighthouse, complete with spinning red-and-green lights, because that is better than a boring smokestack.

Back in the day, these sky pipes vomited coal smoke as the plant churned out the electricity that powered the city. While their destruction doesn't have the fear-of-god-instilling concussion of a titanic skyscraper demolition, or the humor of one filmed behind a shredding rock band, the musty brick towers hit the ground with a finality-delivering whumpf that must've been extremely gratifying to the hundreds gathered to gawk.

Here's the view from above of Wednesday's demolition:








Toledo Does a Double Demolition of Smokestacks

7/17/14

Can somebody in Toledo go run a bulldozer into the remaining smokestack shown in the above video? There's just something deeply unsatisfying about seeing two crumple into billowing brick dust, and having the third standing like somebody botched the job.

But this is how the Ohio city's mayor, D. Michael Collins, wanted it. After denigrating the old power-plant smokestacks as something from "Stuttgart, Germany, 1947," he was on the scene Wednesday to oversee their near-complete demolition. The unscathed, 298 foot-tall stack will soon have its top third lopped off, and then if the mayor gets his way will be decorated as a lighthouse, complete with spinning red-and-green lights, because that is better than a boring smokestack.

Back in the day, these sky pipes vomited coal smoke as the plant churned out the electricity that powered the city. While their destruction doesn't have the fear-of-god-instilling concussion of a titanic skyscraper demolition, or the humor of one filmed behind a shredding rock band, the musty brick towers hit the ground with a finality-delivering whumpf that must've been extremely gratifying to the hundreds gathered to gawk.

Here's the view from above of Wednesday's demolition: