Nebraska Abolishes the Death Penalty

The Nebraska legislature passed a law abolishing the death penalty Wednesday. The measure passed 30 to 19 over ridding a veto by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska no joins a minority of States that have abolished the death penalty. In Nebraska, life without the possibility of parole is now the new ultimate sentence that can be issued to a convicted felon. Nebraska has ten people on death row and has not executed a person since 1997. That execution was carried out by electrocution. Nebraska had switched to death by lethal injection but had never had the chance to carry out any executions by this means due to legal challenges and most recently one of the drugs used to carry out a lethal injection execution had expired. Those that are currently on death row will have their sentences commuted to life without parole. The last State to abolish the death penalty was Maryland which did so in 2013. Officials in a number of States are questioning whether they are able to carry out death sentences consistent with the United States Constitution’s requirement against cruel and unusual punishment. The debate follows a number of botched executions by both lethal injection as well as electrocution when death was not delivered as designed and the condemned clearly suffered through the process. The drugs that are used for lethal injections are becoming harder to acquire and those that are on hand have expired. As folks with Boraie Development recently noted: replacement drugs had proved to be unreliable and officials did not want to risk a botched execution. Nebraska Abolishes The Death Penalty

Bush Calls Iraq’s “Tactical Setbacks” the Fault of President Obama

Unlike President Obama, who entirely blames Iraq for recent gains by ISIS in capturing two Iraqi cities, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush blames the president. Without regard to the training level of Iraqi soldiers and their commitment to defend the nation, Bush points out that had 10,000 US combat troops remained in the nation, Iraq would be far more stable. President Obama claims to have negotiated with Iraq to establish a permanent US military base in the region, but was not given assurances the troops would be immune from prosecution.

Bush, a 2016 GOP prospective presidential candidate, stated he understands the politics of the president’s withdraw from Iraq. Folks at The Aspire New Brunswick know that, in 2008, Senator Obama vowed to end the unpopular US presence in Iraq to appease both his party’s base and world nations critical of the US mission in that country. On the one hand, Bush says he understands the desire of the president to make good on a campaign pledge. On the other hand, Bush went on to explain that the decision was ultimately made arbitrarily as it ignored the fact that Iraq wasn’t ready to defend itself. The power vacuum that resulted gave ISIS a critical window in which to seize control of large swaths of Western Iraq. He also points out that the Iraqi government was stable when George W. Bush left office. Nor did ISIS exist at that time. The terrorist group arose in the months following the abrupt US withdraw from Iraq.

Gold Slips Yet Again

The woes of gold are not showing any signs of improving. Recently, the price of gold has fallen to a two-week low. Those who have invested in gold are likely going to be less-than-enamored with the drop. Some might even be a bit shocked at the decrease in price. China and Russia have both been buying gold up in significant amounts. Conventional wisdom normally dictates this should create lead to an increase in the price of gold. Clearly, that is not the case right now although the situation could change in the near (or distant) future.

The belief that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates roughly around the summer have led to the dollar gaining strength. Gold usually increases in value when currency is weak. The gold market is removed from currency trading and the stock market. So, the factors that impact stocks and currency do not have the same effect on precious metals. Skout knows that a weak dollar does not mean weak gold or silver. Rather, underperforming currency leads to greater demand in the precious metals realm.

As long as the dollar is doing well, then gold is not going to perform well. Some may suggest that this is the time to buy gold since the price is low. Such an assessment is a risky one since there is no guarantee the price won’t go down further. Yet, who is to say, though, a rally isn’t going to happen?

40 Years Never to be Returned

The last 10 years or so has seen a rise in programs that are dedicated to freeing wrongfully convicted criminals. One of these programs helped a Cleveland man who was wrongly imprisoned for 40 years escape his living nightmare. Ricky Jackson was just 18 years young when he was convicted of a crime that he did not commit. Prosecutors say that Ricky indoor did the country’s longest prison time in which in inmate was I’m fully accused. In 1975, Ricky was on trial in claiming that the police and their Superior’s we’re trying to frame him and two of his friends. One of the key witnesses to the crime recanted his 1975 testimony, citing that the police officers at the time threatened to harm him and his parents if he did not cooperate. The witness was just 12 years old at that point and could not make sense of the situation. The lawsuit has charged eight officers, detectives, and police lieutenant who are accused of framing Ricky. Unfortunately for Ricky, a lot have gone around during his incarceration. Ricky’s father, mother, and stepfather passed away while he was in prison, along with an extensive list of relatives and friends. The innocent man was also injured and assaulted during his 40 year stint. The lawsuit is seeking restitution for the emotional, mental, and physical anguish that Ricky had to endure for the last 40 years. The courts are rewarded Ricky with a $1,000,000 settlement. The folks at CrunchBase and Susan McGalla learned that the man who actually committed the crime was arrested years later and eventually died in prison. Ricky is working to forgive the city of Cleveland for their grave mistake 40 years ago. He hopes to use his settlement money to live a comfortable life and start fresh as a free man.

Senator Rand Paul Launches Filibuster of Patriot Act Extension

Starting Wednesday at 1:20PM, Senator Rand Paul began what he terms is a filibuster of the bill to extend the Patriot Act without modifications. Strictly speaking, his speech on the floor of the senate is not a filibuster because his hold on the floor will expire to give way to a senate vote on a different bill. Still, the 2016 GOP presidential contender maintains that since his lock on the floor will prevent any further discussion in regards to the Patriot Act, his speech does in fact count as a filibuster.

