I'm the Ashleigh you're searching for. Tech writer ⌨️ Queer demi-ace & trans (she) 🏳️‍🌈 Happily autistic ✨ Unabashed love of justice ⚖️ Tying to do my part 💞
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Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

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Ohio’s bungled execution of an elderly man shows that the death penalty is broken and barbaric.

The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, “A civilized society locks up [criminals] until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them in prison until they die.” The state of Ohio apparently hasn’t heard of Judge Posner, as they went one step further and tried to execute an elderly Alva Campbell and failed.

Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.

Hours later, Gov. John Kasich announced not a commutation — or a plan to investigate what went wrong — but that Campbell’s execution would be rescheduled for 2019.

It’s a travesty of justice that Ohio’s bungled attempt at executing Alva Campbell was both predictable and avoidable. Campbell’s attorneys had in fact informed the governor and courts that their client’s abysmal health made him a uniquely poor candidate for lethal injection.

Campbell has severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, uses a walker, relies on an external colostomy bag, requires four breathing treatments a day, and may have lung cancer. In a medical examination of Campbell before the execution attempt, doctors failed to “find veins suitable for inserting an IV on either of Campbell’s arms.” Ohio’s only answer to the concerns of Campbell’s lawyers was to give Campbell a “wedged shape pillow” to keep him slightly upright through the execution.

It was predictable and avoidable not only because of information furnished to the state by the defense, but because Ohio had already committed a similar bungle in 2009 when it failed to find a suitable vein to execute Rommell Broom after sticking him with needles for over two hours.

The ability to find a suitable vein is basic to lethal injection. When it cannot be done — because of lack of training and qualifications of the lethal-injection team or the health of the prisoner — the process becomes impossible and the risk of a failure or botch undeniable.

Ohio has earned its execution infamy over time.

The state’s lethal-injection team’s inability to find a suitable vein led to the
botched execution of Joseph Clark in 2006, who raised his head from the gurney during the execution to say, “It don’t work. It don’t work.” Ohio persisted, working for another 30 minutes to find another vein before resuming the execution. Media witnesses heard “moaning, crying, and guttural noises” before the deed was finally done 90 minutes after it had begun.

The botched two-hour execution of Christopher Newton in 2007 also stemmed from the execution team’s inability to access a suitable vein. The state’s botched execution of Dennis McGuire in 2014 has been attributed to the use of midazolam — great if you need a sedative for a medical procedure but unsuitable for executions.

The takeaway should be clear. Ohio cannot be trusted to use the death penalty, as time and time again the state fails and causes needless pain and unconstitutional torture. But Ohio is forging ahead.

The state’s schedule of more than two dozen lethal-injections through 2022 gives Ohio the dubious distinction of maintaining the longest list of upcoming executions in the nation. A second attempt to take Campbell’s life is now set for 2019, while Rommell Broom’s new date is in 2020. Last year, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Ohio could attempt to execute Broom, yet again, over a powerful dissent pointing out that the U.S. Supreme Court more than a century ago made clear that executions involving “torture or lingering death” would violate the Eighth Amendment.

With its record of three botched executions and two bungled attempts, it’s time for Ohio to stop its unjust assembly line of death. It should reconsider whether it needs to execute prisoners so old and infirm that they can be safely imprisoned until they pass naturally. It should reconsider whether it is even possible to carry out executions without an unacceptable risk of torture or lingering death.

If the state of Ohio actually reckons with this question, they will find the answer to it is no. It is not possible to carry out executions without risking torture or unlawful killing. To paraphrase Joseph Clark’s last words, it just doesn’t work.

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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Keystone Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Gallons of Oil

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The spill potentially threatened a bordering Indigenous reservation.



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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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No one could have _possibly_ seen this coming. /s
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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House Republicans Just Passed a Huge Tax Cut for the Rich

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On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 227-205 to approve a tax cut bill that provides nearly half of its benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The House Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would cost $1.43 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade, with most of that spending going to businesses.

The effects for everyone else are much more mixed. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) projects that the middle-class will get a $830 tax cut next year under the bill, compared to $37,100 for the top 1 percent of Americans. But by 2027, after a temporary $300 per adult temporary credit expires, the middle-class tax cut would drop to $360 per year, as the benefits for the top 1 percent grow to $62,300 per year. Overall, 30 percent of the middle-class would pay more taxes in 2027 under the bill, according to the TPC.

All Democrats and 13 Republicans voted against the bill on Thursday. With the bill out of the House, the tax battle now turns to the Senate. The House and Senate bills are largely similar, but due to a last-minute amendment the Senate bill now repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate. That will lead to 13 million fewer people having health insurance.  

The centerpiece of the Republican bill is a massive reduction in taxes on businesses and their owners. The bill drops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, while cutting the top rate for businesses whose profits are taxed as individual income from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. The bill condenses all individual income taxes into four brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent. Only households that make more than $1 million—up from $470,000 today—would pay the top rate.

