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3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar Sulu Nava International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. Global Issues New Titles at BookPeople THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE: ECONOMIC HIT MEN, JACKALS, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT GLOBAL CORRUPTION BY JOHN PERKINS In this startling look at America’s conspiracy of corruption, Perkins examines corporatocracy and current geopolitical crisis. He also explores events in America, such as U.S. blunders in Tibet and the current Latin American Revolution, to uncover secret histories. In spite of the direness exposed in this book, Perkins remains hopeful and compassionate toward a more sustainable future. NOT ON OUR WATCH BY DON CHEADLE AND JOHN PRENDERGAST Inspired to do something to help the Sudanese in the Darfur region, Cheadle and Prendergast joined forces to create a handbook, memoir, and history for those interested in fighting for a good cause. Through charts, lists and first-person accounts, the authors seek to guide and embolden change. ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE BY BARBARA KINGSOLVER Better known for her careful attention to fictional characters, Barbara Kingsolver’s new book is a nonfiction narrative detailing her and her family’s experience realigning with the food chain. At a time when the public is growing more concerned with the industrial identity of their food products, and several book tides are emerging on the topic, Kingsolver adds to the topic with both thoughtful detail and poetic prose. Book A Community Bound By Books. Bookstore Giftshop Coffeehouse 9 am 11 pm everyday 803 N. Lamar Austin, TX 78703 512.472-5050 shop online at: www.bookpeople.00m Publishes Weekly BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR 2005 “Best bookstore in the country” and politicians try to implement rehabilitation programs. Prison reforms and anti-poverty legislation continued until the national malaise following Vietnam. The country’s urban poor and disenfranchised grew. The optimism of the 1960s Great Society deflated, and middle-class America called for harsher punishments that would sweep lower class drug offenders under a prison rug, out of sight and out of mind. Eager to appear tough on crime, politicians escalated the national war on drugs, flooding the nation’s prisons with nonviolent inmates. With bud gets cut for state mental hospitals, prisons became repositories for poor drug offenders and the mentally ill. Inflamed by sensationalist news channels and radio shock jocks, the public clamored for ever-harsher punitive measures, swelling the U.S. penal population to the largest in the worldlarger both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. Allen Ault, program director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Corrections from 1996 to 2003, says in the book that, “Research plays little part in state corrections. Crime is back down to the 1970s level, yet the inmate population still rises. So there’s no correlation between crime and the inmate population. We don’t do things by research and facts. We do things by politics.” For insights into politically motivated harshness, Abramsky repeatedly cites Texas. “We don’t have any poor people. They’re invisible,” says Jim Estelle, former director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “Prisons really are a microcosm of the community that produces the prison population. If you’re White Anglo-Saxon Protestant and rich, you aren’t going to prison. We do stupid things, and it’s politically driven, clear and simple.” American Furies is a prolonged, scholarly essay whose ultimate home will be in university classrooms. Occasionally, Abramsky interjects personal opinion in unfortunate distractions. He writes about prison chain gangs: “The hypocrisy is so raw it literally takes my breath away.” Such cliched observations come across every bit as self-righteous as the inflammatory talk show hosts Abramsky denounces. As with most reform advocates, Abramsky is most persuasive when he lets facts speak for themselves. As the public learns of the war on drugs’ quixotic nature and economically crippling effects, some politicians are looking into punishments other than incarceration for nonviolent offenders. In the 2007 legislative session, Texas lawmakers set aside some money for treatment and rehabilitation programs. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson recently raised the possibility of legalizing certain drugs; he argued that state funding for treatment and education might be more effective than paying for more prison beds. Regarding the ever-shifting winds of imprisonment philosophy, former Justice Department official Ault observes, “If you look at the history of corrections, it does go in cycles. It usually goes from overcrowding and scandal to reform. Hopefully I’ll live long enough that the pendulum will start swinging the other way.” Stayton Bonner is a freelance writer in Austin. 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 10, 2007