Friday, November 30, 2007
The incident happened at about 1 p.m. Friday at 28 North Main St. in Rochester. Officials said that a man is holding people hostage at the office, but it is unclear how many people are being held.
Senator Clinton is in Washington, DC and supposedly negotiating. The person who took the hostages is supposedly also demanding to speak to the Senator.
[UPDATE 2] NH TV station WMUR has just reported that two hostages have been released. If in fact there were only two hostages remaining in the office, that would mean all the hostages are now safe, and only the man remains in the office.
Update 3 - Hostages still may be held. Here is the live link http://www.wmur.com/video/14738085/index.html
Thursday, November 29, 2007
if you live on the other side of the river in 'boken or jersey city, maybe you've seen NEW, a sorta magazine/guide to hudson county filled with arts news, local issues, shopping, eats, etc. the editions are free, helpful, and visually pleasing, get your copy here.
recently on their blog, NEW posted about maxwell's, the music venue that brings much needed hipness and clout to our mile square city. recently spotted at maxwell's? i read on nj.com's blog that catherine keener visited our town to hear rain phoenix's band, the papercranes...
The Hoboken Historical Museum hosts an unusual-for-a-historical-museum program focused on one of Hudson County's treasures: Maxwell's. Former owner/booker Steve Fallon and current co-owner/booker Todd Abramson "will talk about what has made Maxwell's one of the coolest area clubs since long before Brooklyn was hip." Here's hoping they delve into the idea of a rock club as catalyst for urban renewal and arts-scene building.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Online Videos by Veoh.com
Do you want to start a small art project in the winter months, make gifts for your friends and recycle cans all at the same time?
Here is a great How-To create a Garden Lantern article to get you started. There is a good tip about freezing sand & water in the can to keep it's shape while you hammer out the design.
The picture on the left shows different leaf designs but the lanterns would look equally beautiful with a random abstract design. Have fun!
It seems like only yesterday that I brought news of another woman owned business closing up shop in Austin, Texas. Sadly, I have more news. Texas’ only feminist bookstore is being forced to close up shop if it can’t raise $50,000 by mid-December – that’s just around the corner, kids.
I have such great memories of BookWoman. I remember when I was young and my mother returned from a trip to Austin sporting a new shirt she got from the local women’s bookstore (the pic on the left was what was on the shirt). I was in awe. I didn’t know there was such a thing. I had never even thought about feminism much less the need for a space for women’s work. When I moved to Austin a few years later for school, BookWoman became one of my favorite places. I bought some of my first feminist theory books there, perused the music section and attended many organizing events.
Needless to say, I’m certain that BookWoman is important to many, many other Texans – young, old, male, female, most importantly feminists. Do what you can to help them find a more affordable space and keep their doors open. Learn more about their struggle and donate a little scratch.
FreePress has this pdf report as well: 10 Facts Kevin Martin Doesn’t Want You to Know About His New Media Ownership Rules.
FreePress has ways for you to get involved as well.
Fight back at stop big media
Me, the one that used to get upset stomach every time an opposing explanation was raised around, and don’t get me wrong, even though I never believed in god whatever her name is, I did not have any problems of accepting her into the equation of human being. It’s not that I accepted her but more like that I tolerate people that believed she is a valid part of existence (as long as they accepted my right to oppose it or better say to doubt it).
But as an observer, which can spend all his energy in thinking about what I see and read in the media due to the fact that I can’t, even if I wants, to actively participate, I slowly realized, that there is no way in the world that “Number One” can look at himself in the mirror and believe in Evolution, I mean, him standing there as “Number One”, he out of all the people, is already a tough contradiction, or better said flaw in the theory of evolution.
Furthermore, I Can’t imagine Number Twos, whatever their name are at the current moment, Looking at themselves in the mirror, without having the same creepy feeling that something is wrong with the theory as seen in the mirror.
And so their opinions on the matter suddenly make more sense than ever, and looking at them through the media, even I got my doubts about it. It’s hard to digest it but reality keeps blowing in my face, and no evolution theory can explain, Number One, Number Twos or any of their decisions.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are tied at 29%, and Edwards is at 23% -- needless to say, the three remain within the margin of error.
