Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

FOR PROFIT DETENTION.

One of the more disconcerting aspects of the growth and use of immigrant detention centers is the enlisting of private prison corporation CCA to handle immigrant detainees. I was discussing Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein' s recent immigration story with a friend of mine named Renee Feltz who told me has been doing her own extensive reporting on private rather than federal detention centers. If you think the WaPo report on substandard medical care in federal immigration facilities is shocking, consider that the already strapped Department of Immigration Health Services was forced to take over health care in a San Diego CCA facility because they were trying to maximize profits by skimping on medical care for detainees. ICE cited CCA for failing to maintain their phone system so that detainees could communicate with legal counsel, when even ICE provides access to lawyers under circumstances described by the Post as less than what "convicted murderers in maximum security prisons" get. A...

OBLIGATORY COMIC BOOK NERDBLOGGING.

Spencer Ackerman i s right that the complex version of Tony Stark in the comic book version of Iron Man can't lend itself to the big screen--Marvel's Civil War is an allegory of government overreaching that culminates in the symbolic death of American freedom with Captain America 's assassination and that would still be a little heavy several films down the line. Favreau 's Iron Man is merely a critique of unregulated capitalism, a brief and shallow admission that just maybe America might kinda sorta bear some responsibility for some of it's current problems. But the film doesn't even come close to suggesting that we should stop sticking our nose into other countries' business, after all, superheroes need people to save. Besides updating the Iron Man story for a contemporary audience, the Afghans in the film are only there to rationalize Stark 's imperialist tendencies. Whether its Dr. Yinsen sacrificing his life so Stark can escape (a classic Magic Negro style moment), terrorists...

BLOWBACK.

The massive turnout of black voters this year is a beautiful thing, especially in the South, where black folks are making it known that there will be consequences to using them as scapegoats: Between an initial vote on April 22, when Mr. Childers fell just shy of getting the 50 percent he needed to win, and Tuesday’s runoff election, when he won with a decisive 54 percent, the Republican campaign to link Mr. Childers with Mr. Obama intensified, with a barrage of advertisements specifically on that theme. Perhaps not coincidentally, vote totals in counties with large black populations went up sharply between those two dates. In Marshall County, which is 48.8 percent black, the votes nearly doubled, to 5,083. In Clay County, 56.8 black, nearly 1,500 more people voted, pushing the total to 3,898. The attacks on Mr. Obama clearly had a galvanizing effect, local officials said. “The people I talked to said, ‘Man, I don’t like that they’re trying to use Obama against him,’ ” said Eric...

THE OTHER DOUBLE STANDARD.

The subtext of some of the calls for the Clintons to release their tax returns was that Hillary 's political career was entirely based on Bill being President. While the public certainly had a right to see the Clintons' tax returns, the media has been noticeably less interested in Cindy McCain 's financial information. Even if the news of her selling her investments in Sudanese businesses (a year after candidates from both parties did so ) sparks renewed scrutiny, the coverage will likely never take the tone that coverage of Hillary took. John Kerry was similarly mocked for having a wealthy spouse in '04, the implication being that he rode to power on her money. But despite the fact that John McCain 's political career was essentially launched by the money and political connections of his wife's family, you aren't likely to see reporters making the same insinuations. In the novelization of McCain '08, presented by the mainstream press, there's no possible way he could be presented as...

DOES DRUGGING DETAINEES AGAINST THEIR WILL CONSTITUTE TORTURE?

Amy Goldstein and Dana Priest report that the U.S. Government has been using a psychotropic drug called Haldol (among others), once used on political dissidents in the Soviet Union, to sedate immigrant detainees against their will during deportation. The problem is many of the detainees aren't being violent or threatening, it's just, you know, easier to deal with them if they're all doped up. Part of the problem seems to be that there was no established legal rule stating that drugging detainees for the purposes of transport alone was clearly illegal, although both Clinton and Bush Administration lawyers seemed to realize that drugging people against their will for no good reason might put the government at risk for liability. Agency rules within ICE were then established that stated that detainees could not be sedated for transport if they were not psychotic or violent, but this was likely because a local paper found out about what ICE was doing and the ACLU started drafting a...

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