“Featured Book” archives

Nov 19 2014

Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better

The passage of Proposition 47 in California earlier this month was a watershed moment for advocates of prison reform. The ballot measure passed by voters would effectively reduce the numbers of people in prison by downgrading some felonies to misdemeanors and divert the freed up funds to education and mental health counseling.

Some law enforcement officials are upset at the passage of the measure saying it would increase crime. Others like California Attorney General Kamala …

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Nov 18 2014

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

If last week’s historic climate deal between the US and China is indeed honored, it could, some day, when the history of the flight against climate change is written, be seen at that crucial turning point in politics.

President Barack Obama, fresh from the Democratic Party’s stinging loss in the midterm elections, unveiled a major plan to curb US 2005 level greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% by the year 2025. And, for the first time, China …

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Nov 11 2014

Katha Pollitt Urges Us to Reclaim Abortion Rights With New Book

Among the things decided in last week’s election were the rights of the so-called unborn. In recent years fertilized eggs inside women’s bodies have begun gaining more rights than the women themselves – an obvious cover for curtailing the right to an abortion. Conservative extremists are pushing what they call “personhood” laws …

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Nov 07 2014

Who We Be: The Colorization of America – Jeff Chang’s Book Tackles Race and Culture Wars

The election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States represented an historic moment of such great proportions that the entire world, not just the US, was enthralled. Yet, we continue to live during a time when Trayvon Martin could be shot and his killer walk away free. Conversations on race are …

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Nov 05 2014

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States

Now that Halloween is over, store shelves and front porches across the United States are festooned with Thanksgiving-related paraphernalia. In addition to the pumpkins and autumn leaves, images of pilgrims alongside Indigenous Americans pop up, emphasizing the myth of benevolent Indians helping White settlers survive the harsh winters. Lost in the imagery are the …

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Oct 16 2014

Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb

Eighteen years ago, an intrepid investigative California-based reporter named Gary Webb published a series of ground-breaking reports linking a brutal right-wing war in Central America, to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the explosion of crack cocaine in South Central Los Angeles. The story was published in three parts in the print and digital editions of the San Jose Mercury …

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Sep 29 2014

Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination

The fight for universal health care has a long history in the United States with many individuals and organizations incorporating the right to decent healthcare into their larger struggle for social justice and human rights.

One such organization was the Black Panther Party. We remember the Black Panther Party today as the most potent …

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Sep 24 2014

Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of a Disrupted Global Economy

The iconic first family of fossil fuel capitalism, the Rockefellers, shocked the world this week by announcing its plans to divest from oil, gas and coal companies. The announcement was a vindication for the largest climate march in history which took place just as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund decided to move about 7% of …

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Sep 22 2014

Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual

Saturday, September 20th would have been Upton Sinclair’s 136th birthday. The widely acclaimed author died at the age of 90 in 1968, leaving a legacy most notably marked by his 1906 book, The Jungle.

Sinclair published his highly controversial novel at the young age of 25, and with it, he ushered in a golden …

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Sep 16 2014

Gather at the Table – a Conversation about Racism and the Legacy of Slavery

As Americans continue to grapple with the issues of race and racism in the US, a book called ‘Gather at the Table’ by Thomas Norman De Wolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan offers up a brutally honest conversation about race which few people in this country dare to pursue. De …

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