FROM Nancy Kincaid
California's Wildfires: Reckoning and Recovery There are several human casualties so far, but major fires are still burning in Northern California, and there could be more. The Valley Fire has scorched much of Lake County and parts of Sonoma County, both North of Napa. The Butte Fire has charred Amador and Calavares Counties. Even as fires are still burning, negotiations with insurance companies are already under way. Some homeowners prepared for potential disaster by buying insurance — but others did not, and the details of insurance policies aren't always easy to understand. We update the personal cost of damage that's displaced some 20,000 people.
Human Rights in the Hidden World of State Prisons On July 1, inmates at the Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border began a hunger strike that ultimately involved 6600 prisoners in 13 of California's 33 institutions. Reporters were not allowed to talk to inmates, but representatives said they demanded caps to be worn in cold weather, calendars on cell walls, more lenient treatment in solitary confinement, and a change in "debriefings" that last so long prisoners are in danger of being labeled as "snitches." The hunger strike is over , but did settling it make things any better?
California Prisons: Mercy or Madness? "If we can't start with a quadriplegic, where can we start?" That's the question from San Francisco's Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, who wrote the new law providing that inmates who are incapacitated should be released on humanitarian grounds and to save money. But last week, at its first opportunity, the State Parole Board said "no" to a man whose spine was severed in a prison fight, so he can't move either his arms or his legs. His family has agreed to provide care and to pay for it. Note: The Parole Board refused our request to participate in today's program.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.