Thursday, November 19, 2009


A Baha'i friend has shared the following video with me.

I have been following stories of the Baha'i persecution in Iran for quite some time. It is an abominable situation, and one which we have very few tools to improve through international negotiation and pressure.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the relative transparency of the California prison system. I am grateful for public court documents and for the CDCR website. I am grateful for public fiscal reports, which inform Californians of the effects our prison population has on their wallets. I am grateful for the Senate and Assembly websites, where we can learn how our legislature thinks about these matters. I am grateful for National Public Radio and for newspapers. I am grateful for my colleagues in the research community who write about criminal justice, prisons, and the death penalty; they work hard to obtain access to databases and information, which we can later find, analyzed and discussed, in their illuminated books and articles (several of these excellent sources will be reviewed here over the next few weeks). I am grateful for organizations like NOBLE, NACDL, and Books Not Bars, for their efforts to produce external reports on police proceedings, courts, and juvenile institutions. I am grateful for the ability to pick up the phone, or send an email, so I can get accurate information from its source that can be shared with our readers. I am grateful for you, our readers, for emailing us with information that can only be obtained from you.

We have a big problem on our hands. A very big problem. But we have ways of obtaining information about the situation, and ways to communicate with policymakers, officials, activists, inmates, and their families. These are important tools and they are not to be taken for granted.

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