We Need Cleaner Air and Cleaner Hearts

Last week NPR featured a series on poisoned places exposing the ways polluted air continues to harm residents all over the US. When I heard this report on All Things Considered, I recognized the place immediately: thick fog, benzene in the air, burning eyes and throats, obscure cancers. Perhaps this was LaBelle, PA – the … Continue reading

Good News Friday

Happy Veterans Day, and a huge thank you in particular to my favorite veteran: my dad. Dad fought as a lieutenant with the Marines in Vietnam and has continued his fight in a very different way in the decades that follow. I’m proud to have been raised by someone with his courage; and I’m inspired … Continue reading

A Crime That Never Ends

Last week, I focused this blog on the issue of enforced disappearance. I received this response from an advocate working on the front lines for victims’ families, and wanted to share it with you. I’ve added some links in case you want to learn more: I loved this week’s posts on enforced disappearance. I am … Continue reading

Ending the “Kill and Dump” Policy in Balochistan

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about Balochistan. (Balochi-what? Is that the place Herman Cain calls Stan-Stan?) No, Balochistan is in the southwest region of Pakistan. It spans nearly half of the country, but the population is much more sparse, making up only 5%. And it’s getting sparser… Enforced disappearances in … Continue reading

The Myth of the Missing

My high school Spanish teacher first sparked my interest in human rights when she showed us two films during senior year: The Mission and Missing. Both discuss atrocities in South America. The Mission portrays the massacre of a South American native tribe, and Missing shows the fallout when family members investigate the enforced disappearance of … Continue reading

You Have Immunity in the Next Challenge

I’ve always hated immunity, even and especially on reality shows. I mean come on, how will you ever find the next great fashion designer when you give Bert a free pass to be a lazy bum on the first unconventional challenge of the season? Of course he’s just going to grab the dog store fabric … Continue reading

Mob Guilt and Mob Mercy

Last night I saw Parade at Ford’s Theatre. Lucky SOBs: they scheduled a musical about the wrongful imprisonment and execution of a man in Georgia at conveniently the exact same time the Troy Davis case entered national consciousness. Add to that the looming seat stage left, draped in flags for an assassinated President Lincoln, then … Continue reading

Doubt, Execution, and Collective Bloodlust

This week my Twitter account went all a-flutter over a man named Troy Davis. Troy Davis has served on Georgia’s death row for 20 years now, found guilty based on the testimonies of key witnesses. In the two decades since his conviction of murdering a police officer, 7 of the 9 witnesses have recanted or … Continue reading

Caring for the Half-Widows

Half-widows, as they’re currently called in Kashmir, actually suffer all over the world – from India to Libya, Chile to Eastern Europe. Some have more difficulties than others, but all share one thing in common: their husbands vanished because of forced disappearance. Forced disappearance – also known as “enforced disappearance” or just “disappearance,” happens when … Continue reading

The West Memphis Three on Freedom and Maintaining Their Innocence

Hear from the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. – on being free from prison (Echols after a decade in solitary), maintaining one’s innocence, and the difficult decision to plead guilty anyway:

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