There Is No ‘Humane’ Execution

By , December 15, 2009 10:13 am

This is what passes for progress in the application of the death penalty: Kenneth Biros, a convicted murderer, was put to death in Ohio last week with one drug, instead of the more common three-drug cocktail. It took executioners 30 minutes to find a vein for the needle, compared with the two hours spent hunting for a vein on the last prisoner Ohio tried to kill, Romell Broom. Technicians tried about 18 times to get the needle into Mr. Broom’s arms and legs before they gave up trying to kill him. Mr. Biros was jabbed only a few times in each arm.

Ohio adopted the single-drug formula after the botched execution. It may well be an improvement over the three-drug cocktail, or may not. (Death penalty advocates who hailed it as less painful have no way, obviously, of knowing that.) But the execution only reinforced that any form of capital punishment is legally suspect and morally wrong.

via Editorial – There Is No ‘Humane’ Execution –

Crime & Punishment is Big Business in the U.S.

By , December 14, 2009 10:22 am

A recent report by the Pew Center on the States reveals that in 2007 a record 7.3 million Americans — 1 in every 31 adults — served time in jail, prison, on probation or parole. This according to Justice Department and Census Bureau statistics. The report found that the United States, which has 5 percent of the world population, has 25% of all the world’s prison inmates, based on comparative studies. The U.S. — the “land of the free” — locks away far more of its own citizens than Russia and China or any of the tyrannies that the U.S. props up around the world; and the problem is only getting worse!

via Crime & Punishment is Big Business in the U.S..

Legal Scholar Calls Withdrawal of Model Penal Code a “Quiet Blockbuster” | Death Penalty Information Center

By , December 14, 2009 10:11 am

Not all the important turning points in America's epic struggle over the death penalty get noticed immediately by the mass media and the public. A quiet blockbuster this year was the decision of the American Law Institute, a little-known but prestigious organization of lawyers and judges, to withdraw its approval for the standards created by the institute's 1963 Model Penal Code to guide juries in the choice between long prison terms and execution.

Ordinarily, the decision of a non-governmental organization to reject a sentencing system it adopted in the early 1960s would richly deserve public obscurity. With states like New York and Massachusetts turning back efforts this decade to revive capital punishment, and with New Jersey and New Mexico abolishing their death penalties, why pay much attention to the American Law Institute? Because the institute has pulled the intellectual rug out from under the current system of deciding between life and death in 30 death-penalty states.

via Legal Scholar Calls Withdrawal of Model Penal Code a “Quiet Blockbuster” | Death Penalty Information Center.

OSTP to Launch Public Forum to Discuss Options for Improving Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research

By , December 11, 2009 5:19 pm

On Thursday, Dec. 10, OSTP will launch a public consultation on Public Access Policy. The Administration is seeking public input on access to publicly-funded research results, such as those that appear in academic and scholarly journal articles. Currently, the National Institutes of Health require that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. The Administration is seeking views as to whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and the White House Open Government Initiative is launching a “Public Access Policy Forum” to invite public participation in thinking through what the Federal government’s policy should be with regard to public access to published federally-funded research results. To that end, OSTP will conduct an interactive, online discussion beginning Thursday, December 10. We will focus on three major areas of interest:

* Implementation (Dec. 10 to 20): Which Federal agencies are good candidates to adopt Public Access policies? What variables (field of science, proportion of research funded by public or private entities, etc.) should affect how public access is implemented at various agencies, including the maximum length of time between publication and public release?

* Features and Technology (Dec. 21 to Dec 31): In what format should the data be submitted in order to make it easy to search and retrieve information, and to make it easy for others to link to it? Are there existing digital standards for archiving and interoperability to maximize public benefit? How are these anticipated to change.

* Management (Jan. 1 to Jan. 7): What are the best mechanisms to ensure compliance? What would be the best metrics of success? What are the best examples of usability in the private sector (both domestic and international)? Should those who access papers be given the opportunity to comment or provide feedback?

via OSTP to Launch Public Forum to Discuss Options for Improving Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research « OSTP Blog.

No Bailouts for Youth: Broken Promises and Dashed Hopes

By , December 6, 2009 2:27 pm

By almost any political, economic and ethical measure, Barack Obama's election victory in 2008 inherited a set of problems produced by one of the darkest periods in American history.[1] In the eight years prior to Obama's presidency, not only did the spaces where genuine politics could occur largely disappear as a result of an ongoing assault by the market-driven forces of privatization, deregulation and unrestrained corporate power, but there was also a radical hardening of the culture that increasingly disparaged democratic values, the public good and human dignity – and with these the safety nets provided by a once robust but now exiled social state.

via t r u t h o u t | No Bailouts for Youth: Broken Promises and Dashed Hopes.

Standby for Annihilation – Prison Industrial Complex

By , December 6, 2009 10:03 am

Standby for Annihilation – Prison Industrial Complex Video.

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