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Feature Stories
The Drug War’s Collateral Damage: Support for Industrial Hemp Grows – Even in Congress PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 25 July 2013 05:46

By most standards, Jason Kakert’s Iowa Hemp for Victory page on Facebook is a modest grassroots political effort. He started the page in 2011, and this week it had only 58 “likes.”

“This is just getting started out,” the 31-year-old graphic artist said last week in his studio at the Bucktown Center for the Arts. “Right now this is kind of a one-man show.”

But Kakert (a former River Cities’ Reader intern) is an eloquent advocate for industrial hemp, and he’s part of a movement that’s gaining significant traction. Last month, the U.S. House – by a vote of 225 to 200 – passed an amendment to the farm bill that would allow “institutions of higher education to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for the purpose of agricultural or academic research,” according to the amendment’s summary. “The amendment only applies to [the nine] states that already permit industrial hemp growth and cultivation under state law.”

The amendment is now attached to the House-passed farm bill, but its fate is uncertain at best; the larger politics of the farm bill dwarf this particular issue.

Yet the amendment’s passage represented a major surprise victory for hemp advocates. As Tom Murphy, the national outreach coordinator and a board member of the not-for-profit organization Vote Hemp, said in an interview last week: “We were expecting a 50 to 375 defeat.”

 
Enter the Reader’s 2013 Short-Fiction Contest: “Great Beginnings” PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:25

Admittedly, some of our previous short-fiction contests have been a bit cruel.

So we’re making it easy for our 2013 contest, which runs through August 20. (Our favorite entries will be published in the September 5 issue of the River Cities’ Reader.)

All you need to do is start with one of the beginnings below and finish your story in an additional 250 words. And we’ve been extremely generous, giving you 50 options!

I should probably wait to tell you that the previously mentioned beginnings come from the Bible, Moby-Dick, Infinite Jest, A Tale of Two Cities, The Color Purple, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone ... . And one – offered here in its entirety – might be the shortest story ever written.

 
The War on Whistleblowers PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Thursday, 13 June 2013 05:41

Without whistleblowers – employees within government and big business, at all levels, who risk their livelihoods and sometimes lives – the American public (and world) would have no knowledge about many of the most outrageous, dangerous, and covert activities perpetrated upon society. This includes everything from fabricating false pretenses for going to war to war crimes (including torture) against prisoners and innocent civilians to lethal environmental abuses to fraudulent financial schemes that have devastated millions of families’ life savings. In the past, the exposure of these egregious acts has often (but not always) brought reform, exposed criminality resulting in prosecutions, and perhaps most importantly saved countless lives. Sadly, in today’s political environment, it is the whistleblowers who are being penalized for telling Americans the truth.

But for the threat of whistleblowers, ill-intended politicians and bureaucrats and their crony-capitalist private-sector brethren would operate in an oversight vacuum – free to abuse their power and engage in criminal activity at will. The contributions that whistleblowers make to an open and free society cannot be overstated.

How many more thousands of lives would have been lost if it were not for Daniel Ellsberg’s infamous Pentagon Papers that exposed the Department of Defense’s lies and manipulation that propped up the Vietnam War (MostDangerousMan.org)? How much more abuse would citizens suffer at the hands of corrupt police departments if it were not for Frank Serpico testifying about the rampant corruption inside the New York police department? These are, or should be, just two of the household names in the whistleblower pantheon.

 
Enter the Reader’s 2013 Photo Contest! Deadline Extended to May 21 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 May 2013 08:11

The three categories for the River Cities’ Reader’s 2013 photography contest are “illumination,” “future,” and “brazen.” The deadline for entries is May 21, and the rules are below. We plan to publish the winners in our May 30 issue.

 
Spring/Summer Dining Guide Survey Winners PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 18 April 2013 07:40
The River Cities’ Reader’s dining survey was open from October 2012 through February 2013. Respondents needed to provide reasonable answers in at least 15 categories for their votes to be counted.

Vote in the current survey at RCReader.com/y/survey through August 31! Results will be published in the fall/winter Dining Guide.

Restaurant
1) Antonella’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
2) The Faithful Pilot Cafe & Spirits
3) The Crane & Pelican Cafe

New restaurant (opened in 2012)
1) Crust – Stone Oven Pizza
2) Pepperjack’s Restaurant & Lounge
3) Doc’s Inn Bar & Grill
3) Goombazz Big City Eatzz

 
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