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Private Prisons, Organization, and Accountability

Mother Jones recently featureda lengthy investigative story into a private prison administered by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). It was almost surprising in how dramatically¬†_un_surprising it was. I fully recommend reading the entire piece. It’s quite long–over 30,000 words–but well worth your time. There’s a lot of information packed within. I’m not here to rehash or summarize, but rather to draw attention to aspects I found particularly salient. One is that Winn Correctional Center, which is the prison the author investigated by working there for four months, comes across as an unusually poorly run prison.

Are We Too Hard on Bill Clinton?

Given that Hillary Clinton is running for President this year, and she and her husband have worked as a team throughout their careers, the Bill Clinton Presidency of the ‘90s is now being revisited, with particularly harsh critiques by today’s progressives. New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait–yes, that Jon Chait–says we’re being too hard on ol’ Bill. Kids today simply fail to understand just how tough it was to be a Democrat in the 1990s.

Nation States and Independence

Why does national independence matter? What does it even mean? Prior to the 18th century, nations as we understand them did not exist. Political borders existed, certainly, but these were drawn up by various monarchs and despots to delineate their territory. Individuals feeling affinity toward the political body under whose boundaries they lived was uncommon. Once that began to change, though–as modern ideas of nations and political participation took hold–individuals started identifying with nations.

Ends and Odds

It wasn’t a terribly busy week here, seeing as I was gone for a few days. I managed to write three posts in one day, and then two posts the subsequent day, in order to take care of Tuesday through Thursday this past week. That was a bit of a challenge and I’m not sure I’m happy with their quality. Live and learn. For some reason, my first article in my series on American health and healthcare got a ton of hits.

Link Roundup: July 2, 2016

Since I was on the road for 3 days, I don’t have a lot of links this time around. I hope I’ve made up for the quantity with some quality! Politics * [Conservatives have groomed the perfect suckers for Trump's epic scam]( -- Not a terribly new take on the Trump phenomenon, but one worth reading anyway. Culture * [The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents' mistakes](http://qz.

Crisis in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico typically only makes news in the US when the topic of statehood comes up. But the island territory has been embroiled in an economic crisis for the past several years, which is now coming to a head. First, it’s helpful to be aware of Puerto Rico’s status relative to individual states in the US. It’s more than a difference in name and voting rights. Puerto Rico doesn’t have any representation in Congress, nor do its people get any electoral votes for President.

Beware Presidentialism

If you grew up in the United States and haven’t spent much time examining other countries, it might surprise you to learn that the US is fairly unique in having a presidential, rather than parliamentary, government. Such a system comes with some unique quirks and shortcomings, too. First, let’s distinguish just what presidential and parliamentary systems are. In a presidential system, the President leads an executive branch and serves as both head of state and head of government.

Work: Respect, Trust, and Accountability

Managing employees is not a new science, and yet effective practitioners seem to be few and far between. Some workplaces are rife with turmoil, high turnover, and poor performance. What gives? There are multiple factors at work here. One of the most prominent is pay: low-paid workers will not feel particularly invested in their job, and so are less likely to perform it well. This doesn’t mean that no one will do a good job, but it does mean that competent workers will likely move on to something better-paying at the first opportunity.

The Reality of Pseudoseizures

In the past, pseudoseizures–that is, seizures not the result of any clear physical ailment–were regarded as malingering, as fakery. That perception is changing, but the rest of the medical field hasn’t quite caught up. This is a topic I am particularly close to since someone in my life has had a history of pseudoseizures. I saw firsthand how she was treated: doctors accused her of faking symptoms, of deliberately endangering her health in order to seek attention, of trying to get her hands on powerful narcotics to feed an addiction.

Failures of Liberalism

There is presently a rising tide of right-wing sentiment in Western countries. These aren’t happening in a vacuum–they represent what are, ultimately, failures of liberalism. Brexit, the Tea Party, Donald Trump, and right-wing movements throughout Europe are reflecting changing attitudes that threaten to upend the established order. It’s easy to dismiss right-wing reactionaries as ignorant, racist xenophobes. Often times, that’s exactly what they are. But when they become numerous enough, when they have enough support, it doesn’t matter whether or not they’re wrong.