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Eric Lotke
Eric Lotke has cooked in five-star restaurants and flushed every toilet in the Washington D.C. jail. He has filed headline lawsuits and published headline research on crime, prisons, and sex offenses. His latest book is Making Manna.

Entries by Eric Lotke

A Vote for Justice Over Money at the FCC

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 5:41 PM

"In my sixteen years as a regulator," said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, "this is the clearest, most egregious case of market failure I have seen."

On Thursday the FCC voted to put it right. The decision vindicates a decades-long campaign to limit...

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The Real Problem With Private Prisons

(3) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 3:26 PM

Private prisons are a cancer. Private prisons make money by locking people up, and the more people they lock up for more time, the more money they make.

Private prisons are morally distasteful, they don't save money, and they have historic performance problems. But...

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The Pope Goes to Prison. The Bishops Explain Why.

(2) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 7:35 PM

People are excited by Pope Francis's visit to America. Crowds will be huge and a privileged few will meet him in person.

On Sunday the Pope will visit a prison in Philadelphia. Why is Francis spending precious papal time behind bars?

The answer is in...

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The Pope on Climate Change: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'

(3) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 12:22 PM

What's so extraordinary about Pope Francis's Encyclical on climate change is how obvious it seems. The Pope simply applies timeless truths - claimed by many - to modern problems.

"Thou shalt not kill," says the Bible. It's in the Old Testament and the New Testament. "Thou shalt not...

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Reversal After Ferguson Shooting. What Next?

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 1:10 PM

On Monday the municipal court in Ferguson, Missouri, announced that it was withdrawing thousands of arrest warrants for municipal violations, scheduling new court dates, and creating new payment options to reduce incarceration of people unable to pay fines and fees. The changes followed a critical report...

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Baltimore Burning - Foreseen in the Data

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 7:57 PM

Ten years ago I published a study about race and incarceration in Baltimore, Maryland. I found at that over half (52 percent) of the young African American men (aged 20 to 30) in Baltimore were under justice control on any given day -- in prison or jail, probation...

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70 Year Old Woman Prosecuted for Neglecting Her 98 Year Old Mother

(4) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 2:41 PM

We hear too many stories of our supersized justice system. Too many people locked up, the school-to-prison pipeline, etc. Here is another one: A 70 year old woman in Alexandria, Virginia, has been prosecuted for failing to take adequate care of her ailing, wheel-chair bound, 98...

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Our Government Is Broken: Ballot Initiatives Prove It

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 11:31 AM

Democrats generally lost on Tuesday. But liberal, progressive ballot initiatives generally won.

Five states voted to increase the minimum wage. Two states and the District of Columbia voted to permit marijuana for recreational use. Three states voted to protect a woman's right to...

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Making Manna: A New Horatio Alger Story

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 7:52 AM

Many of us have heard of the 19th century novelist Horatio Alger. His stories are widely associated with "rags to riches" -- a tag that sticks even for those who have never read a Horatio Alger story.

Interestingly, Alger's stories start with rags but his heroes rarely make...

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Vote of No-Confidence: My Election Day Experience in Virginia

(2) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 11:07 AM

I worked the polls in Fairfax, Virginia on election day 2012. I opened the door at 6:00 am, logged voters in, operated the machines, and passed out "I voted" stickers on the way out. At 10 p.m. when our results had been tabulated and machines disassembled, I signed official documents...

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The Private Prison Industry: Resistance Isn't Futile

(5) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 10:59 AM

The private prison industry is on the march. In recent months the industry moved to take over 24 state prisons in southern Florida and buy five prisons in Ohio. Now it's making moves in Michigan.

But the industry doesn't always win. Resistance isn't futile.

The industry wanted to buy five...

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The Dream That Drives the Occupations

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 5:40 PM

I've been spending evenings and weekends recently with the Occupy protestors in DC. I can't stay full time because, unlike many protestors, I have two children and a full-time job. But I clearly share their interests and I'm glad they're making the ruckus.

Our economy is broken. Hard work doesn't...

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Representative Moran (and 25 Others): Conned by Concord Coalition

(3) Comments | Posted July 13, 2011 | 3:57 PM

Yesterday evening I attended an event sponsored by my U.S. Representative, Jim Moran (D-VA). I accepted an invitation I received from his email list to a community forum called "Principles & Priorities: How would you balance the budget?"

I'm no dummy and I was expecting political theater,...

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Breaking Up the Banks: I Did It!

(22) Comments | Posted June 13, 2011 | 2:38 PM

As the debate heats up over Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I took a step out on my own. I got a divorce. I am no longer a wholly owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank.

First Wells Fargo acquired the bank I'd been banking in. Then...

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Public Employees Offer Solutions. Examples.

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 3:31 PM

Enough with blaming public employees for all of America's problems. Last week public employees in Oregon marched on the state Capitol with a billion dollars worth of recommendations for government efficiencies and revenue enhancements. On Monday in Lansing, Michigan, public employees presented their own report, New Solutions for...

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Obama's Export Goal: How We Can Make it

(6) Comments | Posted September 29, 2010 | 1:43 PM

Yesterday I attended a conference on the Renaissance of American Manufacturing in Washington DC. It included a variety of organizations with interests in trade, from the US Business and Industry Council to the International Association of Machinists and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. It was another step...

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New Unemployment Data: No News, Clear Conclusions

(18) Comments | Posted August 6, 2010 | 9:47 AM

Today's new unemployment report contains no news, just decimal point changes. It tells us what we already know, that times are bad. The question is whether our great nation can rise to the challenge.

Unemployment remains unchanged at 9.5 percent, with 14.6 million people out of work....

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Prisoners of the Census in New York: Democracy on the March!

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 8:51 AM

New York is the most recent state to pass new rules about how people in prison are counted in the U.S. Census. The law passed on Tuesday evening provides that for purposes of political redistricting, incarcerated persons count as residents of their places of residence prior to incarceration,...

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The Progressive Movement: Out of Work and Losing Hope

(111) Comments | Posted July 8, 2010 | 10:47 AM

The progressive movement that fueled Obama's stunning 2008 election victory is out of work. Sure, lots of people are unemployed -- but the demographic groups at the heart of the Obama coalition have been hit especially hard. That's why it's so bitter to watch Obama being so passive on the...

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China vs. U.S. Workers: China Is Winning

(2) Comments | Posted April 22, 2010 | 12:37 PM

Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing to examine "the impact of China's exchange rate practices on U.S. manufacturing"

Many experts will testify. I offer some pictures that might help.

1. Is China manipulating its currency? Yes:


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