Archive | Class War

Appeals court stays execution of Texas inmate who didn’t kill anyone

Ohio State Reformatory

In 1996, 22-year-old Jeffrey Wood was convicted with his friend Daniel Reneau in the shooting death of a store clerk in Texas, while the two allegedly attempted to steal a safe from the station where the clerk worked.

Reneau was executed in 2002, but Wood, seen as an accomplice because he waited in a truck in the gas station’s parking lot during the time of the crime, was not immediately put to death.

On August 19, 2016, after over 20 years in prison, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stayed Wood’s death sentence in a 7-2 decision, claiming that Wood was not the person that actually pulled the trigger. Wood was originally scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday, August 24.

Wood’s case garnered significant publicity leading up to the Appeals Court decision. Texas State Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano), a well-known conservative in the area, spearheaded the movement to get Wood’s death sentence commuted.
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How poverty changes the brain

Varal 001

Close The video tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan who at 15 survived being shot in the head by the Taliban while riding a bus in 2012. “I want to get my education, and I want to become a doctor,” she says, adding that the Taliban throw acid on… Continue Reading →

Trump’s new ad is the worst general election ‘dog whistle’ in nearly 30 years

Trump's Stance On Undocumented Immigrants

Donald Trump’s last stand is – like everything Trump has done since he birthered his way into conservative politics – all about winning over white people. Even his recent, sour attempts to win over black voters by trafficking in offensive racial stereotypes to white audiences in white suburbs are about getting the 62 percent or so… Continue Reading →

Maine’s wingnut governor breaks the law

Gov. LaPage, Freeport Flag Ladies and Susan Collins

Paul LaPage, uberwingnut, is a loose cannon who looks for any excuse to cut benefits to poor people:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has pounced on the recent unsealing of court documents showing an Iranian refugee who resettled in Maine and later joined the terror group ISIS.

But the governor’s eagerness to use Adnan Fazeli’s radicalization here to rail against welfare benefits for refugees may have led him to run afoul of a federal law designed to protect the identities of welfare recipients and their families.

State officials have not confirmed that Fazeli, or his family, received welfare benefits when he lived in Maine between 2009 and 2013. According to federal laws governing food stamps and cash assistance, they’re not supposed to.

“It’s concerning if that was indeed reported by Maine officials because federal law is clear that people’s confidentiality should be protected,” said Robyn Merrill, director for Maine Equal Justice Partners, an advocacy group for low-income Mainers

Merrill’s concerns were raised by a report in the Boston Herald in which Maine state officials are quoted as saying that Fazeli, and his family, received cash and food stamp benefits.

Those benefits, known also as SNAP and TANF, are federal programs, funded mostly with federal tax dollars. According to federal rules, the identities of benefit recipients are confidential — only law enforcement, immigration officials and state administrators are allowed to know who receives the benefits.

Those same officials, according to the law, “must adequately protect the information against unauthorized disclosure.”

The Herald story also contained an interview with LePage, who told the newspaper that the Fazeli case prompted him to order a review of all benefit programs for refugees.

Merrill said that Fazeli’s radicalization here is concerning, but she worries about the LePage administration’s zeal to politicize it.

“It seems as though this one particular circumstance is really being exploited and used as justification to deny help to a whole group of people,” she said.

Wonderful news

This is something that can make a real difference if they’re successful. I can’t tell you how many people are being held because they can’t afford bail:

Holding defendants in jail because they can’t afford to make bail is unconstitutional, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday — the first time the government has taken such a position before a federal appeals court.

It’s the latest step by the Obama administration in encouraging state courts to move away from imposing fixed cash bail amounts and jailing those who can’t pay.

“Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment,”
the Justice Department said in a friend of court brief, citing the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

Woo hoo, Texas! You’re No. 1!

We Texans Honor Our Flag

Never let it be said that Republicans don’t achieve!

The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to their pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.

The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010-2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

No other state saw a comparable increase.

In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. The remaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.

At the same time, Texas eliminated all Planned Parenthood clinics – whether or not they provided abortion services – from the state program that provides poor women with preventative healthcare. Previously, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas offered cancer screenings and contraception to more than 130,000 women.

Why you should be worried about Trump’s new team

Nazi Trumps...

Pay attention, because this is the mainstreaming of the far right. When you have Steve Bannon, the Koch-funded Breitbart chief, running Trump’s campaign, there are forces behind the scenes everyday people can’t even imagine.

I don’t believe Trump can win. But I do believe he can start a race war, and that might be the agenda here.

The GOP is now, officially, the white nationalist party. All hands on deck!

Man in US killed in suspected ‘anti-Muslim hate crime’

Arab communities in the United States are in shock after a Lebanese-American man was shot and killed by a neighbour that had allegedly used violence and racial slurs against the family for years. Khalid Jabara, 37, was shot and killed on his front porch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday. The family’s neighbour, 61-year-old Stanley Vernon Majors,… Continue Reading →

‘White Trash: The Original Underclass

Just roll on in

This story was co-published with the Atlantic. Sometime during the past few years, the country started talking differently about white Americans of modest means. Early in the Obama era, the ennobling language of campaign pundits prevailed. There was much discussion of “white working-class voters,” with whom the Democrats, and especially Barack Obama, were having such trouble… Continue Reading →

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