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is now in a statistical tie with Mike Huckabee, 26% to 24%. Giuliani is at 14%, Thompson at 10%, and McCain at 7%.
Gallup came out with a new general election poll, and it looks good for Democrats as Clinton and Obama lead 7 match-ups against Republicans, the eight one being tied:
Hillary Clinton leads Rudy Giuliani 49% to 44% and John McCain 50% to 44%. She has massive leads against Mitt Romney (54% to 38%) and Fred Thompson 53% to 40%.
Barack Obama only ties Giuliani at 45%, but he leads against McCain 47% to 44%, against Romney 52% to 35% and against Thompson 51% to 38%.
Interesting...and I think I agree. Facts are facts. They cannot be disputed.
Most Democratic candidates are ignoring African Americans
November 27, 2007
Can Democrats get the votes they need simply because they're not Republicans? You might think so in this presidential campaign. African-American and urban votes are critical to any Democratic victory. Bill Clinton won two terms without winning the most white votes. His margin was the overwhelming support of black voters. George Bush learned that lesson; that's why his campaigns spent so much effort suppressing the black vote in key states like Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. His victory margin was the tally of votes suppressed or uncounted.
Yet the Democratic candidates -- with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign -- have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up.
Democratic candidates are talking about health care and raising the minimum wage, but they aren't talking about the separate and stark realities facing African Americans.
The civil rights movement succeeded in ending segregation and providing blacks with the right to vote. But the end of legal apartheid did not end the era of discrimination. And the ending of institutionalized violence did not end institutionalized racism.
Patterns of discrimination are sharply etched. African Americans have, on average, about half of the good things that whites have, and double the bad things. We have about half the average household income and less than half the household wealth. On the other hand, we're suffering twice the level of unemployment and twice the level of infant mortality (widely accepted as a measure of general health).
African Americans are brutalized by a system of criminal injustice. Young African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched if stopped, more likely to be arrested if searched, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be sentenced to prison if charged, less likely to get early parole if imprisoned. Every study confirms that the discrimination is systemic and ruinous. And yet no candidate speaks to this central reality.
African Americans are more likely to go to overcrowded and underfunded schools, more likely to go without health care, more likely to drop out, less likely to find employment. Those who do work have less access to banks and are more likely to be ripped off by payday lenders, more likely to be stuck with high-interest auto and business loans, and far more likely to be steered to risky mortgages -- even when adjusting for income. And yet, no candidate speaks to this central reality.
The result is visiting a catastrophe on the urban black community. I and many others campaign for young people to stay in school, to graduate and not to make babies until they are prepared to be parents. My son and I write and teach about personal financial responsibility. Personal responsibility is critical. But personal responsibility alone cannot overcome the effects of a discriminatory criminal justice and economic system in generating broken families and broken dreams.
The Rev. Martin Luther King saw the movement to end segregation and gain voting rights as the first stage of the civil rights movement. The second stage -- to gain economic justice and equal opportunity in fact -- he knew would be more difficult. Now, 40 years later, it is no longer acceptable for candidates to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to entrenched discrimination and still expect to reap our votes.
While incorporating these ideas and theories, my paintings & etchings have leaned towards abstract expressions. My strong affinity with physics and water leads me to create works that are fluid and organic. The creative process is my passion and serves as an outlet for my emotions. I enjoy the feeling of freedom & solitude when creating art and enjoy getting lost in my work.
Monday, November 26, 2007
at times i wondered how he pushed forward despite the adversity and impossiblity. mortenson always thought about the families he first encountered in korphe, pakistan and how the village cared for him when he was lost and near death. yet the book, written by mortenson and david oliver relin, doesn't get too maudlin or pull at your heart shamelessly. mortenson is that rare person who commits to changing the world and never stops. i'm planning to donate this week to CAI. read for yourself and be inspired. don't we all need that now?
The Grosvenor Resort, 350 NLRB No. 86 (Sept. 30, 2007) - The Board announced a new rule that workers who were found to have been illegally fired but who wait more than two weeks before giving up on getting their job back and looking for a new job work will be denied back pay for that period so as not to “reward idleness.”
