Making American Mediocre Again

Making American Mediocre Again

The first signs of decline are physical. Citizens don’t grow as tall. They don’t live as long. They start killing each other in large numbers. Sounds like the post-mortem for a society that disappeared long ago, a conclusion that archaeologists deliver after sifting...
Death by Traffic Stop

Death by Traffic Stop

What’s worse than being pulled over nearly 50 times? Believe it or not, quite a few things. Like racking up over $7,000 in fines and fees when you make just $30,000 a year. Or bearing the constant stress of being pulled over and fined, finally paying off one...
Let’s Put Prison Sentences on Probation

Let’s Put Prison Sentences on Probation

You may have heard there’s a growing political movement against mass incarceration. Someone should clue in the judges. In the past 30 years, federal judges have turned to imprisonment — as opposed to probation — as the punishment of choice for even minor crimes,...
Outrage in Oregon

Outrage in Oregon

The armed men occupying an isolated federal building in a remote Oregon bird sanctuary say they won’t leave until the federal government stops its “tyranny.” Yet it’s not clear what that tyranny is, exactly. One of the group’s leaders is Ammon Bundy, who, along with...
Scapegoating Immigrants Isn’t the Answer

Scapegoating Immigrants Isn’t the Answer

About three years ago, my dad was driving the truck he uses for his landscaping business in Phoenix, Arizona when he was pulled over. Two patrol cars cornered him for making a wide right turn. Yes, you read that right: Multiple police officers went out of their way to...
Let’s Talk About Torture

Let’s Talk About Torture

The CIA’s torture-era leadership won’t repent. Even after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report saying in no uncertain terms that the CIA had tortured its prisoners, that torture was official U.S. government policy, and that torture never...
Today’s Mad Men

Today’s Mad Men

I remember when I first started watching Mad Men. Like most of America, I got hooked. How could I not? The glitz and glamour of 1960s Manhattan was irresistible. But from the very first episode, I knew there was something deeply wrong with this world — the...
Apparently, Suite Crime Does Pay

Apparently, Suite Crime Does Pay

What should we, as a society, do with all those reckless financial industry execs who helped trigger the Great Recession and the tidal wave of foreclosures? Should we put these power suits behind bars? Or should we forgive and forget, and lavish down upon them...
One Nation, Under the Gun

One Nation, Under the Gun

Won’t be me Who spoils your fun, Go ahead, And tote that gun. Following that dark opening-night screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, it’s time to contemplate yet again why America’s troubled young men kill so many more people...
Let’s Protect Children, Not Guns

Let’s Protect Children, Not Guns

The Children’s Defense Fund dedicated our report Protect Children, Not Guns 2012 to the memory of Trayvon Martin and the thousands of other children and teenagers killed by guns in America. Guns killed a total of 5,740 kids in 2008 and 2009, according to the...
Let’s Stop Sentencing Children to Life without Parole

Let’s Stop Sentencing Children to Life without Parole

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children,” Nelson Mandela once said. If that’s the case, the United States has much soul-searching to do. The United States is the only country in the world that...
Democratic Speed Bumps in Latin America

Democratic Speed Bumps in Latin America

After a decade of growing popularity, democracy has hit a slump in Latin America. A recent Latinobarómetro poll cited by The Economist in late October underscores this point. In all but three Latin American countries, fewer people than last year believe that...
The Cost of Congressional Dithering

The Cost of Congressional Dithering

While members of Congress waste time naming post offices and devising ways to get seniors to pay for billionaires’ tax breaks through cuts in Medicare and Social Security, other important business is slipping through the cracks. Specifically, if Congress...