This is what community looks like. It all started when Marvin Phillips’ family was away on a weekend camping trip, and they got a disturbing call from police: Their home and vehicle had been vandalized. Someone had spray painted their property with the letters “KKK” on the family vehicle and even racial slurs on their house. As The Washington Post notes, the family are some of the only African Americans in the rural town of Tenino, Wash.
Members of the community decided that the Phillips young children, who are biracial, shouldn’t see the hateful messages on their home. Parents in the local football and cheerleading league sent out a Facebook message, asking for volunteers to fix the damage before the family—particularly the 10-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy, who are members of the local sports and Girl Scout group—returned home.
We live in a small community and we take care of our own especially our youth athletes. I would like to have a work party meet up tomorrow morning at 9am to clean this mess up before the kids get home and see this. I want the racist cowards to know that we WILL NOT stand for this in our small town.
Not only did 50 residents come out, but so did local police and even the mayor. The family returned to a truck scrubbed clean of the graffiti and a repainted home. Phillips told TWP, “How can you not feel that love?”
A local firefighter who showed up to help told KOMO News, "It’s too cruddy of a world to have this kind of stuff happen in your own community and not do something about it. Main thing is we wanted to make sure the family didn’t see this. Nobody see this kind of junk in their life. Nobody needs that kind of hate speech."
The practice of using private, non-government run prisons, will soon come to an end. According to a report in the Washington Post, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates sent a memo to DOJ officials saying that contracts with the private prisons shouldn’t be renewed with the goal of “reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons.”
The use of privately run prisons, that currently house 11% of the nation’s inmates, has long been controversial. As a recent report from The Marshall Project notes:
The conflict between that profit motive and the legitimate goals of government forces a constant arms race between the contractors (who must seek new, creative ways to maximize their profits) and their government overseers (who must ensure the government is actually getting what it paid for) … Prisoners in these for-profit prisons have died from untreated HIV, untreated cancer, suicide, and heart attacks and seizures where officials delayed transfer to a hospital.
In her memo, Yates wrote, “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.” Discuss
Could there be a third candidate on stage with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the upcoming, televised presidential debates? According to reports, the Commission on Presidential Debates is telling the venues that will host the debates to be prepared to have a third podium on stage—one that could be for Libertarian Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
As Politico notes, in order to be included in the national debates, a candidate must be polling at least 15%. Currently neither Stein or Johnson is at that mark, but Johnson is getting close, at 8.8%. And, with Stein at 3.8%, it’s not inconceivable that she could close in on the 15% mark as well in the next month.
The Commission on Presidential Debates Co-Chairman Mike McCurry told Politico, “With Gary Johnson polling in some places more than double digits, some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like.'" Discuss
Yesterday, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the state’s policy for imposing the death penalty is unconstitutional. Not only could this mean the end of capital punishment in Delaware—which almost happened earlier this year—but this decision could, according to experts, carry ramifications for the rest of the United States.
The primary issue the court found was that Delaware’s death penalty law gave judges, rather than juries, too much power. This pushed the state’s procedures out of line with constitutional criteria established by the United States Supreme Court back in January.
Writing for The New York Times, Erik Eckholm explains,
Until recently, Delaware was one of three states, along with Florida and Alabama, that allowed judges to decide if the circumstances of a crime warranted the death penalty. Judges in those three states were also allowed to override a jury decision and impose such a penalty.
That changed earlier this year because of a case in Florida.
In Hurst v. Florida, the SCOTUS ruled that Florida’s capital sentencing law was unconstitutional because, as reported by the Times, “the Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.”
That decision played a big factor in this Delaware decision, and that court built on Hurt.
Eckholm explains further:
The Delaware court found that a jury not only must decide whether there were ‘aggravating circumstances’ that could justify a death penalty, but also must find, ‘unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt,’ that such aggravating factors outweigh any mitigating circumstances — the critical determination in imposing a death sentence.
The thinking is that if this line becomes the norm, many capital sentences will fail these criteria. So for those who are anti-death penalty, yesterday’s decision in Delaware is a welcome one.
Already in fairly recent history, the death penalty has been abolished in 18 states. Discuss
Just when you thought political scandals couldn’t get any bigger, a bombshell has dropped that will shake your confidence in everything you THOUGHT you knew about how the world works: The government may have been lying to us about the effectiveness of floss for decades.
Honestly, this is a weird story. Here goes: Last year, the enterprising investigative journalists at the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, demanding that the government show its evidence that flossing actually does anything. For more than 30 years, the federal government—along with dental organizations and Big Floss—have been recommending flossing regularly, saying it keeps your teeth and gums healthy.
Then, things got strange. Shortly after, the government removed flossing from its health guidelines without any notice. According to the AP, when they asked about “the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.”
The AP then decided to do its own research: Their findings: “The evidence for flossing is ‘weak, very unreliable,’ of ‘very low’ quality, and carries ‘a moderate to large potential for bias.’” The AP then found major holes in pro-floss studies done by dental organizations, and, of course, the makers of floss themselves.
Though there may be some benefits, the AP report contains this line:
Floss can occasionally cause harm. Careless flossing can damage gums, teeth and dental work. Though frequency is unclear, floss can dislodge bad bacteria that invade the bloodstream and cause dangerous infections, especially in people with weak immunity.
What?! There are risks to flossing?
Trust no one.
For all these years you’ve been pointlessly sticking a string between your teeth only to get scolded by some misinformed dentist about how you’re not doing it enough. Wake up, sheeple! Discuss
Millennials are having less sex than any generation in the last half century. According to new research published this week in the journal “Archives of Sexual Behavior,” young millennials (the ones born in the ‘90s) are even less likely to be sexually active. From The Washington Post, “[They are] twice as likely to be sexually inactive in their early 20s than the previous generation was, and more likely even than older millennials were at the same age.”
Even as a whole though, the millennial generation (defined here as those born between 1980 - 2000) have fewer sexual partners than the last two generations (Boomers and Xers) did at their age. Ironically, the report found that ideologically, millennials are more accepting of the idea of premarital sex than previous generations. Discuss