From Behind Bars to Law School

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Bruce Reilly: I came to New Orleans knowing but a few criminal justice activists, legal professionals, and some friends of friends. It was good to have folks who knew I had spent twelve years locked in prison.

Our Hope for Change Still Not Fulfilled

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Walter Brasch: After significant compromise with the recalcitrant Republicans who want to continue to give the wealthy tax advantages while cutting significant social programs, President Obama has finally taken a stand on debt ceiling negotiations. However, in labor, wildlife management, and the environment he is still compromising rather than coming out forcefully for the principles he and the working class and environmentalists believe.

Melting Down

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Robert Illes: A scant 11 months after British Petroleum’s deep water drilling gambit exploded, and kept profusely bleeding black blood into the Gulf of Mexico for weeks, the work of greedy, short-sighted men helped out immeasurably.

A Smeller for the Empire: Gimbling in the Wabe

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Gary Corseri: My house is foreclosed on, my job is outsourced, and my wife runs away with a banker. So…,I figure there’s nothing left to do but pack up the old mini-van, head on down to New Orleans and start a new life as a singer of blues. My border collie, Woof, rides shotgun, his handsome muzzle sticking part way out the window.

Call for Social Networking Reports on Deepwater Horizon Oil Impacts

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Georgianne Nienaber: Social networking may turn out to be the first line of defense against public relations spin by providing real time gathering of data on the massive river of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon well explosion. Maps generated by satellite and “predictions” are only so valuable. One of the tenets of remote sensing is that “ground truthing” be a mandatory part of the equation. Truth is the operative word here as Gulf Coast residents face an unprecedented environmental disaster.

Haiti Reminds Us of the Poverty at Home

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David A. Love: It is unfortunate that it took an earthquake to put the spotlight back on poverty in Haiti. To be sure, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince would have been devastating under any circumstances. But the people of Haiti had been suffering for years. The difference is that no one cared, because people often become weary hearing about black people suffering.

Savannah Book Festival: Escape From a Cold Virtual World

Songwriter Claire Holley performs in Sierra Madre on January 13.

Georgianne Nienaber: My New Year’s resolution is that I will abandon virtual networking for authentic, human contact. It’s time to venture into the heady world of writers and meet artists who excel at their craft. No mere dream-like avatars of the internet, these are verifiable, living, breathing originals, and you can find them at mostly unheralded literary events.

An Inaugural Poem

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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 [...]