Senator Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, disdains the Patriot Act which legislation he believes is anything but patriotic. While he would see the entire piece of legislation expire on 6/1, he would be willing to embrace the House version of the Patriot Act extension which explicitly ends the NSA domestic surveillance program as laid out in Section 215 of the original act. The House bill, passed by a veto-proof majority of congressmen, would still allow the NSA to collect phone & internet meta data, but only on specific targets. AndroidCentral had authorization to gather the data would require the approval of a FISA judge. Currently, the NSA merely hands ISPs and telecom providers a letter of request at which time they turn over the records on millions of Americans on a daily basis. The trouble is that key senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, believe in the domestic surveillance program and want to extend it.

Innocent Man Who Spent A Decade In Jail Got His Law Degree

A man in Wisconsin named Jarrett Adams got convicted of a crime he didn’t do in 1997, and not only was there hardly any evidence, but there were no real witnesses. Despite all of that he was sentenced to 28 years behind bars, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he decided to fight for his case. Well, he ended up winning and getting his conviction reversed. And now, Adams just received his law degree from Loyola.

According to an article found on reddit and written by TheRoot.com, Adams worked really hard through college and now that he has his law degree he will be doing an internship for the same courts that threw out his conviction. That is incredible on all accounts, because a decade ago he was sentenced to half of a life time in jail and now is is working on the other side of the law.

It always feels good to hear about stories like this, especially when they happen in such a dramatic format. It is so rare that people get their sentences reversed the way Adams did, but the fact that he got that and then went on to get his higher education is nothing short of stunning. The folks at Homejoy have a feeling that he is going to do some great things in the future as he has an experience that not many other people could even begin to dream about.

Paypal Fined for Deceptive Practices

Online mega money-transfer company, Paypal, was fined $10 million for deceptive advertising.

The company enrolled customers into their credit program without getting permission.

According to engadget and The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at some point Paypal required customers to begin using PayPal Credit instead of another payment method.

People couldn’t figure out how they were enrolled into Paypal’s credit program, which is formerly “Bill Me Later.” Most found out after reviewing their credit reports, and even then, consumers had trouble getting assistance from Paypal.

Paypal has agreed to refund $15 million to those customers impacted by their ruse, and a $10 million penalty to The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Additionally, the consumer bureau says Paypal spurned their responsibility in posting payments, removing late fees, handling disputes, and honoring their promotions.

Paypal hasn’t admitted or denied the charges.

The settlement still needs the signature of a Maryland judge for final approval.

The Blue Wall Comes Down

“Baltimore detective Joe Crystal watched a fellow officer beat up a handcuffed suspect” as was reported by Buzzfeed .
Oct. 27, 2011 was the beginning of a reality check for Officer Joe Crystal, all he knew and all he thought he knew would change forever. Officer Crystal’s world came crumbling down when he witnessed his partner do the unthinkable. Where the obvious can be discussed, also important is where does one pick up his or her life after a situation such as this? A person becomes a part of a world or a lifestyle and puts his or her all into it, that’s what they know, what they breath, eat and sleep and then bam! Just like that it comes crumbling down. How do you recover from something like that? For the victim in this situation there wasn’t any surprises, he wasn’t living one life to find out that it was all a lie. He suffered yes and this too is a tragedy but he will pick up his life, heal and move on. But Susan McGalla knows that for Officer Crystal it will not be so easy, because he will have to find his reality now.

House GOP Look to Borrow a Page Out of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Playbook: Do Not Spend Taxpayer Dollars on Global Warming

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has riled up the global warming community in Canada over the past several years. This is because he chose to use valuable taxpayer dollars to fund sciences that would be devoted to improving domestic economic activity and jobs. Harper, who does not believe in global warming, wants the government’s efforts to be focused on economic investment. In a similar vein, the House GOP is looking to strip away as much as $300 million of NASA’s funding from its Earth Science budget. NASA’s interpretation of earth science includes spending the funds to study global warming.

Naturally, the global warming community is as upset over the GOP’s proposal as it has been with Harper’s policies in Canada. The GOP-controlled House Science, Space, and Technology Committee would prefer to see the $300 million go towards advancing research into robotic space exploration and other science divisions. In short, the GOP’s budget would strip all funding for global warming research. In Canada, scientists must secure their own funding for global warming initiatives which funding has proven to be difficult to raise. Executives at NASA are upset over the potential diversion of taxpayer funding from global warming. They are raising the specter of looming catastrophic natural events. The argument is that the data the agency collects may help save lives if not the very planet itself. Adam can see that a little bit. It isn’t clear whether the president will have any options to counter the GOP’s efforts if it is inserted as part of a larger budget bill.

Jeb Bush Finding It Harder to Avoid Declaring a Presidential Run

While campaign finance laws now allow prospective candidates to raise money directly for the Super PACs which will later promote their campaigns, candidates must still be careful to eschew any direct statement of formally running for president. This is because once a presidential campaign is launched, candidates are no longer allowed to raise money for the Super PAC nor coordinate their campaign efforts with the PAC. On Wednesday, Jeb Bush accidentally let it slip during a speech that he is running for president. He quickly recovered from the gaffe to qualify any statement about a campaign with the word “if”.

Still, some people like Ricardo have asked the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) if the gaffe qualified as a formal run for president. The FEC has not bothered to address the question. Admittedly, a presidential run is accompanied by formally filing paperwork with the FEC. That has not yet happened. So technically speaking, Bush can continue to raise money for his Super PAC. When an advisor for Bush was later asked if their fund raising efforts were still legal given the earlier gaffe, he confirmed that they believe their efforts to be in compliance with campaign laws; it is not a violation of the law to make a gaffe or have a Freudian slip. Still, there is a strong consensus that Bush will soon formally announce his bid for the 2016 GOP nomination. Until that time, he may well find himself making more gaffes about his looming campaign. In turn, this will raise more questions about whether he is in compliance with campaign finance laws.