Archive | Higher Ground

Joel Osteen shamed into acting like a Christian

Joel Osteen Height, Weight, Age, Bio, Affairs, Net Worth & Wiki

Houston megachurch pastor and “prosperity gospel” purveyor Joel Osteen wants everyone to know he is praying for Hurricane Harvey’s victims. But until he was shamed online, he had no plans to actually open the church doors and welcome the needy in. Now, that has changed. Lakewood Church apparently bought countless air mattresses and are prepping to… Continue Reading →

You can donate to these groups for Harvey victims

Harvey Flooding Rescue

I logged onto Facebook this morning to this rather horrifying picture of senior citizens sitting waist deep in flood waters at a nursing home in Dickinson, Texas. In attempting to verify the authenticity of the photograph, I was gratified to learn that the seniors have been airlifted out to safety. But you and I know that… Continue Reading →

Governor Malloy’s ground-breaking bail reform bill helps indigent Connecticut defendants

Goshen Fair 2015

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed a groundbreaking bill to reform bail in Connecticut.   As a result, hundreds of impoverished defendants will no longer stay in jail as they await trial merely because they cannot afford bail.

The bill was widely supported by the State’s Republicans and Democrats and passed with ease in June.

At the bill’s signing, Gov. Malloy noted that the bail reform bill would focus on the “unintended consequences” of a justice system that has had a harmful impact on public safety pretrial.

The Governor noted that the impact of bail laws can be devastating to people who are jailed for even a couple of days who have been accused of crimes and cannot make bail.  They could lose their housing or employment, which can only aggravate the flux in an already stressed life that could lead to committing crime.

For years, and led by Malloy’s criminal reform efforts, Connecticut has been focused on lowering crime rates.

The bail reform law became effective in July of 2017.

It stops courts from ordering bonds on misdemeanor defendants, with exceptions including family violence; or where someone is considered a flight risk, may obstruct the legal system, or harm someone else or themselves.

The Pretrial Justice Institute, which advocates for bail reform expects this bill to have a major impact on the Connecticut justice system, as 75 percent of criminal cases in Connecticut are misdemeanors.

No More Cash Bonds in Connecticut

It also bars judges from assigning cash-only bail, where defendants must pay the entire amount of the bond to be released jail. Now, defendants will have a choice to secure their release by paying part of the bail, while some will be released without any bail at all – just a promise to appear (called “PTAs”) in court for their future court dates.

Bail / Bond Changes in Misdemeanor Cases

The law requires that a defendant alleged to have committed a misdemeanor who stays in jail because they cannot pay bail must have a bail review hearing within two weeks of their arraignment, which was shortened from 30 days.

At later bail hearings, Connecticut courts must remove the financial conditions of a defendant’s release unless the prosecution successfully argues that the defendant is either a danger to the community or has the risk of flight.

At the request of the bail bond industry, there will also be a study exploring the feasibility to impose an additional fee on defendants who can afford bail.

Bail Now Not Only for the Wealthy

Many local and states jurisdictions have passed bail reforms recently supported in part by civil rights groups that have challenged the constitutionality “wealth-based bail practices.”

Daily, across the U.S., 450,000 individuals are in jail pretrial. Many are charged with low-level crimes and are incarcerated only because they cannot afford bail.

This costs taxpayers $14 billion yearly, or $38 million daily.

Connecticut thinks it will save $30 million by 2019 by shrinking the incarcerated population.

Stamford-based criminal attorney Mark Sherman noted, “The new bail reform law helps defendants, especially low-income families, by doing away with a unilateral approach and safely releasing people who are no harm to the community.”

Orrin Hatch, hero?

United States Senator Orrin Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) condemned the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that exploded on Saturday, saying that WWII veterans, including his brother, didn’t die fighting Adolph Hitler so that Nazi ideas could prevail in the United States today. “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to… Continue Reading →

Aww

KDF ROCK rod stewart

Singer Rod Stewart stepped in to pay five-figure travel costs for a group of children with disabilities who traveled to Washington to protest the GOP healthcare bill that would cut Medicaid, CNN reported Wednesday.

Stewart said he acted after seeing news coverage about the children, who didn’t have the $30,000 it would take for them to travel from Baton Rouge, La., to Washington.

“He was so touched and heartbroken and actually teary,” Stewart’s campaign manager Arnold Stiefe said.

“Some of you may know that I live in America and pay my taxes here,” the British singer said. “I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I am a father.”

