ThinkProgress: Alabama Lawmakers Vote To Bring Back the Electric Chair

From ThinkProgress:

The Alabama House passed a bill this week that would allow the state to once again put people to death by electric chair if the currently low supply of lethal injection drugs runs out or if the Supreme Court places limits on which drugs can be used to execute inmates in a case currently pending before the justices.

The vote came just days after a majority Utah’s legislature approved a bill to bring back the practice of executing people by firing squad. Other states are debating the merits of using gas chambers.

After the European Union banned exports of drugs used to kill human beings in 2011, states have been scrambling to find a reliable supply, often turning to secret, poorly regulated sources.

These bills to revive older methods of execution were proposed following a series ofbotched executions in which inmates suffered long and seemingly painful deaths — calling into question whether the drugs are as effective and “humane” as their supporters claimed.

Yet medical experts say the electric chair — which was used for hundreds of years — is an even more torturous and gruesome method of execution. Because the equipment is old and few people know how to operate it, it has often malfunctioned.

How sad. How so terribly sad.

Read more here

Deceptive Products and Advertising Found in Testing of Supplements

Are you surprised to learn that four out of five supplements tested at Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC do not contain the supplements their manufacturers claim?

From the New York Times:

The New York State attorney general’s office accused four national retailers on Monday of selling dietary supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contaminated with unlisted ingredients.

The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.

More here

Park Forest Mayoral Candidate Only Enters Public Housing Unit After Hours; Turkey, Anyone?

turkey
Turkey for your vote?

Juniper Towers is a public housing complex in Park Forest, Illinois. As such, there is a regular staff, and those wishing to enter without a specific destination must adhere to certain standards, letting staff members know they are present.

Because this is public housing, candidates for public office are not permitted to enter and wander aimlessly, moving from floor to floor, door to door.

Turning Left has learned from several reliable sources that one mayoral candidate in Park Forest, Illinois — and a current public official in that town — has been doing precisely that. Mr. JeRome Brown, a second-run mayoral candidate in Park Forest, IL, has been described by sources as entering Juniper Towers, walking floor to floor, going door to door, but only after staff for Juniper Towers have left for the day. Only after hours.

Obviously, Mr. Brown has someone on the inside who is opening the front door for him, or he waits surreptitiously for someone to exit so he can enter.

We have to ask: why not enter when staff is present? Why wait until staff have gone home for the day to begin his surreptitious campaigning?

We have learned, to our amusement, that Mr. Brown raffled off a turkey before Christmas. The winner was the first person who could prove he or she had a voter registration card.

Why give a turkey only to someone already registered to vote? Why raffle a turkey at all, unless he is engaging in an all-out campaign to buy votes.

A few years ago, a mayoral candidate in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, also attempted to buy votes, this time from seniors. This candidate promised, and delivered, a box of chocolates and seven dollars cash — yes, cash — to any senior who promised to vote for him, and he promised to provide them a ride to the polls.

The seniors took the chocolate, pocketed the $7.00 cash, and voted in droves for his opponent.

His opponent won. Handily.

Mr. Brown appears to believe that seniors and other members of public housing in Park Forest, Illinois, are simple, gullible folks, ready to cave and give their votes to someone obviously pandering for their attention, for their votes.

Turning Left must ask, is turkey the only thing of substance Mr. Brown has to offer?

Florida’s Medieval Unwedded Cohabitation Law Punishes Hundreds

This is archaic, punitive, and barbaric.

This…, is Florida.

From policestateusa.com:

Hundreds of Floridians are being fined and imprisoned for the crime of living with a romantic partner without government permission, thanks to an old-time cohabitation law that is still in effect.

As stated in Chapter 798 of the Florida Statutes:

798.02?Lewd and lascivious behavior.—If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Second-degree misdemeanors in Florida are punished by fines of $500 or up to 60 days in jail.

The law dates back over a century, crafted by authoritarians bent on using the state as a mechanism for social engineering and population control. The state’s primary means to this end was in forcing citizens to get permission to marry, in the form of marriage licenses. To prevent certain “undesirable” pairings of citizens, the state was empowered to deny couples the right to marry each other.

