Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to vote on a bill called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act – the most significant criminal justice reform legislation to be considered by Congress in the last five years. It will essentially ban juvenile solitary confinement in the federal system and retroactively reduce overly harsh drug sentences.
“For the first time, a majority of Senators took a stand against simply rubber-stamping provisions of the Patriot Act. The Senate will be back for a special Sunday session on May 31 just hours before the June 1 sunset. It’s more urgent than ever that we call on Congress to let Section 215 die!”
NBCNews.com just published an editorial by Bernice A. King about her thoughts this year on Martin Luther King Day, the day we honor her father’s work. She reminds us that we mustn’t honor him passively, however. She says:
Well over a year ago, The Secular Jurist began to repeatedly warn Democrats they would lose the crucial 2014 election and seriously divide the party going forward if they didn’t coalesce around a core set of principles (see here, here, and here). In A Blueprint for the Left, we proposed the following political platform:
Economic fairness through the concern for workers and for human prosperity.
Social justice as a principled commitment to civil rights and equal application of the law.
Public education as the instrument of knowledge and for developing productive citizens.
Secular government to ensure both freedom of, and freedom from religion.
Political equality via open democracy and restricting the corrupting influence of money.
Self-determination through the preclusion of transnational and supranational authorities.
Now, after the November debacle, some Democrats are warming-up to our idea… belatedly. From Richard Eskow of Campaign…
Here is a short documentary made by a professor at the University of California-Berkley about welfare and poverty. The idea for it came after the professor heard her students discussing welfare and government’s role in society. She was shocked to learn that these college-educated students, some of whom were on welfare themselves, harbored deep-seated, negative stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about welfare recipients. It was then that she realized that today’s young people have inherited the harsh Reagan-era ideology of how society should deal with the poor- mainly that welfare programs, like food stamps (now called SNAP), actually reinforce poverty by creating dependence on government assistance. After all, these programs are supposed to be temporary aid, so why should the poor get to live off them, right? Why can’t they just get up and work, right?
Tonight in a video posted by MoveOn.org, Senator Elizabeth Warren and author Thomas Piketty were interviewed by HuffingtonPost.com about social and political issues they’ve been speaking about and working on, such as income inequality and campaign contribution laws post-Citizens United/McCutcheon. They had some very interesting things to say, including their ideas for how to reform the many broken systems in America.
I received some news in my email today from the activist group SumOfUs.org saying that the fast food industry is still paying their workers only minimum wage, despite outcry from workers and those who support them. Any fast food worker will tell you that in most cities, minimum wage is barely enough for rent/mortgage, food, clothing, and the day-to-day expenses that come up for all of us. As I’ve discussed in previous posts about this issue, many of these workers need welfare assistance to survive, which is a crying shame in a nation of plenty.