Federal Judge in California Rules State’s Death Penalty is Unconstitutional

I’ve never been a fan of the death penalty. Needless to say, today’s ruling by a federal judge in Orange County, California, that the death penalty is unconstitutional, comes as good news in my opinion. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said today that “the state’s death penalty has created long delays and uncertainty for inmates, most of whom will never be executed.” He noted that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed. “For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution,” Carney wrote. An interesting aside on … Continue reading

Governor Patrick Offers to Help Children Crossing South Western Border

Unlike governors in some states who are turning their backs on the child refugee crisis in the south west, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stepped up today and said he wanted to help the child refugees that have been crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico.  In comments to a reporter today, Patrick recalled a situation during the Holocaust when the U.S. turned away a ship full of Jewish children: “My inclination is to remember what happened when a ship full of Jewish children tried to come to the United States in 1939 and the United States turned them away, and many of them went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps,” Patrick said when a reporter asked how he … Continue reading

America’s Child Refugee Crisis

As a single mother who raised a child alone in America, I know full well what a difficult task that is, especially struggling through poverty through most of the years that I raised my daughter alone. When I read the stories about the children from Central America striking out on their own to reach the safety of what they think in some idolized fashion, is sanctuary in America, my heart breaks. My heart breaks, because on some subliminal level, as a single mother, I can only imagine how much harder it is to raise children alone in Central America, where lawlessness is common thread of the culture. Furthering my discomfort about the facts that drive these children to our borders, is … Continue reading

City Of L.A. Announces Halt to Detaining Undocumented Immigrants Without Court Order or Arrest Warrant

Citing constitutional concerns, the city of Los Angeles announced today that have put a halt to detaining undocumented immigrants for ICE without either a court order or and arrest warrant. In announcing the decision, Mayor Eric Garcetti and police Chief Charlie Beck cited a recent decision by a federal judge in Oregon who found that local authorities violated the 4th Amendment rights of an undocumented immigrant held for two weeks on an ICE hold despite being eligible for release. Specifically, the judge found that such detainers lacked the necessary legal underpinnings, such as probable cause or a judicial determination, required to hold a suspect for a longer period. They also cited a bulletin to law enforcement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris … Continue reading

The Appalling Demonization of Bowe Bergdahl

I have been appalled by the demonization of Bowe Bergdahl, which began hours after his release culminated by the “exchange of five hard-core Taliban leaders,” earlier this week. Most notable in the right wing uproar over the prisoner of war exchange is the flip flop of Senator John McCain who told CNN four months ago, “I would support… Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.” No sooner had the exchange been made when Senator McCain, “as he has so often in the past, switched positions for maximum political advantage. “I would not have made this deal,” … Continue reading

Gay Marriage Ban in Oregon Overturned

The Court DECLARES that the Equal Protection Clause requires recognition of marriages of same-gender couples legally performed in other jurisdictions, where those marriages are in all other respects valid under Oregon law, and that no state or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance can deny recognition of a same-gender couple’s marriage validly performed in another jurisdiction. The Court PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants and their officers, agents, and employees from denying that recognition. Continue reading

The Propaganda Olympics

by Walter Brasch For Vladimir Putin, the winter Olympics is not about sports or international camaraderie. It’s a carefully orchestrated propaganda opportunity to try to showcase the nation’s athletes and show the world a Russia that, even with its great culture and arts, may exist only in the imaginations of those who believe in restoring the country’s previous grandeur. Sochi itself is not typical city for a winter Olympics. It’s a sub-tropical city of about 340,000, located along the Black Sea. Its selection by Russia was to let the world believe that the country in winter is not Siberia but a resort, suitable for tourists. Under Putin’s personal direction, Russia spent more than 1.8 trillion rubles (the equivalent of about … Continue reading

Pets Are Nothing More Than Kitchen Chairs

by Walter Brasch   In Johnstown, Pa., two abandoned puppies died from starvation and freezing weather in an unoccupied house. In Lancaster County, two puppies were left in a backpack in freezing weather. In Centre County, a dog was frozen to the floor of its doghouse. In Edwardsville, a woman abandoned 19 dogs after she was evicted from her mobile home. Seven dogs had died of starvation. The others were near death. In Monroe County, police found three dogs, each in a plastic bag, abandoned along the side of roads. Each was dead. One had been shot. All the cases were reported the past two weeks in Pennsylvania. These aren’t the only cases; hundreds aren’t reported. Four years ago, the … Continue reading