Reporters Without Borders ranks the United States 49th out of 180 nations in press freedom, citing our government's oppression of whistleblowers and Ferguson police's actions against reporters during protests. More complacent folks will note that RWB still rates our press freedom as "satisfactory" (though barely so), but we were 17th in RWB's first ranking in 2002, and, as Lindsey Graham might say, the whole point of being an American isn't to have a press that's a little freer than Haiti's, or one that isn't completely ground down like Eritrea's.
South Carolina prisons have put almost 400 inmates into solitary confinement for -- wait for it -- using Facebook and other social media. South Carolina has made social networking a Level 1 offense, like, you know, stealing, murdering, or rioting. Given that people actually like to be on social media a lot, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is a deliberate policy designed to drive prisoners into solitary. Naturally, South Carolina is running out of solitary cells, though that might just mean some state government crony will get to build more.
Johann Hari notes that Portugal has cut drug addiction rates in half by taking a less punitive, more rehabilitative approach. I doubt I'll ever see my way clear to legalizing most drugs -- drug addiction takes away your freedoms, and I think meth rings, for example, cause a lot more damage than trying to break up meth rings does -- but certainly putting drug addicts in jail hasn't been a very effective deterrent, and they'll do better if we connect them not just to rehab but to thriving communities. Of course, the private prison industry won't like that, because drug addicts are their best customers. But they don't get all the say around here!
Katherine Cross at Feministing instructs us that constantly calling out utterings as "offensive" limits our ability to talk about the "material harm" some actions do. Choice quotation: "But in the real world actual racism is not about hurt feelings. It’s about being incarcerated, harassed, strip-searched, stalked, murdered, denied career advancement or an education, or being at risk of the foregoing and then having someone rub in one’s face the slurs and stereotypes that animate it all. Against all this, the psychic paper cut of 'cracker' surely pales."
Finally, a Holt County (NE) district judge blocks TransCanada's ability to invoke eminent domain on privately-owned property. If you're saying, but I thought the Nebraska Supreme Court already let Keystone XL go through, note that Judge Kozisek has ruled on eminent domain-related lawsuits filed since that Supreme Court decision. Daily Kos diarist Meteor Blades also explains the other ways in which that decision didn't actually stop Keystone dead.