Prepare for Life in Post-Christian America: Play “After Virtue”–The Game!

or, my review of Winners and Losers: “Winners and Losers,” created by Marcus Youssef and James Long and playing at Washington’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company through November 22, is a tense and springy 100 minutes of aggression hidden under friendship–and vice versa. Youssef and Long act out their own longstanding, competitive friendship, getting rawer and more accusatory as the night wears on. I’m going to use “Marcus” for the guy I saw onstage, “Youssef” for the off-stage creator, but the two … [Read more...]

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Prison Photos and Pepper Spray in Schools: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

"Photos of 1960s US Prison System Attempt to Show that Inmates Are Us": Lyon's images are an echo of an earlier time, a time when uniforms were white and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing time. But the photos also serve as a dark omen, of a prison-industrial complex that would only grow more hungry, more unjust, more powerful. "The prison changed me a lot, and not in the way I could have predicted," Lyon said. "There is an expression about dope, 'Once the needle goes in, it never comes … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Meeting Your Kidnappers, Keeping Mothers Out of Prison, Putting Cops in Schools, And Gullah Amends

Most of these links have a theme of "aftermath," I guess."What Happened After My Kidnapping":Hello, my name is Brad Pearson. In March 2006, you were one of three people who kidnapped me in West Philadelphia.I’m writing this letter not because I’m angry at you, or upset, or hurt. The opposite, actually. While the kidnapping and investigation were difficult for me, in the end they made me a stronger man.I’m a magazine writer now, and I’ve always hoped to talk to you and Jerry and Mo … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Mississippi’s Hope, Gun Control and the Prison Industrial Complex, And More

"How Mississippi Slashed Its Prison Population and Embraced Criminal Justice Reform": If Mississippi were a country, two years ago it would have had the second highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. The state's conservative politicians spent years increasing sentences for offenders and decreasing parole, a tough-on-crime double-whammy that kept landing more and more people behind bars — until last year, when legislators finally came to their senses.Mississippi lawmakers co … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

I have a ton of these lying around so you'll be getting them in small chunks. Trying to give each batch a range of themes and moods."How Some Alabama Hospitals Quietly Drug Test New Mothers--Without Their Consent": In Alabama, a positive drug test can have dire repercussions for pregnant women and new mothers. Their newborns can be taken from them. They can lose custody of their other children. They can face lengthy sentences in the most notorious women’s prison in the United States and t … [Read more...]

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The Long, Hot Summer: Jesse Walker on Rising Crime in US Cities

at Reason: ...On top of all that, there's the simple fact that we don't know yet whether this is a blip or a trend. In 2005, after crime had been declining for more than a decade, the FBI revealed that homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults had all grown more common in the previous year. The Police Executive Research Forum promptly produced a paper titled "A Gathering Storm—Violent Crime in America," which opened with a warning that such numbers could be "the front end of a tipping point … [Read more...]

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“Jacob Lawrence’s Existential Sociology”: I’m at AmCon

reviewin': ...It’s easy to read artists—and maybe especially black artists—as mere reporters. Or, worse, sociologists. And Jacob Lawrence’s work does indeed have many reportorial or sociological characteristics: He’s racially conscious (and self-conscious about his role as a voice of his race), he’s influenced by folk art, he’s panoramic in his attempt to depict many layers of society. He has what The Wire would call “the Dickensian element.” These are all artistic choices he made that add to th … [Read more...]

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