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by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
A lot has happened in the five years since we published our book, The Spirit Level. New Labour were still perhaps too relaxed about people becoming "filthy rich". And there was an assumption that inequality mattered only if it increased poverty, and that for most people "real" poverty was a thing of the past.
But so much has changed. In the aftermath of the financial crash and the emergence of Occupy, there has been a resurgence of interest in inequality. Around 80% of Britons now think the income gap is too large, and the message has been taken up by world leaders.
According to Barack Obama, income inequality is the "defining challenge of our times", while Pope Francis states that "inequality is the roots of social ills".
The inequities that helped inspire change in Maryland are even worse in Illinois. In Illinois, minorities are almost eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, where in Matyland they are only about 3 to 1. It makes no sense for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana to result in criminal charges. It also makes no sense for this situation to continue in Illinois, with Democrats holding power in both houses in the state legislature, the governorship and the state attorney general. So why hasn't Illinois decriminalized marijuana? You should ask all candidates and your representatives and senators what their position is and what the plan to do to quit wasting the lives of young people and our very limited state resources on criminal charges over a few grams of vegetable matter.
by Harry Belafonte
There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for the last 20 years, but still we have a massive and unsustainable prison population, particularly targeting the poor and powerless. We're not strengthening communities, we're using our criminal justice system to throw away certain people's lives – disproportionately the lives of Black and brown men, women, and children. This has decimated communities around the nation and it's gone on for far too long.
by John Nichols
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
Editor's note: Don't miss "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Also, Dr. Gupta will be answering your questions on Reddit at noon ET Friday.
(CNN) -- It's been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.
I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say "sorry."
by Twilight Greenaway
By all accounts, Jude Becker is a very successful farmer. His organic, pasture-raised Becker Lane pork, is considered the best of the best. It’s for sale in several Northern California Whole Foods and at farmers’ markets in Chicago, as well as on plates in several high-end restaurants around the country. There’s even a small retail market for it in Japan.
Global turn-around: to persuade Western Powers to adopt ‘bottom-up’ ethical human rights.
Human Rights Council (New Zealand)
Ph: (0064) (09) 940.9658
The likely visit to New Zealand of some of world’s most powerful Western countries provides an opportunity to persuade them to adopt an ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization (global ethical human rights) which was developed in this country.
It would mean a global ‘turn-around’. Global ethical human rights, which is a ‘bottom-up’ approach, would replace ‘neoliberal absolutism’ which I see as involving a ‘near absolute’ ‘top-down’ control created at the UN on 10 December 2008.
I regard neoliberal absolutism was a consequence of the whole UDHR, which emphasizes individual rights, being made compatible with IMF globalization policies which focus on elites.
And this means all aspects of human behavior covered under the declaration will be subjected to an almost fanatical ‘top-down’ control.
by Ted Rall
As usual, America's foreign correspondents are falling down on the job.
Stories devoid of historical context cast Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a naked act of neo-Soviet aggression. Considering that the relevant history begins a mere two decades ago, its omission is inexcusable.
The spark that led to the takeover of Crimea was not the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich. It is what happened the day after.
A 2012 law gave the Russian language official status in regions where Russians comprise more than 10% of the population. This is the case in most of eastern Ukraine and particularly in Crimea, where 59% are ethnic Russians.