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|Bernie Sanders Got It Right on CNN: Felons Ought to Be Allowed to Vote ||NFL draft predictions for every team: Who's trading up, who's taking a QB |
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyIn their CNN town halls Monday night, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg disagreed on whether current prisoners should be able to vote. Sen. Kamala Harris refused to endorse a plan for expanding the franchise to incarcerated people, but supported voting rights for former prisoners.Sanders was specifically asked about Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and “those convicted of sexual assault.” What sane person would want them to vote? Our political system is already run by crooks. Do we want to add murderers and rapists too?In European history dating to Roman times, criminals could be stripped of their legal personality after committing a crime. They could not sign contracts or own property. They were outlaws, banished from the city walls. John Locke and other political theorists argued that criminals broke an implicit social contract: a rule-breaker should lose the right to make rules for others. But Locke lived in a time when only white, male, wealthy landowners could vote. Today, the right to vote is enshrined in democratic constitutions and international treaties. In American history, many states’ exclusions of those with a criminal record from voting date to the post-Civil War period and were clearly aimed at denying the franchise to African Americans. Criminal justice reform advocates argue that suffering a Medieval-style “civil death” dehumanizes prisoners, prevents their reintegration into society, and perpetuates inequalities in our political system. We should not assume that prisoners are less knowledgeable about politics than those outside of prison—that’s a pretty low bar, after all. Encouraging prisoners to feel involved in the political process can have real benefits too. Isolating prisoners from the political process during and after their incarceration further stigmatizes and isolates them, and that can encourage reoffending.Prisoners lose many of their rights when they go to prison. They can’t serve on a jury from a prison cell, or own guns; both of those are probably reasonable proscriptions. They probably should not own guns. But prisoners do not lose all their rights in prison. They are entitled to practice their religion and can challenge the conditions of their confinement. Taking away prisoners’ liberty is already a heavy punishment. Allowing them to cast an absentee ballot is not an unreasonable privilege.The most important consequence of allowing prisoners to vote is that it would remove the incentives for “prison gerrymandering.” In most U.S. states, prisoners are counted by the census based on where they are incarcerated, not where they are registered to vote. Because most large prisons are in sparsely populated rural areas, prison complexes have an important effect on gerrymandering. Many prisoners are racial minorities or people who live in urban areas, which means these places lose voting population, while more conservative areas gain nonvoting population. This advantages Republican congressmen in places like upstate New York, who benefit from inflated populations for redistricting purposes, but have nothing to fear at election time. Prisoner disenfranchisement therefore contributes to a structural disparity that causes Congress and state legislatures to be more conservative than the public at large.While many states are in the process of revising their laws to allow ex-prisoners to vote, voting by current prisoners only exists in Maine, Puerto Rico, and Vermont—the latter represented by Sanders in the U.S. Senate. In addition, the trend across the developed world is to allow at least some prisoners to vote. The supreme courts of South Africa, Canada, and Israel have legalized voting for at least some prisoners. The European Court of Human Rights has also rejected blanket prohibitions on prisoner voting, though it has allowed exceptions.The policy options are far broader than a single audience question would suggest. In Germany, prisoners can vote unless they were convicted of terrorism or political violence, an exception that would encompass Tsarnaev’s marathon attack. Other European countries prevent violent criminals, those serving lengthy or life sentences, or war criminals from voting. Exceptions for crimes of dishonesty or fraud might be reasonable as well. In a few countries, only those convicted of misdemeanors can vote, rather than felonies.These are policy debates we should be willing to have. Even if we allowed only persons serving misdemeanor sentences in local jails to vote, this alone might add nearly 300,000 voters to the rolls. Prisoner voting is already underway in some states and developed countries, so it is hardly a revolutionary position. Overbroad restrictions on voting help ensure that politicians select their own voters, rather than voters electing their own politicians.Andrew Novak is Assistant Professor of Criminology Law and Society at George Mason University.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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|Delphi murders: Here's what we know about unsolved killings of two teen girls in Indiana ||Clips' Williams: Warriors erred in 'looking ahead' |
It's been more than two years since the Delphi murders. Here's what we know now about the unsolved killings of Abigail Williams and Liberty Germany.
