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Thumbnail image for The Pernicious ‘War on Drugs’ Is Behind America’s Staggeringly High Female Prison Population

The Pernicious ‘War on Drugs’ Is Behind America’s Staggeringly High Female Prison Population

by Source 10.21.2014 Courts, Justice

U.S. prisons incarcerate more than a third of all female inmates worldwide, many of them for drug offenses.

By Cliff Weathers / Alternet

Women make up nearly 9% of the U.S. prison population and about a third of them are serving time for drug offenses, according to two recent studies. Moreover, with just over 200,000 women behind bars, U.S. prisons incarcerate a third of all female prisoners worldwide.

According to the latest report on women detainees by the International Center for Prison Studies, some 625,000 women and girls are held in penal institutions throughout the world. This includes remanded (pre-trial) detainees and those who have been sentenced. China, with 84,600 female women in detention (and 5.1 percent of its prison population), is a distant second to the U.S, followed by Russia (59,200), Brazil (35,596) and Thailand (29,175).

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Help Stop Ebola by Telling Congress and the White House to Order Hospitals to Put Safety Standards First

by Source 10.21.2014 Government

Simply put, the status quo is indefensible if it puts nurses, other frontline healthcare workers, and patients’ lives in jeopardy.

nurses_ebolaBy Rose Ann DeMoro / Common Dreams

Now that nurses, who have been sounding the alarm about Ebola for more than two months, finally have the attention of policy makers and many others, let’s have no more excuses and take the steps needed to contain and eradicate this virulent disease in the U.S. and globally.

You can help by signing our online petition to Congress and President Obama here.

In the U.S., long experience with the privately-run corporate hospital chains that dominate care delivery have made the sober reality abundantly clear – unless the healthcare industry is mandated to put the safety of patients, nurses, and other caregivers above their profit motive, the Ebola threat will only get worse.

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Thumbnail image for Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

by Source 10.18.2014 Activism

Lies distort every critical issue the U.S. faces.

By Harriett Levin Balkind / Alternet.org

A record $3.7+ billion is pouring into the 2014 midterms. The monetary floodgates are wide open, thanks to recent Supreme Court election decisions. Most of that money is spent on advertising, much of which misleads, distorts and downright lies. The donors for more than half of TV ads are not fully disclosed. Someone is profiting, but it sure isn’t you. And it’s definitely not the country.

It is legal to lie in national political advertising. Federal candidates can say just about anything they want, protected by the Court’s interpretation of free speech. The stand-by-your-ad statement: “I approve this message,” doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does get candidates the cheapest TV and radio ad rates, in compliance with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. If a federal candidate’s ad is deceptive, broadcasters have to run it, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

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Thumbnail image for Let Them Eat Tips

Let Them Eat Tips

by Source 10.18.2014 Business

Marriott’s push to get guests to subsidize its crummy pay for the people who clean hotel rooms is a disgrace.
By Jim Hightower / Other Words

Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America’s exploitative, low-wage economy couldn’t get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy — along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: “Let them eat tips.”

Marriott International supports the political notion that America is divided between a few noble “makers” (like them) and a mass of “takers” (you, me, and the rest of us). Its approximately 4,000 hotels in 78 countries and territories have more than 690,000 rooms and operate under 18 different brand names that range from plebeian chains like Fairfield Inn & Suites to the luxury Ritz-Carlton properties.

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Thumbnail image for Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

by Source 10.13.2014 Activism

‘The killing of innocent black youth is systemic… It has to stop — everywhere.’

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Several thousand community members marched alongside activists from around the country in downtown St. Louis on Saturday as they demanded attention be paid to a national trend of police violence and called for justice in the case of Michael Brown, a local unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the suburb of Ferguson on August 9th.

Though more than two months have now gone by, local citizens and their allies from across the country expressed anger, frustration, and sadness that so far no charges have been brought against Officer Wilson. “Arrest him now! Arrest him now!” was both a stated demand and a chanted refrain during the march.

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Thumbnail image for Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

by Source 10.11.2014 Activism

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Lego announced on Thursday that it would not be renewing its marketing contract with Shell, after Greenpeace campaigned for several months for the Danish toy maker to end its decades-long partnership with the oil giant.

