An obvious problem even the Koch brothers can care about A softer side of the Koch bros...

David KochThere’s a front-page story in the New York Times about Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress working together on something. Surprising, but nice. They actually agree that the nation’s criminal justice system is broken.

And, yes, it is. Our criminal justice system produces a terrible waste of both human potential and cash-money.

Other groups on the left and right are also involved –- the liberal ACLU… the tea-partying FreedomWorks… and others. We assume some groups are more shocked by the ruined lives and other groups by the wasted money.

We had not known about this, so thank you, New York Times.

Is it an example of “bipartisanship”? The kind our local newspaper constantly yearns for on its editorial page? Not really. The local paper routinely urges our elected representatives (whom they puzzlingly call “leaders”) to come together, to cooperate, and compromise. And then when they don’t, the local paper doses off and moves on to another of a million topics.

But here we have a coming together of advocacy groups to attack a problem. Why in the world does the U.S. — compared to other Western democracies — have such high levels of imprisonment? (Even compared to other times in our own history.) Something’s wrong.

But so far, in our formal halls of power, politics, and governance, where partisanship is really played out — where laws are made — nothing serious is happening. That’s why advocacy groups are needed — to light a fire under our elected “leaders”.