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.
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.
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.
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.
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  he received $2 million that day.
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.
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.
Marian Wang: Given the widespread opposition to such projects over the years, is anywhere far enough from ground zero to build a mosque?
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.
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.
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 But we talked to military doctors and reviewed unpublished studies that suggest far more soldiers could have sustained such wounds.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.
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.
“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.”