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Author: Syndicated

Conditions in Federal Prisons made worse by ongoing shutdown of the government

The public should pay no attention to news stories about prisoners feasting during the shutdown. The reality is that the shutdown only makes prison conditions worse. USA Today recently ran a hit piece on federal prisoners with the tabloid headline, “Government shutdown: Federal inmates feast on Cornish hens, steak as prison guards labor without pay.” Not to be outdone, the Washington Post followed this up with their own shameful story under the headline, “I been eatin like a boss: Federal prisoners served steak by unpaid guards during shutdown.” The problem here is twofold. First, the shutdown has nothing to...

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A Flawed Democracy: United States fails to make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index

A new index released recently offered a sobering look at how the style of democracy in the United States is classified compared to other countries. According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the United States does not even make the list of Top 20. Its demonstrably “flawed democracy” landed at the 25th spot. The ranking is based on 60 indicators spanning five interrelated categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category gets a 0-10 score, with the final score being the average of those...

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How the wealthy benefit from reengineering schools to train our kids for a third-world life

Years of frustration over class sizes, salaries, and a shortage of school counselors have boiled over for more than 30,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles – the union for the country’s second-largest school district. LA teachers could go on strike for the first time in 30 years. A prelude to the situation came last year in West Virginia. Public school teachers there had endured years of low pay, inadequate insurance, giant class sizes, and increasingly unlivable conditions—including attempts to force them to record private details of their health daily on a wellness app. Their governor, billionaire coal baron...

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Real Economic Damage: Black federal workers are hit hardest during government shutdown

As a 26-year-veteran of the National Parks Service, this is not the first time Lora Williams has been furloughed during a government shutdown and had to make ends meet without a paycheck. But this one, she said, is the worst ever. “I don’t have cash reserves and I’m barely staying above water,” said Williams. “The uncertainty is driving me crazy.” And as the shutdown over Donald Trump’s border wall barrels into its third week, when it would become the longest in US history, the weight of that uncertainty is being disproportionately shouldered by black Americans like Williams. Black people...

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A slow political sunset still casts shadows on the glow of Wisconsin’s new leadership

Scott Walker is manufacturing the slowest possible ride into the sunset after being beaten for governor of Wisconsin in 2018. Since his defeat he supported and then signed lame-duck legislation limiting his successor’s powers, making his post-holiday presence felt. Now as he hits the road Jan. 7 he has announced his availability through a speakers’ bureau to champion Trump and his policies. The speakers bureau is amusing. Wags are suggesting such titles for his speeches as “How to Destroy a State’s Economy and Progressive Reputation in Eight Years” or “How to Give a Taiwanese Company (Foxconn), the Most Taxpayer...

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Paralyzed veterans at Milwaukee VA use robotic exoskeletons to walk again

Since being paralyzed almost three decades ago, Dean Juntunen has competed in more than 90 wheelchair marathons, continued snowmobiling and four-wheeling, and taken up kayaking. Now, Juntunen is taking another significant step. And then another step. And then another. “Just standing talking to you is interesting,” Juntunen said. “I had not gone from a sitting position to a standing position in 27 years. I got injured in ’91, so just that in itself is fun. I like just standing up and moving around.” The medically retired Air Force captain is walking with the aid of a wearable exoskeleton robotic...

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