Rights and Democracy

Mind-Reading Technology Threatens Our Liberties

Exposing the human brain to these new devices creates both physical risks and political ones. Mind-reading by authorities or the private sector could easily mean a potential loss of freedom. There are then many questions to be resolved before the government or the marketplace adopts this technology. What kind of an informed consent should be granted? What kind of information would be divulged?

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Lessons from Sweden for the Immigration Debate

Growing up in Minnesota as the granddaughter of a Swedish immigrant, I got to enjoy all the trappings of Scandinavian picture postcard holidays. Straw ornaments and Swedish flags decorating a tree stacked high with gifts. The Lutheran church’s St. Lucia breakfast, where girls with crowns of candles serve lefse and other pastries.

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The Drug War has Failed. What’s Next?

President Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, should be commended for initiating some basic reforms in U.S. drug policy. One of his first sensible acts was to drop the phrase “War on Drugs.” “Regardless of how you try to explain to people that it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he explained. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”

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President Obama and the Harsh Racial Reality

The black love affair with President Barack Obama is stronger than with any figure in the post-civil rights era. According to a recent New York Times poll, President Obama enjoys a 96% approval rating among African Americans. As an African American myself, I too feel pride and joy in seeing one of us succeed and attain so much respect and acclaim in the United States, a country with such a strong and recent history of racist oppression and alienation.

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Unleash the Arts: 1 percent of the Stimulus Package

Our society is built not just by bone and flesh but also by imagination. We’re wealthy when we create. We’re poor when poetry is missing from our lives. But how do we sustain our creative lives during a time of economic crisis? Clearly, our country is in trouble. We lost over one million jobs in 2008. Families are losing their homes. Young people are wondering whether there will be jobs for them when they graduate. We’re told this is the worst recession in 30 years and that it’s probably going to get worse yet. President Barack Obama’s election was a call for change. It’s also a testament to what Americans can accomplish if we put our minds to it.  

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