He is the very definition of assclown.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We had some information that the grave was in Bethune, France - though this proved to be far from the full information. With the help of a French family we tracked him down where he is buried in Vermeilles, France. We set out at 10:00 am for the journey. We arrived in the area at noon, ate lunch in a small French village and received adequate directions to the cemetery.
Once we were there it was obvious we were upon a World War I cemetery, in the middle of an adorable French village. We looked him up in the guest book. He was from Naysmith, Kielty, Fife Scotland. Age 39, husband of Agnes, killed in action on August 23, 1915. It took us some searching, but we found his grave shortly after arriving. Over 2000 British soldiers are buried here (including within Scottish and Irish), seven French soldiers and almost 200 unidentified soldiers.
We found the grave, at Plot I E. 15. Thomas Henry Barnes. It gave his name, his service number #S/8277, his date of death August 23, 1915. Below on the bottom of the weathering stone it read:
In thy gracious sleeping
Leave we now
thy servant sleeping
We spent Thanksgiving giving thanks to those that came before us and gave so much. When wars had to be fought (though certainly not perfect - see Kubrick's the Paths of War), not because we went to war for profit, oil, whims and lies. His memory is one that reminds us of how much is lost in war, our men, women, our families, our homes, our cities, and our nations.
In memory of my great grandfather on Thanksgiving, 2007 I give thanks.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
As my sister wrote, this could be the smoking gun. But, unfortunately, it may be too litle, too late, especially with a chicken-shit Democratic Congress. Mark my words, Nancy Pelosi does nothing substantial to investigate the stunning evidence from former Press Secretary, Scott McClellan.
"What McClellan has revealed, in a section from an upcoming book on his tenure in the Bush-Cheney White House, is a stunning indictment of the president and the vice president. The former press secretary is confirming that Bush and Cheney not only knew that Rove, the administration's political czar, and Libby, who served as Cheney's top aide, were involved in the scheme to attack Wilson's credibility -- by outing the former ambassador's wife, Valerie Plame, as a Central Intelligence Agency analyst -- but that the president and vice president actively engaged in efforts to prevent the truth from coming out."The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby," writes McClellan in an excerpt from his book, What Happened, which is to be published next April by Public Affairs.
"There was one problem," the long-time Bush aide continues. "It was not true. I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration "were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."
Much has been made about the fact that outing Plame as a CIA operative was a felony, since knowingly revealing the identity of an intelligence asset is illegal. And much will be made about the fact that McClellan's statement links Bush and Cheney to the cover-up of illegal activities and the obstruction of justice, acts that are themselves felonies.
But it is important to recognize that a bigger issue is at stake. If the president and vice president knowingly participated in a scheme to attack a critic of their administration -- Wilson had revealed that the White House had been informed that arguments Bush and Cheney used for attacking Iraq were ungrounded -- they have committed a distinct sort of offense that the House Judiciary Committee has already determined to be grounds for impeachment."
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Clearly, the DC gun ban has not deterred the murder rate in DC, as shown by the uptick in murders this year. People are still able to get guns from Maryland and Virginia. It seems like American guns are wreaking havoc outside of the US too. I read the other day that 100% of the drug murders in Mexico are committed with American guns. 100%!
Which makes me wonder, if we do ban guns, where will they all go? Why are there so many in the first place? Who in their right mind really thinks the 2nd Amendment is meant for Americans to have their own guns? Why the hell do so many Americans need guns anyway?
As you can see, I have many thoughts on guns and the banning of them. Mostly, I just think the whole thing is ludicrous. Nevertheless, I do think, fairly certainly, that the Roberts Court will decide the gun ban is unconstitutional. Then Americans can have even more guns! Goody!
So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I propose a toast to the American gun lobby. Thank you NRA and your backwards-ass supporters. I’ll be thinking of you this Thanksgiving when I inevitably find out that another American, or perhaps Mexican, was killed needlessly by a gun.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The strike is certainly complicated, so much so my meandering through it would confuse. But, what is interesting to see (though many in France would disagree) is the power of the French worker. The strike is over a threatened cut in retirement, vacation and longevity. Instead of negotiation the workers striked (though not all are striking). The majority of the workers who have gained power and benefits that make ours look like a developing nation's benefits, do not want to give it up - including five weeks in the summer when the entire nation goes on holiday. Many say it is time for France to modernize and compete with America, Japan, China and India among others. I am not sure they are right.
