“The share of Louisiana’s population that is locked up in jails or prisons is triple that of Iran and seven times that of China. In last two decades, Lousiana’s incarceration rate has doubled, with one out of 86 Louisians doing time — double the national rate.
How did this happen?
In an in-depth piece in the New Orleans Times-Picayune this weekend, writer Cindy Chang looks at one of the key driving factor behind the world’s lock-up capital: “cold, hard cash.”
Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.
It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
“Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet – the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. The largest bureaucracy after the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs is now the Department of Homeland Security, which has a workforce of 230,000 people.
We don’t look like people who have won a war. We look like scared, fearful losers.”
I certainly understand that this is a big, big deal for a sitting POTUS to announce this belief, but for those of us that were already fighting for this right back in 2003-04, it’s sort of like, “eh, about time. thumbs up, I guess.” But either way, I know it’s a happy day for some of my friends. Congrats! Keep fighting.
"Which is basically what this entire Savage dust-up is about. The American right is undertaking a huge project of trying to put right-wing politics beyond criticism by shouting “religious bigotry” any time someone gets in the way of their political agenda. If they can create a consensus that it’s somehow off-limits to criticize teaching that gay people are subhuman as long as you wrap it up in religion, that gives them a huge political advantage. Taken far enough, merely stating out loud in public that you don’t believe gay people are evil could be cause for the fainting couches to be pulled out and accusations that Christians are being oppressed. Sounds ludicrous? Well, consider that we’re currently debating whether or not it’s oppressing Christians to accurately state what’s in the Bible."
“Guaranteeing universal access to preschool would benefit children, of course, but also their parents and the overall economy. First, extending the social contract to 3-and-4-year-olds would acknowledge that our public education system can no longer run on a pre-feminism model that assumes mothers of young children don’t need or want to work. Second, improving lifetime educational achievement by reaching all children as early in their brain development as possible would increase economic mobility. And third, universal preschool would create many new jobs for early education teachers and teachers’ aides.”
This is an long, but important segment. Where is the extremist line for Republicans on the issue of abortion? What position is too extreme to be chosen as Vice President? Rachel Maddow explains how forcing rape and incest victims to carry babies to term is no longer an extremist position among Republicans and what that means for the country.
"Muncie is a microcosm of a nation whose motto could be, “In Nothing We Trust.” Seven in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; eight in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed. Only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses “a great deal” of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion. “We have lost our gods,” says Laura Hansen, an assistant professor of sociology at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “We lost [faith] in the media: Remember Walter Cronkite? We lost it in our culture: You can’t point to a movie star who might inspire us, because we know too much about them. We lost it in politics, because we know too much about politicians’ lives. We’ve lost it—that basic sense of trust and confidence—in everything."
"The conservative movement doesn’t understand anti-racism as a value, only as a rhetorical pose. This is how you end up tarring the oldest integrationist group in the country (the NAACP) as racist. The slur has no real moral content to them. It’s all a game of who can embarrass who. If you don’t think racism is an actual force in the country, then you can only understand it’s invocation as a tactic."
"…we’re a nation of heretics in which most people still associate themselves with Christianity but revise its doctrines as they see fit, and nobody can agree on even the most basic definitions of what Christian faith should mean."