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Strange Reactions to Strange Fruit

While the investigation into Otis Byrd’s hanging death is ongoing, the court of public opinion is already rushing to judgment.

The same week that rapper A$AP Ferg declared that “racism been over,” Otis James Byrd’s decomposing body was found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The media speculated as to whether this was a possible suicide, but not unlike when a black or brown person dies in police custody amidst claims of self-inflicted gunshots while handcuffed behind the back, there are those among us who have a familiar, sinking feeling of where this is headed.

The FBI has asked for patience as 30 investigators pore over the details of the case. Yet, especially for us blacks, the pain is in the waiting. This feels all too much like waiting on the now-tainted Ferguson grand jury to announce its non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown. Just get it the hell over with. Such a delay feels like adding insult to injury with a well-established precedent, the promise of liberty and justice for all but us.

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K-sJ5JdQ_k
This week, the American Independence Day falls just as Congress works to pass a new immigration law from the Senate to the House of Representatives. It’s a critical time for those who want our immigration laws to reflect the ideals of human rights and fairness on which our country was founded.

Tens of thousands of immigrants are trapped in the United States immigration detention system, and millions more are living in this country without legal status, fearing that they could be detained at any moment. They desperately need an immigration law that respects human rights.

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Before 1970, if a factory wanted to dump toxic waste into a river in the United States, they could get away with it. There was no Clean Water Act, no Clean Air Act, no Environmental Protection Agency. Though protests were common, they were focused on the war in Vietnam, not improving the environment. A Wisconsin senator, Gaylord Nelson, was inspired to change things; on April 22, he organized the first Earth Day, a "teach-in" on the environment. 20 million Americans demonstrated that day, and the government listened: by December, they had established the EPA and passed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts.

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United States Is an Embarrassing 17th in Clean Tech Production

It doesn't look like we're winning the future, unfortunately.

Want to know how serious a country is about clean energy? Look at the percentage of its Gross Domestic Product that the industry represents. Turns out: the windmill-savvy Danes are the world's most ambitious country in clean tech development, with a full 3.1 percent of their GDP coming from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency.

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Chart: Even More Proof We Can't Drill Our Way to Lower Gas Prices

This chart totally debunks the GOP's false claim that the President's policies have anything to do with gas prices.

Yesterday, the office of House Speaker John Boehner posted this graph on their blog, saying that "gas prices have doubled since President Obama took office."

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UPDATE: The United States of GOOD Beer: What's the Best Beer Brewed in Your State?

We need your help: What is the most awesome, best tasting, sustainably brewed, independently owned, community-oriented craft beer in your state?

When I posted the Houston Press's United States of Beer map on Wednesday, I was careful to add a caveat:

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