As part of its push to call on Lego to end the contract, Greenpeace created a video that depicted a pure, wholesome Arctic landscape, built from Legos, that slowly flooded with oil as various characters wept and drowned.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Mayoral Forum Shows Cultural Chasm in Escondido

Latino Mayoral Forum Shows Cultural Chasm in Escondido

by Source 10.10.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

You have to give Mayor Sam Abed credit. He tried his best to ‘make nice’ with Escondido’s Latino community, but all he accomplished was to reinforce his image as a disconnected white guy who cannot comprehend how his policies and actions come across. Stephen Siaw was almost as bad, but one wonders whether he may come from a less judgmental place.

The occasion was a Mayoral candidate forum for the Latino community sponsored by the La Raza Law Association of San Diego County, MANA of North County and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It was held at the Escondido Senior Center October 3. About 50 people attended. Carlos Gonzalez of Univision moderated.

The questions were tough and focused on Latino issues. (They were provided in advance to the candidates.) The answers held few surprises for those who have been monitoring the candidates so far in the campaign.

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Thumbnail image for What 35,000 Walruses Forced to the Beach Tell Us About Global Warming

What 35,000 Walruses Forced to the Beach Tell Us About Global Warming

by Source 10.04.2014 Environment

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Federal biologists have discovered an unusual phenomenon on a beach in northwest Alaska: a massive gathering of walruses—35,000 of them—crowded onto a small strip of shore.

This swarm, which was sighted in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aerial survey on Saturday, is a direct result of a warming climate and declining sea ice, say scientists.

Pacific walruses, who live in the Bering Sea during winter, require floating sea ice to meet their survival needs, using them for rest in between journeys to forage for food, such as clam, snails, and worms, as well as for giving birth and caring for their young. But as the oceans warm, this sea ice is receding, especially near coastal areas, forcing these walruses to take to the beach for resting and foraging, according to an explanation from the NOAA.

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Thumbnail image for California Just Passed a Plastic Bag Ban. Here’s What You Need to Know.

California Just Passed a Plastic Bag Ban. Here’s What You Need to Know.

by Source 10.04.2014 Business

The move is sure to reduce litter—but not necessarily planet-warming emissions.

By Katie Rose Quandt / Mother Jones

Update, September 30, 2014: On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB270 into law, making California the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. The law is set to begin going into effect in July 2015.

Last month, California became the first state to pass a bill banning the ubiquitous disposable plastic bag. If signed into law, the measure will prohibit grocery and retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags and require them to charge at least 10 cents for paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable plastic bags. The bill, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles), will also provide funding for California-based plastic bag companies to develop sturdier, reusable options.

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Thumbnail image for For Walkers and Cyclists, A Swedish Road-Planning Strategy Helps Save Lives

For Walkers and Cyclists, A Swedish Road-Planning Strategy Helps Save Lives

by Source 10.03.2014 Activism

Utah, Minnesota, and Washington have seen traffic fatalities decline by 40 percent. Here’s how they did it.

By / Yes!

More than 4,500 pedestrians are killed and more than 68,000 are injured by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America. The victims are disproportionately children, seniors, and people of color.

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition found that from 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed crossing the street. That’s 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters over the same period.

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Thumbnail image for The Wilderness Act Turns 50

The Wilderness Act Turns 50

by Source 10.01.2014 Activism

Celebrating the Great Laws of 1964

By William deBuys / TomDispatch

Let us now praise famous laws and the year that begat them: 1964.

The first thing to know about 1964 was that, although it occurred in the 1960s, it wasn’t part of “the Sixties.” The bellbottoms, flower power, LSD, and craziness came later, beginning about 1967 and extending into the early 1970s. Trust me: I was there, and I don’t remember much; so by the dictum variously attributed to Grace Slick, Dennis Hopper, and others (that if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t part of them), I must really have been there.

1964 was a revolutionary year. It was a time when Congress actually addressed the people’s business, and it gave us at least three great laws.

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Obama’s Pitiful Pledge Epitomizes Failure of UN Summit: Climate Campaigners

by Source 09.30.2014 Activism

Community leaders from Our Power Campaign attempt to deliver a statement to the UN but are denied entry. They brought "representing our community-led solutions, as plants that clean the soil of toxics," according a group statement. (Photo: Climate Justice Alliance)

Following historic protests, grassroots organizations turned away from UN’s ‘halls of power’ when they attempt to deliver statement.

