We owe a debt of gratitude to the prisoners at the Pelican Bay State Prison in California who were on a hunger strike for several weeks. They have raised the issue of inhumane conditions in prisons across the nation, particularly the thousands of prisoners who are held in prolonged solitary confinement which we know can cause long-term psychological damage.
By David Morris
U.S. military spending now exceeds the spending of all other countries combined.
In all the talk about the federal deficit, why is the single largest culprit left out of the conversation? Why is the one part of government that best epitomizes everything conservatives say they hate about government—- waste, incompetence, and corruption—all but exempt from conservative criticism?
Of course, I’m talking about the Pentagon. Any serious battle plan to reduce the deficit must take on the Pentagon. In 2011 military spending accounted for more than 58 percent of all federal discretionary spending and even more if the interest on the federal debt that is related to military spending were added. In the last ten years we have spent more than $7.6 trillion on military and homeland security according to the National Priorities Project.
When I moved to Texas with my wife and three children 40 years ago, I knew that the Texas educational and health care system for the state's children was far from being the best in the nation. However, I had confidence that the situation would improve significantly as time passed and more people moved into the state.
If anyone is wondering why the youth of our nation are disillusioned, you need go no further than an examination of the actions of our politicians. It is very clear that most Republican politicians are only interested in satisfying the monetary needs of their rich supporters, whether they be on Wall Street or in the board rooms of major corporations. However, the Democrats are not much better. Many of them also have rich supporters. Even Barack Obama, on whom many youth pinned their hopes for a brighter future, has been a disappointment to many.
By David Atwood
Recently there has been a lot of union bashing in the United States. It has been particularly bad in northern states such as Wisconsin and Ohio where the newly elected Republican governors have tried to strip collective bargaining rights from public service unions. I, too, have done my share of union bashing in the past. It was the thing to do if you were in management in a large corporation. It is easy for someone in that position to forget that unions were instrumental in achieving unemployment insurance, the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, occupational safety and health regulations, and unpaid leave to care for newborn children. Most families have benefited from these improvements in the workplace.
Below is a proclamation developed by a diverse group of Houstonians to address hateful and biased language in the community which could lead to violence. Such language is often directed at people of color, immigrants and Muslims but it can be directed at anyone in the community. Biased and hateful language serves only to harm wonderful people who are trying to live normal lives, raise their families, and who are making positive contributions to our city.
Houston Peace and Justice Center is proud to endorse this proclamation and participate in the activities introducing it to other Houstonians on April 4 (A Discussion at Rothko Chapel) and April 5 (A presentation at Houston City Council meeting).
F or immediate release: February 21, 2011
The Houston Peace and Justice Center (HPJC) decries the radical agenda of right-wing politcians in Texas who want to pass bills that will harm immigrants and hard-working families in the state.
HPJC is concerned that a number of bills have been introduced in the Texas Legislature that will harm immigrants - both documented and undocumented. For example, bills have been introduced that require police officers to check the immigration status of people they detain, require schools to check the immigration status of students, require proof of citzenship in order to obtain a driver's license or any occupational license, mandate English as the official language of Texas, repeal the Texas DREAM Act, require proof of citizenship to work in Texas, deny birth certificates to children born of undocumented parents and impose a fee for money transmissions sent outside the United States. These bills will lead to racial profiling and discrimination, and several of them may be unconstitutional. However, they are also harmful to all Texans in that they will create a climate of fear, increase crime and violence, place an unnecessary burden on local law enforcement and school officals and harm the economy of the state.