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Land of the free? America has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners

The United States has about five percent of the world’s population and houses around 25 percent of its prisoners. In large part, that’s the result of the “war on drugs” and long mandatory minimum sentences, but it also reflects America’s…  …

Are Americans dumb? No, it’s the inequality, stupid

Are Americans dumb? This is a question that has been debated by philosophers, begrudging foreigners and late night TV talk show hosts for decades. Anyone who has ever watched the Tonight Show’s “Jaywalking” segment in which host Jay Leno stops random passersby and asks them rudimentary questions like “What is…

America’s gun disease is a national security issue

The spate of shootings in the US and the lack of political will to tackle gun control shows the country as a basket case, not a model state If this isn’t a matter of national security, what is? When 13 people end up dead at a US military base, that…

America uses 11 times more energy than the UK –with only 5 times more people

Last week, we called attention to America’s massive energy inefficiency problem. The amount of energy wasted by the US economy in 2012, we noted, could power the United Kingdom for…  …

Why won’t more Americans ride trains?

AMERICA has by far the largest rail network in the world, with more than twice as much track as China. But it lags far behind other first-world countries in ridership. Instead of passengers, most of America’s massive rail network is used to carry freight…  …

Why does America have such a big prison population?

Why does America have such a big prison population? (via The Economist) “TOO many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law-enforcement reason.” The person who said that was neither a defence lawyer, nor a prisoners’-rights advocate, nor a European looking down…

Rick Santorum: ‘There’s no class in America’

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum attempted to shame Democrats for using socio-economic barometers like the term “middle class” during an appearance at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday. “When Republicans get up and talk about ‘the middle class,’ we’re buying into their rhetoric of dividing America,” Santorum insisted to…

From hope to fear: the broken promise of Barack Obama

For 10 years, Paul Harris has been the Observer’s US reporter. He reflects on the President’s progress from soaring rhetoric to scandal It is all too easy to look back on some moments in the past and claim their significance was obvious at the time. That it was clear –…

Russell Simmons on the ‘war on drugs’: ‘We’ve got to start a revolution’

The hip-hop mogul and executive producer of The House I Live In tells of the suffering he saw while growing up in Queens I’m particularly concerned about how the war on drugs has destroyed the fabric of the black community in America. I grew up in a lower middle-class neighbourhood…

Bank of America to charge debit card use fee

(Reuters) – Bank of America Corp plans to charge customers who use their debit cards to make purchases a $5 monthly fee beginning early next year, joining other banks scrambling for new sources of revenue. U.S. banks have been looking for ways to increase revenue as regulations introduced since the…

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