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Historic crowds gathered in New York City on September 21 to demand drastic action in the face of the ever worsening climate crisis. But at Tuesday’s Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters, heads of state—most notably President Obama—did not come close to heeding the urgent calls for concrete action, say climate justice campaigners.

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Thumbnail image for Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

by Source 09.29.2014 Activism

As student activists return to campus to celebrate the 1964 Free Speech movement that galvanized for social justice, big questions remain about the direction of higher education since those radical days of upheaval and hope

By Barbara Garson / Common Dreams

I’m going back to the Berkeley campus this week for the fiftieth reunion of the Free Speech Movement.  You may have heard in some history class about Mario Savio and the first student sit-in of the sixties.  That was us FSMers at Berkeley.

It will feel a bit surreal.  The university that had 801 of us arrested is welcoming us back by hanging Free Speech banners on the building we occupied.  Home like a victorious football team!  But it’s not a real victory because the people that tried to shut us up in the 1960s have a more chilling control over U.S. college students today than they ever had over us.  Today it’s not police control, its economic control.

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Thumbnail image for Kentucky Town Beats High Gas Prices—By Opening a Public Gas Station

Kentucky Town Beats High Gas Prices—By Opening a Public Gas Station

by Source 09.24.2014 Activism

By Thomas Hanna / Yes!

Earlier this month, the small city of Somerset, Kentucky, drew national attention when it opened a municipally owned and operated fuel center in an effort to drive down gas prices for local residents. As a result of its proximity to Lake Cumberland, a popular tourist destination, the city of 11,000 residents has long struggled with high fuel prices—especially during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Under the leadership of Republican Mayor Eddie Girdler, the conservative-leaning city purchased a fuel storage facility for $200,000 and spent $75,000 building the infrastructure to distribute gasoline to the public—including the installation of 10 pumps. The city now purchases gas from a local supplier (Continental Refining Company) and uses city employees who rotate in from other departments to operate the station.

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Thumbnail image for Crippling Student Loan Debt, Not Just For the Young

Crippling Student Loan Debt, Not Just For the Young

by Source 09.20.2014 Economy

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The retirement crisis, hastened by the death of the pension and the great recession that decimated retirement funds along with home values, has a yet another growing cause: student loan debt. A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows how massive student loan debt is throughout the population, but how dramatically it has grown for seniors.

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Thumbnail image for Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

by Source 09.19.2014 Business

By Paul Campos / Lawyers, Guns and Money

Thomas Jefferson is a big, although shrinking, ABA law school in San Diego, featuring horrible employment statistics (less than three in ten graduates have legal jobs nine months after graduation), terrible bar passage rates (over the past three years less than half of the school’s graduates who have taken the California bar have passed), and mind-boggling debt figures (the 2013 class took out an average of $180,000 in law school loans, which means its members had an average of around $215,000 in law school debt alone, not counting undergraduate debt, when their first loan payments became due in December).

A few years ago, this institution decided it would be a good thing to build a swank 305,000 square-foot eight-story building in downtown San Diego, at a cost of around $90,000,000. The project, which was completed in 2011, was beset by litigation over “alleged construction flaws and unpaid debts.”

The project has also been plagued by remarkably bad timing, as it opened just as the law school reform movement was generating the kind of major media coverage that led to a crash in applications to law schools generally, and to TJSL in particular.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

by Source 09.19.2014 Editor's Picks

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

Both candidates competing to represent Area 4 of the Escondido Union (elementary) School District told Escondido Democrats in a forum September 13 support teaching creationism alongside science in the classroom. Incumbent Board Member Marty Hranek said it is “important to offer different viewpoints and state the facts as they are. There’s a lot of very good research out there for multiple philosophies.” Zesty Harper, who is challenging Hranek, said “I’m a Christian and I believe God created the earth. I think we should offer both views… in a non-biased way.” Hranek later sent an email attempting to backtrack from his comments, writing “I do not agree that ‘creationism’ should be taught as curriculum in public schools.”

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Thumbnail image for Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

by Source 09.17.2014 Activism

By Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben / TomDispatch

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march — environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups — which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

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Thumbnail image for The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

by Source 09.16.2014 Food & Drink

By Max Goldberg / Living Maxwell

Last week, Naked Juice agreed to settle a very important class action lawsuit which accused the company of deceptive labeling.

