Charles has reported on topics from the war on drugs to the war on terror, his having aired on NPR and Pacifica stations across the country and been published by outlets including <i>AlterNet</i>, <a href="http://Antiwar.com" rel="nofollow">Antiwar.com</a>, <a href="http://CommonDreams.org" rel="nofollow">CommonDreams.org</a>, <i>Counterpunch</i> and Inter Press Service. He has also enjoyed stints working as a researcher on Michael Moore’s <i>Capitalism: A Love Story</i>, waiting tables at a surprisingly seedy Friendly’s family restaurant (several stints, actually), and mixing and packaging horseradish-based products at a small factory in Pennsylvania. He did not particularly enjoy that last one.
Grant Betsie Gallardo Medical Clemency
UPDATE: Thanks to the efforts of activists across the country, including just under 700 Change.org members, she will be able to spend her final days surrounded by her family, rather than prison guards in a Florida jail cell. After being bombarded with appeals for her release, the Florida Parole Board held an emergency session Jan. 7 where members voted to allow Betsie to receive hospice care outside the confines of a prison. And now her mother reports she's been allowed to return to the family home in Indiana. Betsie Gallardo hasn't gotten very many breaks in life. Born into poverty in Haiti – HIV-positive – she was repeatedly raped by a local police officer until she was adopted by a Christian missionary in the country. And now the 24-year-old orphan is dying of cancer. In prison. Alone. As Betsie's mother writes, her daughter was sentenced to five years in Florida state prison. Her crime? "Spitting on a cop while intoxicated." To be more precise, Betsie's crime was reportedly spitting on a cop while infected with HIV, which the state of Florida considers to be a weapon,” despite the fact that one cannot actually contract HIV from saliva. Since going to prison, Betsie has developed stage 4 gallbladder cancer that has spread throughout her body. But officials at Broward Correctional Institution are refusing to allow her visits from her family. Asked if they could see her during her final moments, the prison warden responded, "absolutely not." Betsie doesn't have much time left, and the precious moments she has left should be spent with her loved ones. Please ask that Florida Gov. Rick Scott and others on the state Executive Clemency Commission to grant her medical clemency before it's too late. Her family is also asking that she be provided IV nutrients in the meantime, so that she may live to see whether her clemency appeal is granted. Photo Credit: Still Burning
'The Nation' Needs to Apologize to John Tyner
Update: Nation Editor Katrina vanden Huevel has apologized for publishing the piece. "Touch my junk and I'll have you arrested." That's what San Diego resident John Tyner famously told a TSA agent when he was subjected to one of the new, controversial invasive pat down searches. Fed up with the ongoing government erosions of our privacy, Tyner stood up for his rights -- and all of ours. So why is The Nation magazine smearing him as a tool of right-wing corporatists? In a piece published November 23, "TSAstroturf: The Washington Lobbyists and Koch-Funded Libertarians Behind the TSA Scandal," authors Mark Ames and Yasha Levine outrageously suggest that Tyner's activism is suspect all because he has described his political views as "libertarian," lives in a GOP stronghold and once attended a Christian school. And from that, they suggest he's possibly a phony-baloney faux-activist raking in cashing from his corporate overlords. The piece has attracted widespread criticism, with the magazine's own Jeremy Scahill denouncing it as a "shameful smear." Yet the authors refuse to acknowledge that their article crossed the line. Meanwhile, Nation editor Katrina vanden Huevel, who allowed the piece to be published in the first place, has yet to apologize for recklessly smearing a concerned citizen. The Nation clearly owes John Tyner a formal apology. Too few Americans stand up for their rights anymore -- and it's not right for one of the nation's leading liberal publications to smear those who do. Photo Credit: nft23