Steve Hochstadt: The most unfortunate recent development in American politics is that Constitutional questions cannot be discussed calmly. Too many people care less about defending our Constitution than using it as a club to smash political opponents.
Steven Conn: As midterm elections approach, conservatives seek to return America to the way things used to be. Not so fast, argues historian Steven Conn, unless you really want racial segregation, child labor, voting discrimination, and all the other things that old-time conservatives once supported.
Tom Hayden: Next week the Canadian parliament is expected to hear a bill proposing humanitarian grounds for granting asylum in the country. Watson’s application for permanent resident status is on hold. About 40 other American war resisters are seeking asylum in Canada, where nearly 80,000 were given protection during the Vietnam War.
Steve Hochstadt: Simple virtues and political cliches won’t solve our problems, which can’t all be blamed on “liberals.” Getting off our butts to cheer our congressman was not what Wurzelbacher wanted. If these conservatives do Take Back Illinois, they won’t know what to do with it.
Tracy Emblem: Compare President Truman’s proclamation of equal opportunity and treatment in the military to today’s efforts to repeal the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy imposed by Congress. This discriminatory practice is tantamount to silent segregation of gay and lesbian personnel and puts them at continued risk to lose their jobs and all of their benefits.
Tanya Acker: When I heard about the “split” in the Democratic party between Harry Reid and President Obama regarding the building of the mosque near Ground Zero, and as I listened to Senator Reid voice his objections to the mosque, my first thought was that the Senator should know better.
Rev. Irene Monroe: There has been a color change at Essence. After forty years of having sisters from the African Diaspora as its fashion directors, the new one — Ellianna Placas — is white. And the news is sending seismic shock waves to many of its subscribers here in the U.S. and across the globe.
Rev. Irene Monroe: As LGBTQ Americans, our patriotism is not recognized. But one of our community’s greatest moments of patriotism was the Stonewall Riots of June 27–29, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. We celebrate their heroism every day as out-of-the-closet people who are intentionally visible in various facets of American life.
Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Anthony Samad: For the past five weeks, one of the ugliest episodes of racism in recent years (before the Tea Partiers started spittin’ on people and calling Congress people “Nig**rs” and “Fag**ts” at the Congressional health care vote last weekend) has been playing out on a campus of one of the nation’s largest publicly funded university systems.
Michelle Alexander: The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently are at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Quintupled, in fact. And the vast majority of that increase is due to the War on Drugs.
“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.” So wrote current U.S. president Barack Obama about his youth. In May 2009, Jabrai Jordan Copney, a black man, allegedly shot Justin Cosby, a black man, inside a Harvard University dormitory. Cosby fled, collapsed a block away, and [...]
In Philadelphia, it is time for a new district attorney. The current D.A. Lynne Abraham is retiring, and none too soon – after 18 years in the position, she has been called “America’s deadliest D.A.” for her exceptionally voracious appetite in seeking the death penalty. Without question, most of the people sentenced to death were [...]