In the 40 years since the United States Supreme Court ruled the death penalty is constitutional, no conservative state has repealed capital punishment. This is largely due to the GOP’s traditional “tough on crime” stance. However, opponents of capital punishment have been judiciously testing the resolve of death penalty states by making it difficult to obtain the mixture of narcotics and barbiturates used in administering lethal injection. Sam Tabar has read that most of the pharmaceuticals involved in lethal injection were imported from Europe. However, in recent years companies self-imposed embargoes of the substances to the United States to prevent its use in executing prisoners. The result has been to greatly increase the cost of executions. Coupled with that, public sentiment has been shifting away from capital punishment.
The Nebraska legislature then presented a bipartisan bill ending capital punishment in the state. That said, Governor Pete Ricketts still believes in the practice and issued a surprise veto this week. As a result, the legislature will now have to attempt an override of the governor’s veto. For his part, Gov. Ricketts is urging lawmakers to reconsider the merits of his argument. He points out that the death penalty is used quite sparingly in the state with only 10 inmates on death row. No one been executed in the state for the past 17 years. It is not clear at this time if legislators have the necessary votes needed to override the veto. The governor is also asking Nebraskans to prod their representatives to support him.
Unmanned drones have a bad reputation. Whenever most of us think of drones, death from above is the first thing that comes to mind. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, will depend on whether you are the drones target or the one using it. There is also a ton of political controversy about their use in this way among people in the United States, as we are the only country, except for Britain and Israel, that have used such technology in this manner. Fortunately, people are already developing more friendly uses for this technology. There are businesses that wish to use drones for faster delivery of consumer products to the customer. As with most new technologies, it is still going through all the red tape in Washington, but it should eventually come to widespread use in the marketplace to the benefit of both the person operating the drone and the target. This is a prospect that both intrigues and excites professionals like Jaime Garcia Dias.
There is however, one other good use of drones that is being developed. Billions of trees are being cut or burned down every year, and only about half the number lost are being replanted. A former NASA man plans to speed up the rate of reforestation dramatically by using drones. The drones will be used to fire germinated seeds into the ground. He hopes to plant a billion trees a year with this technology, which will give everyone something to smile about when they think of drones.
Some pundits on both the political left and right believe that Chief Justice John Roberts actually changed his vote against Obamacare only weeks before the ruling was going to be made public. His switch was done in order to avoid having his legacy tied to thwarting the president’s historic accomplishment of passing a national health care plan.Supporters of marriage equality are now hoping that Roberts will see the allure in making history establishing gay marriage as a civil right. Not coincidentally, news coverage about the historic nature of the case is focused on whether Roberts will appreciate the need to issue a landmark ruling.
Roberts being targeted is likely well placed. The High Court’s four liberal justices will absolutely come in favor of marriage equality. The emotional aspect of people’s desires to wed being dashed will trump constitutional issues with the liberal bloc. As for the conservative bloc, Associate Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas will likely vote in favor of upholding the same sex marriage bans. Mark Ahn (officialmarkahn.com) knows that Attention will be focused on whether Justices Kennedy and Roberts side with the conservative bloc or defect.
Other proponents of marriage equality do not believe Chief Justice Roberts will vote in their favor. Still, there is reason to believe that marriage equality will prevail. Justice Kennedy defected from the conservative block to strike down key aspects of the Defense of Marriage Act back in 2013. Many believe he did so out of broader support of marriage equality.
Lawmakers in Spain aroused the ire of the Venezuelan government on Tuesday when they passed a resolution calling for the release of jailed opposition party leaders in Venezuela. In Venezuela today, 33 of 78 opposition party mayors are facing legal charges from the government headed by President Nicolas Maduro.
The Mayor of Caracas was taken into custody without a warrant several weeks ago, and he remains in jail along with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and two other Venezuelan mayors on what many human rights activists describe as “trumped up charges.” The recent arrests of opposition leaders has created concern within the Spanish government. In February, when Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy met briefly with Mrs. Lopez, the Venezuelan government recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations.
President Rajoy met last month with the wife of the jailed Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. His decision to meet with her displeased the Venezuelan government.
When the Spanish parliament passed the resolution on Tuesday, President Nicolas Maduro reportedly characterizedSpain’s Prime Ministor Rajoy as “racist.” He also complained that the resolution was “an act of aggression by corrupt Spanish elites.”
Bernardo Chua (organogold.com) has learned that the Spanish Foreign Ministry summoned the Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain to the office of the Foreign Minister toprotest the remarks. The Venezuelan government responded by summoning the Spanish Ambassador to its Foreign Ministry. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister attacked Spain in strong terms, alleging “meddling and disrespectful statements.”