Angela Lorio, the organizer of the Trach Mommas, an advocacy group that supports families with children with disabilities, said the check from the musician was “the biggest check of her life” and that she was grateful to Stewart for paying for the trip.

Indian doctors fight sexism by delivering baby girls for free

Since this compassionate doctor started his efforts to challenge sexism seven years ago, 17,000 other medical officials have joined him on his mission to change public perception of giving birth to baby girls. style=”display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px” data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8420654331411867″ data-ad-slot=”1313712966″> In light of Indian families berating mothers for giving birth to girls instead of boys, Dr. Ganesh Rakh started delivering… Continue Reading →

‘The eagle inside belongs to us’

Philadelphia Tourists

Yesterday I was downtown, driving through the historic area so many Philadelphians take for granted. As always, I was both surprised and deeply moved by the sight of the visitors who come all over the world to spend Independence Day in my home town.

Think about that. They could have gone somewhere else, or stayed home for a backyard barbecue. Instead, they came to Philadelphia for July 4th because they’re drawn by the idea of liberty, and the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence.

It seems our elected officials forget about those ideals. But we haven’t! Sure, there are many reasons to be depressed, but don’t give up. Get mad, get organized! Remember, it’s our country. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump, or corrupt Republicans.

It belongs to us.

Adams:
It’s a masterpiece, I say!
They will cheer every word, every letter

Jefferson:
I wish I felt that way

Franklin:
I believe I can put it better
Now then attend, as friend to friend
Our Declaration Committee
For us I see immortality

All:
In Philadelphia City

Franklin:
A farmer, a lawyer, and a sage
A bit gouty in the leg
You know it’s quite bizarre
To think that here we are
Playing midwives to an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
Of an eaglet being born
We’re waiting for the chirp, chirp, chirp
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone, let alone an egg

All:
We’re waiting for the scratch, scratch, scratch
Of that tiny little fellow
Waiting for the egg to hatch
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Adams:
God knows the temperature’s hot enough
To hatch a stone

Jefferson:
But will it hatch an egg?

Adams:
The eagle’s going to crack the shell
Of the egg that England laid

All:
Yes, so we can tell, tell, tell
On this humid Monday morning in this
Congressional incubator

Franklin:
And as just as Tom here has written
Though the egg may belong to Great Britain,
The eagle inside belongs to us!

All:
And as just as Tom here has written
We say to hell with Great Britain!
The eagle inside belongs to us!

Young man helps old one down the escalator

Rundle Mall Plaza - Narrow Escalator

This photo of a 23-year-old helping a frightened senior down an escalator is restoring people’s faith in humanity. The image was posted by Paula Piccard at the Holyoke Shopping Mall of Ingleside, Massachusetts, and has since been shared across social media. style=”display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px” data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8420654331411867″ data-ad-slot=”1313712966″> Paula was waiting at the top of an escalator when she noticed… Continue Reading →

Funding the psychedelic revolution

Ayahuasca

Nice to know somebody’s funding this important research!

For much of his life, Sarlo suffered from one of depression’s cruelest tortures: anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure. Anhedonia insidiously drains joy from formerly enjoyable social interactions and experiences—and worse, replaces it with dullness, dread, or apprehension.

In fact, Sarlo first realized that he might be depressed when both of his daughters complained about his constant dissatisfaction when they were teenagers. “They would ask, ‘Dad, how come you’re not having fun ever? You never laugh,'” he recalls. It wasn’t until he began to find himself weeping for no discernible reason that he finally sought help—and began a journey that would ultimately take him to places he did not think it possible to reach.

These days, evidence of a psychedelic renaissance is everywhere in America. MDMA—best known as ecstasy, or, more recently, Molly—is set to begin Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which means it could be FDA-approved and on the market as early as 2021. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is at a similar stage, with research suggesting it can help with the anxiety and depression associated with cancer, and with quitting smoking.

Ketamine—the club drug, a.k.a. Special K—is already widely used for intractable depression, following a series of trials that showed it could act rapidly, unlike existing antidepressants, which often take weeks to have an effect.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll this month found that nearly two thirds of American adults would personally be willing to try MDMA, Ketamine, or Psilocybin if it was proven safe to treat a condition they have. And in April, a scientific conference on research about drugs that produce visions, out-of-body and transcendent experiences like ayahuasca, psilocybin and LSD was attended by over 3,000 people—including Tom Insel, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

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