What I am sure of is the French worker has power that the American worker cannot even dream of. Not only are they at the negotiating table they can paralyze an entire nation's transportation system. One metro user summed it up best. We were waiting for the Metro last night to go to dinner at the Eiffel tower which was breathtaking and suddenly an announcement came over the intercom that the Metro was retiring for the night. He looked at Nicole and I and said "vive la France." I join him.
Friday, November 16, 2007
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, voided the new regulations for 2008-2011 model year vehicles and told the Transportation Department to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The court, siding with 4 environmental groups and 13 states and cities, also asked the government to explain why it still treated light trucks — which include pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans — more mildly than passenger cars.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
have been living far away from 'home' for
a long time, and rain is something big here. where
I am living. now. I never thought so much about water
when i was younger. To be honest, I thought about things like
the next club, the next bar. I had big thoughts, too, sometimes.
But, normally, they got pushed to the recesses. Today was
enough, back then. Long ago, but yesterday.
These days, when it rains, I get to thinking. But,
the thoughts seem to weigh more. They press down on
my head, in my head. Until the baby starts screaming.
Or the rain stops.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
*Lower emissions. An Iowa State University study found that people who switched to buying 10% of their produce from local sources produced 5-17 times less CO2 overall than if they'd bought nonlocal.
*Community connections. Sociologists estimate that people who skip the supermarket in favor of farmers markets have about 10 times the number of conversations while shopping...that's 10 more chances to get lucky.
*Supporting family farms. Most conventional foods travel an average of 1,500 mi before ending up on your plate. Buying in your own backyard saves a lotta energy.
*Triumphing in the face of adversity. Amid supermarket aisles full of canned stuffing made in China, a 100-mi Thanksgiving can take some creativity, but that makes it all the more satisfying...and tasty.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Who knows if Hillary knew that questions were being planted, but this smacks of a campaign who thinks they have a divine right to the throne and can sauce her way in. No thanks. I oppose her nomination for one reason mostly and that is dynastic politics. We need someone fresh and Edwards and Obama seem to be the real deal, albeit with some flaws. At the very least they are not the most well funded campaign by defense, insurance and health care like Mrs. Clinton.
Here is John Edwards latest commercial. I like it:
Monday, November 12, 2007
Phil Ochs - "I ain't Marching Anymore"
Sunday, November 11, 2007
see the promo...
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The place is still a lot different from my shady suburb of Rutherford. But back in the late 80s, early 90s, things were a bit more brightly contrasting. First of all, if you've never been to the town of Lyndhurst, it is slightly homogeneous, to say the least. In 1991, that overtly Bensonhurst feel was all-too-obvious. So, when I would get the rare opportunity to head to the Main Line, I got to take in the sights and sounds of my sister city.
For example, Iroc-Zs. These fashion statements on wheels were everywhere. Up and down Park Avenue, on any given day, a passerby could see a young man with a mullet and tail driving one of these muscular testaments to masculinity at high speeds, while yelling at any young lady who happened to be strolling past.
And the clothes, ah the clothes. What I remember most were the Z-Cavericcis (I forget how the brand was spelled). They were the pair of pants. If your address was anywhere in L-town, you had to have one of these testaments to style. They had about ten buttons on the front, were normally black, and went well with Reebok aerobic high-tops. Ah, yes.
Oh, and the open-mindedness. My brother used to get his hair cut in a fine establishment located in the town in question. The barber, who used to love to go hunting, described numerous incidents in places like Garden State Shopping, when he was forced to do his civic duty by assisting young black teens with their fashion statements by "pulling their pants all the way down." The tact and diplomacy displayed by this gentleman exemplify Lyndhurst to me, circa 1991.
1. A New Jersey woman sent 80,000 cans of Silly String, which can locate trip wires, to U.S. troops in Iraq; a military spokesperson thanked her but admitted that soldiers don't use as much Silly String today as they did at the beginning of the war.
2. Forty-nine percent of New Jersey residents admitted they'd rather live somewhere else.
I have no idea how to interpret either of these tidbits of Jersey, but there they are. For you, the SG reader, to take as you will.
