Idealism -- Integrity -- Independence
April 18, 2018
Yesterday, there were two news stories on NPR that, although seemingly unrelated, got me thinking about the threads that do connect them. One story was about the South Carolina prison riot that killed seven inmates. The other was about a patient care crisis facing America's hospitals. Reporters who covered the riots said the Lee Correctional Institution, housing some of the state's most violent criminals, was severely understaffed. The prison has over 1,500 inmates. Forty-four officers (I
assume not all are guards) were on duty when the rioting began. These numbers underscored the general view presented on NPR that over-crowding and understaffing is the problem facing prisons across the United States. And exacerbating this problem is the fact that too little interest is being shown by legislators to oversee and fix the situation.
But listening to this discussion, it seemed to me that too much of the focus was on the shortage of guards and prison space and not enough focus was on the shocking number of prisoners in the United States presently requiring more guards and space.
According to ACLU data,
"The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people."
Our incarceration numbers are much higher than any other nation on earth. A prisonpolicy.org report from 2012 notes, "The prison population grew by
from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates. The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men."
Today it is generally accepted that the
Reagan era "war on drugs"
played a role in our soaring prison numbers. Tragically that new national agenda was followed soon after by the appearance in the U.S. of super-addictive crack cocaine in our cities - especially in neighborhoods of color. Then in the following decades small town America began to experience the gradual devastation of their job markets, and not by coincidence an increased use of methamphetamines in those communities.
Of course those aren't the only reasons we now have so many more Americans in our prisons, but drugs in general, have played a big part. In a report written by Lauren Booke Eisne and Inimai Chettiar for the December 9, 2016 issue of Time Magazine, they found that
"approximately 39% of the nationwide prison population (576,000 people) is behind bars with little public safety rationale.
And they can be released, significantly and safely cutting our prison population." They went on to say, "364,000 people, almost all non-violent, lower-level offenders, would be better served by alternatives to incarceration such as treatment, community service, or probation.
This approach probably wouldn't apply to the rioters in South Carolina. They've been characterized by that state as their most violent criminals. However if the overall population of our prisons could be intelligently reduced this would logically result in more guards being available for an understaffed prison like Lee Correctional.
Perhaps a national dialogue about this problem will be spurred on by the South Carolina riot. If so, America's struggles with drugs should certainly be a part of that discussion.
This brings me to the second NPR news story I mentioned at the start of this commentary. According to NPR, hospitals across the United States are facing a critical shortage of the anesthetic Dilaudid in its liquid formulation. The vast majority of American surgeons, anesthesiologists and doctors aiding patients in pain use intravenous Dilaudid as their drug of choice. It relieves severe pain better and faster than morphine and it holds less risk of overdosing when compared to the much more powerful drug fentanyl.
However, the drug companies now producing little or no liquid Dilaudid have somehow continued to produce plenty of Dilaudid in its pill format. And surprise! The profit margin for pills is much higher than the money that can be made selling liquid Dilaudid to hospitals.
I will never forget seeing an expose' in January about
two pharmacies in a West Virginia town with 2900 residents that, over a ten year period, received of 20.8 million prescription painkillers.
--- Wouldn't you think that some top executives at the pharmaceutical companies shipping all those pills might have questioned the legitimacy of those shipments? - It didn't happen.
So, here we are today with America's prisons dangerously overcrowded with inmates, many of whom are probably serving time for non-violent drug violations. And meanwhile a handful of pharmaceutical executives are drawing big salaries and bonuses, some for cleverly increasing their profits through over-shipping pills that will fuel more addiction, and others for increasing their profit margins by steering drug formulations away from drugs desperately needed by patients in pain.
Sometimes crimes and punishments just don't match.
Other events of interest:
Tomorrow, Apr. 19 in Skokie - We Will 4th Annual Legislative Luncheon
When: Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 10:30am to 1:30pm
Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie
We Will helps women propose, understand and participate in legislation.
Join We Will for their annual fundraiser as they celebrate their accomplishments, legislative collaborations and women having a voice and being heard.