The corporate tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans. Nonpartisan experts generally project that 75 percent of the cuts go to a company’s owners, rather than its employees. On the individual side of the tax code, the biggest gifts to the rich come from eliminating taxes on inheritances and the Alternative Minimum Tax, which helps ensure that wealthy people don’t use loopholes to reduce their tax liability to almost nothing.

The estate tax only impacts the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans, because the share of inheritances below $11 million for couples is exempted. The Republican bill would immediately double that threshold, and by 2024 the estate tax would be entirely repealed. Getting rid of the estate tax would be a massive gift to Trump’s children and other heirs.

The Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan Congressional body, has also found that the House bill would raise taxes on millions of Americans. In 2019, the JCT projects that about 1-in-5 middle-class families would either pay more taxes or get less than $100 in tax cuts. By 2027, that grows to 40 percent as families lose the $300 per person tax credit in 2023 and get shifted into higher income tax credits by a new way of measuring inflation Republicans are pushing.

Republicans argue they’ll never let the $300 tax credit expire. But there are no guarantees that future members of Congress will stick to that promise as they stare down the huge national debt-levels exacerbated by Republicans’ tax cut.

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Technicalleigh
2 days ago
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Evil.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Al Franken Is Accused of Groping a Woman in 2006

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On Thursday, a television host and a sports broadcaster for Los Angeles’ KABC Leann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of groping and kissing her without her consent in 2006.

This is the most recent allegation of sexual misconduct embroiling powerful men in media and politics in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said that she was aware of two members of Congress who have engaged in sexual harassment, noting that one was a Republican and one a Democrat.

On KABC’s website, Tweeden wrote she was a part of a group of performers headed to Afghanistan to entertain US troops stationed there. Sen. Franken, who was a comedian at the time, had written a skit that included a kiss with Tweeden. After badgering her to rehearse the skit before going on stage, Tweeden says that Franken forcibly kissed her. Later, on the flight home, an unknown person took a photo of Franken groping Tweeden while she slept. 

Sen. Franken issued an apology after the allegations were published. “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.” he said. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is calling for an Ethics Committee investigation into Sen. Franken. “As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this,” he said. “Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else.”

Democrats have also joined in calling for an investigation into their colleague.  Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said that she believes the victim; Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called his behavior “unacceptable” and says McConnell’s call for an investigation “has merit.”

Hours later, Sen. Franken issued a longer apology saying he was “disgusted” with himself and would cooperate with an ethics investigation.

 

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Technicalleigh
2 days ago
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Okay, so at least he came back with a real apology. But that first one was still gaslighting.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Georgia is Fighting to Keep Its Laws Secret — Unless You Pay

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Georgia sued a non-profit for publishing the state's law online. But knowing the law is a right, not a privilege.

For more than three decades, the state of Georgia has charged anyone who wants to see its official state law hundreds of dollars for that privilege. Now the state is suing the non-profit website that purchased a copy of that official compilation and put it on the internet for the public to see.

The problem with all of this? Knowing the law is a right, not a privilege.

We are in court today to argue that a state cannot put a copyright paywall between you and the law that governs you. Georgia takes the troubling position that it can claim a private property right in its entire legal code. The state concedes that it cannot claim a copyright in its statutory language or the text of court opinions. But it somehow believes that because the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” — which it considers its official law — combines those two sources of public law, it can copyright the result and charge the public a hefty price to see it.

In 2013, a nonprofit called Public Resource paid for the OCGA and posted it online to make Georgia’s state law freely available to the public. In response, the state sued Public Resource. The ACLU, along with a number of other groups, filed an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals defending the public’s right to access its own laws.

The OCGA is the law that the Georgia Legislature editorially controls and publishes. It is the law that the state’s executive agencies enforce. And it is the official state law that courts apply and interpret. Most fundamentally, it is the law that an individual must read to know what behavior is legal and what isn’t. While an unannotated version of the code is available online for free, that version does not constitute the law as enforced today. For example, a person reading the free version might believe that an “offense of sodomy” is punishable by one to 20 years in prison. That individual would also be led to believe that private possession of pornography is illegal. Only by paying more than $400 would she learn that courts have held both of those statutes to be unconstitutional, and the state enforces neither.

In our view, Georgia’s attempt to profit by limiting public access to the law harms at least three fundamental constitutional principles. First, it ignores the public’s role as the true author of the law. Second, without free access to the law, you lack the ability to figure out what is legal and what isn’t. Finally, you have a fundamental First Amendment right to see what your government is up to.

Georgia asserts that such knowledge is a privilege for which people should pay. We believe it is a constitutional right. We hope the court agrees.

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Technicalleigh
2 days ago
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US senator Al Franken apologises after accusation of groping

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The Democratic senator posed for photo with his hands over the sleeping woman's breasts.
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Technicalleigh
2 days ago
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`"I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," he said.`

Oh hey, look. The "cool Democrat" is gaslighting her.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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