October 29th, 2014
05:50 PM ET

What I'm reading: Why shrinking prisons is good crime-fighting and good government

By Fareed Zakaria

“The United States today has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world: 743 adults per 100,000 population, or nearly 2.3 million adults, nearly one-quarter of the world’s total prison population,” writes Eric Schnurer in The Atlantic. “More than twice that number are on probation or parole, with more than 70,000 juveniles in detention, as well – roughly one in every 30 Americans is under supervision of some sort, a seven-fold increase since 1980.”

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“The singularity of Reagan and his lonely place in the conservative pantheon is put in stark relief by photographs of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, in Atlantic City, where massive portraits of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson framed the stage,” writes Jeff Shesol in the New Yorker. “It is impossible to imagine a similar setup at the Republican Convention in 2016. Other than Reagan’s, whose image – among the past century’s Republican Presidents—would be put on display? Coolidge has a cult following (which included Reagan himself); Eisenhower has supporters, but also serious detractors in the Party’s right wing (today as in the nineteen-fifties); George H. W. Bush has garnered enough goodwill and retrospective credit in the years since his Presidency that he might merit inclusion; but none of these men really stir the blood. “Nixon’s the One,” proclaimed bumper stickers and buttons in 1968, but this was only wishful thinking. Reagan was already the one, even if America didn’t know it yet.”

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“Tunisia also created its own luck. Nahda’s leaders are a moderate and pragmatic bunch, who have learned from the mistakes of Islamists elsewhere,” The Economist says. “In Egypt Muhammad Morsi alienated many of his compatriots by concentrating power in the Brotherhood’s hands and was toppled by the army. In Tunisia, when post-revolutionary politics appeared close to collapse last year after the murder of two opposition politicians, Nahda agreed to dissolve the three-party government it led and made way for a cabinet of technocrats.”

 

 


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