As someone who received executive clemency from the governor of New York in 1997, I know personally the power of such an extraordinary act of mercy to people who have already served enormous amounts of time imprisoned under unjust drug laws.
Almost no one is talking now about changes to make the existing drug laws actually work to control drugs. The new discourse is a tacit acknowledgement that the Controlled Substances Act is beyond repair as a mechanism to control the supply of drugs.
This week began the way so many do: with more tragic gun violence, as three people were killed in two shootings at Jewish centers in the Kansas City area, part of the 86 killed by guns in the U.S. every day. "We are united in our condemnation of this heinous attack," said Attorney General Holder. "These acts cannot be ignored." And yet, one year ago this month, the Senate rejected even a modest background check bill, despite the support of 90 percent of Americans. In the wake of the Kansas shootings, Michael Bloomberg's $50 million gun control effort, "Everytown for Gun Safety," unveiled its first ad. We "have another chance to stop a child from being killed," it said. We do, but only if we refuse to lower our expectations. As Gabriel García Márquez, who died on Thursday, wrote, "It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams."
As we've noted, 2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for marijuana reform. The Colorado and Washington experiments are proceeding apace, and the only real question people are asking is "which state will be next?"
The baiting and the assault on Obama will get even uglier. But it won't change one hard fact: that when it comes to race baiting, the GOP will always have the market cornered on that -- and millions know it.
U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announced the federal government would seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev. But the death penalty, even in this horrible case, is unlikely to serve the interests of the people of Massachusetts and the taxpayers of America.
History teaches us that negative forces will always try to smear and distort those on the side of justice, that is nothing new. But it is up to us to keep marching forward -- for victory is made up by those that remain focused and disciplined.
The use of racial, ethnic and religious profiling by law enforcement is un-American and should end. Targeting people for what they look like or because of their group characteristics is discrimination at its worst and a poor excuse for law enforcement.
This week was a big week for women's rights, as the Senate pushed for an Equal Pay Act to celebrate Equal Pay Day. It was filibustered, which just goes to show that one party cares about women's rights and one party clearly does not.
The scrutiny of law enforcement, particularly in urban environments, falls disproportionately on a handful of neighborhoods, which are becoming more and more segregated by race and class.
During the trial of al Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Ghaith that ended last week, a special group spectators went largely unnoticed. "This man is evil from his head down to his toes," said Rosemary Cain, one of half a dozen 9/11 family members who attended part of the three-week trial.
Twenty years ago, the problem was a nationwide crime epidemic. Now, we face a different crisis: a prison epidemic. American prisons are bursting with low-level, non-violent offenders. Each prisoner costs taxpayers an average of $30,000 a year.
It is clear that Attorney General Bill Schuette has built his image around fighting for Michigan and is a very vocal advocate of states' rights. But at some point someone has to point out his inconsistencies when it comes to particular issues.
It is hard to imagine a more critical moment for an engaged citizenry to show up in great numbers and exercise one of our few remaining -- and rapidly eroding -- rights: the right to vote.
On Thursday, United States Attorney General Eric Holder appeared in front of the United States Sentencing Commission to endorse a proposal that would reduce prison sentences for people convicted of dealing drugs.
Setting a level for hypocrisy usually not so blatantly shown by Democrats, Senator Dianne Feinstein is hopping mad that the government spied on her computers. The irony is so thick you can spread it on toast.