Charlotte Silver

500k Kids Attend School Near Fields Sprayed With Highly Toxic Pesticides

When you see a carton of strawberries in your grocer’s aisle, what do you think of? If you’re in the United States you might want to consider California’s Central Valley, where 88 percent of the nation’s strawberries are grown. The U.S. satisfies 30 percent of the globe’s appetite for strawberries, so wherever you are, next time you pluck the brightest and most luscious-looking berry from a bowl, consider the practices of the industry that produces this widely consumed delicacy.

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Women Watched, Strip-Searched, Raped by Male Prison Guards: How Can We Have Real Reform?

Prisons and jails house over 2 million people in America. However bleak and undesirable the conditions of prisons are likely to be, they are, in fact, home to the people who live there. 

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Why American Courtrooms Are Dangerous Places for Young Blacks

Before leaving office last week, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell commuted Travion Blount's sentence of six life terms plus 118 years, to 40 years. Blount had been convicted of taking part in an armed robbery that resulted in no serious injuries and netted him $60 and a few joints.

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When Rigid Mormon Rules Clash With Native American Traditions

A 23-year-old man born and raised in the Mormon Church, "J" is an American Indian. In keeping with the latter of his cultural identifications, he wears his hair long, cutting it only when a member of his family dies. This past autumn, when J tried to enroll at Brigham Young University, the private school funded by the Church of Ladder-day Saints, he ran into a problem.

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Can Childhood Trauma Shorten Your Life?

A man, 50, begins to experience shortness of breath and aching chest pains. He goes to his doctor, who diagnoses him with coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. A year later the man has a heart attack and dies. Yet he had none of the risk factors associated with heart disease. So how did he get it?

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Why the Federal Government Is Cracking Down on 23andMe for Offering Personal Genetic Testing

Until recently, if a person had about $100 to spare, she could purchase 23andMe's Personal Genome Service. After sending in a swab of saliva she would receive a genetic breakdown, detailing ancestral background and risks for certain diseases. 

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This Is America? Men Tortured in Solitary for Having the Wrong Tattoo or Political Books

Ronnie Dewberry is 54 years old. For more than half of his life he has spent 23 hours of every day in an 8-by-10-foot cell, furnished with a concrete bed, stool, and desk that protrude from the concrete walls. There is no window or any source of natural light at all; the perforations on the door allow Dewberry to peer out into a concrete hallway. Dewberry does not speak to or see anyone, save for the three brief moments each day when a guard delivers his meals through a slot in the door.

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How a Law Aimed at Sex Offenders Could Feed into the Growing Surveillance State

Last November, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act. Like “tough on crime” anti-trafficking legislation around the country, Proposition 35 was presented as bolstering law enforcement's ability to fight human trafficking by introducing a bundle of new laws that, most prominently, increased penalties for those convicted of trafficking human labor, made prostitution a sex crime, and with less public attention, created a new requirement for registered sex offenders.

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Here Come the Drone Wars in America -- The Public vs. Overzealous Police

Recently, outgoing director of the FBI Robert Mueller revealed that his agency has used drones to conduct surveillance in the United States. Mueller's casual admission serves as an opportune moment for drone enthusiasts: introducing the FBI's domestic drone programme with nonchalance, he swung wide the door on which drooling police departments have long been banging.

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How Israel Gets Away With Torturing Palestinians to Death

Six days after Arafat Jaradat was arrested by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet, he was dead. Between the date of his arrest - February 18 - and the day of his death - February 23 - his lawyer Kamil Sabbagh met with Arafat only once: in front of a military judge at the Shin Bet's Kishon interrogation facility.

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