A Bedtime Story About ‘Immigration And Separation’

Last week, as is our custom at home, I read to my daughter before I put her to bed. (We pick a mix of ‘long stories’ and ‘short stories’ and settle on a number beforehand, one which has to be conformed to by a ‘promise.’) On this particular night, the ‘long story’ was Edwidge Danticat‘s Mama’sContinue reading “A Bedtime Story About ‘Immigration And Separation’”

A Literary Semester To Look Forward To

This fall semester, I will teach three classes; all feature literary components. They are: ‘Political Philosophy,’ ‘Philosophical Issues in Literature,’ and ‘Existentialism.’ The following are their course descriptions: Political Philosophy: Shakespeare and Political Theory In this class, we will read Shakespeare’s famous ‘history plays’—Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I & II, Henry V–as political theoryContinue reading “A Literary Semester To Look Forward To”

Orange Is The New Black And The Privatization of Prisons

Spoilers Ahead.  Orange is The New Black has attracted–not unjustifiedly–some flak for its powerful and painful fourth season: it has been accused of being ‘trauma porn for white people,’ and of having ‘failed the Dominican community.’ Still, the show has provided some powerful drama in those thirteen episodes, largely by throwing off any pretensions thatContinue reading “Orange Is The New Black And The Privatization of Prisons”

Bertrand Russell On Deterrence By Making ‘Freedom More Pleasant’

In ‘What I Believe,’ an essay whose content–selectively quoted–was instrumental in him having his appointment at the City College of New York revoked¹, Bertrand Russell wrote: One other respect in which our society suffers from the theological conception of ‘sin’ is the treatment of criminals. The view that criminals are ‘wicked’ and ‘deserve’ punishment isContinue reading “Bertrand Russell On Deterrence By Making ‘Freedom More Pleasant’”

The NRA On The Dallas Shooting

The National Rifle Association has issued the following statement in response to the shootings in Dallas: Today is a great day for the Second Amendment, that everlasting guarantee of our right to bear arms and take them up against a tyrannical government. For months and years now, we at the National Rifle Association have watchedContinue reading “The NRA On The Dallas Shooting”

Chelsea Manning’s Bad Luck With The American Polity

In The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind The Wikileaks Whistleblower(Verso Press, New York, 2013) Chase Madar writes: If any lesson can be drawn from the Manning affair, it’s that leaks can make a great difference if there is organized political muscle to put them to good use. Information on its own is futile; as uselessContinue reading “Chelsea Manning’s Bad Luck With The American Polity”

Brooklyn College And CUNY Owe Reparations To Student Activists

Yesterday, I made note of my attendance at a disciplinary hearing conducted by Brooklyn College and the City University of New York; the ‘defendants’ were two students accused of violating the Henderson Rules because of their participation in a ‘mic check’ at the February 16th Faculty Council meeting. Yesterday, I received news from the students’Continue reading “Brooklyn College And CUNY Owe Reparations To Student Activists”

Brooklyn College’s Punitive Retaliation Against Student Activists

On February 17th, I wrote a blog post here about the student protests at Brooklyn College that took place during the monthly faculty council meeting held the day before. Today, I attended a disciplinary hearing conducted by Brooklyn College–to determine whether two of the students who had participated in the protests should be ‘disciplined’ forContinue reading “Brooklyn College’s Punitive Retaliation Against Student Activists”

Mass Incarceration And The ‘Overfederalization’ Of Crime

America’s mass incarceration is the bastard child of many. Among them: racism, the War on Drugs (itself a racist business), the evisceration of the Constitution through ideological interpretive strategies, prosecutorial misconduct, police brutality, and so on. Yet other culprits may be found elsewhere, in other precincts of the legal and political infrastructure of the nation.Continue reading “Mass Incarceration And The ‘Overfederalization’ Of Crime”

Angela Davis On Reparation, Reconciliation, And Prison Abolition

In Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2003, pp. 106) Angela Davis writes: It is true that if we focus myopically on the existing system–and perhaps this is the problem that leads to the assumption that imprisonment is the only alternative to death–it is very hard to imagine a structurally similar system capable of handling such a vastContinue reading “Angela Davis On Reparation, Reconciliation, And Prison Abolition”