Independence Day Edition!

Felix G. Rohatyn

Evolutionary psychology teaches us that it may take as many as 1,000 generations for even an exceptionally beneficial genetic mutation to permeate an entire species. It is not surprising, then, that a mere ten generations after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American human nature has (apparently) changed negligibly, if at all. This point [...]

Lax Enforcement Keeps Slumlords from Cleaning Up Act

Murray

A toddler wakes up with a cockroach lodged in his ear. Cat-sized rats chew through the feeding tubes of a young girl with cystic fibrosis. Conga lines of roaches parade through a house in broad daylight. Leaky pipes and constant moisture breed vast colonies of mold. Inadequately maintained plumbing backs up, causing overflows of sewage. [...]

The Poor You Shall Have with You Always

lorraine

During this current recession, I’m sure anyone watching the news has noticed the sudden interest in helping the “poor”. We sit in horror as traumatized children talk about the difficulties of adjusting to life without video games and cable TV, having to move out of their elaborate houses into welfare motels, who now find themselves [...]

Lady Justice

Norman Williams, center, with Mark Melahn, left, and Jesse Goodman, who worked on his case while in law school. Williams was sentenced to 25 years to life after his third-strike conviction, which was for stealing a car jack and tools from a tow truck. Through the efforts of Stanford's Criminal Defense Clinic, his sentence was reduced to 10 years. He had already served more than that so was freed. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times)

Statues of Lady Justice frequently portray her wearing a blindfold, signifying impartiality and objectivity. But careful readers of the Los Angeles Times on May 13 have good reason to believe that the Lady is peeking — at least in California — and it is entirely possible that her vision is distorted in favor of “white [...]

Open Veins of Latin America: Obama Should Read It!

Latin-American author Edward Galeano. Image Source: Robert Birnbaum

During the recent Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela gave President Obama a copy of Open Veins in Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Eduardo Galeano. Few in the American press corps or in the White House staff would have understood the importance of this [...]

The Socioeconomic Times of Mike Tyson

mike-tyson

Could there be social justice for Mike Tyson? James Toback, tries to address this question in his soon to be released film “Tyson,” a documentary that provides insight into the legendary boxer’s emotional and psychological inner world. In the documentary, Tyson’s upbringing in the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York, and his later stint as [...]

Rite Aid and the Failure of Labor Law

safeway12

After months of a media war supporting and condemning it, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was finally introduced into Congress again last week. The bill has been debated before, but with a larger Democratic majority, its chances of passage are much greater today, and President Obama has said he’ll sign it. Employers, therefore, are [...]

Southern Governors Block the Stimulus

jindal

Southern Governors Block the Stimulus ep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) was accused of playing the race card when he characterized Southern governors’ opposition to the $787 billion federal stimulus package as “a slap in the face of African-Americans.” He was referring to the four Republican governors who have opposed accepting some or all of the money, [...]

Housing Pushing Up Numbers of U.S. Homeless

homlessness

Every Christmas season a large electric star visible for miles is illuminated on a mountainside overlooking Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the time the holy family of Christianity took refuge in a manger on the night of Christ’s birth. This past Christmas, this city of 71,000 — whose principal landmark is the rusting remains of the [...]

Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Irrational

marriage-equality

Here is some great news that should be no surprise to anyone really paying attention — after the Proposition 8 kerfluffle, this was inevitable: A federal court ruling was just issued that is based upon the notion — one held by decent and intelligent people all along — that the un-American, anti-equality, anti-LGBT Defense of [...]

Bicentennial for Two Great Emancipators: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln

darwin_lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator, has been much on our minds recently as Barack Obama moved into the White House. Exactly 200 years after Lincoln’s birth, Obama’s presidency is one fulfillment of the work Lincoln started. Lincoln shares his birthday with Charles Darwin, the other Great Emancipator of the 19th century. Though in different ways, [...]

Obama, Sandburg, Lincoln

carl_sandburg

Obama and Lincoln, okay; but “Obama, Sandburg, and Lincoln”? Lincoln scholar, poet, and folk singer Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is seldom mentioned anymore, but that’s unfortunate. A half century ago he was, in the words of his friend Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson, “the one living man whose work and whose life epitomize the American dream.” During [...]

Ted Haggard’s Issues with His Homosexuality

Rev. Ted Haggard

After a publicity junket promoting the HBO documentary The Trials of Ted Haggard, which landed him on Oprah and Larry King Live, fallen evangelical star Haggard has risen from public obscurity to tell us he’s not gay. He’s “heterosexual with issues.” And the issues Haggard is referring to are his “sexual thoughts about men, but [...]

An Inaugural Poem

girl_pledge

America is the greatest country in the world… Or at least that’s what they tell me. The greatest country? Now, exactly what yardstick were you using just now? Such a bold statement with such paltry evidence! Sounds like the words of someone who hasn’t been anywhere, Yet those who have lived, traveled and studied Beyond [...]

Why Millions Risk Lives to Enter the U.S.

illegalpeople

Immigration policy remains a hot button issue in the United States. Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has described comprehensive immigration legislation as the “third rail” of American politics, and CNN provides Lou Dobbs with a daily forum for bashing undocumented immigrants. While opponents of creating a path to legalization for such immigrants recognize that [...]

Ladies First

ladies_first

Black women are accustomed to being referred to and treated as females and workhorses, but not ladies. We are at once the clean-up woman whose tenacity, independence and bull-headedness may render us manless, or increasingly taking care of them in an inversion of traditional gender roles, a la the latest head-nodding about-face to the sistas [...]

Walmart Against EFCA

same-direction

Walmart Against Employee Free Choice Act t’s estimated 86,000 workers got fired trying to exercise their legal right to organize a union during the Bush years and signs are Corporate America will fight to keep things that way. “We like driving the car,” Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott says, “and we’re not going to give the [...]

“Please Cry For Me, I’m Al Gonzales.”

fredo

Like tens of millions – and growing – of his increasingly desperate countrymen, he is out of work and cannot find a job; worse, nobody in his chosen profession will even interview him. His previously good friends don’t want to publish his story so he is reduced to keeping a journal for his sons. He [...]

Honor the People of Conscience

albertomora

As the President-elect prepares to fulfill his word to close Guantánamo and ban torture, there’s more he can do. Sure, I’d love to see members of the outgoing administration prosecuted and hope it will happen. I doubt, however, that President-elect Obama will move in that direction. But if he truly wants to be a healer, [...]

Printing Poetry

navita

by Wendy Block – Back from Best Buy one recent evening with my new all-in-one inkjet, I finally began connecting it to the computer just before midnight. When I next glanced at a clock, it was way later and I’d utterly failed. Time for another disjointed tech call.

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