Florida resident Sierra Hooper tells Turning Left, “It’s just crazy to me that there is a law for that here … not only can an employer fire you at any time,  you can be arrested as well for who you live with.”

Welcome to Rick Scott’s “Right to Work” Florida.

Social engineering, indeed, socialism, at its worst.

Read more here.

Protests for a Living Wage Commence

McDonald's protest
Dozens of people were arrested during a minimum wage protest outside a Detroit McDonald’s. (Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)

Low-Wage Workers ‘Movement’ Flexes Its Muscles Nationwide

Employees of the fast-food industry demand $15 minimum wage and better workplace protections as actions expected in 150 cities across the country

Fast-food workers are out in force nationwide on Thursday as they participate in a day of action designed to highlight the scourge of low-wages and push a series of demands to combat the persistent poverty endured by those who form the backbone of  the profitable multi-billion dollar industry.

Led by organizers at FightFor15—and supported in their call by the Service Employees Union International (SEIU), grassroots organizers, and other workers’ rights groups—the fast-food employees say that singular actions that first started in New York City in 2012 and then spread to other cities have now become a national movement. Pushing for a $15 per hour “living wage” for all workers is the central but not sole demand of the workers and those who back them.

Organizers are expecting worker strikes and solidarity protests in 150 U.S. cities as employees of Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other chains demand a dramatic increase to the minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to organize and join a union.

According to NBC News:

In Kansas City, Missouri, workers are expected to walk out of 60 restaurants. Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy’s worker, is one of dozens of fast food employees in Kansas City who plan to sit down in a city intersection, lock arms and get arrested.

“We’re a movement now,” Caldwell said on Wednesday before starting a shift at Wendy’s. She and several co-workers said that 25 of the more than 30 non-management employees in their restaurant have pledged to strike. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we’re going to fight it till we win,” said Caldwell, 31, who is raising four children alone on $7.50 an hour and was living in a homeless shelter until earlier this year.

The strikers cite frustration about their continued struggle to survive at the bottom of the labor market even as the broader economic news seems positive. “They say the economy is getting better, but we’re still making $7.50,” said Caldwell. “Nobody should work 40 hours a week and find themselves homeless, without enough money to buy them and their kids food, needing public assistance.”

Early reporting in the day documented actions in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Charlotte, New Orleans and elsewhere.

In Detroit, protesters protesting outside a McDonald’s early on Thursday were arrested after they locked arms and sat down in the street, blocking local traffic.

The local CBS news affiliate reports:

Kaya Moody, a 20-year-old single mother who works at a different McDonald’s location in Detroit, has taken part in several protests and she admits it hasn’t been an easy sell.

“We always get the ‘Do you really think you deserve $15 an hour as a fast food worker?’ We get that a lot and I just feel like, who doesn’t deserve $15 an hour, you know? It’s a living wage. No one can survive off of $8.15 an hour, it’s almost impossible,” Moody told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.

The protests have been going on for about two years, but organizers have kept the campaign in the spotlight by switching their tactics every few months. In the past, supporters have showed up at a McDonald’s shareholder meeting and held strikes. The idea of civil disobedience arose in July when 1,300 workers held a convention in Chicago.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of the planned protests.

Dispatches and photos from other actions are being shared on Twitter under the#StrikeFastFood hashtag:

#StrikeFastFood Tweets

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

The Three False Premises of the Ryan Poverty Plan (TalkPoverty.org)

Stephen Pimpare at TalkPoverty.org performs a critical analysis of Congressman Paul Ryan’s so-called “poverty plan.”

You won’t want to miss it:

So what’s so bad about Paul Ryan’s thinking about poverty?