The primary basis of the lawsuit stemmed from the company’s use of the words “All Natural” on products that contained Archer Daniels Midland’s Fibersol-2 (“a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent”), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), other artificial ingredients, such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and genetically-modified soy.

Since these ingredients are either genetically-engineered or synthetically produced and do not exist in nature, it is completely misleading to consumers for these juices to claim to be “All Natural.”

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Thumbnail image for Escondido Council Candidate Forum Reveals Stances on Golf Course, Charter City Propositions

Escondido Council Candidate Forum Reveals Stances on Golf Course, Charter City Propositions

by Source 09.13.2014 Government

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises at the Chamber of Commerce Council Candidate Forum September 10, and few in the audience to see them.

The candidates all participated, several of them admitting this was their first time in a forum, giving one of only a few chances for voters to compare them in action. (The League of Women Voters will provide another opportunity at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 25 in Council Chambers at City Hall.)

The 7:30 a.m. start time was clearly part of the attendance problem. There were fewer than 50 people in the audience.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

by Source 09.10.2014 Activism

In less than two weeks, the ‘Climate People’s March & Mobilization’ is set to make its mark on history. A new film helps explain where the movement came from and where it’s going.

by Jon Queally/ CommonDreams

On Sunday, Sept. 7, a new documentary film highlighting the intertwined story of the climate crisis and the growing social movement which has grown in response to it was released online for national screenings that took place in people’s home and public meeting spaces.

At just under an hour long, the film—titled ‘Disruption’—was produced with a stated goal to “galvanize a new wave of climate action and climate leadership” across the globe and comes just weeks before the ‘People’s Climate March‘ being organized for New York City that will take place on Sunday, September 21.

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Thumbnail image for Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

by Source 09.09.2014 Activism

Every major consumer group, a nationwide coalition of mayors, and thousands of startups and small businesses have joined millions of people in urging the FCC to save Net Neutrality.

By Timothy Karr / OtherWords

There was no vacation for the Internet this summer.

While many Americans slipped away to the beach, Internet users were busy defending the openness of a network that has become this era’s engine for free expression, ingenuity and just about everything else.

The threat comes from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has proposed new rules that would fundamentally change the workings of the Web — leaving its fate in the hands of a few powerful phone and cable companies.

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Thumbnail image for Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

by Source 09.03.2014 Activism

US Senator from Vermont is touring the country to capture the pulse of populist sentiment and to see whether or not hunger exists for a real ‘political revolution’

By Jon Queally / CommonDreams

The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has a hunch about the American electorate, but he says the only way to be sure is to go out and meet them.

It’s called the ‘Fight For Economic Justice Tour,’ but it’s really what the self-identified Social Democrat described earlier this year as his attempt to travel the country in order to gauge the country’s hunger for a grassroots ‘political revolution’—couched in a possible presidential bid—to challenge the economic inequality and corporate malfeasance that have severely wounded the nation’s democracy and are strangling its promise of shared prosperity.

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One Hundred Ways to Change the Subject: Plutocratic Fallacies in the Service of Fast-Food Exploitation

by Source 09.02.2014 Activism

By Jeffrey Nall / Truthout

Image: Jared Rodriguez / TruthoutAs fast-food workers demand a fair share of the profits they create, the industry, its supporters and assorted critics of the movement have responded by lobbing red herrings, from the contention that workers should find new work if they don’t like their current working conditions to the threat that “robots will replace you.” Others charge that workers don’t deserve a living wage because their job doesn’t require a college education. A Facebook meme posted by Sarah Palin in response to last fall’s Fight for 15 protests pictures US soldiers in combat, accompanied by the text: “We get paid less than minimum wage and you’re demanding 15 bucks an hour to slap a burger on a bun.” These common appeals are part of a tapestry of “plutocratic fallacies” used to justify exploitive wages and foster irrational division among low-wage workers.

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California Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Temp Workers

by Source 08.30.2014 Business

220px-Californiastatecapitol By Michael Grabell / ProPublica

The California legislature has passed a bill that would hold companies legally responsible if the temp agencies and subcontractors they hire cheat workers out of their wages or put them in harm’s way.

Labor officials across the country have increasingly expressed concern about the rapid growth of the temporary staffing industry since the recession. They have also noted the push by hotels and warehouses to subcontract work that is part of their core business, such as cleaning guest rooms and unloading trucks.

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