While touring a Shinto temple in Kyoto, Japan on Thanksgiving, six Japanese students approached my family and me. In school uniforms, offering enthusiastic smiles, they bowed before saying, “Hi, we are Japanese students. May we ask you questions?” They were there as part of a school project and were close in age to our kids. Our daughter is eleven and our son, thirteen. “Where are … Continue reading What Do I Like Best About America?
This summer, more than half of DC voters supported Initiative 77, which would eliminate the two-tiered wage system and increase the tipped minimum wage to match the rising non-tipped minimum wage at $15/hr. Almost six months later, activists are still working to see the will of voters go into effect. The “Save Our Vote” organizers, who are collecting signatures to overturn the DC City Council … Continue reading “Save Our Vote” Campaign Keeps Initiative 77 Fight Alive
With more races being decided by ever-slimmer margins, like in Florida’s gubernatorial and senate elections, increasing attention is being paid to who can and cannot vote, and how difficult the voting process has become for certain Americans. This midterm election was decided in part by widespread voter suppression, and it’s time for Americans to acknowledge how much partisan maneuvering is to blame. In this summer’s … Continue reading Because of the Supreme Court’s Complicity, Our Elections Lack Integrity
By now, the entire country has heard the issues surrounding the governor’s race in Georgia. Under Republican candidate Brian Kemp’s supervision, massive voter suppression took place. As the sitting Secretary of State, Kemp should be held responsible for unused, still wrapped voting machines being found days after the election, hour-long lines, and tens of thousands of unprocessed registrations. Instead, he is likely to be rewarded … Continue reading Georgia’s Gubernatorial Election is a National Embarrassment
When he was running for the Republican nomination, and eventually the presidency, Trump made a number of campaign promises that have fallen to the wayside. The most disregarded of these being to “hire the best people” when asked how he would navigate domestic and international policy with no experience. Sure enough, he is elected and does hire a ton of people. How smart they are … Continue reading Trump’s Track Record So Far with Hiring “the Best People”
Despite our country’s immense wealth, poverty has been a longstanding challenge to far too many communities, especially immigrant communities. This inequality has persisted for generations, simply because citizenship opens the door to uncountable opportunities, and immigration policy has frequently been racially and economically charged. Instead of policies to ease the path to citizenship for all people regardless of means and background, the current administration is … Continue reading The Criminalization of Poverty and Legal Immigration
We all know the moral arguments for a fairer, less cruel immigration system. But while the merits of not putting immigrant children in cages should be obvious, they don’t seem to be as persuasive as they should for a certain segment of the population. To those who are unconvinced by the moral argument, I would offer up the economic argument for a better immigration system, … Continue reading Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Policies Will Hurt the American Economy
Dear kids, My generation, the Baby Boomers, have succeeded during my/our adulthood in totally screwing this country up. Sorry! The deficit is only getting larger, the cost of higher education has skyrocketed, and healthcare for all– despite being a human rights issue– still eludes us. Our military has a presence across the globe but peace has still not been reached. I vote, and I urge … Continue reading A Letter to My Children From Your Loving Papa
Since 1984, when CoreCivic got the first contract to operate a for-profit prison, there has been a massive increase in private corporations finding ways to enrich themselves off mass incarceration. While it is unclear whether private interests or tough-on-crime public policy first fueled this epidemic, the result is that the U.S. has five times as many inmates as any other country. Unfortunately, this crisis touches … Continue reading Prisoners Can’t Support Their Families, But They Can Make Investors Rich
With all the talk surrounding money in politics, little attention has been paid to how this issue limits the candidate pool. Essentially, we are seeing now more than ever the devastating results of money in politics in the form of limiting the ability of potential candidates to afford running for office. There have been many reports on how expensive elections have become, but few have … Continue reading Who Should Run for Office?
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which enables qualifying employees to take unpaid but protected leaves from their workplace. While this was a good start, in the years since, paid leave legislation at the federal level has stalled and women have paid the price. Luckily, California has decided to do something about this. As of January 1 … Continue reading Best Fringe Benefit: Caregiver Paid Leave
The mayor of Mount Vernon, NY, a city of around 70,000 citizens just north of New York City, has been charged with several felonies, essentially for stealing money from his own campaign committee. Mayor Richard Thomas also spent tens of thousands of dollars raised for his inauguration on personal expenses, but that is apparently not illegal. New York State law clearly prohibits using money raised … Continue reading Elected Officials and Outside Income — Not a Good Match
With passage of the 13th and 14th amendments, America created two of the greatest loopholes in the country’s legal code. Immediately following their introduction, the language of the amendments led to Jim Crow, convict leasing, and chain gangs. Over 150 years later, we are seeing further harmful results of these laws in states that disenfranchise felons. Thankfully, some states are beginning to examine their policies … Continue reading Florida is being Forced to Reform its Voting Rights Restoration System
There are vast differences between the lives of a rich person and a poor person. As someone who finds himself in the former category, I know that the majority of these differences privilege my experiences and opportunities over the other. In a truly democratic and safe society, these benefits should stop once the criminal justice system enters into the equation, but this is not the … Continue reading Do Millionaires Worry About Going to Jail?
With so many contentious aspects of the omnibus being highlighted in the news cycle, it’s easy to ignore the seemingly innocuous touting Trump has done in the aftermath of the legislation’s passage. Unfortunately, the president’s musings over enacting a presidential line item veto is not simply hot air, and while many presidents have called for one before, the proposal has never been as potentially detrimental … Continue reading Trump Wants to Take Even More Power From Congress
Whether it’s the monied bail system, the corruption of officers and prosecutors, or the financial interests of for-profit prisons, there are economic and institutional powers that require a consistent flow of offenders and non-offenders to be put behind bars and forever marred by the label “convict.” At the moment, a plurality of states disenfranchise citizens, sometimes for life, due to their criminal history. We would … Continue reading New Jersey Might (Finally) Do Something About its Practice of Disenfranchisment
Our country and all subsequent American generations are sitting on a massive time bomb that will ultimately explode and take the United States of America, as we know it, with it. This time bomb is our National Debt! For some reason, the “fiscally responsible” party, the Republicans, only seem concerned with the debt when a Democrat is in the White House or in control of … Continue reading A Ticking Time Bomb that Boomers are Leaving Behind…..
Are you afraid? I cannot believe that you, members of the NRA, are not shaken to the core by the relentless occurrence of mass murders in this country. Whether you are moved by frustration, anger, or humaneness, isn’t it time for you to do something about it? To be blunt, you have the power! If you really are the five million NRA members who … Continue reading Dear NRA Members
Last night, Trump gave his first State of the Union (SOTU) address. In it, he congratulated himself on victories achieved in his first year, and listed the various things he plans to do in the future. True to himself, Mr. President did not forget to share a handful of mistruths surrounding statistics in order to improve his record. “Just as I promised the American People … Continue reading Trump’s State of the Union Address was More of the Same Narcissism and Division
Two weeks ago, I checked my phone and believed I had just moments left on this earth. As many of you may have read or heard by now, those of us in Hawaii on January 13 received the following message: BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. At the time, I was surrounded by my family, including our … Continue reading Why Was an Impending Missile Strike Even Believable?