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Month: July 2016

Court Orders Texas To Offer Arsenic-Free Water To Elderly Prisoners Amid Deadly Heat

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

As summer sun sends temperatures soaring across much of the country, a federal judge has ordered the Lone Star State to stop giving poisonous drinking water to some of its most vulnerable prisoners.

On June 21, U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison gave prison officials 15 days to replace the arsenic-laden water supply at the Wallace Pack Unit, a minimum security facility northwest of Houston that houses mostly elderly and chronically ill inmates. In his decision, Ellison said the tainted water “violates contemporary standards of decency.”

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice plans to appeal the ruling, according to a spokesman,” The Houston Chronicle reported.

What the US Can Learn From Canada’s Experiment With Electoral Reform

Posted in Journalism, and Truthout

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, in part, on a promise to change how the next government gets elected.

Although Canada’s electoral reform is very much a work in progress, activists and politicians alike are working to eliminate a majority-rule system in favor of a different, still-to-be-determined, but hopefully more representational form of voting.

“We want proportional representation,” said Kelly Carmichael, executive director of Fair Vote Canada, in an interview with Truthout, referring to one type of alternate voting system being considered.

“We never want to be stuck in a situation again where one person can take over the governance of our country,” she added, referring to Stephen Harper, Trudeau’s predecessor.

Although the US and Canada use very different systems, we can learn a great deal from this historic moment, particularly at a time when US voter turnout is plummeting and dissatisfaction with the available choices on the ballot is on the rise.