Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

February 22, 2014

Obama's attorney general Americanized

Attorney General Eric Holder, long dutifully obedient to his boss’s vandalizing of the Constitution, now emerges as a vital opponent of one of the most damaging abuses in our history of the American definition of justice.

Quoted in “Breaking our prison habit” in the Feb. 13 New York Daily News by the invaluably probing news analyst Errol Lewis, Eric Holder declares: “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.”

How many Americans are what Errol Lewis adds to Eric Holder’s judgment of our overflowing cages:

“The number of inmates in federal prisons has soared by a staggering 800 percent since 1980, and federal lockouts are now 40 percent overcapacity ...

“Individual states are groaning under the burden as well. Nebraska’s prisons are at 140 percent of capacity. Oklahoma’s have exceeded 99 percent of capacity.

Adds Errol Lewis: “The failed war on drugs has also swelled the prison population. Addicts caught with small amounts of the illegal poison they ingest — 30 grams of cocaine, for example, the equivalent of 30 restaurant sugar packets — can be labeled ‘traffickers’ and tossed into prison for years.”

And in “America on Probation,” (New York Times, Jan. 27), Bill Keller, the New York Times columnist and former executive editor, made this key accusatory point: “The quest for safe and humane alternatives to lockup faces opposition from prosecutors protecting their leverage, from corrections employee unions protecting jobs and from a private prison industry protecting profits.

“(Private prison operators, who house about 9 percent of prison inmates, have a vested interest in keeping prisons full because they are paid based on occupancy).”

And now comes Eric Holder, not only protesting our epidemic of prisons but also trying to do something about keeping Americans released from prisons from going back after they become free citizens again.

Text Only
Opinion
  • I signed what? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 19, 2014

  • Obamacare's winning numbers Obamacare's critics have had a bad week. On Thursday, President Obama announced that 8 million people have enrolled in new health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces, and a significant portion of them are young Americans. Y

    April 19, 2014

  • The rise of big data: A double-edged sword Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns

    April 19, 2014

  • Only love can re-make your heart Was Jeb Bush right to insert love into a political debate? Such was the gist of a question I was asked on talk radio in response to the former Florida governor's assertion that some immigrants come into the United States illegally as an "act of love.

    April 18, 2014

  • Stop big tobacco from promoting e-cigarettes The tobacco industry is sharply raising spending on advertisements and other marketing for electronic cigarettes to try to make smoking glamorous again and hook a new generation of Americans on nicotine. We shouldn't let them get away with it. If adu

    April 18, 2014

  • A mental health checkup The country's inadequate mental health system gets the most attention after instances of mass violence of the sort that the nation has seen repeatedly over the past few months. Not all who commit these sorts of atrocities are mentally ill, but many h

    April 18, 2014

  • Your new password: sur**nder Have you changed your passwords since the security flaw known as Heartbleed emerged? Have you made sure they're all long, alphanumeric and randomized? Did you use a unique one for every site -- every bank account, every e- mail address, every music-s

    April 17, 2014

  • Hillary leans on Bill, Obama Recently Hillary Clinton gave what appeared at first to be a rambling and unfocused answer when asked to name the proudest achievement of her four years as Secretary of State. The short version is, she doesn't have one. But Clinton's words make a lot

    April 17, 2014

  • If GOP lost culture war, liberals did, too The "culture wars" have been a feature of American politics for almost a century, but recently a number of commentators have declared their end. Conservatives have lost, swept aside by a wave of enthusiasm for marriage equality and sexualized mass cu

    April 17, 2014

  • Cable guys too slow with Internet upgrade Remember the good-old 1990s, when you could make a pot of coffee while waiting for the screeching dial-up modem to connect to the Internet at a leisurely 9.6 kilobits per second? Two decades later, the average American household's connection is 1,000

    April 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks