Infographic: Prison profits

Prison reform and prison labor are topics we’ve written about before on the Occasional Planet. American prisons are making tons of money hiring out their inmates for minuscule wages. It’s more than just breaking rocks and stamping license plates too. Companies like Victoria’s Secret, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and even Boening use inmates to sew, run phone…

Midterms: Democratic Party didn’t give people a reason to vote

It’s absolutely true that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans obstructed every Democratic initiative. On the other hand, Democrats didn’t give people a reason to go to the polls. Why should Democrats bother to vote when its clear their party chooses the needs of banks and corporations over the needs of its constituents? Whatever you think…

“I can buy a firearm, but I can’t get assistance to buy a sandwich”

In a move that demonstrates a small—and too rare—step toward common sense in lawmaking, Missouri has rescinded [mostly] an 18-year-old law that banned people with felony drug convictions from ever receiving food stamps under the SNAP program. The new law is not a “get-out-of-jail-free,” though. It retains a one-year waiting period following a drug felon’s…

Will a dearth of death drugs kill the death penalty? Let’s hope so.

Just a few hours before convicted serial murderer Joseph Paul Franklin was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 19, 2013, two federal judges granted a stay. Then that stay was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. And then Franklin was executed. But, even though the eventual outcome—another state-sponsored execution—was a defeat for…