Crime Prevention

The Washington Post reported on April 20th that a New York-based human rights group called Human Rights Watch has found that two new super-max prisons in Virginia are marked by racism, brutality, and inhumane conditions, and that, with room to spare in these highest security prisons, state officials are rushing to fill them with prisoners “better suited to less harsh conditions.”

In the view of many advocacy groups, including Amnesty International and the ACLU, ALL prisoners are better read more

American Violence

Why do kids get shot in schools in the U.S.? The vast presence of guns is one possible contributing factor. So is the violence in U.S. movies, music, books, magazines, and video games. The extreme inequality in wealth in the U.S., poor child raising, high divorce, and low quality schools are other possible culprits. It’s also possible to suspect an American genetic tendency toward violence, but I don’t believe we know enough to address that possibility.

Guns are defended as necessary read more

Culpeper, Virginia

If you listen to the advertisements of candidates for state delegate from Virginia’s 30th district you may be surprised to learn that socialism is alive and well in this rural section of the piedmont just to the south of booming Northern Virginia and just to the north of Charlottesville where the University of Virginia and strange liberal ideas can be found.

Independent candidate, J.D. ?Dori? Callahan is campaigning against socialism. A homemade sign in a yard in Culpeper reads read more

Remember

One good reason to read history is to discover that many of the worst aspects of our lives today are very recent inventions. It?s extremely fast today: the time that it takes an innovation of the worst sort to become thought of as the way things have always been.
After WWII incomes over $400,000 were taxed at 91 percent. By stages, this has been reduced to 28 percent. As a result, between 1978 and 1990 the net worth of the Forbes 400 tripled and $70 billion per year was lost in read more

Why Do I Oppose the Death Penalty?

First, it takes life.

Second, it encourages the taking of life and other forms of revenge. Not only is there no evidence that it reduces crime, but it is defended in the same terms that many criminals use to defend their actions.

Third, it is dishonest. If we are going to kill people, we should do so publicly and graphically. Outside of Florida, where the victim?s head sometimes catches on fire in the electric chair, we have made murder look like a tetanus shot. When we hide from ourselves read more

The Washington Post's Morality

Believe it or not, there was a time in this country, and there soon will be again, when ?morality? or ?ethics? was not shorthand for cruel talk about sex. When Upton Sinclair said, ?My efforts are to find out what is righteousness in the world, to live it, and try to help others to live it,? he was talking about helping huge groups of people out of misery, helping them to lead fuller lives. In other words he was ?mixing? ethics with economic issues. read more

Family Values

Orange County Review
12 Oct. 2000

To the editor:

Tamara Jones’s letter in your Oct. 12 issue advises people to vote in the upcoming elections not with regard to “the economy” but with an eye toward supporting the idea of “the family.” I’d like to argue that families often stand or fall because of economic matters, such as the declining wages most Americans are receiving for increased hours at work.

Jones blames smaller paychecks on taxes, but taxes have not read more

Voting for Nader

This letter was printed in an edited form in the USA Today on Oct. 10, 2000.
4 October 2000

To the Editor:

I?m glad to hear Philip Meyer is planning to vote, and hope he votes for the candidate I favor. But what are we supposed to make of his list of reasons not to bother voting? He suggests that people do not vote because they are content. No doubt, there are some of these. But I know a lot of people who do not vote because they don?t see a candidate they like and are disgusted read more

Supermaxes

The Washington Post reported Oct. 3, 2000, that people locked up in a supermax prison in Virginia were complaining of excessive force, including the use of guns, stun guns, and restraints. But why are such things ?excessive?? If you are going to lock people in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and treat them as worthless, it is unavoidable that they are going to lose their minds and attack you and pelt you with feces and urine. This experiment of isolating people was run nearly read more

WWII Memorial

Bob Dole wants a WWII memorial built on the Mall in the next three or four years, or else, he fears, no WWII veterans will be around to see it.

Well, if the idea is to have a memorial for WWII veterans to see, I say we build it as fast as physically possible. We won?t use marble, but we could put up a pre-fab memorial constructed with the techniques used in building a Wal-Mart and have it operational by, say, next Thursday. Then ? to prove that our failure to honor slaves, Native read more