| After a Game 5 victory, Lou Williams called out the Warriors for keeping an eye on potential second-round opponent Houston. |
|Iran foreign minister offers prisoner swap deal for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ||Rockets' Capela: Warriors rematch 'what I want' |
Iran’s foreign minister has offered a prisoner exchange of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and an Iranian woman held in Australia on “phony charges”. Mohammed Javad Zarif, speaking at an event held by the Asia Society in New York on Wednesday, said the proposal was made to the US six months ago but he was now making it public. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, a British-Iranian who has been held in prison in Tehran on spying charges since 2016, was last month granted diplomatic protection by the UK government in an attempt to secure her release, with little effect. “We have an Iranian lady in Australia who gave birth in prison after she was arrested on an extradition request from the United States because she was responsible as a translator in the purchase of transmission equipment for (an) Iranian broadcasting company,” Mr Zarif said. While he did not name the woman, it is believed he was referring to Negar Ghodskani, who has been detained in Australia since 2017 on a charge of “conspiracy to export US-origin technology to Iran without the required licenses.” Video of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's arrest shown on Iranian state TV “She’s been lingering in an Australian jail for two years. We hear about Nazanin and her child. I feel sorry for them and I’ve done my best to help, but nobody talks about this lady in Australia whose child is growing up apart from its mother.” Mr Zarif said he “had the authority” to negotiate such a deal, adding that it should also include other Iranian nationals held on sanctions violation charges in the US: “I put this offer on the table publicly now. Exchange them. “We believe that their charges are phony. The United States believes charges against those in prison in Iran are phony.” He claimed he has not received an answer from the US administration after floating the idea six months ago. The comments mark the first public suggestion from the Iranian government that it would be willing to use Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was working at the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the time of her arrest, as diplomatic leverage. The issue of the mother-of-one’s citizenship has created an impasse between the two countries as Iran does not recognise dual nationality. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, from Hampstead, north London, has complained of being denied access to medical care at Evin prison, going on a hunger strike earlier this year in protest. Her husband, Richard, said he was surprised by Mr Zarif's offer and that the UK government gave her protection precisely to protect her from being used as leverage. Mr Zarif, seen as a moderate inside the conservative Islamic Republic, also discussed Washington’s announcement on Monday that it would sanction all countries that buy Iranian oil, in a move meant to squeeze Iran's main source of revenue. Oil prices have hit their highest level since November, with the decision further tightening global supply. “(President Donald) Trump thinks he can bring us to our knees, but he is mistaken,” Mr Zarif warned. "We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil. We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil," he told the event in New York. "If the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that then it should be prepared for the consequences." He ended by saying that "it's not a crisis yet, but it's a dangerous situation. "Accidents, plotted accidents are possible."
| Rockets center Clint Capela didn't hold back when asked about a potential rematch with the Warriors, telling reporters, "I want to face them," which prompted a sigh from teammate Chris Paul. |
|Mars lander picks up what's likely 1st detected marsquake ||Yanks' Frazier to IL; Stanton's recovery hits snag |
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's InSight lander has picked up a gentle rumble at Mars, believed to be the first marsquake ever detected.
| Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier will head to the injured list Thursday because of a left ankle injury, and Giancarlo Stanton, on the IL since April 1, is dealing with a "residual" left shoulder problem. |
|Elizabeth Warren’s College Plan Is a Dance with Elves ||Video: Dawkins boasted of ties to Miller, others |
Elizabeth Warren may be the least jolly member of the Senate, but she is nonetheless offering up her best Santa Claus impersonation as she seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, complete with a trillion-dollar-a-decade student-loan giveaway — to be paid for by those on her naughty list.Senator Warren proposes to pay off Americans’ student loans in a tiered fashion: Up to $50,000 in bailouts for those earning up to $100,000 a year, gradually phased out to $0.00 for those earning $250,000 a year or more. That would eliminate all student debt for about 75 percent of borrowers and provide some reduction for all but 5 percent of borrowers.Lest this be taken as a warrant to go out and borrow big on the chance that there will be another round of debt forgiveness in the future, Senator Warren also proposes to make college free for all students, not only eliminating tuition costs but also radically expanding federal higher-education spending to cover books, student housing and living expenses, and child care — a parallel welfare state for undergraduates.So: Free if you’ve already gone and borrowed money for it, and free if you haven’t. As the Democrats’ 2020 presidential-giveaway bidding war gets under way for real, that makes Senator Kamala Harris’s measly hundreds of billions of dollars to pay public-school teachers more look like an amuse-bouche.Even though the facts of the so-called crisis are grossly exaggerated — as our Robert VerBruggen points out, most student-loan borrowers pay less than 5 percent of their income in student-loan debt service — the inflation of college costs is a genuine concern, and one that is of especially intense interest to the federal government ,which, thanks to the Obama administration, made itself into a monopolist in the student-loan business. But Senator Warren here proposes to put out a fire with gasoline, i.e. to mitigate the effects of inflation by dumping money on the problem.In inflation-adjusted terms, government spending on higher education has never been higher. In has climbed by nearly $2,000 per student (in inflation-adjusted dollars) since 2001. As the Foundation for Economic Education points out, Pell Grant spending alone rose 72 percent in the few short years from 2008 to 2013. Tuition and other expenses have risen right along with that spending, driven mainly by an explosion in administrative costs. In the 1980s, there were about twice as many professors as administrators on our college payrolls; today, that number has been reversed, and there are about twice as many administrators and staff as instructors. Administrative spending has increased substantially relative to spending on instruction — and both are much higher in real per-student terms.Most of this goes to personnel costs, with generous salaries for faculty and staff and benefits that a University of California audit called, gently, “atypical.” Senator Warren is well-positioned to know this: She was paid more than $350,000 a year to teach a single class. Harvard and other colleges are full of clever people such as Senator Warren: Offer them $1 trillion, and they will find a way to spend it. Cheap financing enables higher college prices in the same way that cheap financing enables higher housing prices — the higher-education bubble is the subprime bubble with even worse underwriting standards and, in many cases, even less valuable underlying assets.If you want to get control over tuition inflation, try turning off the spigot. Senator Warren suggests opening it up all the way and adding some new ones.Senator Warren proposes to pay for all this with an annual tax on the savings of certain Americans — only the wealthy ones, we are assured — a new tax that it is not even clear Congress has the constitutional power to enact and whose effects will be unpredictable and likely destructive. Such wealth taxes used to be common in Europe, but all except three have been abandoned for the most obvious reasons: They do not produce the kind of revenue they promise, they are difficult to administer (what’s Jeff Bezos’s net worth right now? What will it be in 15 minutes?), and they encourage capital flight, as France’s many millionaire expatriates can attest.That’s a high price to pay for . . . what, exactly? We are familiar with all the fine rhetoric about higher education being the key to preparing the 21st-century work force and maximizing its productivity, but we cannot help but notice that this is being championed by the same people who have helped to make our K–12 education system the grotesque laughing stock that it is. The public schools are in effect a dysfunctional and wildly corrupt full-employment program for Democratic constituencies, and that same dynamic has driven much of the growth in college administration, too: There are a lot of deputy deans of social justice out there. We don’t need one more, much less 10,000 more.It is ridiculous that it costs as much as it does to get a decent undergraduate education — and it is even more ridiculous that so many American families are paying the price for a decent undergraduate education without getting one. Reform is in order, but the scheme envisioned by Senator Warren is the wrong idea, to the extent that it is an idea at all and not a promissory note to Democratic primary voters as the lady from Massachusetts looks to Milwaukee and hopes for Christmas in July.
| A video recording of a conversation that was played Wednesday in the college basketball corruption trial featured aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins promoting his connections to top coaches, including Arizona's Sean Miller. |
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San Francisco Views and Opinions
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy
Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€ -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Capitalism and The Wealth Gap
When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.