• The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

    One of the least-known stories of the Irish who came to America in the 1840s is that of the Irish battalion that fought on the Mexican side in the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-1848.  They came to Mexico and died, some gloriously in combat, others ignominiously on the gallows.  United under a green banner, they participated […]

  • Quiet Gestures, Heroic Acts: A Conversation with Robert Ellsberg

    Robert Ellsberg is a well-known activist and author of numerous books, but most importantly, a tireless advocate for social justice and a witness to the lives of others whose integrity and purpose provide useful models.  His most recent book is Blessed Among All Women: Women Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for Our Times.  One of my […]

  • Dismantling the Central American Gangs and Recovering a Lost Generation

    Guatemala City, Guatemala Carlos, my driver, was a former federal policeman.  He weighed a good two hundred pounds and was well over six feet.  He was assigned to me by a local businessman whom I knew in Guatemala City after I explained that I wanted to visit some areas where I could see gang activity.  […]

  • Blind Man with a Pistol: The Evolution of the Modern Police State as Seen by Prison Authors

    “What started it?” “A blind man with a pistol.” “That don’t make sense.” “Sure don’t.” — Chester Himes Minorities and most poor people in the inner cities have always lived with the knowledge that (for them at least) the forces of unlawful suppression and misuse of power far too often masqueraded as the forces of […]

  • Lost Lives and Impoverished Souls:The Failure of the Church in Latin America

    When the conservative Catholic cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI, many observers saw this as the beginning of a reactionary period for the Catholic Church with the Cardinal’s well-known opposition to female clergy, gay unions, cloning, freedom of choice, ecumenical movements, use of contraceptives to prevent AIDS, liberation theology, community organization of lay […]