—Aaron Cantú focuses on the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, social inequality and post-capitalist institutional design.
“Corporations Rewriting US Labor Laws,” by Ramy Srour. Inter Press Service via Truthout, November 2, 2013.
The left-liberal Economic Policy Institute examined new labor laws in all fifty state legislatures over the past two years, and their research revealed a broad, corporately funded attack on workers nationwide. The swath of assaults is long and disheartening, and includes enhanced restrictions to bargaining rights, extinguished benefits for the unemployed and eroded child labor laws (in Idaho, 12-year-olds can be “employed” as labor hands in their schools). From the mountains to the prairies the class war rages on, bankrolled by austerity-minded groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
—Owen Davis focuses on public education, media and the effects of social inequality.
“New Report: Mentally ill adolescents in isolation on Rikers Island,” by Abigail Kramer. Child Welfare Watch at the New School, November 4, 2013.
Three teenagers—two diagnosed with bipolar disorder and one with depression—were held in solitary confinement for more than 200 days at Rikers Island, according to a new Department of Corrections report. The blog’s author notes that over a quarter of the adolescents at Rikers are held in “punitive segregation” at any given time, and that among these, 70 percent have diagnosed mental illnesses. It’s heinous that we condemn troubled kids with mental illnesses to extended solitary confinement in adult prisons. It’s baffling that we call it “correction.”
—Omar Ghabra focuses on Syria and Middle Eastern politics.
“Thomas Jefferson’s Quran: How Islam Shaped the Founders,” R.B. Bernstein. The Daily Beast, September 29, 2013.
I chose this book review because of the timely nature of its subject, a new book I am reading that closely examines the relationship between Islam and the Founding Fathers of this country. This is surprisingly somewhat unchartered territory, which allows this book to fill an important need in the post-9/11 discourse surrounding Islam’s place in America. From the fact that there were tens of thousands of Muslim West African slaves brought to the US in the 1700s to numerous examples of our leading Founders including “Mahometans“ in their early arguments for freedom of religion, this book undermines any notions that Muslims are any less entitled to the same standing in this country than any other group.