We Will expects more than 150 people to attend - business owners and influencers in the Chicago area. There will be networking, delicious food, headshots and a wonderful speaker lineup. For more information, please
check out their Facebook event page
This Saturday, Apr. 21 in Evanston - Earth Day Panel on a Fossil Free Wilmette & Skokie
When: Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Where: Lake Street Church, 607 Lake Street, Evanston
Chicago Area Peace Action's (CAPA) Climate Group
decided to take to heart 350.org's call for a "fossil free future" with a focus on municipal-level action. Building on the demonstrated success in Evanston when it comes to planning and benchmarks to reduce carbon emissions by 28% by 2025 (over 2005 levels), CAPA is embarking on community education and coalition building. The panel will include:
Katherine Moore Powell, Climate Scientist, Field Museum; Lindy Wordlaw, Senoir Manager, Public Sector Programs, Elevate Energy; and Tomas deMedici, Trajectory, a Community Solar company
. CAPA will encourage a good Q and A discussion between panelists and audience. These are the experts that can help us become more comfortable "in the weeds" of this fairly complex transition.
CAPA believes that with a lot of citizen involvement in both Skokie and Wilmette, they can put this conversation on the table and discover what it will take to get a commitment to move in a planned way in both villages toward 100% renewable energy
. For more information,
visit their Facebook page
This Sunday, Apr. 22 in Evanston - Cam Davis' bEarthday Bash
When: Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Where: Evanston's Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Avenue (second floor)
What: Don't forget to bring friends and family to be thanked and cheered for being part of the CAMpaign's stunning win in the March 20 primary.
We'll get together at Evanston's Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Avenue (second floor). Appetizers, a cash bar, and a few words from MWRD Commissioners Debra Shore, Josina Morita, special guest Max Temkin and Cam.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
if you'll be joining Cam (but no obligation-after all, this is to celebrate your efforts...)
This Sunday, Apr. 22 in Deerfield - Brad Schneider's Coffee Club
When: Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Where: The Cherry Pit, 808 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield
What: At Brad's Coffee Club, members enjoy a free cup of coffee and bagel or pastry during monthly meetings at local coffee shops in the 10th District.
Members also have the opportunity to meet with the campaign staff and have in-depth conversations with Congressman Schneider. For additional questions or to RSVP,
, email Allison at Allison@schneiderforcongress.com or call 616-516-0734.
Monday, Apr. 23 in Chicago -
Jan Schakowsky's 17th Annual Ultimate Women's Power Lunch
When: Monday, April 23, 2018 at 12:00 noon
Where: Chicago Hilton, International Ballroom, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
What: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky holds her 17th Annual Ultimate Women's Power Lunch.
This year's Keynote Speaker is
Stacey Abrams, former Georgia House Minority Leader and candidate for Governor of Georgia
. If elected, she will be the first African American Governor in U.S. history. For more information or to reserve your seat,
visit Rep. Schakowsky's website
Monday, Apr. 23 in Northbrook - Film "The Brainwashing Of My Dad"
When: Monday, April 23, 2018 at 7:00pm
Where: Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What: North/Northwest Suburban IL NOW in conjunction with Action for a Better Tomorrow sponsor a screening of
The Brainwashing of my Dad, a film documenting the truth behind the right-wing media machine that changed a father...and divided the nation
Saturday, Apr. 28 in Highland Park -
Tenth Dems Meeting With The JB Pritzker Campaign
When: Saturday, April 28, 2018 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Where: Local Democratic Headquarters, 474 Central Ave., Highland Park, IL. Suite 200, 2nd floor above Mizuki Grill. Plenty of free parking in the lot a half-block to the east of the office.
What: An opportunity to meet strategists from the JB Pritzker campaign in Highland Park and to hear about how to get involved with helping to elect a Democratic governor this fall.
or email email@example.com or call 847-266-VOTE.
Save The Date!
New Trier Democrats' Events
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Drinks With Dems at Wilmette Wine Cellar
Monday, July 16, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Meet & Greet at Avli in Winnetka
Saturday, September 8, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Meeting and Picnic
Sunday, October 14, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Dinner at Maggiano's in Skokie
Thursday, December 13, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Holiday Party at Wilmette Wine Cellar
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
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The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
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