-- Anita Esterday, telling a reporter who asked her about the so-called "tipping" scandal of the Clinton campaign.
Friday, November 9, 2007
i heard about this documentary, king corn, but haven't seen it yet. king corn tells the story of 2 good friends, an acre of corn and this subsidized crop that fuels our fast food nation.
on october 31st, these 2 buddies decided to take on a "king corn" challenge for the month of november:
The rules of the challenge are simple in theory, but treacherous in their reach, a symptom of the broad adoption of corn byproducts and feed usage in our industrialized food system.
--No corn products, apart from fresh corn on the cob.
--No soda or other products made from high fructose corn syrup.
--No meat, dairy, chicken, fish, or other animals that have been raised on corn products.
--No products that contain corn derivatives.
will this website make green mainstream?
I have been reluctant to report on a situation I do not know much about. I do know Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, replacing an elected prime minister, despite that is very friendly with the Bush administration. On November 3rd Musharraf suspended the Pakistan Constitution and imposed emergency rule citing a need to "curb terrorism and reign in activist judges." Musharraf had been on a collision course with the Supreme Court who were set to rule on a number of cases that would have challenged Musharraf as President and Commander of the military simultaneously.
The Provisional Constitutional Order that followed the emergency declaration put Pakistan’s 1973 constitution into abeyance and suspended all fundamental rights, including: Article 9 (security of person), 10 (safeguard as to arrest and detention), 15 (freedom of movement, etc.), 16 (freedom of assembly), 17 (freedom of association), 19 (freedom of speech, etc.) and 25 (equality of citizens) shall remain suspended.
According to Think Progress: The suspension of fundamental rights is already producing convictions, as four men accused of treason have been jailed for making anti-government speeches. Pakistan’s private TV stations were all blacked-out and sale of satellite dishes was halted. Hundreds of lawyers and activists around the country were detained or put under house arrest, and the most recent estimate is that around 2,500 people are in jail.
What is most alarming about this is that Bush was nearly silent about the constitutional suspension while publicly declaring Musharraf to reinstate the constitution (kind of like the we don't torture statements while fostering waterboarding). Bush supposedly phoned Musharraf: President Bush telephoned General Musharraf for the first time since the crisis began and bluntly told him that he had to return Pakistan to civilian rule, hold elections and step down as chief of the military, as he had promised. Mr. Bush called him from the Oval Office at 11:30 a.m. Washington time, and spoke for about 20 minutes, according to the White House.
But...(is there always a but with these fuckers) reputable Pakistani journalist, Hamid Mir reported on Geo TV — Pakistan’s largest private cable news station — that the U.S. gave the green-light for Musharraf to go ahead and call the emergency. According to Mir, the U.S. supported Musharraf because it regarded the ousted “Chief Justice as a nuisance and ‘a Taliban sympathizer.’” That may explain why President Bush’s demands are so light:
Bush administration officials are unanimous in saying that American financial support for Pakistan will continue regardless of whether General Musharraf reverses course.
Is Bush all that different than Musharraf, really? Warrantless wiretapping, suspension of habeus corpus, Guantanamo Bay, sanctioning torture, lying us into war, etc. He and Musharraf have a lot in common. Thanks to Etaraz for most of this post. The post on Think Progress was great as well as the coverage since November 3rd. Check it out.
Rep. Jim Saxton, the twelve-term Republican from New Jersey's 3rd District, plans to retire after his current term, an announcement that could come as early as today, according to sources familiar with his decision.
Saxton's retirement opens up a seat he has held since 1984 and creates another vulnerable open seat for House Republicans. President Bush narrowly carried the district with 51 percent in 2004, and Democrats had been making noise about a potential challenge to Saxton in 2008.
Saxton is the 15th House Republican to decide against seeking reelection; just three Democrats have announced this will be their last term.
The swing nature of Saxton's seat places in it a highly vulnerable category along with open GOP seats in Illinois's 11th Sistrict, Arizona's 1st, Minnesota's 3rd, New Mexico's 1st and Ohio's 15th and 16th.
