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Human Rights Policy

Latest Articles

State should protect inmates’ rights

Letters to the Portland Editor, October 16, 2009
As Lance Tapley points out, denying prisoners access to human-rights protections is a mistake (see "Less Than Equal," October 2).
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 14, 2009
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Less than equal

 State officials, including prejudiced human-rights commissioners, block inmate complaints
This story has a bias. It’s in favor of human rights for all people.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 02, 2009

Time for law to end torture

Letters to the Portland Editor, September 18, 2009
In a collaborative effort between human-rights activists and incarcerated Mainers, a bill to end the use and abuse of solitary confinement has been drafted and will be submitted to legislators soon.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 16, 2009
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Secret, unaccountable, and co-opted

If the prison Board of Visitors had done its job, it might have helped prevent several recent tragedies
The state prison in Warren has been hammered in recent months by an inmate murder and other violence, a prisoner hunger strike, legislative investigations exposing mismanagement and poor guard morale, and a request by human-rights groups for a federal probe of prisoner mistreatment.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 17, 2009

Federal investigation requested

More prison turmoil
Stirred into action by the murder of a wheelchair-bound prisoner, human-rights activists have asked the federal Department of Justice to investigate the treatment of Maine State Prison inmates.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 22, 2009
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The 12th Annual Muzzle Awards

A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England.
With the era of repression and secrecy fostered by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney finally over, this should be the best of times for freedom of expression, open government, and civil liberties. Yet change comes slowly.
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 10, 2009

Human rights watch

Acknowledging, and punishing, torture
Last week, on the heels of anti-torture panels and protests in Portland, Washington DC, and elsewhere, the Justice Department told the nation that it would have to wait a few more days before information about American torture policies and practices is made public.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 24, 2009

Under attack

Civil liberties' limits grow
Recent decisions by President Barack Obama and Maine Governor John Baldacci have dampened progressive hopes that the Republican-inspired war on civil liberties might be winding down.
By JEFF INGLIS  |  June 10, 2009

Dumb College Edition

Uber-PC at Beige University. Plus, too many sad farewells
Phillipe and Jorge have words of wisdom for Brown University's idiotic, uber-politically correct faculty members who voted to drop Columbus Day and substitute a "Fall Weekend" at the behest of student group called Native Americans at Brown.
By PHILLIPE and JORGE  |  April 15, 2009
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Partisan civil liberties disorder


Millions of Americans are suffering
By MATT BORS  |  April 08, 2009
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Amnesty International liberates City Hall

The kids are all right
Old-school Jamaica Plain and Cambridge hippies had better step up their game.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 01, 2009

Human-rights campaigner to tour Maine

Ending poverty
On the heels of news that Maine's unemployment rate is on the rise (2600 jobs were lost here in February), the state will host one of the nation's most powerful speakers on economic human rights this week.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  April 01, 2009
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Thoughts on the 36th anniversary of Roe V. Wade

 Woman rights
To commemorate that anniversary, the Maine Choice Coalition, along with the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the League of Young Voters, and the Portland Phoenix, are teaming up to screen the film I Had An Abortion at SPACE Gallery on Wednesday, January 28.   
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 21, 2009
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Speak no evil?

Why tightening up on anti-Obama speech is a bad idea
Anthony Lewis's free-speech credentials are impeccable: among other things, the former New York Times columnist is James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues at Columbia University's Journalism School
By ADAM REILLY  |  January 14, 2009
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The problem with liberals' dislike of Rick Warren

Uncivil Liberties
The need to be consistent in the defense of the rights of all in our country — even those whose views we may find abhorrent.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  December 23, 2008
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Corrections changes

NAACP leader challenges Maine prison policies
Like a movie hero, the NAACP’s new, young national president, Benjamin Jealous, swept into the 900-inmate Maine State Prison in Warren on Monday, quelling protests among the prisoners and, at least temporarily, rescuing the organization’s prison chapter from being snuffed out by state corrections officials.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 10, 2008
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Interview: Mia Kirshner

Going global
Best known for her role as The L Word 's bookish drama fiend Jenny Schecter, Mia Kirshner is very clear about one thing: to her, acting is a "day job."
By SHAULA CLARK  |  December 09, 2008
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McCain’s crooked talk on torture

Critics, including a local former army interrogator, say he’s trying to play both sides of the issue
It might surprise some that McCain’s record in opposing torture and the Bush administration’s terror-war approach is more complicated than his comments suggest.
By IAN DONNIS  |  September 18, 2008

Joke's on whom?

Letters to the Boston editor, August 22, 2008
Harvey Silverglate’s article is the sort of thing that should be saved for occasions when people who may be offended by humor need to be advised to calm down.
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  August 20, 2008
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Chinese democracy

A field guide to oppression in the home of the 2008 summer games
With Beijing 2008 finally at hand, China’s Tibetan occupation remains Hollywood’s cause célèbre .
By ADAM MATTHEWS  |  August 08, 2008
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Time for a clean sweep?

A former guard calls for prison reform
In early 2007, Rhonda Dawson, a thoughtful, candid, 45-year-old African-American guard at the Maine State Prison in Warren, quit her job after four years because, she says, of racist taunting from her fellow correctional officers.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 23, 2008
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Is anybody paying attention to McClatchy's powerful Guantánamo exposé?

An old-media triumph sheds new light on Bush’s terror policy
Even before its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder, California-based McClatchy had a reputation for putting out some of America’s best mid-level dailies.
By ADAM REILLY  |  June 25, 2008

Willful imprisonment

Letters to the Boston editor, June 20, 2008
Letters to the Boston editor, June 20, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  June 18, 2008

Letters to the Portland editor, June 20, 2008

Getting Michaud's record straight
We would like to thank and congratulate Jeff Inglis for his vivid and thoughtful account of his night in the replica of a cell from Guantánamo that was placed in Portland’s Monument Square.
By LETTERS TO THE PORTLAND EDITOR  |  June 18, 2008
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Promoting human rights at home

The enemy within
“We have a holier-than-thou” attitude in the United States about human-rights violations abroad, said Bart Carhart, a student organizer of the new Amnesty International chapter at the University of Southern Maine.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 02, 2008
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Scenes from childhood

The DeCordova’s classic kids photos, plus Pixnit’s graffiti, and Malcolm X
His head is bowed and his eyes are closed. It was three days before he was gunned down at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom.
By GREG COOK  |  February 12, 2008
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Wave of reform

There is now a chance to fix Maine’s broken corrections system, but only if the public speaks up
A wave of change is moving swiftly toward Maine’s jails and prisons. It could bring major reform — or a bureaucratic jumble.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 06, 2008
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Casting ballots

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival on the campaign trail
Some believe democracy can save the world. Others wonder whether it can even work in America.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 08, 2008
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Was it all a dream?

EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney claims that his father marched with MLK, but the record says otherwise
The Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so.
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 21, 2007
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Peaks Island veteran collects stories of war's atrocities

Winter soldier
Thirty-six years ago, more than 100 Vietnam veterans gathered in Detroit to describe and expose war crimes perpetrated by themselves and their fellow soldiers.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 05, 2007

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