Are California Prisons Punishing Inmates Based on Race?

california prison

Christie Thompson: Prison officials have blamed crowding for contributing to “an increase in riots and disturbances.” And the more inmates there are, the more likely it is that prison officials will respond to violence with broad-brush security measures.

LA’s Recent Election: When They Think Small, We Stay Home

los angeles voting station

Tanya Acker: Why did 84 percent of Angelenos who had the potential to change something decide, for one reason or another, that doing so wasn’t worth their time.

Crown Heights Riots 20 Years Later

crown-heights-wide

David Love: Crown Heights was imminently important from a political perspective, as it altered the course of New York’s political history and ended the brief stint that was Black Power in the Big Apple.

We Twisted King’s Dream, So We Live With His Nightmare

mlk legacy

Tim Wise: If double-digit unemployment had been viewed as the emergency it is, when only people of color were experiencing it (as they typically have been, in good times or bad, year after year throughout this century), perhaps lawmakers might have seen fit to address the problem.

As Coal King Retires to $12 Million, Mine Safety Struggle Goes On

blankenship

Marian Wang: It’s probably safe to say that Don Blankenship had something to celebrate with the new year. Last Friday, the CEO of Massey Energy retired, and according to company disclosures [1] he received $2 million that day.

Rocky Road Ahead for DREAM Act

dream act

Marcu Stern: even though the DREAM Act has drawn Republican support in the past, it’s unclear whether the White House can win over enough Senate Republicans to make up for the handful of Democrats who are expected to vote against the bill.

Fatal Pipeline Accident Turns Attention to Nation’s Aging Pipelines

The remains of a gas line lie on the ground after an explosion September 10, 2010 in San Bruno, California. (Photo by Eric Risberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Marian Wang: More than 60 percent of the nation’s gas pipelines are 40 years or older, AP reports. And age isn’t the only issue. Older pipelines are often configured in such a way that they’re unable to accommodate the latest pipeline safety technology.

For Mosques, ‘Anywhere But There’ Echoes Far Beyond Ground Zero

mosque protest

Marian Wang: Given the widespread opposition to such projects over the years, is anywhere far enough from ground zero to build a mosque?

Despite Extra Help, Weakest Bailed-Out Bank Still Among Worst

Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, confers with Rep. Maxine Waters. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Marian Wang: At the center of the ethics controversy enveloping Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, is OneUnited, the nation’s largest African-American-owned bank.

Obama Administration Considers Bypassing Congress on Immigration Reform

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Funke patrols along the border fence between Arizona and Mexico at the town of Nogales on July 28, 2010. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Marcus Stern: Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform are certain to welcome any effort by the Obama administration to unilaterally open pathways to citizenship for many currently in the country illegally. But the draft is also sure to outrage immigration-restriction groups.

Top Officer Says Military Takes Brain Injuries ‘Extremely Seriously’

Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli briefs the media on Nov. 17, 2009, at the Pentagon. On Wednesday, he defended the military's care of soldiers suffering from brain injuries. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

T. Christian Miller: Officially, military figures show that about 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injury since 2002. But we talked to military doctors and reviewed unpublished studies that suggest far more soldiers could have sustained such wounds. While most recovery quickly, estimates suggest that between 5 percent to 15 percent go on to develop cognitive problems.

Chase Denied Loan Mods for Now Forbidden Reason—Homeowners in Limbo

Protesters organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America display a sign from inside the lobby of the One Chase Manhattan Plaza building on Dec. 14, 2009, in New York City. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Paul Kiel: The largest servicers have lagged in approving homeowners for modifications. Together, those servicers account for more than 60 percent of the 3.4 million mortgages eligible for the program, but very few homeowners have been approved for lasting modifications. About 425,000 Chase customers are eligible for loan mods, according to the Treasury Department. Only a little more than 7,000 have received permanent modifications.

Rationing Medical Care: Health Officials Struggle With Setting Standards

A triage training exercise at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey in April 2005. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

“The partisan attacks of the health reform debate have set back the public discussion of resource allocation in a very serious way by putting things in terms of ‘death panels’ or ‘it’s un-American to limit resources,’ as if American insurers don’t do that all the time.”

Out-of-Control Security Guards Hamper Afghanistan Efforts

A convoy containing military hardware heads west to a Coalition outpost in northern Helmand province on June 17, 2006, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

“Trigger-happy” private security guards in Afghanistan are killing civilians and undercutting counterinsurgency efforts, reports today’s Army Times.

Defense Department Ignores Civilian Contractor Toll in Iraq and Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman walks past a vehicle that had carried U.S. civilian contractors, after it was targeted by a suicide bomber in the Logar province. (Farzana Wahidy/AFP/Getty Images/January 2007 file photo)

What it all means is that nine years after the launch of the most contractor-intensive war in U.S. history, nobody is sure how many contractors there are, what they are doing, or how many have been killed or wounded.

Obamas Welcome Gay Rights Activists to White House

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama entertain Monday in the White House's East Room. (Getty Images)

During his remarks, President Obama acknowledged gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, to whom the government recently apologized for firing in 1957, because he was gay.

The Latest Public Option Bamboozle, and How to Recognize the Real Thing

Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

Here’s the latest contortion from Senate Dems trying to win over a few Republicans to a “public option:” Let nonprofits create health-care cooperatives, and call them the public option. Kent Conrad came up with this bamboozle. Finance chair Baucus is impressed, and some Republicans — even Grassley — seem interested. Watch your wallets. Nonprofit health-care [...]

Congo Violence: Déjà Vu All Over Again?

Credit: www.kivupeace.org

A force of armed combatants massacred at least 152 Congolese civilians and wounded another 106 at Gatumba refugee camp. The victims were largely Banyamulenge, a group often categorized with Tutsi. At the intersection of two faltering peace processes, the attack underlined the continuing political conflicts. Most victims were women and children. Loosely called “Interahamwe,” some [...]

Military Fails to Collect from AIG for Care to Injured Contractors

medivac

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica The Pentagon has failed to bill American Insurance Group and other major insurance carriers for millions of dollars in medical care provided to private contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new federal report. The United States has hired hundreds of thousands of civilians to work in the [...]

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