Also see race tracker NJ-03
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The proportion of Americans saying Democratic leaders in Congress are not going far enough in challenging President Bush's Iraq policies has been increasing fairly steadily since March, when 40% expressed this view; the October figure is 47%. The remainder of the public is divided over whether Democratic leaders have gone too far (21%) or have taken an approach that is about right (23%).
The poll notes that while just 31% approve of Congress' job performance (down 10 points since February), "most Americans (54%) say that they are happy that the Democrats won control of Congress in last year's elections. That represents a modest decline since last November, but positive views of the Democratic congressional victory have remained stable since March. At least in part, this reflects the fact that Republican leaders are blamed about as often as Democratic leaders for Congress' lack of productivity."
the hoboken library is right across the park, less than 2 blocks from our home. it's housed in a lovely old building with museum-like art. when i didn't have internet access, the library helped me out with its free computer lab.
other perks for free membership:
**entertainment... movies, CDs and DVDs. while i have to wait on a list for the more popular movies, at least i'm not paying $$ to blockbuster!
**interlibrary loans... if hoboken doesn't stock my latest graphic novel picks, i search online from a database of many county libraries. after a quick online request and short wait, my book arrives!
**according to ideal bite, library use saves paper and oil: "More than 3.1 billion books are purchased in the United States each year, and most are made from nonrecycled paper and petroleum-based inks." and think of all the plastic saved from sharing DVDs and CDs!
**programming... our library has monthly special events, author appearances, and art exhibits (old photos of hoboken, local art, and more).
find your public library here and enjoy the perks...
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s lead in the New Hampshire presidential primary race has fallen to its lowest level of the season, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Hillary Clinton leads with 34% support, followed by Sen. Barack Obama at 24%, John Edwards at 15%, and Gov. Bill Richardson at 8%.The poll shows Clinton dropping six points since her poor performance in the last Democratic debate.
New Iowa Poll shows the same result:
Clinton 28% (-2)
Obama 25% (+3)
Edwards 21% (-2)
Richardson 9% (-1)
Not sure 12
Also check this out where former President Bill Clinton is claiming the treatment of Hillary at the debate and afterward is like the swiftboat of John Kerry and Max Cleland. Obama seems to be hitting a stride and I, like a friend said to me recently, "I am not ready to right off Obama." I am threw with the Clintons, however and this chicken shit politics that seeks only to see what the polls say and not (protest a nominee that seems to be sanctioning torture) do the right thing is over. The democratic base does not want this, never mind the rest of the country.
Yes, the Clintons are better than we have right now, but they aren't even close to what we can have. And I am not talking about the likes of Ron Paul, who for a Republican is nice to see, but he is still one of the Rethuglicans who would seek to have the free market decide everything, i.e. "privatize" which is exactly where we are now. No thanks. Bring on Obama or Edwards (Kucinich is obviously a dream) and I will for once be excited about a nominee.
A Second Chance for Ex-Offenders
Published: November 7, 2007
If past patterns hold true, more than half of the 650,000 prisoners released this year will be back behind bars by 2010. With the prison population exploding and the price of incarceration now topping $60 billion a year, states are rightly focusing on ways to reduce recidivism. Congress can give these efforts a boost by passing the Second Chance Act, which would provide crucial help to people who have paid their debts to society.
Newly released inmates are often driven right back to prison by difficulty in obtaining jobs, education and housing, as well as by the social stigma that comes from having been in prison. In addition, many of these people suffer from mental illnesses but have no access to treatment. Some states have begun offering assistance in these areas, but much more needs to be done.
The Second Chance Act would add to what the country knows about the re-entry process by establishing a federal re-entry task force, along with a national resource center to collect and disseminate information about proven programs.
The bill would broaden access to high-quality drug treatment, which is in scarce supply almost everywhere. It would also encourage states to work harder at reuniting families, which are often torn apart when a parent goes to prison.
The country worsened the recidivism crisis when it killed off many of the in-prison education programs that have a strong track record of helping released inmates live crime-free lives. The bill would begin to reverse that destructive trend by providing grants to improve academic and vocational education behind bars.
The programs necessary to help former prisoners find a place in society do not exist in most communities. The Second Chance Act would help to create those programs by providing money, training, technical assistance — and a Congressional stamp of approval.