Wal-Mart's Relationship to "Stand Your Ground" (the License to Kill Law)

"Not only are Wal-Mart and the Walton Family Foundation members of ALEC, but the company also played an active role in helping advance the 'Stand your ground' law. In 2005 Wal-Mart executive Janet Scott co-chaired ALEC's Criminal Justice Task Force (it later became the Public Safety and Elections Task Force in 2009) when the National Rifle Association successfully lobbied the task force to support the 'Stand your ground' legislation.

"According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 'justifiable homicides' have tripled since the passage of the law. FBI data shows similar increases in other states that have adopted the law." [Read more]

Hate among Hockey Fans

"When Joel Ward scored the overtime winner for the Capitals to end the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins’ season, a wave of racist tweets surfaced. They ranged from casually offensive to viciously hateful. None were shocking. But they illustrated the latent sentiment that exists in many pockets of the fan base that hockey is a sport to be played and enjoyed by whites." [Read more]

NYC's Policing Policies Destroy Lives

"An arrest, even without a conviction, can swiftly unleash disastrous personal consequences. Consider the 2011 case of a 26-year-old single mother from Brooklyn whose lawyers say she was arrested after the police forced her to reveal a small packet of marijuana hidden in her purse. The judge said the charges would be dismissed if she stayed out of trouble for a year. A week later, the woman had been fired from her job as a janitor with the New York City Housing Authority. She has not been rehired.

. . .

"Young parents have faced neglect accusations in family court after marijuana arrests, even if they are not ultimately charged with any crime. In a case described in The Times, a woman’s son and niece were removed from her home by child welfare workers after police found about a third of an ounce of marijuana — below the threshold for a misdemeanor — in a boyfriend’s backpack in her Bronx apartment. The district attorney declined to prosecute, but the children spent time in foster care, and her niece was not returned for over a year." [Read more]


Hard Times for College Grads, Hard Times for Ex-Offenders

College Grads: 

"A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

"Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs – waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example – and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans." [Read more]

"According to a startling 2011 report from the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group, about 90 percent of companies are using criminal background checks in hiring decisions and about 65 million people have criminal records. The group found that companies of all sizes routinely deny people with records any chance to establish their qualifications, even for entry-level jobs like warehouse worker. These blanket exclusion policies flout the E.E.O.C. rules. They also ignore research showing that many offenders who stay out of trouble for even a brief period after their original crimes present little or no risk to employers." [Read more]


All-White Jury Pools Convict Black Defendants 16 Percent More Often Than Whites

"Juries formed from all-white jury pools in Florida convicted black defendants 16 percent more often than white defendants, a gap that was nearly eliminated when at least one member of the jury pool was black, according to a Duke University-led study." [Read more]


A Crazy Level of Inequality in the United States

“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.” [Read more]


Better Educated, But Still Low-Wage

"the average low-wage worker today is both older and much better educated than the average low-wage worker was in the past." [Read more]


Food Stamps Helped Reduce Poverty Rate, Study Finds

"A new study by the Agriculture Department has found that food stamps, one of the country’s largest social safety net programs, reduced the poverty rate substantially during the recent recession. The food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8 percent in 2009, the most recent year included in the study, a significant impact for a social program whose effects often go unnoticed by policy makers." [Read more]

Latinos versus the Census Bureau: When racial categorizations clash

"Over the past few decades, the United States has seen a significant increase in the Latino population. Many of these Latinos are immigrants from other countries with other systems of identity and racial classification. These systems of classification may be in conflict with the official directives of the Census Bureau." [Read more]