First, there’s nothing new in it. He offers block grants, cuts to programs, new work requirements, school vouchers, regulatory repeal, more money to faith-based initiatives, and privatizing social services, presenting us with little more than fresh marketing for tired ideas that — when tried in the past — made people’s lives worse, not better. Even the proposals that might seem promising are badly designed — like his way of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.  With the possible exception of his proposals to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences — which advocates of all stripes have been agitating for for decades — it’s old wine in old bottles.  Why should we treat it as newsworthy or innovative?

There’s a deeper problem with Ryan’s approach beyond the details of his proposal.  The foundation itself is rotten: the project is built upon three fatal, false premises.

Read the full analysis here at CommonDreams.org

Video: President Obama Torpedoes a Loaded FOXNews Question

From our friends at Occupy Democrats:

BRET HENRY: President Obama, as you grappled here with all these national security challenges, I have two questions. One, back home we’ve learned that 40 military veterans died while they were waiting for health care, a very tragic situation. I know you don’t run the Phoenix Office of Veterans Affairs, but as Commander-in-Chief, what specifically will you pledge to fix that?

And, secondly, more broadly — big picture — as you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now. And rather than get into all the details or red lines, et cetera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine. And there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.

Here’s I think the general takeaway from this trip. Our alliances in the Asia Pacific have never been stronger; I can say that unequivocally. Our relationship with ASEAN countries in Southeast Asia have never been stronger. I don’t think that’s subject to dispute. As recently as a decade ago, there were great tensions between us and Malaysia, for example. And I think you just witnessed the incredible warmth and strength of the relationship between those two countries.

We’re here in the Philippines signing a defense agreement. Ten years ago, fifteen years ago there was enormous tensions around our defense relationship with the Philippines. And so it’s hard to square whatever it is that the critics are saying with facts on the ground, events on the ground here in the Asia Pacific region. Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question I think I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?

My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely. And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.

So if you look at Syria, for example, our interest is in helping the Syrian people, but nobody suggests that us being involved in a land war in Syria would necessarily accomplish this goal. And I would note that those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops. Well, what do you mean? Well, you should be assisting the opposition — well, we’re assisting the opposition. What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about? And at that point it kind of trails off.

In Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia has never been more isolated. A country that used to be clearly in its orbit now is looking much more towards Europe and the West, because they’ve seen that the arrangements that have existed for the last 20 years weren’t working for them. And Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world. And we’ve been able to mobilize the international community to not only put diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also we’ve been able to organize European countries who many were skeptical would do anything to work with us in applying sanctions to Russia. Well, what else should we be doing? Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean. Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?

The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again. Why? I don’t know. But my job as Commander-in-Chief is to look at what is it that is going to advance our security interests over the long term, to keep our military in reserve for where we absolutely need it. There are going to be times where there are disasters and difficulties and challenges all around the world, and not all of those are going to be immediately solvable by us.

But we can continue to speak out clearly about what we believe. Where we can make a difference using all the tools we’ve got in the toolkit, well, we should do so. And if there are occasions where targeted, clear actions can be taken that would make a difference, then we should take them. We don’t do them because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy. And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.

And that may not always be sexy. That may not always attract a lot of attention, and it doesn’t make for good argument on Sunday morning shows. But it avoids errors. You hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run. But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.

A full, complete, thoughtful, reasoned response.

Rand Paul’s Cliven Bundy Says People Think He’s Racist Because Martin Luther King Jr. Didn’t Finish His Job

Cliven Bundy
Cliven Bundy

Well, now I know who Cliven Bundy is, and I wish I didn’t.

And, for the life of me, I don’t understand why he’s getting so much attention.

Bundy has been allowing his cattle to graze on federally-owned lands. The feds don’t want that to happen any more. Bundy used an “ancestral rights” argument, likening his treatment to the way Native Americans were treated by the United States.

This man is a real tool.

Here is part of a CNN interview where he blames Martin Luther King Jr. that he, Bundy, can’t say anything he wants, like the N-word, calling black men “boy,” etc.

Watch as he moves from offensive to more offensive.

And, until he came out with his racist comments, Senator Rand Paul and other members of the GOP adopted him as their new love child.

Watch the interview and cringe:

H/T: http://www.politicususa.com