The American criminal justice system is abysmal and getting worse, a terrible indictment of a sick society. However, we can see signs of the movement toward health around the edges. Here’s a New York Reveiw of Books review of an encouraging book that tells of restorative justice strategies that do make a positive difference. It is a reason to hope when we see a mainstream media outlet spreading the word.
If people who care deeply about human rights and the soul of America were hopeful that we might see some major changes under the Obama administration, torture expert Alfred McCoy gives us reason for discouragement. Perhaps with Obama and Empire, we will mostly get “kinder, gentler machine-gun hand” (quoting Neil Young’s song about America in the presidency of George H. W. Bush) where the most important contrast with the Bush II years will be more effective public relations.
Here’s another current account of the American Empire at work–a tragic and arrogant destruction of an Indian Ocean island culture for the sake of U.S. power.
A sharp critique of American higher education–and how we are fairly to prepare young people to question and change the world for the better.
Chris Hedges, former prize-winning war correspondent has some harsh words about the irredeemable character of the institution of warfare–welcome words indeed. But does he take it all back with this one sentence: “Wars may have to be fought to ensure survival, but they are always tragic”? Can we hope to overcome this curse until we reject totally the notion that wars may “have to be fought to ensure survival”?
Evidence that we are moving closer to the abyss in the war on Afghanistan.
A fascinating account of an Ivy League student who went “underground” at Liberty University and came away with the wise complexifying the the cultural wars.
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Americans who are religious and politically progressive have seemed to be an endangered species in recent years. The election of Barack Obama promises to breathe new life into this community–however the initial dynamics may be foreshadowing conflicts ahead.
It has seemed to many of us that one of the most dangerous directions the Obama administration could follow will be to deepen American military involvement in Afghanistan. The dangers obviously most centrally include the destruction that will be imposed on the Afghani people. Another danger is the possibility of severely damaging Obama’s potentially to govern effectively. Norman Solomon, one of the most perceptive and critical commentators on American war practices sees these dangers becoming more likely.
The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has been embroiled in intense conflicts recently–however the notion that the defection of numerous conservative Episcopalians in endangering the larger Episcopal Church has little basis in fact.
An area of our society that is taking a hit with our current economic meltdown that may not get the attention as some others but which certainly concerns me as a college professor is the impact of what’s going on on higher education. Some troubling reflections on this issue.
Dean Baker continues to provide some of the most helpful analysis on economic issues in the US. Here is a recent defense of our Social Security system.
Some sharp words for the leaders of our financial system from Bill Moyers.
What’s happening to Christianity in America? Here’s Newsweek’s take.
The Economist is not my favorite periodical. I recently signed up for a free subscription and am now trying to cancel. The point of view is way too sanguine about the corporate world, “free” trade, militarism, and the like. However, the March 7, 2009 issue contained some exceptionally good material on the failed “drug wars.” The lead article has some good wisdom and persuasively makes the case for decriminalization.
February 2009 Links
January 2009 Links
December 2008 Links
November 2008 Links
October 2008 Links
Some excellent reflections on the state of America in the early days of the Obama administration from the indispensable Jonathan Schell.
Rumors of the demise of the Christian Right have been greatly exaggerated.
According to one of my favorite writers on economics, Dean Baker, baby boomers in the U.S. have just lost the largest amount of wealth of any age group of people in the history of the world.
Here’s an argument that small-scale, organic farming can play a major role in addressing the global food crisis.
The new coalition purporting to bring together politically liberal and conservative Christians to overcome poverty is deeply flawed, according to this article, by an entirely too benign approach to the role of wealthy people in fostering poverty.
A report on the hard times being faced by many of America’s small cities–including, in this article, Elkhart, Indiana.
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